As bad as it gets

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

NEW YORK -- It's only an hour earlier than their home starts, but to the Raptors, a noon start time yesterday produced possibly the worst basketball they have played this season.

And to the Raptors' credit, no one in the dressing room was trying to blame the loss on the early tipoff.

But trying to blame an embarrassing and un-Raptor-like 92-74 pasting by the New York Knicks on any one element would be foolish.

This was flat-out bad basketball all around from the Atlantic Division leaders.

As Sam Mitchell put it: "I can't point to one guy who did what he was supposed to do today."

Consider the grisly numbers:

- The Raptors shot 34.2% from the field, a season low;

- The Raps had just 10 assists in the game, also a season low;

- They turned the ball over a season-high 19 times;

- They converted just two of 21 three-pointers, easily a season low;

- The 74 points in a game was their worst offensive output of the season;

- The 32 points in the second half was also a season low.

And if your correspondent were a really mean guy, he would go on, but that would be just cruel.

Mitchell seemed more in shock than angered by the performance of his group although he did manage to work in a few "pissed-offs" in his post game chat.

While some of the Raps would have you believe this was no worse than their 114-100 loss to Houston on Friday night, the truth of the matter is this one was much worse.

The Rockets, a superior team, were on fire that night with Rafer Alston, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming scoring despite a solid defensive effort from the Raps.

The Knicks shot a decent bu,t by no means spectacular, 47% from the field. They didn't win this game as much as the Raptors lost it.

"We didn't shoot the ball well. We turned the ball over. We forgot plays," Mitchell said. "Someone asked me before the game how you prepare for an early start. I wish somebody would tell me because it was just bad. We just did things today that are uncharacteristic of what we normally do and how we play."

Anthony Parker, back in the lineup after a game off with a sprained right ankle -- and no worse for wear afterwards, which may have been the only positive of the afternoon -- saw everything his coach saw.

"It was like the perfect storm of games and we just can't let it happen again," Parker said.

"Okay, shots don't always fall. You can't control that. But you can control effort. You can control mental breakdowns and that stuff. This can't happen this time of year."

T.J. Ford agreed the Raps were not themselves.

"There was just no life, no energy and that sums up the whole (game) for us," he said. "We have to have some type of energy. Chris (Bosh) came out with a good spark in the first quarter, but other than that it was just no life."

The Raps actually took a two-point lead going into the second half before things fell apart. In the third quarter, they were outscored 35-13 and made just three of 16 field goal attempts.

"We have to go back and regroup and just prepare for Orlando," Ford said of Wednesday night's home date with the Magic.

REPORT CARD

F Offence: You can give the Raptors credit for going into the toilet whole hog on this one. Lowest shooting percentage of the year, lowest point total of the year, and the list goes on and on and on.

C Defence: Defence wasn't the culprit in this one. The Raptors were out-rebounded by just four and held the Knicks to only 47% shooting from the field.


Photos