10 things I saw from Raptors-Bulls (14–2–2017)

  1. Why do we bother? This is the Raptors’ 11th straight loss to Chicago. At this point I’m numb. That’s what happens when you consistent get smacked by the most random of dudes. E’Twaun “MJ 2.0.” Moore, Doug “Larry Bird’s cousin” McDermott, Cristiano “Brazilian shrek” Felicio. It’s beyond ridiculous.
  2. PO mentality: Dwane Casey said before this game, “We’ve got to come in with our hard hats on, playing with a purpose, playing with a sense or urgency. A pissed off mentality … At some point we got to say, ‘Ok, enough.’” … and the Raptors were out-hustled, out-worked, and outscored 58–39 in the first half. Way to respond to the coach. Raptors didn’t show any fight until midway through the third.
  3. The ones who fought: Credit to Norman Powell, the unflappable one. Nobody can break his spirit. He stays silent and on the grind with the eeriness of Kawhi Leonard. Powell played hard throughout, he pushed the pace, he defended Jimmy Butler, he never gave up. Count DeMarre Carroll, Jonas Valanciunas, and Cory Joseph as others who actually played hard. We need more of Norm’s spirit.
  4. A failure of leadership: The Raptors actually managed to climb back into this game thanks to those aforementioned names, but they came no closer than five because Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan refused to play defense. Speak nothing of defensive stances and following the game plan — only a blow by and a lazy swipe from behind for a foul will do. Fuck offense too — they had 40 points on 36 shots and 8 turnovers.
  5. Who do you think you are? A superstar? Well wrong you are. DeRozan was practically begging to be ejected. He went full DeMarcus Cousins after getting swiped in the face with no call in the first quarter. That’s when he checked out.
  6. Who do you think you are? A rotation player? Well wrong you are. Nothing drives me more insane than Bebe Nogueira throwing up his arms, then moping his way up the court when he doesn’t get a call. Homie, nobody knows who the fuck you are. Why do you think the refs will give you a call? With all due respect you’re BEBE.
  7. Gas on the fire: Casey’s tinkering doesn’t help. This was yet another game where Casey had no rotations, no plays, no reason for the units. Sure, blame the players for being so goddamn listless, but isn’t that also on the coach? To have his players ready to play? For all his huffing and puffing the Raptors bench exhibited the hollow passion of a scumbag husband buying flowers and chocolates from Metro for another night of Law and Order SVU on Netflix for Valentine’s Day. The marriage is stale.
  8. Seriously asking: Jonas Valanciunas sucks on defense but he can’t get any burn at all? Defense was much better with him out, but the offense also stalled. If we’re trying to close the gap, why not play him instead of Bebe? 0 fourth quarter minutes.
  9. Wrong way: Delon Wright made his debut and made clever plays on both ends. We can expect more high IQ plays from Wright. But I’m not sure we need a 3 PG lineup again, unless Casey literally wants to recreate 2014–15 down to the details.
  10. Go. Get. Millsap/Ibaka: Mission accomplished! Check Ep. 584 of the Raptors Republic Podcast and Ep. 38 of the Defeated Podcast for my thoughts on the deal.