Thursday, April 14, 2011

Raptors Coverage: April 13, Miami

Game 82 – Miami (L 97-79 / final record 22-60 / streak L2) Wednesday April 13, 2011
Watched the whole game
With the Raptors still resting much of their weary squad, and the Heat already booking a date for playoff action against Philadelphia Saturday at 3:30, this denouement was the anti-climax of a long season. The Heat’s big three all rested, so T.O. fans had little opportunity to boo Bosh. A loss ensured the Raps a top-3 lottery pick in the draft lottery. 
Eddie House did the damage for the Heat on offense with 35 points including 14 in the first quarter, taking advantage of the young Raps who just wanted this to be over. Jamaal Magloire, the veteran Toronto faithful, hauled in a career-high 19 rebounds. Close until the fourth quarter, Miami’s bench of veterans overcame Toronto’s undermanned youth squad and held them to just 19% FG in the fourth quarter. The Raptors used to be an excellent shooting team, but the degradation of their distance ability has been evident this season as they lost their consecutive team three-pointer record and in this game are outshot 13-1 from downtown. The Raps also fall far short of the 100-point plateau that fans are accustomed to, partly because of injuries to key scorers, but also partly because of an increasingly stagnant offense. 
DeMar had 18 on 8-20 shooting, while Bayless had a Raps high 21 points, but a sloppy 5 turnovers to 4 assists ratio. There is much uncertainty this offseason with the new collective bargaining agreement, GM Colangelo and Coach Triano are up for contract renewal, but the Raps are in excellent position with a young core, tradable assets, salary cap flexibility and a high draft pick. 
It’s been an interesting ride documenting the season. I have never immersed myself in a team the way I did with the Raps this year and the experience has been invaluable. I have seen my own style be redefined by necessity and develop and adapt just like the Raptors did this year. I witnessed the growth of DeMar DeRozan into a solid NBA player, the rise and fall of Sonny Weems, I’ve seen players come and go, get injured and return, I’ve witnessed the defensive nightmare that Calderon and Bargnani pose as a starting PG-C combo, yet also witnessed the passion of Reggie Evans, and the ebb and flow of Toronto professional basketball culture and I have rode with it all. I’d like to extend a thank-you to the Raptors players, staff and all the other fans out there for this season, stay faithful, and we’ll rip it up next year.

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