John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo
The Toronto Raptors turned into fearsome Jurassic predators tonight while the Portland Trail Blazers made like frosting-covered tree sloths. The results weren't pretty.
This is going to be the shortest game analysis of the year. Last night the Blazers took a bite out of the Big Apple. Tonight they bit the big banana. And there's not much more to say about it than that. Not one aspect of Portland's game was up to par tonight. Lest you are tempted to look at the boxscore and say, "Well, 44% shooting isn't awful," keep in mind that the Blazers got a paltry 70 field goal attempts tonight. They normally take 83. 13 points below is an adequate description of Toronto's weather and the Portland effort both.
The game started with the Blazers turning over the ball twice in three possessions, letting the Raptors run out and score easily. Toronto built a 10-0 lead in the first 90 seconds of the game. It never...got...better. Portland's defense was awful: slow, late, lackadaisical. The Raptors only scored 9 fast break points but realistically at least a third of their halfcourt possessions featured shots as easy as any you'd find on the run. The Raptors shot 53% from the field. The Blazers shot 18% from the arc. The Blazers turned over the ball 18 times. The Raptors notched 34 assists. Portland's rebounding was shoddy. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 14 points on only 12 shots against a lineup bereft of bigs. J.J. Hickson scored 2 points with 7 rebounds under those same conditions. The bigs were Portland's shining advantage coming into the game. No looks and no boards was as shiny as it got.
2 blocked shots for Portland all night. 4 steals. Only 9 offensive rebounds. Only 4 fast break points. We could go on and on about how badly this game stunk. Damian Lillard and Joel Freeland had a couple moments. Everybody else was so far out of sync it looked like I was trying to stream the game on a dial-up connection.
Maybe the Blazers started believing their own headlines after their banner road win of the season last night. Maybe they were just tired. Either way, it's really not going to behoove us to spend any more effort dissecting this game than the Blazers did playing it. Suffice it to say that when the Blazers stink, they stink bad. Without full concentration, energy, commitment, drive, whatever you want to call it, they're going to put off that noxious smell every time.
Portland had better come up with some renewed enthusiasm before hitting Memphis or the Grizzlies are going to paste 130 on them. In order to generate that enthusiasm they're going to have to forget all about this game.
If you're a glutton for punishment, here's Timmay's instant recap.
If you're a true masochist, here's the boxscore.
Raptors HQ stands for "High Quality" tonight.
Your Jersey Contest Scoreboard for January and the form for Friday's game. Congratulations to Baselinecharlie, with 747 points our winner for the month of December. (Yes, the scoreboard is fixed now. Complete December results can be found here.)