GAME REVIEW: Raptors at Lakers [Nov 30]

When you read other reports today that detail the Raptors’ loss to the Lakers, pay close attention to which ones focus on the ineffective play of Chris Bosh and the absence of Jermaine O’Neal …

FINAL SCORE: Raptors 99, LAKERS 112
Game Info

as the principal reasons for the eventual L, and which ones do not.

Yes, Chris Bosh, the Raptors’ best player, had a sub-standard performance [i.e. 36:54/MP; 4-13/FGM-A; 3-4/FTM-A; 12 Pts; 6 Rebs; 3 Ast; 1 St; 4 To]; and, yes, Jermaine O’Neal was missing from their line-up.

However, these are NOT the main reasons the Raptors lost yesterday’s game.


Beginning at the 10:00 mark of the 4th Q, in what was then a 6-Pt contest, this is the specific sequence of Possession Outcomes which determined the eventual outcome.


LAL 90, Tor 84

#1. LAK Poss 1 – Vujacic beats Kapono off the bounce; Makes twisting Layup slicing between Moon & Graham … LAL 92, Tor 84
#2. RAP Poss 1 – Graham Misses a Pull-up Jumpshot
#3. LAK Poss 2 – Odom fouled while posting-up vs Graham
#4. LAK Poss 3 – TO [Ariza]; Steal by Bosh
#5. RAP Poss 2 – TO [Ukic]
#6. LAK Poss 4 – Farmar Misses Jumpshot [vs Ukic]; Team Rebound to LAL
#7. LAK Poss 5 – Ariza Makes Turn-around Jumpshot/hook vs Moon … LAL 94, Tor 84 
#8. RAP Poss 3 – Ukic Misses Jumpshot
#9. LAK Poss 6 – Bynum Makes Dunk on lob pass; Bosh helping vs Odom [fronted by Graham] … LAL 96, Tor 84 
#10. RAP Poss 4 – Graham Makes Layup vs Farmar … LAL 96, Tor 86
#11. LAK Poss 7 – Ariza Makes Jumpshot vs poor switch by Moon [with Graham] on the ‘Post-Split’ action … LAL 98, Tor 86
#12. RAP Poss 5 – Graham Missed Turn-arond Jumpshot/Layup vs Odom
#13. LAK Poss 8 – Bynum Makes Dunk + fouled on rejected Pick & Roll with Farmar; Graham late arriving with weak side help [coming off Odom] … LAL 101, Tor 86

07:26 mark of the 4th Q … Calderon replaces Ukic; Bargnani replaces Graham


What should you have noticed from these 13 possessions?

In General:

* The Lakers were able to generate 2 extra possesions. One, when Odom was fouled, in the Low Post by Graham; and, two, from their Team Rebound.

* The Lakers were too quick, athletic and physical for the Raptors to handle [which ultimately resulted in a decisive Rebounding edge over the course of the entire game, i.e. Total Rebounds: LAL 54, Tor 36].


#1. Jason Kapono is an inferior NBA athlete, in comparison with Sasha Vujacic.
#2. Graham’s strength is not his Pull-up Jumpshot. As a perimter player, Graham is effective when he can ‘Catch & Shoot’.
#3. Odom vs Graham, in the post, is a mis-match [despite the fact that Odom picked up an offensive foul earlier in the quarter, in this situation]. Graham should not be defending Odom.
#4. Bosh is a capable Post defender … when he uses his quickness.
#5. Ukic is an inexperienced PG who sometimes makes poor decisions with the ball.
#6. Ukic is a solid NBA athlete at the #1-spot. The Lakers size & athleticism is difficult for the Raptors to handle … especially with Kapono [too slow vs Vujacic] and Moon [too weak vs Ariza] and Graham [under-sized vs Odom] on the floor together … the Raptors have difficulty gaining possession of loose balls.
#7. Ariza is too strong for Moon to handle on the block. Moon needs to check Vujacic. Graham needs to Ariza. Humphries needs to check Odom.
#8. Kapono cannot dribble the ball vs Vujacic. Ukic is a poor perimter shooter.
#9. Graham should NOT be checking Odom.
#10. Graham is a solid Low Post option for the Raptors.
#11. Moon is not a strong enough player to check Ariza.
#12. Graham is a solid Low Post Option for the Raptors. Odom, however, is too big for him.
#13. Bynum is among the VERY BEST ‘Aerial Finishers’ in the NBA. Graham should not be cheking Odom. 🙂 Graham should be checking Ariza, with  Moon checking Vujacic, and Humphries in the game, checking Odom.

