November 25, 2012 by amiracle15
It’s early in the game and the timeless Tim Duncan is showing us he intends to live forever, which is going to make him a fun assignment for Bronas to pick up on. He seems to be saving his energy for the late game by not even defending Duncan, which makes him at least as effective at it as DeMar.
Speaking of which, who is this strapping Italian fellow who’s a dead ringer for a Bargnani who plays defense? His coverage is still a bit spotty, but even so, he’s putting in the effort and that wingspan is going to make a difference – especially in terms of rebounding.
Back to DeMar, he’s somehow accidentally managed to kick Duncan in the throat, which I suppose is one way to neutralize an opponent. Way to defend there.
The Raptors are willing to play their top three guards all at once today, which is ideal because it keeps McGuire off the court. Ordinarily this would create a glaring weakness on defense, but it wasn’t like McGuire is impressing much in that aspect either. We need Alan Anderson back, which is a need that no basketball team should ever have.
McGuire, it should be noted, didn’t score once in the previous two games (this game makes it three, over which he’s played over 60 minutes). I still think I’d start him over Landry Fields. And at least he has the decency not to attempt any shots, as opposed to Bargnani, who has gone from hero to zero at 1 for 7.
As of 12 minutes, the Raptors have been sticking right with the Spurs, a team which – it should be noted – doesn’t suck at basketball. This is quite acceptable.
Ross opens up with a three off of a DeRozan feint and suddenly it’s 28-24, as the Spurs are having trouble making their shots fall. But a 3-second violation and some missed coverage from Bargnani later and the Spurs have regained the lead.
Ed Davis checks in for the game with a surprisingly strong drive and finger roll to make things 30-29. He’s been acquitting himself well as PF lately – as opposed to his natural position, which is D-leaguer.
Lowry gets fouled and misses his shot, but Amir Johnson comes in with a completely unnecessary putaway as emphatic as any dunk he’s ever made, which pretty much epitomizes everything we love about Amir Johnson. Another strong play from Davis – a pick to free Calderon and then losing his man for the easy dunk – makes it 34-31.
Next thing you know, Calderon follows up a Spurs basket with a trey, Davis makes another shot off an Amir Johnson steal and the Raptors are rolling. Having Calderon on the second unit is the best thing that could’ve happened to these guys, in that it allows them to get minutes without being absolutely eaten alive.
A few poorly-placed shots late and the Spurs have things tied up. Time to shake things up with a Quincy Acy substitution? Probably not; I’m not sure even his teammates know who he is.
DeRozan reminds us he’s still DeRozan with some slightly embarrassing goaltending on a Tim Duncan shot that wasn’t coming close to sinking, but the Raptors keep up on offense with an Ed “O-Reb or No-Reb” Davis putback. Another leaping dunk to make things 49-47 and he’s now shooting 5 for 7 with 7 rebounds in less than 9 minutes of court time. I’m even starting to reevaluate my initial assessment of him – now I only think he’s useless most of the time.
The half will end with fouls on Lowry and DeRozan, with Tiago Splitter going 2-4 on his freebies to tie things up at 49-49. This is a very acceptable result against San Antonio though; it’s not like they’re the Pistons or anything. Fun fact: Tiago is actually the Portuguese derivative of ‘James’ or ‘Jacob’. Splitter means ‘one who splits’.
Bargnani just can’t get anything going on the firing range. An open look and then a decent-looking drive, but nothing’s working for him. He’s inexplicably up to 6 rebounds though, and with some solid team defense, the Raptors find themselves on a 7-0 run.
Big steal from DeRozan to break away and regain the 7-point lead after Tim Duncan sinks two free throws. Tony Parker hurries back to defend him but inexplicably runs right past him and out of bounds without so much as vying for the ball. The Spurs follow up with some more clowning around, with a whole slew of goofy-looking turnovers and missed opportunities – classic Drummond. McGuire dives for a loose ball, wrestles with Ginobili for a while, and wins the jump – the only contribution he’s made to the team all game.
