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News » Limp Raptors mauled by Bobcats

Limp Raptors mauled by Bobcats

Limp Raptors mauled by Bobcats You can give the Raptors the benefit of a couple of days' rest, their freshest possible bodies and a loud home crowd, and let's face it, even in those idyllic conditions, on most nights Toronto's offence-obsessed hoopsters play defence reluctantly and only occasionally effectively.

Give them the second game of a back-to-back set, weary shooting legs and the blase setting of a half-empty Time Warner Cable Arena and you get Wednesday night's embarrassing 35-point defeat to the Charlotte Bobcats, a 116-81 display of the visitors' disinterest in all matters defensive that amounted to the Raptors' worst loss of the season.

You get a procession of Bobcats streaking to the hoop for dunks and layups without argument, the home team scoring an astonishing 74 points in the paint to Toronto's 44.

And you get Gerald Wallace, the Charlotte swingman who has never been named to an NBA all-star team, looking like an all-world, one-man wrecking crew.

Wallace, who came in averaging 13.7 points per game, scored 31 in his first 32 minutes of playing time because he's the kind of energetic athlete the Raptors don't fare well against.

By that point, with the third quarter not yet concluded, the Bobcats had already led by as many as 21 points.

And judging by the body language of the listless visitors, it didn't take a clairvoyant to see that the game was effectively over.

On a night when the Raptors struggled to find their shooting range - they made good on just 34.5 per cent of their shots and scored 81 points, both season lows - they also made an uncharacteristic 18 turnovers, 13 of which came on Bobcat steals.

That carelessness fuelled the Charlotte fast break.

So the home team got 41 points in transition (22 of them on dunks) to Toronto's 10.

Added up, the visitors' woes on one end only exacerbated the ineptitude on the other.

"Honestly, I can't say there was anything wrong with our coverages, other than 41 transition points," said Jay Triano, the Raptors coach. "That's an awful lot of transition points.

"There's no defence for that, other than just getting back."

Said Antoine Wright, the reserve swingman: "I think sometimes our offence affects our defence.

"When guys are not making shots, they tend to not be as in tune on defence."

Toronto had at least one explanation for its lacklustre work.

It was playing the second of back-to-back games after Tuesday's home win over Indiana.

And the Bobcats, who had 11 dunks to Toronto's two, hadn't played since Sunday.

"You can use the excuse of getting in at 2: 30 (a.m.) and the fact that they've been sitting here after two days' practising, but at some point you've ... got to find the energy," said Triano.

"I know it's tough, but this is the NBA.

"We can't just mail in the back-to-backs."

Indeed, the Raptors , now 0-3 in the second end of back-to-back sets this season, face the prospect of playing two games in two nights 18 more times this season.

So what can they do differently?

The question was met with more than a few shrugs, because the answer, for a team that relies so heavily on its shooting legs, isn't obvious.

"Maybe we're going to have to throw in a bit of zone (defence) to try and save guys' legs that have played big minutes the night before," said Wright.

Said Triano: "I have no idea. I'm trying to figure it out. We usually let them sleep until noon. Maybe we wake them up and we practise.

"I don't know if that helps or hurts the cause.

"I'm just trying to figure out a way to see if we can be better on the back-to-back nights."

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 26, 2009


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