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News » Song remains the same for Raptors


Song remains the same for Raptors


Song remains the same for RaptorsIt was an old refrain, and a familiar one, Jose Calderon was singing as he stood in front of his locker, trying to explain away another Raptors loss.

It's something of a funeral dirge for the team; something they can trot out after almost every defeat.

"We just have to finish games and play all 48 (minutes)," the point guard said. "I know it sounds like I'm saying the same thing, but this is what it is.

"We play sometimes, one quarter, two quarters, we need 48. It's tough without it to beat these good teams."

The Raptors had just lost, 104-96, to the Orlando Magic and there is really no shame in being beaten by a superior squad, one that's 11-3 and showing it's a good bet to repeat as NBA Eastern Conference champs.

But what irked Calderon, and others, was that Toronto hung in for most of the game, but the odd mental hiccup, the short stretches of uninspired play, the momentary lapses in concentration proved fatal on a day when the Raptors needed a great effort but got only a good one.

Defensively, they were solid, holding Orlando to 41 per cent shooting from the floor and 28 per cent from beyond the three-point line. They limited all-star centre Dwight Howard to just 17 points on 4-for-13 shooting and they forced Vince Carter to take 24 shots to get his 24 points.

But those mistakes - faulty ball movement on offence, the inability to get the crucial stop on defence - is what separates Toronto from the upper echelon of the conference.

"We have to be a little bit more fluid in our offence," Calderon said. "Sometimes we just hold the ball a little bit too much and we make things a little bit easier for the other team.

"They played good defence, okay; but we didn't play our very best offence, we were a little bit stuck at some points in the game."

And anything less than top effort won't ever be good enough against a deep team like the Magic, who got a 19-point effort off the bench from J.J. Redick in what was the difference-making performance.

The Magic, not firing on all offensive cylinders, simply went on the defensive and held one of the NBA's top offences to about a dozen points below its average production.

"I thought they did a pretty good job throughout the whole game, their defence is one of the best, that's why they're 11-3," said Raptors coach Jay Triano. "Dwight made it real tough for Chris (Bosh); he played him early (denying Bosh good position) and they showed him a lot of bodies.

"I thought they did a nice job on Andrea (Bargnani) and even on crowding Turk (Hedo Turkoglu) as much as he had the Basketball.

"I think we missed Marco (Belinelli, out with a strained groin) and his ability to spread the floor. When we had guys roll to the basket, they had guys to help.

"I just thought they were better defensively."

Bosh was held to 22 points and five rebounds, Bargnani fouled out after 11 points and nine boards in 26 minutes and Turkoglu went 3-for-11 for just 12 points.

Whenever Toronto needed to make an offensive run to get back in the game, the Magic buckled down and defended.

"They did a good job defending our pick-and-rolls and being really aggressive with showing (to stop the guard's penetration)," said Jarrett Jack. "I thought we got the shots we were looking for. The other night (Friday's win over Miami) we were able to hit those shots and (Sunday) was just the opposite."

But until the Raptors are able to compete at a high level at both ends against a quality opponent, they are going to suffer games like Sunday's, when they play well enough to tease but not well enough to win.


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 23, 2009

 

 
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