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Three things we saw while the Raptors were losing to the Pistons


That was kinda stinky for fans, wasn’t it? A blown 16-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, a couple of blown defensive assignments on the game-winning possession and some ominous clouds hovering.

There’ve been better days and I presume there will be again but things are headed south at the moment.

And, of course there was this.

THREE POINTERS

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Frayed nerves

Well, that was a rather cryptic post-game session with Kyl Lowry, wasn’t it?

A couple of the telling quotes are in here and the angst is real. And not unexpected.

Look, they’ve lost 10 of 14 or whatever it is and everyone’s mad at everyone, as you can understand.

Players are mad at each other, coaches are mad at players, players are mad at coaches, everyone’s looking at Masai to see what he can do. It’s neither new nor unusual.

This is a team that had – and still has – grandiose expectations for itself and things are off the rails at the moment and the anger and disappointment that was kept in-house for the last couple of weeks gurgled over into the open last night.

I don’t think it’s the end of the world; in fact, it might be quite a good thing that those who are ticked off let fans and us know that they’re ticked off.

It’s good that Masai will read it and hear about it, it’s good that Dwane will read it and it’s good for us that he said it out loud because it gives us a story angle for a couple of days.

Do I know at who Lowry is mad or what his solution is? No, and neither do you or you or you or you. No one does for sure and to speculate is a bit irresponsible.

I bet he’s mad at the world, like everyone is, no one person more than another, and, like everyone else, he’s searching for answers.

Maybe it’s changing who’s on the court at the end of games, maybe it’s changing some play calls late in games, maybe it’s not being selfish and having more trust in teammates that we’ve seen some nights.

It’s not like this season’s in the toilet but it’s on the downside at the moment and the clock is running. A little explosion – as cryptic and passive-aggressive at it was – might not be a bad idea.

But how they channel that anger, and how the Tall Foreheads react to that anger, will be telling and fun to watch over the next 27 games.

On the good side

It was early and it petered out as the game went on but we did see a couple of things from DeMarre Carroll that were encouraging.

Twice in the first nine minutes or so, he drove the ball, initiated some contact, flailed his arms to get a call and drew two shooting fouls.

That was good and they need more of it because he has to be more varied offensively than standing on the perimeter taking jump shots.

The fact he missed three of the four foul shots was not so good at all but the original plays were solid.

Yeah, like that

In that game story, Dwane alluded to better shot selection and more awareness of time, score, situation in the fourth quarter of games and, yeah, it’s an issue.

But it’s not like they can’t do it or don’t every now and then, they just have to do it more often.

There was one play late in the game when DeMar had the ball right in front of the Pistons bench and you could see the centre – I believe it was Drummond at the time – creeping over to double him and a third defender was cheating on that side of the court, too.

Instead of forcing a quick, ill-advised shot or dribbling into traffic, he found Nogueira on the foul line, Nogueira found Valanciunas wide open under the basket and two quick passes later, they had a dunk and a nine-point lead.

They need more of that consistently as a way to protect, or extend, late-game leads.

More? A bit because why not?

Another tough loss for the music world.

So The Grammys were on the TV over my shoulder and aside from not knowing who half the performers were – and not really caring now that I think of it – two quick things came to mind.

When his career’s on the downside, which probably isn’t for a long time, Bruno Mars can play Rama and Casino Niagara as a Prince imitator. That was really good.

And Adele must be pretty good. Should probably pay more attention to something other than her rendition of LoveSong, which is outstanding.

Griff and our new baseball scribe – known to you all as She Who Supports Arsenal – are off to Delightfully Different Dunedin this week to chronicle spring training and while I’m all for “smell of the grass” and “life begins on Opening Day” and all that stuff, the romanticism can be overdone at times.

It’s not as bad as The Masters in its sappiness and I trust my colleagues to dial it back; I hope everyone does.

But I do wonder what the feeling is among fans as this season begins. I sense trepidation and far more “show-me” than there’s been in the last couple of springs when there was all kinds of promise left over from the finish of the season before.

Doesn’t feel like that’s the case this time around and I wonder how quick some people might be to abandon the ship if the journey is a rocky one right at the start.

Okay, Chicago today, back Wednesday, game Wednesday, NBA stuff on Thursday and off to NOLA early, early Friday morning for the all-star shenanigans.

Seems it’s gonna be a busy week. Wish me luck.

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