Raptors Can’t Buck the Trend, Get Slaughtered in Overtime

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March 2, 2013 by slewfeet

Demar DeRozan braces himself for a karate chop from J.J. Redick

Demar DeRozan braces himself for a karate chop from J.J. Redick

We check into the middle of the 1st from a ghetto projector setup in a library basement, where the Bucks have taken a 15-13 lead over the Raptors. Apparently both teams have coordinated their colours to make it look like Christmas came early, with the Raptors’ red providing an eye-pleasing contrast to the Bucks’ spruce green. This is the sort of marketing decision that earns you fans for life.

Kyle Lowry earns himself a big rebound that he doesn’t even catch until the offensive perimeter, and sets Landry Fields up for a smooth dunk. This triggers a whole slew of fast-break points for the Raptors, who are inspired to the effect that ‘if that chump can do it, so can they’.

The quarter ends with Monta Ellis taking an awkward twisting leap and missing his shot. The Raptors exit with a 32-23 advantage, and a big grin from Quincy Acy as he gives his teammates high-fives.

The Bucks open the second with one of the goofiest turnovers ever made, but Fields is blocked on the way to the basket. Valanciunas will help the Raptors draw first blood by casually elbowing a Buck out of the way and depositing the shot.

The Milwaukee defense is getting torn apart early, to the effect that their commentators actually think Alan Anderson is a threat. Fields has also taken advantage of some open looks, which has given him the self-esteem to attempt a few from downtown. Both were fortunately misses, so hopefully that’s been nipped in the bud.

A flailing Jonas Valanciunas tries for a scrappy rebound and ends up in a sort of square dance with Ekpe Udoh, then wins the ensuing jump ball way too hard and hurls it backwards far past his teammates. Lucas rewards his efforts with a three, but the Bucks bench is mounting a comeback. This might have something to do with the Raptors no longer having a point guard on the court, as Lucas seems to have forgotten what an assist is.

By the end of the half, the Bucks have reduced the lead to 55-54, mostly on some costly Raptors turnovers and probably something that’s Bargnani’s fault somehow. Terrence Ross has apparently played for five minutes and I had no idea, which says something about how utterly ineffective he’s been lately. Over halftime, we’re treated to mascots trapped in giant hamster balls running into each other, which is pretty much brilliant and should be mandatory at every NBA game.

Some technical difficulties to begin the third quarter, as every available online stream appears to have gotten sick of the game and decided to air the Bulls-Nets contest or something entirely irrelevant about the Rockets instead. The Bucks have mounted a 70-62 lead though, and Kyle Lowry is threatening to get a triple-double of rebounds, assists and turnovers. In the meantime, Sebastien Telfair is pondering whether or not he truly exists.

Alan Anderson steps onto the court knowing that only he can save the day, and manages to dodge the temptation to take a contested three for perhaps the first time in his life. Brandon Jennings responds by dribbling past the entire Raptors team for an easy score – not even dribbling around them, as that would have required somebody to respond to him on defense.

The most fascinating thing about this game is that Bargnani for Ersan Ilyasova straight up was considered a plausible trade. Not that Bargnani has been terrible by any means, but he’s shooting 4 for 13 and this is easily among the most effective games he’s played since returning from injury. Ilyasova, on the other hand, is awesome and probably an Eastern European spy who flew over to steal military secrets but somehow ended up playing basketball in Milwaukee through a series of hilarious misunderstandings. There he met a quirky free spirit played by Zooey Deschanel and they immediately hit it off – until his dangerous past comes back to haunt him. Make it happen, Hollywood!

Wow Lucas just took a jump ball, hahahahahahahahaha.

The third quarter will end 82-74 on yet another Alan Anderson miss, and the ensuing commercial break really hammers home the lesson of the game: Wisconsin television is really weird.

Lucas has decided that the only way to salvage this game is to hit a million threes, and the craziest thing is that it’s actually working. Following a spree of three in a row, the score is suddenly 85-84. Even Alan Anderson, 0 for 4 up to that point, is inspired to make one himself. Anderson’s been refreshingly effective inside the three-point line though, and who could stay mad at a face like that?

A Redick three will give Milwaukee a 95-94 lead, and Anderson will completely fail attempting to take it back. His scowl afterwards would say volumes about his frustration if it weren’t his default facial expression. But a goaltend from Larry Sanders and enormous steal from Fields will return the lead to the Raptors, at least until Anderson turns it over again.

Forty seconds to go, and the score is 102-102. I think we’re due for an Aaron Gray substitution. Instead, DeRozan drives in and misses, he and Amir Johnson fall over, and Milwaukee wins possession. Ilyasova will get the putback over Lowry and DeRozan, and the Raptors need a shot in the next seven seconds. Fuck, they’d better not let Anderson shoot this.

Fortunately, Fields isn’t an idiot and flips it to DeRozan instead; he’s quickly fouled and the Raptors need to inbound all over again. Only Anderson is open, but his defender takes a tumble and he gets an open lane to dunk. The game is tied, Milwaukee can’t set anything up in the second they still have, and we take the plunge into overtime.

Sanders will give the Bucks an early lead, but Lowry sets Fields up with a sneaky pass into the centre … for a missed bank. Ilyasova gets another, and DeRozan and Amir commit offensive fouls on the other end. Amir’s fouled out too, which is terrible as he’s quietly been the best Raptor once again, shooting 9-11. Never forget.

Ilyasova scores the and-one coming back, and we’re pretty much fucked. Lowry hits a three, but it’s hard to keep scoring when Fields just focuses on boxing out a ball that went out off Bargnani. Anderson misses another shot, because he is a cretin deserving of a public stoning[citation needed], and Ellis hits his to drive the gap up to six points. DeRozan is finally driving like he ought to have started doing several games ago, but Jennings hits a three that makes one of our Bronas bloggers fall off his chair.

The game ends with an Anderson miss, which pretty much summarizes how the entire overtime went. Thank god that’s over. Final score is 122-114, which should extinguish the last little flickers of any playoff hopes we might have had.

Team Goat: The shrubbery on Monta Ellis’s chin was by far the most hircine, but on the Raptors it’d probably be Anderson for some truly awful shooting decisions. DeRozan and Bargnani had worse percentages, but they contributed rebounds and assists, whereas Anderson played the sort of game people typically hate Bargnani for – inefficient and high-volume shooting from the same spots every night. When you’re 7 for 12 from inside and still decide to focus on shooting 1 for 8 from downtown, that’s a problem.

Team Toad: Jonas played some very strong basketball for eleven minutes, rebounding well and establishing his big body presence in the post. He was then benched and never seen again. Lowry also had a triple-double despite actually playing a pretty shitty game, while Telfair was conspicuous in that I think he was kidnapped earlier today and nobody noticed. Let’s not ignore Lucas either, with his sixteen points to energize the team, zero of anything else, and one hilarious jump ball.

Team Bench: With Rudy Gay out, tonight was a rare night for Fields to shine, and boy did he. He contributed for all 47 minutes that he played, was tremendous in driving possession the Raptors’ way, and was probably our best defender to boot. He also got blocked four times, which is actually kind of impressive. That’s the kind of idiotic stat that’ll push him over Amir, who played similarly well.

If you liked this post, check out our midseason reflection on the Raptors and our appraisal of the Rudy Gay trade! If you hated it, maybe this is more your style.

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