Raptors bond over bowling

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

MILWAUKEE — It’s games like this one that make you wonder if it can get much worse.

No, this wasn’t the worst shooting performance of the year by the Raptors. It just felt like it.

For the game the Raptors shot a woeful 36% from the field. Five games ago in Minnesota they managed a worse shooting night, but only marginally. That night they missed the target 67 times. Last night it was just 55 misses.

When three fifths of the starting rotation is shooting worse than 20% from the field, even a good team is going to struggle.

For the Raptors, who cannot be considered a good team, that is the formula for a definite loss and it was by a 92-74 count to a Milwaukee team that has struggled offensively more than any team in the league this year.

These Bucks average a league worst 91.3 points a game.

But less than two weeks after giving up 116 to them in overtime, the Raptors came in here and gave up another 92 which is still a tiny improvement on their seasonal average.

Had the Raptors come even close to what they normally score, it could have been a good game.

But not when starting point guard Jose Calderon hits just two of his 15 attempts. Not when starting small forward Sonny Weems goes just 2-for-10 and certainly not when starting power forward Amir Johnson limps in with a 1-for-7 night.

“It’s disappointing because we didn’t have enough guys play well,” head coach Jay Triano said. “We had three of our starters really struggle shooting the basketball. I think we battled defensively to stay close and stay in it hoping that we would get a run going or somebody was going to make some shots, but when you’re struggling like that confidence kind of waned as the game wore on.”

In actuality, the Raptors were equally bad in the first and second halves.

They shot 35.6% in the first half and actually improved to 36.6% in the second.

“They contest shots and they are physical with you and that takes your confidence away,” Triano said.

The Raptors certainly didn’t look like a team intent on building on its first win in 14 games that came last Friday against Minnesota.

What it looked like was a team that didn’t know how to handle four days between games.

Jose Calderon, fresh off a career-high tying 19 assist effort in that win over Minnesota on Friday, couldn’t seem to get anything going.

He missed his first seven shots, including a few layups, and finished the first half with as many turnovers, four, as points.

In his past three games combined Calderon has been good on just 5-of-32 attempts. That’s a shooting percentage of 15.3%

Calderon finished last night with six points, an uncharacteristic six turnovers and just seven assists.

He was nowhere to be found after the game, but really what could he say about a night like that?

To put all of this on Calderon though, would be unfair.

The only actual good shooting night came from DeMar DeRozan who made 9-of-his 13 attempts for 18 points. Even Raptors’ high scorer Andrea Bargnani was below 50%, on the night despite finishing with 23.

“I thought we started out the game good but we just let it get out of hand in the second half,” DeRozan said. “It’s a two-point game in the first half and we come out flat in the second. We just can’t do that.”

DeRozan felt too many Raptors came out in that second half looking to do it all by themselves. The good ball movement went missing in the second half.

“That’s what killed us,” DeRozan said.

The Raptors now head home to take on the league-leading San Antonio Spurs Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre.

Maybe it can still get worse.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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