CANOE Network SLAM!Sports

 
SLAM! Sports SLAM! Basketball
  Thu, November 20, 2003


NBA NEWS
RAPTORS
NCAA BASKETBALL
SCOREBOARD
COURTSIDE BLOG
COLUMNISTS
COMMENT






PLAYER BIOS
MOVEMENTS
INJURIES
STATS


FIND A PLAYER:
CONF. STANDINGS
EAST STANDINGS
WEST STANDINGS
WEEKLY SCHEDULE
DAILY LEADERS














Point is ... Raps weak
By MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun


Napoleon will tell you, all losses are not created equal. Take last night's Raptors decision, an 81-75 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Air Canada Centre.

This hurts. The Raptors lost their first home game of the season after five wins to a 76ers team playing without Allen Iverson, Glenn Robinson and Derrick Coleman. These guys weren't the 76ers. They were barely the 38s.

If you can't handle a 5-6 club hobbled by injuries and playing without two thirds of their starting backcourt and the league's foremost individual talent, you have problems on more than one front.

DEFENCE SAGS

The Raptors sagged defensively in the second half, unwilling to deal with a great game from forward Marc Jackson, who knocked down 23 points and the usual sterling effort from smooth veteran guards Aaron McKie and Eric Snow.

This was supposed to be the kind of game that did not get away under the watch of coach Kevin O'Neill. Remember renewed commitment. No nights off. No excuses.

They might have to get back to you that.

"We just didn't play very well in a lot of areas and in a lot of ways," O'Neill said.

Somebody get this guy an Oscar for understatement.

Now, everyone can wet the bed. I myself failed to properly conjugate a verb a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, Conrad Black has math issues. We're all human.

But the Raptors were outrebounded 11-2 in the third quarter and Antonio Davis' continued lacklustre showing provided precious little help.

Ball movement vaporized in the second half. Three of the night's five starters, Alvin Williams, Jerome Williams and Michael Curry combined for one bucket which, you know, is not great production.

Remember the old days, when Davis was considered, if not a linchpin, then a vital contributor. Somewhere along the line, a warrior has been busted down to warhorse. Davis managed a four of 10 night and finished with 12 points.

Things would have been worse without what is becoming commonplace heroics from Raptors rookie Chris Bosh. Bosh came of the bench to provide 14 first-half points and two key blocks but his 18-footer rimmed out in the final minute and the game died with the shot.

What should set off the alarm bells in Raptorland is the continued inability of the Raptors point-guard tandem of Alvin Williams and Milt Palacio to generate offence. You know, points.

LITTLE CONFIDENCE

Clearly, O'Neill has little confidence in either man. Both were yanked off the floor after errors in the first half.

"You just can't single out any one person on our team," O'Neill said.

Oh, yeah?

Snow and McKie delivered 39 points. Vince Carter popped in 20 for the Raps but Williams, obviously struggling with damaged ankles and worse confidence finished with no points in 19 minutes and two paltry assists.

"Legs are fine, confidence is fine," Williams said after the game.

Man, the lies people tell you in this job.

Palacio, meanwhile, finished with four points, five assists and a couple of turnovers.

It's not all bad.

Carter is delivering high-test minutes. Lamond Murray is rounding nicely into a handy player. Bosh has been a revelation.

But last night's loss showed in graphic, gory detail that the Raptors need a point guard, right here and right now.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


Results | Story