Just when you thought this team was getting things together on both ends of the floor, they come up with a game like tonight.
The home and home series has been a common occurrence in the NBA schedule this season. The 2nd game is always a tough get. With the Raptors riding a 5 game win streak, this was a trap game and they fell for it.
The team came out firing on offense but failed to stop the Pacers in the 1st half. The Raptors have made a habit of digging a hole and then making adjustments at half time. Tonight was different because the Pacers had game planned for various scenarios. They kept pouring it on to the tune of 42 points in the 3rd quarter and at that point the game was theirs to lose.
I could talk about the wasted offensive night from Bosh (35 points) and Bargnani (Career High, 34 points), or dwell on the fact that 3 of the guards went 1-17 on a night when the team was already playing short handed. Rather, I want to focus on the defensive end. This team has improved significantly in this area over the last 20 games, but old habits reared their ugly heads tonight.
The team was already playing short handed and Jay Triano had to wing it with his substitutions (which by the way seemed very odd tonight). While all this was going on, the team stopped communicating. Help defense was no where to be found, and the Pacers got pretty much anything they wanted in the paint.
I am a big proponent of Andrea Bargnani when it comes to his man defense. Tonight just seemed that he never got his head in the game until it was too late. Roy Hibbert abused him down low and with no communication on the floor there wasn’t anyone coming to help either. Bosh doesn’t have the same strength as Bargnani when it comes to holding guys out of the block but atleast he looked like he was trying.
I know this is just one game. Even though the Raptors gave up 130 points and allowed 7 guys to score in double figures, they can get right back on track with a win against the struggling New Jersey Nets. A good team would make sure to bounce back and make it look like that one loss was an anomaly. This team needs to keep the winning attitude and brush this game off.
One to the next one…