Part of the solution

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

OAKLAND -- It was during the fourth quarter of Saturday's sobering setback in Portland when an observer asked why the Raptors weren't double-teaming Brandon Roy.

Roy was torching the Raptors' porous perimeter, scoring 18 of his game-high 32 points in the fateful fourth, a 12-minute span that vaulted the Blazers to their 102-89 win.

The best way to get the ball out of a player's hands is to bring an extra defender and force someone else to beat you.

In theory, it makes a lot of sense, but little this season for the Raptors has made sense.

Jay Triano wants his team to pack the paint and force a foe to heave outside jumpers.

For the defensively challenged Raptors, there cannot be any other way.

Toronto's wing players aren't exactly the most athletic in the NBA and when you're limited in what you can do, sometimes a player of Roy's ability will make shots and take control.

That is the dilemma facing Triano, whose hands are basically tied and who is trying to make the most of a situation that is crying for change.

A night earlier in Sacramento, John Salmons was able to get off any shot he wanted, only this time a team's go-to guy produced more bricks than baskets.

Tonight's challenge against the Golden State Warriors will be equally tough, given the presence of Jamal Crawford and Stephen Jackson, two explosive wings who will put plenty of pressure on Toronto's defenders.

Triano can't suddenly change his philosophy, even when others might think he should.

Teams, afterall, make in-game adjustments and Triano has adjusted on the fly, drawing up plays during timeouts that have led to baskets or at the least given shooters good looks at the hoop.

But there will be nights such as Saturday when good players on good teams will dominate and the Raptors will lose.

That's the inherent risk teams take when they pack the paint to hide defensive deficiencies.

Triano has no choice but to stick to his defensive schemes because the Raptors have too many shortcomings.

There are moments when the Raptors play defence the way Triano wants them, when players are communicating, forcing guys baseline and coming with help.

When players such as Roy are going off, the Raptors get exposed and burned.

Toronto's need is an obvious one with no clear solution.

Until dramatic personnel moves are initiated, the Raptors must adhere to Triano's way of thinking.

More than acquire athletic pieces, in particular players who attack the basket and don't get torched on the perimeter, the Raptors need players with a higher basketball IQ and who possess more mental and physical toughness.

Triano isn't the problem, but he is part of the solution.

He's not going to rock the boat, single out any individual or be critical of the organization.

Triano is doing the best he can, which is small consolation for fans of the team, but it's all he could do.

Even his best efforts have gone awry.

Take, for instance, Saturday night.

Under Triano, the Raptors will call a timeout when an opponent goes on a 7-0 run.

After Portland went on such a run, Triano looked toward veteran referee Steve Javie for a timeout.

Javie blew his whistle to signal a stoppage in play, but inexplicably called a technical foul on Triano, the second he has been teed up during his tenure as interim head coach.

"All I did was step on the floor and ask for a timeout," Triano said. "I was bothered a little by it (technical).

"If I had been on him for something, if I had quizzed him on something, okay.

"But all I did was ask for a timeout to talk to my team and I get teed up."

It has been that type of existence for Triano.

Even when he attempts to do the right thing, it goes wrong.

BAD HABITS

He's trying to correct bad habits and Triano wants the Raptors to look to the post more to better utilize Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal, who combined for 46 of Toronto's points in Portland.

When Sam Mitchell was dismissed, the Raptors were one game under .500.

They enter tonight's late-night tip against the Warriors at six games under .500.

Given what he has, Triano has to adhere to his philosophy and deal with the consequences and at times the criticisms.


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