Leave it to Andrea to kill our momentum; not only is he now 1-11, but it hasn’t stopped him once from taking these contested long twos. Luckily, Ed Davis is in to save the day, making things 64-58 and padding his o-reb stats even more with two on the play.
JV collects a rebound, bends over and somehow manages to lose the ball between his legs for what, the fifth time this game? He’s got to find a way to keep that grip, because whatever he’s trying to do on the glass is failing badly. Collapse into the fetal position if he has to.
The Raptors also can’t stop fouling the Spurs and giving them and-ones, which has brought them back to 67-68 – whoops, 69-68 now with an uncontested Ginobili break. But DeRozan makes his shot, and Ed Davis gobbles up the rebound on the Spurs’ next chance to give us a 70-69 lead heading into the 4th. He’s just racking up the only stat that matters, with more o-rebs than anybody else on either team has rebounds.
Calderon takes over to start the 4th, slowing the ball down and confidently making plays. You could probably light a match on his beard, it’s seriously that coarse. Must be the source of his powers.
After a few Calderon points, the Raptors’ shooting is struggling badly at 1-10 for the quarter with 5 minutes to go. The Spurs have regained the lead at 81-79 and they haven’t even been particularly impressive. I suppose it’s good in a way that the Raptors aren’t playing out of their minds and still just barely keeping up with a lackadaisical Spurs team, but I don’t think any game where Ed Davis is our best performer can ever be described as good.
A long jumper from Bronas and we’re all tied up, but no one can stand up to Parker and Duncan and the Spurs quickly match. Then out of nowhere, Lowry drives in and somehow elevates over Duncan to equalize. That has to be a morale drain on the Spurs, right?
And now it’s JV again, taking a pick and sending Ginobili flying, then earning the and-one on a Calderon assist. Monstrous play by a monstrous player to retake the lead, and he even sinks the free, then picks up a rebound on the next play – can’t ask for more than that. He’s no longer being stapled to the bench for the 4th quarter; Dwane Casey has the confidence to let him close out the game and it’s paying dividends. As an aside, Casey definitely wins the best-dressed award tonight.
Bargnani for three and it’s an airball. Ginobili for three and it’s all tied at 86 apiece with 2 minutes to go. DeRozan drives in, runs into someone and sends the rock flying. No call, Spurs ball, and Duncan quickly puts the Spurs up by 2.
Neither team can make either of their next two possessions, and then JV makes a huge block on Duncan, wins possession, and gets fouled driving in. Free throw number one goes, and the crowd goes wild. The second … goes, and the crowd goes insane. Tie game, Spurs possession, hardly more than 24 seconds still on the clock. One last play, the Raptors need to defend, and Bargnani and Calderon are still on the floor. Crunch time.
The Spurs delay for a few, then their breakout starts with Parker and who comes out to defend him but Andrea flipping Bargnani? The big man gets enough interference and the shot falls short. DeRozan comes flying in, nearly goaltends and looks around wildly in panic for the refs. McGuire collects the rebound with 0.1 on the clock, and the Raptors time out. Bargnani fires a shot in a last ditch effort but let’s be serious, nobody on the planet thought that was going to work. We’re headed to overtime.
Bronas is set loose again and starts racking up some rebounds, but can’t keep Parker from drawing first blood. What he can do though, is win the points right back with a powerful layup under Duncan to reach 20 points. Matt Devlin is gushing over him like a fire hydrant. Parker fires an airball, but Bargnani can’t force one through on the return play. Duncan’s left wide open next possession and isn’t going to miss. 92-90 Spurs.
Lowry draws in the entire Spurs defense and hooks it to Bargnani for the open three, but because he’s Bargnani it goes awry. Lowry somehow takes out two Spurs in midair on a loose ball foul, but San Antonio is coming back on the rush. They can’t score, but neither can DeRozan and they drive in back on offense. The shot’s no good, and JV grabs the rebound and gets fouled. It’s the perfect opportunity to tie the game, and predictably enough a turnover puts the Spurs up by 4.
A Lowry trey gives the Raptors new life, and they foul Parker to put them one possession apart. We need three points with 15.6 seconds. We need John Lucas III.
