There’s no other way to put this one- the Toronto Raptors got screwed. I understand that some of these close games in the past weren’t explicitly due to bad officiating, but there was no excuse in this one. On the final play of the game, Andrea Bargnani got slapped across the elbow, resulting in him shooting an air ball on the shot that would have won the Raps the game over the Charlotte Bobcats. DeMar DeRozan also got hit on the last possession, and it was blatant, but it was nothing compared to the clear foul on Bargnani.
The Raptors fought hard and clawed back from a 10 point deficit in the fourth quarter, but ended up losing 98-97. This is yet another loss where the Raptors could and should have had, and they continue to burn more and more. It would be nice if something like this went the Raptors’ way for once, but every single time this season the Raps have been on the wrong end of things. Calling them unlucky doesn’t do them justice.
There were some positives in this game, however. Jonas Valanciunas absolutely dominated tonight, and finally got his full share of minutes. He scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and played solid defense before fouling out. Dwane Casey finally figured out his rotations and decided to play Valanciunas in the fourth and this team looked much better down the stretch until he fouled out. Terrence Ross finally got some minutes as well, and scored an efficient 11 points in 15 minutes. Ross certainly deserves more minutes, and hopefully the emergence of Ross will result in Casey dismantling this awful two point guard line-up he loves to use. Jose Calderon got blown by consistently and wasn’t at his best tonight, and Kyle Lowry was solid but slowed down in the fourth, so I didn’t see a reason for having both of them on the court.
Yes, it would have helped if the Raptors weren’t in that situation where Bargnani had to hit that shot to win it anyway, as their execution down the stretch has still been poor. Lowry and DeRozan have shown flashes of the ability to close, but neither one of them could finish it off tonight.
This one will be hard for everyone to swallow- considering they should have won tonight, but the refs interfered with that. There’s not much the Raps can do about it now other than get ready for their next game.
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