A couple of nights after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Raptors laid an egg in Memphis losing to the Grizzlies 115-107.
Such is life in the NBA and as assistant coach Alvin Williams and point guard Jose Calderon remarked before the game that if Toronto lost to Memphis, it would negate the win over the Cavs.
The Grizzlies got after it piling up 18 offensive rebounds and as Raptor head coach Jay Triano said "out worked" Toronto.
It would have been a good night for Triano to look down the bench and call Reggie Evans’ number. Wasted in the loss was a nice night by Bosh who poured in 37 points and collected 12 rebounds.
Yes it’s still early, but the tone of Bosh’s post-game comments sounded eerily familiar. He talked about the team not doing what they were supposed to do; with no player able to coerce, or convince the rest of the bunch to buckle down in an effort to change the team’s fortunes.
It was all about the defence as Memphis shot better than 50 per cent in every quarter except the third.
For you stat folks out there, here is a number I have been tracking since the start of the 2006-07 season, when Toronto overhauled its roster and won the Atlantic Division title. Going into this season, if the Raptors hold their opponent to 45 per cent or less from the field they have a .791 winning percentage, but if the opponent is 45 per cent or better, the success rate is .291.
Check out where 45 per cent puts you in the NBA rankings of defensive field goal percentage. Not exactly lock-down special but it shows you how much a team that can score will win by playing a reasonable amount of attention to defence.
It is early in the campaign so there is no need to panic as it will take time for the team to develop a feel for one another, but you can’t allow teams to outwork you and allow them to shoot better than 50 per cent if you expect to be a serious contender.
They are hoping for a better effort Sunday against Orlando.
Speaking of Orlando, they will bring back a few prominent figures in Raptor history. There’s that Vince Carter guy, who sprained his ankle on Friday night against New Jersey and didn’t suit up Sunday against his former team.
Then there is Brendan Malone, Toronto’s first head coach who is an old-school, no-nonsense "lifer" in the game. Think about his impact over his time in the college and NBA game on players and teams. It’s too much to go into in this little space, but check his resume and the places he has coached.
This flashback moment in Raptor history is brought to you by…me, the guy that has been around this team since the first game.
We’re standing and chatting with Damon Stoudamire the other night in Memphis and talking about the first season in Toronto with the 15th anniversary and all going on.
He and I start to reminisce about the bus ride to the airport after Game 11 in Year One. Here’s why.
The team had won its first game of the season but then dropped seven straight before winning its next two. They were 3-7 and had a national game on TNT in the United States.
What does Mighty Mouse do that night?
Nothing special, he just delivers the franchise’s first-ever triple double as Toronto defeats Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and the eventual Western Conference champion Seattle Sonics, who would later have Brendan Malone working for them as a consultant in the Finals.
The bus ride was like a bunch of high school kids that had just won the city championship.
Today’s Shout Out: Goes to the health care workers that deal with people and the H1N1 virus and its impact on society these days. They put themselves at the front lines and their efforts are appreciated.