Alright, I’m pinning this one on Jay Triano’s clipboard, which has always been the root of the Raptors’ problems. That, and Julian Wright. Or maybe just the fact that Toronto is backed so far into the corner at the moment that it’s forced to start Wright. Either way, call it a 107-94 loss to the Eastern Conference powerhouse Sixers — the Raptors’ eighth consecutive — to drop them to a shining 13-33 on the year. Again, on the plus side, the DeMar DeRozan maturation process continued in the form of 29 points on 9-of-18 shooting and 11-of-12 from the line, though that was just about all to be excited about on another ugly night in Raptorland.
Like Monday against Memphis, this one started well for the Raptors — they led 29-20 through 12 minutes, only to be outscored by 22 over the final three quarters, seeing Philly pull away in the third and never really having a shot in the fourth. Triano was able to dress 10 healthy players this time around, including Alexis Ajinca, who was picked up in some sort of twisted Peja Stojakovic “dump and trade” last week, and some hack named Trey Johnson, who apparently came on today via a 10-day contract. Jose Calderon returned from a bout with the flu to deliver 13 helpers, but pitched in just eight points on 3-of-8. Andrea Bargnani had 17 and Amir Johnson 15, though neither did much on the glass in a game Toronto was outrebounded in 43-33.
I get the feeling at this point in time I’m not the only one that cares little about how the rest of this season shapes up. Well, let’s say that’s from a wins and losses standpoint. DeRozan, for one, is worth taking a look at the rest of the way, with tonight’s effort the latest in a fine little string of games he’s strung together. Over the past six, he’s averaged 25.2 per game, getting to the line 45 times and missing just four of his attempts from there. With opposing defenses being forced to respect his perimeter game, he’ll only be getting more opportunities to attack the bucket and get there, too.
So, make it eight straight losses, with a seemlingly winnable one at home against Milwaukee on Friday seeming…well, not so winnable after all. But that’s Raptors basketball, and we’re pretty, pretty used to it by now.