Wednesday’s 100-64 disaster of a loss in Boston was the neon-lit, can’t miss example, but really, things have been going sour for the Raptors defensively for a while now.
Whereas earlier in the year teams were unable to crack the 100-point scoring mark or achieve 50% shooting against a franchise that was shocking the rest of the league with its defensive turnaround, now, big offensive nights by opponents are becoming commonplace.
The Raptors only surrendered 100 points or more once in the first 16 games, but have now conceded at least that many in four of the past seven.
Tired legs surely have played a part in the defensive decline — nobody has played more road games than these Raptors — but, if you listen to head coach Dwane Casey, the immense offensive struggles the club is going through — particularly without leading scorer Andrea Bargani — have led to a bleeding of confidence at the other end of the floor.
“We carry over our lack of offensive execution over to the defensive end where before our defence was solid even when we don’t score,” Casey said.
“Frustration on the offensive side is now creeping in.
“They made some tough shots, they shot the heck out of it, but again, we have to have a stronger constitution on the defensive end and I didn’t see that (against Boston).”
Somehow, the team must rediscover its sense of pride and commitment to defence. The way Casey and the squad were talking in the aftermath of Wednesday’s debacle, expect to see a far different team on Friday night against Washington.
“You learn from getting your butt kick like we did,” said the coach.
“We have to do better,” said Jose Calderon, held to a single point against Boston, stating the obvious.
Things had better be different, or else the ACC faithful will likely serenade the home side with a chorus of boos. The players should consider themselves lucky they don’t play in Europe, where the treatment would be a whole lot worse.