Unfortunately, Casey disagrees and he remains stuck to the bench. DeRozan quickly escapes coverage and gets the quick dunk, eliciting a Spurs timeout. We get a rare shot of Quincy Acy, who probably didn’t even bother bringing his gym shorts to the arena.
Amir Johnson defends the inbound by doing jumping jacks to no avail, and McGuire sends Neal to the free throw line. He’ll miss his first, and JV comes back in for Amir. The second one will drop, and the deficit’s at two.
Calderon passes into JV, gets it back, and flips it to DeRozan. He can’t find an open lane, but decides qu’il s’en fiche and drives through two Spurs anyways for … a miss. But just as all hope seems lost, he grabs his own rebound and stuffs it in with 0.9 seconds to go. Jonas goes insane flailing around trying to intimidate the inbound, and it works – DeRozan intercepts the pass, and the stanza ends in a tie. 2OT coming up, and the Raptors are against all odds keeping right up.
A three from Green puts the Spurs up early, and neither Bargnani nor Lowry can make their long fadeaways. But Duncan somehow misses his weird half-dunk-half-layup and Bargnani recovers the other way with a good look from downtown. Spoiler: He fails.
DeMar’s to the free throw line but can only hit one of them, and Parker responds by digging his team’s advantage to 102-98. Lowry finds Bargnani open, and the big man, now shooting 1-17 on the night, takes a look and makes his shot. By the look on his face, not even he can believe it. Spurs are out of bounds off Duncan, and suddenly we have a chance to tie things up – until a 5-second violation on Calderon halts that momentum right in its tracks.
The Spurs miss a shot and get the rebound, but Lowry darts in and makes the steal. Again to Bargnani for three … it’s a no-go this time, and Parker reestablishes the four point lead. Free throws from DeRozan pull the Raptors back to within 2 but they have no answer for Parker, who is scoring almost at will. 108-104, and a foul on Duncan will bring the Spurs to 110.
Lowry can’t make a deep three, but Calderon grabs the rebound and passes to JV for the quick follow-through. Parker is fouled immediately and can only make one – it’s now a five point game with a scant 11 seconds to go.
Calderon rises up with a desperate three, but it’s well short and the Spurs will hold on to win. Tim Duncan approaches JV for some big man-to-big man words. Nobody approaches Bargnani. In the words of Matt Devlin, it’s another heartbreaking loss for a team that is now 3-11. It’s a good thing Detroit lost so we’re still only tied for second-from last. Somewhere, Vince Carter sheds a single tear and can’t explain why.
I’m hesitant to pin the loss on Bargnani when the majority of his misses were bad luck rather than dumb shot selection, but we’ll not be winning many games where our best scorer is shooting 10% and isn’t good at anything apart from shooting to begin with. Lowry and Calderon were also collectively dominated by Parker in the guard matchups, particularly in the all-important endgame. And Matt Devlin still won’t stop complaining about the refs. But overall, the Raptors definitely showed up to play, with some cohesive team defense and big games from DeMar, Bronas and Davis. Hey, Terrence Ross even made a shot!
Yet another loss is hard to swallow, but taking a team as strong as the Spurs to two overtimes? We’re the Toronto Raptors. I’ll take the result and just be glad Parker didn’t dunk over Bargnani or anything.
With the loss this afternoon to San Antonio, the Raptors have now lost four straight extremely winnable games. A blown fourth quarter lead against Philly, two one-point losses and then the latest double-overtime fiesta. This is absolutely brutal to watch, so Raptor fans: stay strong, and don’t kill yourselves until we start getting blown out, at which point yeah, pop that trigger.
Game goat: Andrea Bargnani, impressing us all with 4 points on 2 of 19 shooting. Yes, you read that right.
Game toad: Dominic McGuire, for his 16 scoreless minutes. But hey, 7 defensive rebounds, good for a three-way tie for fourth-best on the Raptors. Woot!
Game bench: Bronas actually had quite the night: 22 points on 9 of 13 shooting to go with 3 assists, 7 boards and 3 blocks, very solid. Demar was also clutch in OT.