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Things went sideways quickly in tough Raptors loss

That was some night, wasn’t it.

Like a switch got turned somewhere in the bowels of Madison Square Garden at halftime to go from good to ghastly.

One of them nights, that’s for sure, but a tough one to give away like that.

Luckily, two more games await on this trip and the season drones on.

And there’s this.

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Sign of the time

It was about three minutes into the third quarter and the carnage hadn’t truly begun but it was getting there.

Jonas Valanciunas misses a couple of bunnies at the rim; that’s going to happen to the best of them so it’s not that huge a deal but what followed was.

After the Knicks secured the rebound, Enes Kanter – who will never be confused with the more speedy big men in the game – simply beat all the Raptors back down the floor for an easy basket.

It was a telltale sign that perhaps there were some hustle and effort issues gurgling. Turns out those signs were right.

Firing away

We all love Pascal Siakam, right? Always moving and running and working and he’s absolutely the flavour of the moment. Rightfully so, he’s been going great the last little while.

One thing his coaches want him to do is not just be a more effective shooter but a more decisive one. They don’t really need him to score a bunch but it’d be nice if he was a bigger threat.

Maybe the message is getting through.

With about seven minutes left in the second quarter, the ball got swung to him in the corner and where he usually waits a beat or two while deciding whether to shoot or unload the ball, he fired up a three-pointer with no hesitation.

He missed, but that’s not really the point; that he shot fast is what he needs to do more often.

Something to track

I’m sure somewhere in the deep analytical world this stat is exists and can be proven and if someone finds it, let me know.

But I can say anecdotally that it seems every time the Raptors come out of a timeout, they run a play for DeMar DeRozan, if he’s on the floor, of course.

Makes sense since he’s a prolific scorer and something of a secondary playmaker these days. The first time I noticed it last night was when the Raptors came out of a break and scored to make it 45-41 and I have a couple of other checkmarks in the notebook to denote other times.

And while it makes sense, it also, I presume, makes ‘em easy to scout.

More? Just a little and then I gotta go.

There was the night when we were here in Halifax for Raptors training camp and it was Alexander Keith’s birthday and they and this big bash and Alan Doyle played the party we were at, so …

Was a great evening.

You know, just like the NBA is diminishing its Christmas Day games by having too many of them, so has the NFL and it’s American Thanksgiving Day games. There should be two, one in Dallas and one in Detroit and that’s it. The night game is overkill.

And what’s it tell you about the NBA and its thoughts on holidays that it overloads the Christmas Day schedule and takes tonight entirely off?

More mail, please.

It’s askdoug@thestar.ca as it always is and I look forward to hearing from you.

So, I’m at the Canada practice and it’s over and my official work of gathering stuff is done and it’s time to catch up with some old, familiar faces around the gym.

And this is how dopey and out of the loop I can get.

I’m talking to Dave Smart and I tell him I plan to get my writing done and loaf a bit so I can find a stool by 6:30 to watch the Raptors game.

He blinks, wonders just how dumb I am and reminds me that I’ve travelled east, not west, and the game’s actually at 8:30.

Would have been an extraordinarily long time on a stool had I been left to my own devices. And my own math.

I swear this is true.

I stopped for one at a saloon near my hotel before I headed out for dinner and the game last night. Sat down, asked if there was wireless so I could get some work done and the lass says, yeah.

The password?


Was cool to be in the gym watching the national team work yesterday before scribbling this little item.

I will say again that I am surprised at the team they were able to put together given the odd circumstances of the process.

That said I have no clue how they’ll do when they actually play and given that no one knows what the Bahamas has, I bet there’s a bit of trepidation going into Friday’s game.

That’s often the best part about covering these games, discovering what the other team has got. We don’t know any names usually or any of the skills and it’s always like “hey, that lefty kid’s pretty good” or “they’ll run something for the funny looking guy on the wing” or “that No. 12 can shoot it.”

Not great for running game copy but a way to track who’s who.