Raptors/Heat – Sunday, March 17, 2013

by Rob G

I had the opportunity to catch the Raptors/Heat game live today thanks to Dove Men+Care, as they unveiled their interactive change table. The table was designed to call attention to the brand’s campaign to support real men and their changing role in today’s society. The table provides the tools necessary to keep dad and baby happy when change is necessary. I saw the table up close, and every dad would love this table in their home. Not sure that’s possible, but a dad can dream, right? Anyway, thanks to Dove Men+Care, as it was a great opportunity to see one of “the” games of the year at the ACC.

As for the game, well, it was much of the same old, same old. And, as Doug Smith wrote on thestar.com, “a miraculous upset would have been delightful, but let’s be real.” To paraphrase Elvis, we’re caught in a trap, we can’t walk out.

The Raptors kept it close for a good part of the first quarter, but the Heat had an 8 point lead by the end of it. The Heat subs enter, and toward the end of the second quarter the lead had grown to 14 points. The first half ended with the Raptors down 12, and who would be surprised?

A Raptor run late in the third quarter allowed them to close the gap to 4 points, and early in the fourth quarter, they tied the game at 77. The joint was jumping. Unfortunately, LeBron James and Chris Bosh were on the bench resting during that run, and in the blink of an eye with their return, it was 105-81 with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter. Ironically, much of that was driven by Ray Allen as much as by the Big 3. Enter the scrubs, and the Raptors managed to score another 10 points in garbage time to make the final 108-91.

Smith couched much of his game story with the Raptors learning from the loss to the Heat. And let’s be honest – only the greatest optimist in the world would give any credence to the thought the Raptors could win the game. But what irks me about much of the media coverage of the Raptors is exactly what I just mentioned. Most commentary is couched with positive spin of a negative narrative.

So here we are. Another Raptors loss, another game story calling it mostly like it is, in that polite Canadian, there-there tone.

What surprises me is with a view to the long term, there’s talk that Raptor’s GM Bryan Colangelo might get a contract extention?

I acknowledge Colangelo enjoyed success building a winning team in Phoenix, but there is zero evidence that he deserves to generally manage the Raptors past this season. We’re 7 years into his tenure, and while I don’t doubt Colangelo’s basketball IQ, the bottom line is from a leadership perspective, I have little sense of the team’s vision. On the court, the team’s effort is sporadic, within a game they have success in spurts, while their ability to contest on the defensive end is spotty at best. What this adds up to is inconsistent play – they’re a team without the ability to sustain maximum effort at both ends of the court. When will they be called out by the voices that matter? The bigger question, to be tackled in another post, is not when will the new ownership take a hard look at the basketball side of the business (because I’d be shocked if that wasn’t happening now), but rather what are the next steps to turn the Raptor’s ship in the right direction.

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Blue Jays Devotee
Blue Jays Devotee
March 18, 2013 3:53 pm

Not selling out the Miami game was hopefully a tipping point that the fans are starting to recognize this team is poorly constructed, and has been several times over during Colangelo’s tenure, and has never been planned out, but is just a result of what talent Colangelo has available at the time, be it the draft, trades, or free agency.

I have personally reached the end of my line, and Bargnani was my tipping point and how he was not moved at the trade deadline, even for any salary back in return that can work, even if it was the 15th person on our bench, as we would still win that trade hands down.

How you are using Doug “Apologist” Smith in your blog Rob I have no idea, as he would be the last beat writer I would use. There are so many other good ones to use. Try Chisholm, Koreen, Grange (although not active now), Wolstat, and a bunch of bloggers who are not MSM’ers but who kick ass in honest analysis of this team, who have given the fans so pathetically little in return for their devoted support over the years.

March 18, 2013 5:49 pm

While there were a surprising amount of empty seats, the game was officially sold out. I used Smith’s report to illustrate my point. I acknowledge the writers you mentioned are more pointed in their assessment, however there is as much constant positive spin from others in the media, when frankly (other than a few pieces) I don’t see much to be positive about.

Blue Jays Devotee
Blue Jays Devotee
March 18, 2013 7:24 pm

Sorry Rob, all it takes is for me to see the name Doug Smith to get my blood boiling. I did not realize the context that you were writing about and I agree with you 100%.

March 18, 2013 11:36 pm

No worries Blue Jay Devotee. Not everyone can read my mind 😉 I know from being part of this site that Doug Smith gets you fired up. Honestly, I don’t mind Smith. You are right – he is an apoligist, but I also have noticed when he’s asked the right questions and/or prodded, he’ll give an accurate assessment.

Blue Jays Devotee
Blue Jays Devotee
March 18, 2013 11:43 pm

You are right on my feelings of Doug Smith. I sometimes can’t help but catch him when he is on McCown, and yeah, when Bob prods him in the right way he will come clean, but he does it reluctantly and always has to throw in something like “he’s not as bad as you think he is”. Smith’s defending of Calderon all these years drove me nuts, as what has he ever won with us leading our team as our point guard?

If there is one blogger to follow, it is Arsenalist at http://www.raptorsrepublic.com when he writes game stories or just writes about the realities of our team. He is witty, swears a lot when he writes, and an absolute joy to read. I find myself saying F_ _ K Yeah when he writes, as it all makes so much sense.

Here I am trying to drop the Raptors like a hot potato, and I feel like Al Pacino in The Godfather, Just when I thought I was out, they (you) are pulling me back in.

Ami Angelwings
March 20, 2013 2:27 am

Doug Smith’s style of opinionating reminds me a bit of Mike Wilner’s. Both don’t really say what they personally believe as much as a contrary point of view that they “can see how it makes sense.” That’s how Wilner can talk about the benefits of keeping Yunel Escobar while the Jays have him, while talk about the benefits of getting rid of him when they do. Smith does the same thing. He almost always keeps it so he can say he’s merely explaining the logic behind Colangelo’s moves not necessarily what he believes. So he’ll tell everybody that Colangelo has a plan and what he means is he can see how Colangelo could have a plan, or “this is what Colangelo has been saying”, not necessarily that Doug Smith believes that this is going according to plan. Though, he has said he doesn’t believe Colangelo should be fired, but if he is, he will also have a blog post about all the reasons why it was time for it to happen. Wilner does the same thing.

And like Smith and Wilner, I’m going to say that I’m not defending either pf them, just saying how they see it from their point of view. xD

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