— Raptors Cage (@RaptorsCage) January 18, 2015
The Toronto Raptors have lost once more. Their only wins of 2015 have been against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics. That’s very, very concerning. This has to be the low point of the season.There was no reason the Raptors should have lost this one. And yet…
The New Orleans Pelicans dropped the Raps 95-93, after a late 4th quarter surge capped with a game- winning bucket by Tyreke Evans. The bucket left approximately 1.6 seconds on the clock, and the Raptors set up a play which resulted in DeMar DeRozan throwing up a prayer from deep, which was, of course, an airball.
This was a game that was controlled by the Pelicans in the first half. The Raptors stormed back and gained control in the third quarter, however a late run by the Pelicans brought them back. Down the stretch, poor execution yielded yet another Raptors loss to a team that they should have beaten. I mean, no Anthony Davis, no Jrue Holiday. This is quite bad. The Raps have now dropped to 26-14.
Let’s get to the report card:
The first half offense was atrocious. Toronto dropped a whole 14 in the first quarter. Considering this team is supposed to have an ‘elite’ offense, that isn’t going to cut it.
Kyle Lowry struggled again, scoring a mere 8 points paired with 5 assists. Those #NBABallot’s aren’t going to continue to pour in at this rate. DeMar DeRozan scored 22, however it was on 7-18 shooting. There was a ton of iso-ball tonight, which resulted in a pathetic 18 assists for the Raps. This is a problem.
The Raptors two most efficient players, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas combined for 12 shots. Their two least efficient, Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez, combined for 23. Go figure.
The effort was there defensively, during that third quarter run. Aside from that, this team continued to play arrogant and acted like they didn’t need to play defense. Dwane Casey said it best – this team needs to simply play hard and everything will take care of itself. The only reason the Raptors were in this game was because the Pelicans were so bad offensively, missing a ton of uncontested looks.
The Raps lost the battle of the boards 41-37, however as has been the case all season, it wasn’t the make or break category. Amir led the way with 10.
Game Ball: Tyreke Evans
Full credit goes to Evans, who headed the comeback in the 4th. He cooked the Raptors, and they didn’t have a response. He finished with 26-5-5.