SAN FRANCISCO — Raptors head coach Jay Triano has a problem.
Yeah, we know. Tell us something we don’t know.
But this problem isn’t just about the fact that his team is showing every sign of imploding down the stretch and playing itself right out of a playoff spot that, only three weeks ago, looked like all but a sure thing.
Triano is in a Catch-22. To rectify the obvious problem, seven losses in their past eight games, he needs his Big Two, Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu, to produce like a Big Two.
Unfortunately for Triano, and anyone hoping for good things for this team, the Big Two isn’t producing like even a combined Big One these days.
Both Bosh and Turkoglu are slowly making their way back from ankle sprains that knocked them out of action and has cost them, at least temporarily, both their game legs and their game feel. In the two games so far on this road trip, the duo has put up just 48 points between them.
Bosh looked like he was getting his game back in Los Angeles on Tuesday, but a 6-for-20 shooting night 24 hours later in Sacramento says otherwise.
Turkoglu is rebounding hard and giving forth an effort, but right now his greatest talent on the basketball court appears to be collecting fouls.
Neither is right and, until they are, the Raptors are in trouble. Knowing that, Triano doesn’t feel he has any choice but to run them out there until they get it right, which results in the kind of embarrassing show the Raps turned in on Wednesday, a 113-90 dismantling by the Sacramento Kings.
“You play a game like this and you have to give them a little leeway because we need them to be rolling if we’re going to be in the playoffs,” Triano said of his Big Two.
But in doing that, Triano loses the rest of the room and you get those selfish games where it’s every man for himself.
It was Triano who first pointed out the selfish nature of his players in the wake of the Sacramento meltdown. And not one of the players in the locker room after the game denied it.
The spin from the room, and the way Triano saw it, differed. While Triano saw guys out only to get theirs and foregoing the share-the-ball approach that has been the core of the team’s success, the players from Antoine Wright to Jose Calderon and Bosh, saw it as players trying to do too much, trying too hard and eventually exacerbating the problem.
Worse still, no one seems real sure what the remedy is.
Bosh was asked what he thought and the reply was disappointing.
“You know me,” Bosh said “I don’t say much. Just learn from the day and worry about tomorrow later, man. That’s all I can come up with.”
Wright, who was concerned the Raptors might throw up a stinker after a spirited effort in Los Angeles against the Lakers, didn’t have answers, either.
“That’s what they pay the man in the other room for,” Wright said, referring to Triano. “He’s got to figure it out. But you shouldn’t have to motivate guys to play hard, not at this point in the season.”
It has been suggested that Triano might tweak his starting five before Saturday’s game in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors. He made a similar suggestion back in December and then opted to stick with what he had.
That might shake things up, but with only 19 games left to play, unless Bosh and Turkoglu find it soon, it’s probably not going to matter.