The Toronto Raptors lost 121-113 to the Phoenix Suns this afternoon and there were be plenty of things to be worried about.
With the Phoenix Suns rising from the ashes of the Western Conference cellar this season, the NBA Betting odds were in favour of the Suns. It’s not like the Raptors were expected to win.
Still, it was a game that was ugly to watch and showed a lot of possible glaring weaknesses for the Raptors moving forward.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 11 points in the first quarter but only attempted three field goals over the final three quarters. After going 6-8 from the field in the opening quarter his teammates decided to ice him out.
In the fourth Kyle Lowry took a couple of knees to his head and had to be helped off the court. No foul was called on the play and Dwane Casey nearly picked up a technical for arguing with the refs too much.
There’s also the fact DeMar DeRozan is starting to show the signs of fatigue after averaging a career-high 38.1 minutes per game this season. DeRozan went 6-16 from the field against Phoenix and 4-12 against Memphis.
This month DeRozan has shot lower than 40% from the field in five of seven games so far this month. It’s clear he’s battling through tired legs that is taking away some of the lift from his legs when he is shooting.
The big issue is that Toronto’s defence is showing signs of slippage. Toronto gave up 121 points while allowing Phoenix to make 50% of their field goal attempts and 47% of their shots beyond the arc (11-23).
Still, after the game Casey pulled his best Alfred E Newman impression.
“It’s not a systemic problem,” Casey told the media after the loss. “It’s not a situation where we should panic. It’s one game. We knew we weren’t going to go undefeated the rest of the way. That team right there are fighting for the playoff lives like we are and they are a quality team. It’s not like it’s the end of the world. We gave it our best shot.”
True, the world isn’t ending, but there are cracks in the foundation and Toronto’s core.
It’s nice that Casey wants to dismiss the problems – and maybe they are just the result of playing a tough Western Conference team – but the culmination of everything that went wrong is reason for concern.
Hopefully the team rallies in Atlanta and New Orleans this week and proves Casey was right.