I don’t believe that sports are fixed or that refs have alterior motives when calling a game, but the fourth quarter at the ACC on Wednesday night looked awfully fishy.
One could call it a bad break, a lack of respect, or just sheer bad refereeing.
Whatever way you slice it, the Raps lost a game they seemed to have right in the palm of their hands.
A great effort from Leandro Barbosa and another dominant effort from Andrea Bargnani were not enough to overcome and absolutely unreal performance by Jamal Crawford a late dagger three by Mike Bibby ( a Raptor killer if there ever was one).
The Raptors shouldn’t hang their heads because the effort was there on both ends of the floor and the team got contributions from every player that touched the floor. The team really seemed to channel the energy of JYD, who was present court side for this one.
In the end the Raptors had an opportunity to put it away in the fourth, but a very questionable call on an Amir Johnson screen turned the ball back over to the Hawks where Bibby hit his three-point dagger. The Raptors followed with a Jose Calderon drive where he got absolutely hammered and the ball went off of him. The Raps lost the ball and the game.
Refs can be your friends sometimes and then they can also be your worst enemy. Tonight the Raps were beaten by the Hawks with an assist to the zebras.
Zan for Three
Some might call it bad luck, others will say Jose flopped, but I think the refs missed the call at the end of the game. Even if they got that one right, the earlier call on the Amir screen was tick-tack and they could have sent Derozan to the line several times and didn’t. The Raptors played with heart out there and I’m proud of their effort, but it hurts to lose when so the calls by the refs were so one-sided.
Tick-tack foul on one side of the floor and total non-calls on the other. Watching the game back again and it was a little ridiculous. The Raptors couldn’t buy a call tonight.
I tack this up to being a young team that just isn’t respected by the league officials. I don’t believe a league, with clear rules should award fouls based on reputation and status in the league, but no one can deny it is the way the league works.
Tonight the Raptors were robbed by the refs. Yes, the Hawks made some tough shots down the stretch, but there is no way the free throw attempts should ever be so heavily weighted on one side of the court. 31 – 12 in favour of the Hawks. That is just downright ridiculous and in no way representative of the way the game was played.
I hate it, but I also know that the more Demar and co. drive the lane and get hammered, the better their calls will be down the road. We may have to wait a few years for Demar to get foul calls he is not getting now, but they will come.
This is just how the NBA officials work.
Andrea Bargnani is beginning to bust loose on the NBA. Ever since he was drafted, rather infamously, number one overall, Raptor faithful have mused: “if he can ever put it together consistently, he’s gonna be great…”
It would appear that we are on the cusp of that time. Bargnani has been damn good for several games in a row and looks like a key building block going forward. He is gaining confidence with every game. The true mark of a great player is when they shoot the ball, you just know it’s going in.
Lebron has that feeling. Kobe has that feeling. Vince used to have it. and Bargnani is starting to have that feel to his game right now.
When he let’s go of the ball, you can just hear the swish before it’s left his hands. He feels like an automatic every time.
Tonight he carried his team. Il Mago was the only consistent Dino, outside of Barbosa, and he put the team on his shoulders for periods of the game. This is another mark of a star.
Now, I’m not suggesting that Andrea Bargnani be the centre of the Raptors universe and Bryan Colangelo should build around him like he did with Chris Bosh. I think Bargnani is a great #1B or #2 on a competitive team. He is showing that he deserves consideration for an All Star position and carrying the load without the departed Chris Bosh.
It no longer feels like a matter of if, but rather when he will become a legitimate star. He’s getting attention from around the league and has earned the respect of the officials.
Most importantly his coach and teammates trust him when the game is on the line.
Il Mago is on his way.
Northern Lights Out
Is it just me, or does Jamal Crawford love playing in Toronto. The guy always seems to show up when he plays at the ACC. Tonight he was absolutely unconscious. There was a point in the game where I thought we might see another 81 point night. Everything he shot went down. His long, long three in the fourth quarter while the shot clock was winding down, was a shot that should never have gone down, but may have swung the game to the Hawks.
Jamal Crawford is a dangerous player and sometimes does not get the credit he deserves. Yes, he is a mostly one-dimensional player and could be classified as a “volume-shooter”, but he has put up some impressive numbers against the Raps and has really come into his own on this Hawks team.
Whether he starts or comes off the bench he always seems to have the Kryptonite that shuts the Raptors down.
Plus the Foul
Welcome back JYD
Gotta love seeing JYD back at the ACC. One of, if not my absolute, favourite Raptor of all-time. He played the game the right way and fought hard. He wasn’t the most gifted or skilled player on the floor, but he had the biggest heart. He endeared himself to Raptors faithful on the first day he became a Raptor by driving himself to Toronto from Detroit and he never looked back. Tonight the Raptors channelled a little JYD as they fought to stay in the game and had the chance to win it at the end. Heart is something yo just can’t measure in Sports. JYD had it in spades and it is obviously contagious.
Zan of the Night
He has been one of the most consistent Raptors this season. At the beginning of the year I predicted that Linas Kleiza would be the “X-Factor” of this season, but it has clearly been Leandro Barbosa thus far. He has been an absolute gem off the bench for the Raptors filling in admirably at both the point and the wing position.
He doesn’t always pass the ball, but he also doesn’t always need to. He is unquestionably still one of the faster players in league and certainly changes the tempo when he enters the game. The Raptors have been lucky to have him and he rewarded his teammates tonight with a stellar shooting performance ( 11-16 for 26 points).
The Brazilian Blur gets the Zan tonight!
Not Zan of the Night
Yes, he is young. And yes, he is inconsistent. This is something we are coming to know about Demar Derozan. One game he looks like the next big thing, then he disappears for a game. Tonight the Jekyll and Hyde routine continued as he was ineffective against the Hawks defense. To his credit, he did take the ball to the rim, but was rarely rewarded for his efforts. The kid is having a tough time doing what his coach wants and not seeing the payoff at the same time.
Demar just needs to keep doing what he is doing right now and eventually he will start getting to the line more. A nice young player who just has to play through nights like this one.
Kristoffer PedlarThe Zan Tabak Herald *** Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Zantabakherald