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February 6th - Washington Wizards..... the most important game of the season.

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  • February 6th - Washington Wizards..... the most important game of the season.

    Yes. You read that correct.

    I think this is the most important game of the year. They embarrassed the Wiz on Friday night playing exceptionally well against weak competition - as Randy Wittman said the Raps beat them in every way possible in the game. Yesterday they gave a really good effort against a team they really had no right to even ben within striking distance with 3 minutes left (as Arse said in his write up on the homepage, the HEAT were 16 point favourites - that is huge for odds makers).

    So here we are tonight with a rematch against the team they embarrassed 3 nights prior (don't you think they'll be out for a little redemption?), it is the 3rd game in 4 nights, AND they are on the road.

    Why is it the most important game of the year? Because we'll see how much pride they collectively have after the shit-kicking they were subjected to on their last stop in DC. This will give us an indication of how much culture change has really gone so far this year. Finally we'll see if they have the ability to beat the teams they are 'suppose' to beat (although one could make the argument that the Wiz should beat the Raptors minus Bargnani and a healthy Barbosa). The Wizards are also entering the game getting blown out by the Clippers at home (yes that was on the return from the romp in TO).

    ESPN Preview of tonight's matchup:

    The Washington Wizards haven't earned many wins this season, but recorded a decisive one at home against the Toronto Raptors last month.

    The Raptors turned the tables on the Wizards in lopsided fashion last week.

    That loss is part of a four-game skid that Washington will try to end when Toronto visits the Verizon Center on Monday night.

    Washington (4-20) ended an 0-8 start with a 93-78 home victory over Toronto on Jan. 10, but fell 106-89 at the Air Canada Centre on Friday.

    Friday's win was the only one in the last four games for the Raptors (8-17), whose comeback attempt in Miami fell short Sunday in a 95-89 defeat. Toronto cut a 15-point deficit to three with 3:23 remaining but missed six of its final eight shots.

    "It just shows that we can play with anybody, even the best players in the league," said swingman DeMar DeRozan, who had a team-best 25 points. That was a challenge for us and we definitely stepped up. It (stinks) that we didn't get the win, but it just shows what we're capable of."

    The Raptors will try to bounce back by snapping a three-game losing streak at the Verizon Center. These teams have split their last six overall meetings since the start of last season.

    Washington heads into this one after suffering another blowout defeat Saturday. One day after the loss to Toronto, Washington fell behind by 24 points at halftime in its return home en route to a 107-81 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers.

    The Wizards scored just 38 points in the first 30 1/2 minutes Saturday, and were outrebounded 53-32 for the game. Their 17 assists were barely half the Clippers' total of 32.

    "We all should have been embarrassed. We were on our home court -- and they came out and did what they wanted," said starting forward Rashard Lewis, who finished with two points to match his season low. "As a unit, none of us came to play."

    Lewis scores 15 points in last month's win over the Raptors, when he was one of four Wizards in double figures. Toronto's leading scorer from that game, Andrea Bargnani, is now out indefinitely with a strained left calf.

    Toronto's bench shined during Friday's victory over Washington, with Leandro Barbosa scoring 19 points despite dealing with flu-like symptoms. Amir Johnson added 18 points and 13 rebounds, and starting guard Jose Calderon had a season-high 17 assists.

    The Raptors topped 100 points for only the third time this season, but have done so only once in their last six visits to Washington. They've scored at least 102 in 12 of the last 14 matchups between these teams in Toronto.

    For what its worth I think this game will be close and ugly. My crystal ball is not giving me a score or winner though.

  • #2
    We should win.
    As long as we do not forget general concept of this year - defense. Offence will come. We have plenty "hidden offense", let's get back to defense.

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    • #3
      Important in one other way:
      Either we get another win pushing us further from the draft
      The Wiz get a win, giving us a lightly better chance in the draft

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      • #4
        Hello wrote: View Post
        Important in one other way:
        Either we get another win pushing us further from the draft
        The Wiz get a win, giving us a lightly better chance in the draft
        I was thinking about that as well. However the Raptors are still going to be one of the worst 5 teams by the end of the season. If we are not, I see Colangelo having a fire sale around March 10-15th (semi-joking). In terms of pounding the rock, seeing development, etc. etc. I want the Raptors to do Kevin Love on the Wizards tonight and head home on a winning note. I guess we could call it one of those moral victories and glimmer of hope so many Raptors fans (well, at least me) are looking for in this lost season.

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        • #5
          irgigi wrote: View Post
          As long as we do not forget general concept of this year - defense. Offence will come. We have plenty "hidden offense", let's get back to defense.
          Hidden Offense is right ... SO hidden in fact, that the Raptors rank 29th in PPG, and LAST in FGM.
          Not to mention our efficiency on Offense is BRUTAL, averaging 1.11 Points Per Shot. Good for Third Last in the League.

          I can appreciate the need to play defense, and am happy the Raptors have managed to turn it around in that Catergory ... but we're looking worse on Offense than when Kevin O'Neill was coaching the team!

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          • #6
            joey_hesketh wrote: View Post
            Hidden Offense is right ... SO hidden in fact, that the Raptors rank 29th in PPG, and LAST in FGM.
            Not to mention our efficiency on Offense is BRUTAL, averaging 1.11 Points Per Shot. Good for Third Last in the League.

            I can appreciate the need to play defense, and am happy the Raptors have managed to turn it around in that Catergory ... but we're looking worse on Offense than when Kevin O'Neill was coaching the team!
            It would be interesting to see the offensive numbers with and without Bargnani.

            Also, I'm a firm believer the Raps under Casey have run some very decent offensive sets. IMO, the problem is guys have not hit their shots or made poor decisions with the ball.

