Raptors fans at boiling point

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

The frustration level continues to mount as the losing increases.

As their free fall continues, the Raptors appear poised to implode.

Toronto's restless fans certainly have reached the boiling point, booing the homeside when an opponent's miss can't be retrieved, when a foe attacks the rim with impunity and when shots heaved by the Raptors fall woefully short.

If you think the Raptors aren't in need of a major overhaul, then you missed last night's latest damning evidence.

When Shawn Marion tried to funnel a ball handler to one spot, no help arrived.

And so it began as the visiting Charlotte Bobcats began the game by staging a glorified layup drill, scoring at will in the paint with little resistance provided by the Raptors.

It got so bad that Marion was pulled from the game with the night barely four minutes old.

It got downright embarrassing when a simple inbounds pass at midcourt went off Jose Calderon's foot, a turnover Charlotte parlayed into two points when Raja Bell pulled up to drain a bucket with 2.9 seconds left in the opening quarter.

And to think the Raptors were hoping to begin a season-long five-game homestand on the right foot.

With so much going wrong, nothing is going right for the Raptors, who dropped their second game to the Bobcats within a week.

Not nearly as humiliating as the 112-86 shellacking on Monday, but the 102-89 setback last night laid bare Toronto's many failings yet again.

With about five minutes left in the game, fans began to exit the Air Canada Centre, a scene that is certain to be common in the coming days and weeks.

There are absolutely no signs of any Toronto turn- around.

Instead, there are signs of discord amid the growing disappointment.

"We're just trying to stay alive,'' offered Chris Bosh in the wake of Toronto's 45th loss of the season.

Bosh did his best, as he often does, but to no avail.

He ended the night by scoring a game-high 35 points.

Andrea Bargnani added 27.

The rest of the Raptors combined to shoot 12 of 32 from the field.

There can be no excuse for Toronto's play because there is none.

They had time to regroup from the loss on Monday, but came out with no clue on how to stop Charlotte's penetration.

"We were stagnant on defence,'' Bosh said. "We gave that team confidence and we built a hole for ourselves."

The Bobcats outscored the Raptors 66-22 in the paint.

Whether it was from the top of the circle or from either wing position, Charlotte abused the Raptors with its athleticism.

The key stretch, a period that basically sealed Toronto's fate, arrived late in the third quarter.

The Raptors showed some resiliency in rebounding from a double-digit deficit and trailed 69-66 with two minutes left in the third period.

The quarter ended with Charlotte going on a 13-4 run.

"I'm not going to point fingers," interim head coach Jay Triano said.

Triano hasn't called out any player and he isn't about to now, even as the Raptors continue to falter.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu's impact was negligible, accounting for zero points.

He wasn't alone.

The Bobcats were led by Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw, who each recorded 30 points.

Wallace and Diaw are good, but they never will be mistaken for Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol.

Yet on this night, Charlotte's tandem joined the Lakers' duo in lighting up the Raptors for 30 or more points.

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REPLAY

LAST NIGHT AT THE ACC

TRIANO TEE TIME

It's five and counting for interim head coach Jay Triano. Triano picked up his fifth technical when he questioned veteran official Marc Davis' interpretation of the rulebook. Davis took exception and teed up Triano, who has been ejected once this season.

BIRTHDAY BOY

Leo Rautins celebrated his 49th birthday yesterday. Rautins has served as an analyst since the Raptors' inaugural season in 1995. Rautins and radio play-by-play man Paul Jones are the team's longest-tenured broadcasters.

WALLACE STRONG

Gerald Wallace is one tough dude. Charlotte's starting small forward spent a night in hospital earlier in the season because of a partially collapsed lung. Two days ago, Wallace hurt his knee and was doubtful for last night's tip. Known as Crash, Wallace started and produced the game's first basket on a running dunk.

BOXSCORE

CHARLOTTE FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Wallace 41:51 9-13 10-12 2-9 8 4 30

Diaw 38:19 15-21 0-0 3-7 2 3 30

Okafor 20:17 3-6 0-0 0-2 0 5 6

Bell 40:15 3-14 0-0 1-4 3 3 8

Felton 41:46 6-14 1-1 1-2 7 1 14

Diop 11:37 1-2 0-0 0-5 0 2 2

Radmanovic 23:27 2-8 0-0 1-4 0 1 5

Augustin 13:46 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 0 5

Howard 5:17 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Martin 3:25 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2

Totals 240:00 42-83 11-13 8-33 21 21 102

Percentages: FG .506, FT .846. 3-Point Goals: 7-18, .389 (Wallace 2-2, Bell 2-6, Augustin 1-2, Radmanovic 1-2, Felton 1-3, Diaw 0-3). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 12 (14 PTS). Blocked Shots: 5 (Wallace 2, Diop, Felton, Okafor). Turnovers: 11 (Diaw 3, Felton 2, Radmanovic 2, Wallace 2, Howard, Okafor). Steals: 6 (Felton 2, Wallace 2, Augustin, Bell). Technical Fouls: None.

TORONTO FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Marion 29:52 2-8 0-0 1-6 2 1 4

Bosh 40:53 8-17 19-20 2-7 2 3 35

Bargnani 39:57 10-17 3-4 0-7 0 3 27

Parker 38:41 3-6 0-0 0-1 1 0 7

Calderon 39:54 3-7 2-2 0-2 11 1 8

Graham 17:32 3-5 0-0 2-4 0 2 6

Mensah-Bonsu 8:20 0-3 0-0 3-5 0 2 0

Kapono 12:50 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Ukic 8:53 1-2 0-0 0-1 2 0 2

Voskuhl 3:08 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Totals 240:00 30-66 24-26 8-34 18 15 89

Percentages: FG .455, FT .923. 3-Point Goals: 5-15, .333 (Bargnani 4-7, Parker 1-1, Bosh 0-1, Graham 0-1, Kapono 0-1, Ukic 0-1, Calderon 0-3). Team Rebounds: 6. Team Turnovers: 16 (25 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Bargnani, Calderon, Marion, Mensah-Bonsu). Turnovers: 16 (Calderon 5, Bosh 2, Marion 2, Mensah-Bonsu 2, Bargnani, Graham, Kapono, Parker, Voskuhl).Steals: 4 (Parker 2, Bosh, Marion). Technical Fouls: Coach Triano, 0:46.6 first.

Charlotte 33 19 30 20-- 102

Toronto 24 26 20 19-- 89

Att. at Air Canada Centre -- 18,641 (19,800). T--2:18.

Officials--Scott Foster, Marc Davis, Mark Lindsay.

NEXT UP

Tomorrow, 3:30 p.m., vs. L.A. Clippers, CBC, Fan 590.


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