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Three things from the Raptors loss to Charlotte and a start of the mail

There is no disputing the fact things are a bit off these last few games. They couldn’t make a shot in Philly and were more responsible for the loss than the Sixers were for the victory and last night they let more offensive woes trickle into their defence and once it started to go south in the third quarter they couldn’t stop the onslaught.

It was bad, no question about it.

But to think they need to change anything or that Masai has to get on the phone more diligently now is foolish.

They need to get Patterson back and Nogueira’s head okay and Sullinger in shape and restore some level of normalcy to lineups and rotations because they are just out of sync at the moment.

It’s going to happen over the course of the season and I’d venture to guess there will be five or six more games like Wednesdays and Fridays still to come.

But I also know that as tough as this week has been, staying the course is the most prudent thing to do and while I am sure Masai was ticked off last night, the last thing he’s going to do is over-react.

Sage advice.

Telling fouls

It’s obvious that Sullinger’s got some work to do to get back fully into game condition, no matter what aerobic stuff he did or how many three-on-three games he played, nothing is going to help him more than minutes at full NBA speed.
Take last night for instance. His first two fouls were basically conditioning-induced, he was a split second too slow to react, it’s understandable and correctable and they all know it’s a slow process that’s probably going to take eight or 10 games to get fully fixed.

Ugly numbers

In this day and age of the NBA, if a team can’t find a way to make at least a few three pointers every night, its chance of winning are diminished incredibly.

The 7-for-30 night in Charlotte on the heels of a 6-for-24 evening in Philly is probably one of the major reasons for both losses.

As DeMar said in Griff’s tome off the game last night, Toronto’s tendency to let offensive issues bleed into defensive lapses is both well-documented and not conducive to success at all.

They’ll eventually make threes again but the sooner the better

And now, some mail.

Got this much done yesterday, there seems to be a fair amount left for tomorrow but if you want in on the fun, e-mailing askdoug@thestar.ca is the way to do it.

Q: Hi Doug, I’ve been wondering what you think of the idea that an NBA team needs three star players to compete for a championship?   I’m not necessarily talking about the Raps here, but we’ve all seen how they play vs. Cleveland.

And do you think anyone on the current roster has the potential to emerge as a third star along with our dynamic backcourt duo?  I don’t see it – but than again, I didn’t see either of Derozan or Lowry emerging a star players – they seem to have done it by sheer hard work more than anything. 



A: I think the more good players you have, the better chance to you have to win and “star” is entirely subjective. So, yeah, I’d take a team with three over a team with two every day but I’d also say Valanciunas was a “star” in the Indy and Miami series before he got hurt.

So who knows? What you think today in the reality of today might not be the reality of late May or early June so speculating until the moment arrives is futile.

Q: Hey Doug,
Our heroes are taking care of the lesser lights while we await Sullinger and Wright to hit the court.

Can you tell us what role can we expect from Wright, he’s still the 3rd Point Guard and anytime at the 2 takes away from Powell/TRoss which I don’t see happening. On Sullinger can you provide some kind of scouting report. I vaguely remember him in Boston and playing with an edge? If healthy, Is he capable of matching up with a Love and a Channing in Cleveland .
Does Lebron know there’s no crying in Basketball ?
Always a pleasures
Richmond Hill

A: It was nice to see Wright on the active Friday night because it means he’s fully back from the shoulder surgery but there’s really nothing expected of him. He’ll be the third point guard – I believe he eclipses VanVleet in that basically insignificant role – but as for playing time? There is none. What he might become is a piece that at least allows them to consider putting Cory Joseph in trade talks, but that’s a ways down the line.

Sullinger? Big body, good rebounder, smart player, above average passer for a big man but not sure he’s a great perimeter defender. And I don’t know, they don’t know about a Cleveland matchup because they’ll need to win two series before that and that’s not a given.

Q: Dear road weary one!  I applaud you on your resiliency to pass over Yuengling for the Stella’s.  Though still an excellent choice.  In fact the two are three of my favouritism.  Hate to admit that I still had a sister in law grab me a case of 24 cans in Tennessee just before Christmas.  But on sale for $ 12 USD was too much to ignore!

Anyway, on to the Raptors.  I am sure you’ve gotten a ear full, if it’s type is it still an ear full, of angst from the Philly game.  I certainly read a lot on social media.  And yeah, they did seem to have a mental lapse and appear wiped, but I just wondering if the Cavs would have had the same after a recent loss, either the blowout to Golden State or that.  Enjoy being back home!

A: I have no idea if the Cavs would have or not, it’s not a concern in the least. I’m sure they have – they were blown out in Portland last season after a game in Golden State, if I recall, and lost Dec. 26 this year in Detroit after the emotional Christmas Day win over the Warriors. So, maybe.

Q: I loved what Bismack brought to our team last year, and was sad to see him go. Yes he was underpaid, and likely deserving of a starter role somewhere else.

But looking at the situation now, he is again in a backup role, except now he is a backup on a losing team instead of an eastern powerhouse winning team.

Who messed that situation up? The magic for making a ridiculous offer when they already had Ibaka and nikola as firm starters? Or Bismack and agent for taking the $ $ knowing it would be similar backup role? If he was going to be playing backup anyways, wouldnt the raps have made good pitch to keep him here?

Nonetheless, this has allowed Bebe to fill the backup role and thrive.  Still needs more experience and more refining, but looks like the raps long term efforts on him are starting to pay off.

Today, would you prefer Bismack or Bebe in the raps backup centre role?  Much credit to Bebe and raptors training staff for making that even a legit question at this juncture!


A: No one messed up any situation. Biz got $ 16 million a year and who in the world would turn that down, starting or backing up or whatever. Purely a business decision anyone with a brain saw coming. Will be the same with Sullinger next summer.

And since you asked, I’d take Lucas Nogueira at less than $ 2 million a year than Biz at $ 16 million a year six ways to Sunday. And that’s the reality so that’s all that matters. It’s not who’s “better” rather than who fits at the right cost.

Q: Doug,

I think we will find out in due time what the actual circumstances are, but for now, are you buying Derrick Rose’s explanation for skipping a game?  If he really did have a family issue to attend to, you would think that any team in the league would grant his request to fly home had he simply informed them.  And if you are Rose’s teammate, are you perturbed that you had to play a game without your starting point guard with basically no notice, and the distraction of wondering if he is alright?


Dr. Justin

A: I have no reason to doubt that it was a family issue and no one I’ve to does either. But if I’m his teammate I’m waiting for the explanation and apology that I hope was forthcoming.

It was an immature, bush league move to not even text or call or take calls or return message. Shameful.

Q: Raptors vs. Nets
Not to mention Masai’s expletive undeleted.


A: Was trying to keep the list to in-game stuff but that’d be right up there.

Q: Hi Doug,
In your list of games you forgot Richard Jefferson swatting away Jose’s winner for game 6. Thats my number 2 behind Pierce and Lowry in game 7 and ahead of Vince’s return.

A: It wasn’t actually Jose’s shot, it was a lob to Bosh that he just didn’t get enough air under.