The Toronto Raptors left their defense at home when packing for their western swing. How else to explain giving up 42 points to the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter? The Raps had punched back from an eight-point deficit at halftime to forge a lead of 7 by scoring 36 points in the third, but it was all for naught. The Raps’ offense stalled at a century in crunch time, as the team settled for long jumpers.
The 125-118 loss is all the more galling as Andrea Bargnani rediscovered his shot, pouring in 26 points, including 5 of 7 shots from beyond the 3-point arc. Also going to waste was a perfect shooting night from Amir Johnson. The Raps’ super-efficient power forward made all 10 shots he tried, although he managed only 3 of 7 tries from the free throw line. Amir capitalized on a number of putbacks, his reward for grabbing a game-high 12 offensive rebounds.
The Warriors as a team could only manage six offensive boards, but that hardly mattered. They shot 57.3% from the floor, so there weren’t a whole lot of rebounds to climb up after. Stephen Curry, their brilliant point guard, was unfazed by a slow start, and ended up with 26 points and 12 assists. Klay Thompson was the grateful recipient of many of Curry’s dishes, and hit 8 of 11 shots, including only one miss in five tries from distance. Those two rising stars form a potent backcourt for the Warriors, and were ably assisted by ex-Rap Jarrett Jack, who added 16 points. David Lee could not be stopped. He scored in all manner of ways, from mid-range jumpers to drives to putbacks, and totalled 29 at the end.
There were a few disappointing players for the Raps. I used to call Sonny Weems the Designated Turnover when he was a Rap, but I think I’ll pass that undesired title to Rudy Gay. The newest Rap scored 26, but was charged with 6 turnovers, almost half the team’s total. Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross both had rookie-grade games. JV was needed to score inside, but couldn’t, and Terrence’s jump shot has deserted him. After missing all four attempts, Terrence disappeared.
Kyle Lowry dished out 9 assists with only 2 turnovers, a ratio we fervently hope he will maintain. His rebounding skills were once again evident as he pulled down 11, though he made only 2 baskets in 9 shots.
Can the Raps rediscover their defense…will Bargnani’s improvement continue…we’ll find out on Wednesday night in Phoenix.
Brian Boake is a co-editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.