The Raptors slide continued in Charlotte on Martin Luther King Day for 1 win and 3 losses in a rough week while the Nets returned from London to defeat the Knicks to go 2-0 over the same period and get back into the Atlantic Division race. Brooklyn now sits just 2.5 behind the division leading Toronto Raptors.
“Right now we have a bunch of guys that are giving in to fatigue and nicked-up,” Head Coach Dwane Casey said. “It’s a long season, but again you tell a lot about who you are in these situations.
“Young players don’t understand how much energy it takes to play 82 games.”
A week ago Saturday, the Raptors defeated Brooklyn 96-80 to stop a Nets 5-game winning streak. Then Toronto defeated Milwaukee 2 days later to go 2 games above .500 and take a 4.5 game lead in the division, but with 4 games in 6 days and a couple of players injured, the Raptors were about to take a tumble. First it was a brutal display of shooting that led to a close loss in Boston. A bounce-back win over Minnesota followed by loses to the Lakers and Bobcats on the back-to-back for a 1-3 record against 4 sub-.500 teams.
The loss to the Lakers was especially tough because the young Raptors were seduced into a D’Antoni style pickup game that gave a bad defensive team a chance to win.
For some unknown reason, the Raptors find ways to lose in Charlotte. This loss is hard to explain other than the Raptors – once again – lost their focus just long enough to hand another victory to the Bobcats and just like their last game against Charlotte, Monday’s game did say a lot about the Raptors.
For the second game in row against the post-Rudy Gay era Raptors, the offensively challenged Bobcats dropped 100 points on Toronto. At some point, those of a more superstitious nature are going to start believing in a Bobcats’ curse.
The Raptors did claw their way back from a 30-deficit to close to with 1 point and had 2 chances to tie the game at the end, but happy endings just don’t happen for Toronto in Charlotte. This kind of finish has occurred before and far too often.
Chuck Hayes set a new season high for points and rebounds with 12 and 13 for the double-double as the Raptors bench once again was the strongest part of the rotation. Greivis Vasquez had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists and was a +23. The bench contributed 44 points against Charlotte.
The Nets buried the Knicks 103-80 on Monday to create some space in the Atlantic Division. New York, Boston and Philadelphia are all now at least 5.5 games back of Toronto. This has become a 2-horse race, a race that may be decided by a January 27th game in Brooklyn that will break the season series tie between these 2 teams.
The Raptors young players have a game every other day to the end of the month. Coach Casey is going to get a good look at just how much energy they have.
Check out our Raptors Game Info page.