So much for the comforts of home.
For the third consecutive game at the Air Canada Centre, the home cooking just wasn't doing it for the Raptors shooters who, outside of an early run by Anthony Parker and some late flashes by T.J. Ford, showed little in the way of a sustained offence all evening.
Oh, the defence was there for most of the night for the Raps as was the rebounding. But that just made the loss more frustrating. Whether it was uncontested threes hitting iron, three-on-one fast breaks turning into fast breaks the other way, or just missed layups, the Raps could not find a way to get the ball in the hoop.
It all added up to a 92-88 loss to the Utah Jazz.
The worst news from a Raptors standpoint is that it has been this way at home for the better part of the four games here. Outside of an opening night win over Philadelphia, when they shot a solid 49.4% from the field, the Raptors' home shooting has been dreadful.
In the four home games, the Raps are shooting 40.5% and now have a 1-3 record to show for it. Away from the Air Canada Centre, the Raptors are shooting 49.2% and own a 3-1 record.
The Jazz, the highest scoring team in the NBA, wasn't much better offensively than the Raps last night, but was good enough for its fifth consecutive win.
"We just didn't shoot the ball well," head coach Sam Mitchell said. "I mean 38%, it's hard to win. Our defence was good against this team. We made some mistakes, gave up some layups, some open shots, but we rebounded the ball well. I thought we got good looks, for the most part. We took some questionable shots, but it's hard to say it was our execution because we were running plays and we were getting 14- and 15-foot wide-open shots. We have to step up and knock those down."
Mitchell was particularly incensed with the botched fast-break opportunities. Jose Calderon, Jamario Moon and Chris Bosh had a three-on-one midway through the fourth quarter that wound up in a Raptors turnover.
"The reason we turn the ball over is we have our three guys within a space where they can all reach out and touch each other," Mitchell fumed.
"Since grade school, you are taught to get out wide, put pressure on the defence, make the guy stop the ball, pass the ball and get a layup. We run straight down the court. Until we clean up things like that, and get our proper spacing, one guy can guard three."
Outside of Kris Humphries and Moon, Mitchell didn't have much nice to say about anyone. Humphries had 14 rebounds, five of them on offence, while Moon had 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting in his second start of the year. Moon also was matched up against Andrei Kirilenko and held the rangy Jazz forward to eight points on 1-of-6 shooting.
"We count on those guys to give us energy and to give us minutes," Mitchell said of Humphries and Moon, "but not to win the basketball game."
As poorly as they shot, the Raps still had a chance to win it. Down 89-88 in the dying seconds after a Ford three, the Raps immediately fouled Jazz guard Deron Williams, looking for another three-pointer to tie. But, after Williams hit both free throws, Ford's followup three from 26 feet out hit the rim.
Andrea Bargnani had one of his worst nights as a pro, hitting just one of 11 shots in 16 minutes while Chris Bosh went into the fourth quarter having made just one of eight before a 4-for-4 fourth quarter masked an otherwise rough night.
As poorly as they shot all night, the Raps were down just three with the ball and 17 seconds left to play. Instead of going for a quick two, T.J. Ford opted to go for the lower percentage three-point shot. It took him three tries just to get it off only to see it fall short.
Jamario Moon, whose best games came on the Raptors' two-game road swing through Philly and Chicago, showed the home fans a little something early on last night with a pair of steals in the 77 seconds, and later drained both of his threes.
The Raps shot a woeful 29.5% in the first half, but that wasn't close to the franchise worst. That occurred in March of 1999 in a game against Charlotte when they shot just 20% in the opening 24 minutes.