Moon shots just low blows

Jamario Moon has been taking heat from teammates and fans for some costly mistakes. (Sun...

Jamario Moon has been taking heat from teammates and fans for some costly mistakes. (Sun Media/Ernest Doroszuk)

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

It's too convenient to pin the debacle in Dixie on the shoulders of Jamario Moon.

It's too easy to point to Monday's meltdown as a flash point of a Raptors' season that is slipping away, if it hasn't already.

It all came to a head in a late-game sequence that saw Moon leave his feet on a pump fake and then heave an ill-advised three-pointer early in the shot clock with the Raptors trailing the host Atlanta Hawks by a single point.

Say what you want about Moon, but he doesn't deserve the grief fans are expressing or to be the brunt of Chris Bosh's frustration.

There's a way for teams to police themselves and Bosh, the face of the Raptors franchise, did his teammate a disservice by getting into Moon's face.

As the losses mount, so too does the frustration level, but Bosh should have exercised better judgment.

For obvious reasons, Moon's decision to hoist a three-ball, no matter how open, was wrong.

But to blame Moon is equally wrong.

On good teams, Moon would never have been on the floor at such a critical time and given extended minutes at such a pivotal point in a season.

Moon's skill set is best suited coming off the bench.

He's an energy presence whose athleticism makes him a decent off-the-ball defender and whose length can be disruptive.

Good players add a new dimension to their game each off-season.

Those who have followed Moon's rags-to-riches story are well aware of his unwillingness to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim.

In the aftermath of last year's opening-round playoff loss to Orlando, Moon spoke of working on his dribble-drive.

He hasn't incorporated anything new to his game, meaning Moon settles for outside jumpers.

His basketball IQ is negligible, which doesn't make Moon the exception on the Raptors.

He plays with unbridled joy, but Moon shouldn't be smiling after losses.

Moon is limited and his limitations were laid to bare in a crushing 87-84 loss in Atlanta, Toronto's sixth successive setback.

Moon is a flawed player on a roster that is equally flawed.

Anthony Parker is a not a point guard, but he has been asked to run an offence because there is no one capable of stepping into Jose Calderon's injured shoes.

One day Roko Ukic will evolve into a bona fide NBA point guard, but now isn't his time.

Will Solomon has a shoot-first mentality befitting of an off-guard, but he was thrust into the role of starting point guard until he got exposed.

When the Raptors traded away T.J. Ford, they parted company with the team's only true creator whose one-on-one skills are perfect in late-game situations because Ford can create his own shot and isn't afraid to miss.

As much as the Raptors want to look inside to Bosh, he hasn't exactly stepped up in crunch time when the ball is in his hands.

People want to blame Moon or interim head coach Jay Triano for having Moon on the floor, but the Raptors' hands are tied.

For now, there can be no other choice because few options exist.

When brain cramps occur, a coach such as Triano has to live with them.

Triano also must come under scrutiny for his late-game management and use or non-use of timeouts.

Not to defend Moon's decision because, afterall, there is no defence, but he at least released his attempt in rhythm with no Hawks defender within 10 feet.

When Moon bit on Joe Johnson's fake, it wasn't the first time Moon has left his feet on defence.

And let's be honest, it won't be the last.

TOO SOFT

When one is thin in basketball smarts, but deep in hops, one can at times get away with cheating on defence or taking unnecessary risks.

It has been said, but it bears repeating as Toronto's late-game inefficiencies continue.

The Raptors are too soft, too mentally weak and too flawed to close out tight games, even against short-handed teams such as the Hawks -- who played without two starters in centre/forward Al Horford and forward Marvin Williams -- and who were coming off a West Coast swing.

It's too easy to blame Moon, a whipping boy under former head coach Sam Mitchell and now the poster child for exasperated fans and the object of Bosh's growing impatience.

The verbal shots Moon has been forced to endure are both misplaced and misguided.


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