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            • #7
              joey_hesketh wrote: View Post
              Hidden Offense is right ... SO hidden in fact, that the Raptors rank 29th in PPG, and LAST in FGM.
              Not to mention our efficiency on Offense is BRUTAL, averaging 1.11 Points Per Shot. Good for Third Last in the League.

              I can appreciate the need to play defense, and am happy the Raptors have managed to turn it around in that Catergory ... but we're looking worse on Offense than when Kevin O'Neill was coaching the team!
              Actually, I looked up the numbers on Bargnani at 82games.com.

              The numbers were last updated on January 29 so only through the first 20 games.

              The following numbers are 'per 48 minutes' and 'per 100 possessions':

              Offensively: with Bargnani on the floor the Raptors are scoring 102 points. Off the court 92.6.
              Defensively: with Bargnani on the floor the Raptors are giving up 105.6. Off the court 106.3.

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              • #8
                It's funny how we have totally flipped as a team. You would think that the offence would have still stayed strong and the Raps would have been in the middle of the pack on D. It would be awesome to see them to play Jay's style of offence with Casey's D. Run and gun, with a fundamentally stronger defence. Maybe Casey is just devoting this season to fundamentals and getting used to playing D, and then next year he will set them loose. Putting up an average of over 100 points a night well holding teams to 95 ish.

                I'm happy as long as the Raps are competitive tonight. It's the nights they they look like a D-league team that is upsetting. I really just want to see DeMar and Ed play well consistently. If the team lose we get closer to a better draft position.
                Last edited by saints91; Mon Feb 6, 2012, 05:41 PM.

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                • #9
                  irgigi wrote: View Post
                  We should win.
                  As long as we do not forget general concept of this year - defense. Offence will come. We have plenty "hidden offense", let's get back to defense.
                  Totally agree.

                  Many keep forgetting what the mission of this season has been....changing the culture of the team with a commitment to defense and accountability. What is also forgotten what happens to ANY NBA team when they lose their first option on offense and I dont care if it's the Lakers or the Heat or Chicago etc etc. That DD (the second option when the season started) is also having an off year offensively and cant make open jumpers even from 15' many nights ....this is killing the offense produced.

                  Stay the course. As you said the offense will come. Casey also doesnt demand the half court game on every possession like ONeill did. Casey cannot put the ball in the basket but he can demand that the players do not lay down on defense.

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                  • #10
                    saints91 wrote: View Post
                    ... Maybe Casey is just devoting this season to fundamentals and getting used to playing D, and then next year he will set them loose....
                    Casey has said as much o a couple of occasions. I can't remember the exact quotes but they were something along the lines of "once we can defend, I'll start working on offence. But you can't work on both at the same time and defence is more important."

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                    • #11
                      Ya, I've heard him make those comments as well. I just hope that they do go back to the old type of Raptors offence. It was great to watch! I think with a year of playing D and learning, they will be able to actually defend as well as being up tempo. The Heat are the closest model, they play hard on D and it opens up a lot of fast break points. Mind you the Heat far more talented, but I think the Raps will be greatly improved next year. I can see them in the playoffs next year. With this draft and the offseason, it's looking fruitful.

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                      • #12
                        saints91 wrote: View Post
                        Ya, I've heard him make those comments as well. I just hope that they do go back to the old type of Raptors offence. It was great to watch! I think with a year of playing D and learning, they will be able to actually defend as well as being up tempo. The Heat are the closest model, they play hard on D and it opens up a lot of fast break points. Mind you the Heat far more talented, but I think the Raps will be greatly improved next year. I can see them in the playoffs next year. With this draft and the offseason, it's looking fruitful.

                        If the East stays as weak as it has been in recent years, I don't think an 8th seed is out of the question next year when you consider Indiana got in with a .451 win percentage last year and Milwaukee sits in 8th with a .431 win percentage this year. A healthy Bargnani might have them battling (key word was battling, not in it) for the 8th seed now considering they are three games back.

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                        • #13
                          Matt52 wrote: View Post
                          IMO, the problem is guys have made .. poor decisions with the ball.
                          This is no different than making poor decisions on Defense, in my opinion. It ultimately has to come back to the Coach.

                          PS I'm not saying I don't like Casey. I LOVE what he's brought to the team. Just some good ol' fashioned debatin' is all.


                          Bendit wrote: View Post
                          Stay the course. As you said the offense will come. Casey also doesnt demand the half court game on every possession like ONeill did. Casey cannot put the ball in the basket but he can demand that the players do not lay down on defense.
                          And I don't disagree with this.
                          However, my point was simply that they cannot ignore the very obvious Offensive deficiencies, and just wait for the "the offense to come".

                          When we brought in KO, it was the same deal. "Change the Culture".
                          But his lack of Offensive abilities as a coach ended up being just as detrimental to the Team as having a Coach that can't teach Defense.

                          There is no point in going from "Last in the League in Defense" to "Last in the league in Offense." Neither will win games.
                          Last edited by Joey; Mon Feb 6, 2012, 06:50 PM.

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                          • #14
                            joey_hesketh wrote: View Post
                            This is no different than making poor decisions on Defense, in my opinion. It ultimately has to come back to the Coach.

                            PS I'm not saying I don't like Casey. I LOVE what he's brought to the team. Just some good ol' fashioned debatin' is all.

                            I agree it all ultimately comes back on the coach but to some extent.

                            DC is running some good plays and guys just aren't hitting shots. That is not a knock against Casey or the players. If anything it is a knock against Colangelo for assembling the roster he has. Luckily we all know what this year is about.

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                            • #15
                              This game is dreadful through the 1st half. It is exactly what I feared but never expected.

                              I thought it would be a close game - WRONG.

                              This is exactly why I thought the Raptors would have no shot at the playoffs - they are too f'ing inconsistent.

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