At this point in the regular season … with these two player rosters assembled by their respective GMs:

* The Lakers are 14-1 and poised to amass 70+ wins; as forecast by this corner last season, prior to their predicted loss in the 2008 NBA Finals;


* The Raptors are 8-8, on pace to put up approximately 40 wins; and, in all likelihood, finish in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference.

Despite a less-than-stellar performance yesterday by the Dinos, the signs are there, however, that this group of players [at these positions] …

1/Calderon + 2/Moon [3] + 3/Graham + 4/Humphries + 5/Bosh

Key Bench Subs
1-2/Parker + 4/Bargnani [3]

Situational Subs
1/Ukic, 2/Kapono [3], 5/O’Neal [or a different veteran Big]

either [i] without JO altogether, or [ii] with him in a decreased role …

has the capacity to become a solid contender for a playoff spot in the EC, down-the-road, if those responsible for running the basketball operation at MLSE, in fact, [A] know what they’re doing, and can [B] begin to make the best use possible of the resources at-hand [i.e. current players & draft picks, plus coaches].  

In the NBA … every organization has access to a similar set of ingredients. What separates the performance of one from another is the manner in which their Head Chefs choose to combine those ingredients in their recipe.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

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7 Responses to “GAME REVIEW: Raptors at Lakers [Nov 30]”

  1. The AltRaps Blog » Toronto Raptors Linkage for December 1st from 08:00 to 15:55 Says:

    […] GAME REVIEW: Raptors at Lakers [Nov 30] – […]

  2. Raps Fan Says:

    what are you envisioning in terms of minutes for o’neal in a situational role? and does situational mean more minutes one game, and potentially no minutes the next based on matchups?

    you have brought this up a few times, and i’m trying to wrap my head around it. i see where you are going, but relegating o’neal to a situational spots means that the value he brings to the court is marginal/minimal to me. from what i have observed:

    – he is a better scorer then humphries (more weapons, but they both force it far more then i would like)

    – his post defense is better then humphries (not by leaps and bound, but better)

    – he is a better weak side defender then humphries

    – he is a much better shot blocker, lane intimidator

    – he is a good rebounder (i would argue better then humphries, but not by a huge margin)

    – he isn’t as athletic or as ‘energizer bunny’ as hump

  3. Raps Fan Says:

    maybe a post explaining this would be better…

  4. khandor Says:

    Raps Fan,

    Yes … he is a better scorer than Hump, but his offensive production comes in a way which is not the most effective compliment to Bosh.

    No … his post D is not better than Humps, IMO. It is differen than Hump’s but it is not better.

    Yes … he is a better weak side help defender than Hump.

    Yes … he is a better shot blocker, and Lane Intimidator than Hump.

    Yes … he is not as energetic as Hump.

    Overall, at this stage of his career, is O’Neal a better basketball player [and NBA Big] than Hump?

    IMO, Yes he is … but this does not mean he SHOULD BE, either, starting or playing more MPG for this team than K-Humphries is … because the reality is that THIS team might well perform better with Hump in this role than with Mr. O’Neal.

    [for example …

    Lamar Odom is a better basketball player than Vlad Radmanovic, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and/or Derek Fisher but he doesn’t start ahead of those four players for the LA Lakers.]

    Who starts, who plays how many minutes, and at what spots, is a function of team chemistry, not strictly which player is “better” than the others.


    re: O’Neal as a Situational Sub for this team & his MPG

    IMO … this is a flexible thing and can legitimately be used in different ways depending on what the coach wants to do with it.

    What the most important thing is … isn’t exactly HOW MANY minutes JO gets but that he and his teammates understand exactly WHAT his role is with this team, and if it should be as the back-up Center for the 2008-2009 Toronto Raptors, regardless of the size of his individual contract.

    Fundamentally, most good players do not really care what their role is on a high end team, that wins a lot … what they do care about, though, is knowing what that specific role is, so that they can properly prepare to succeed in that to the best of their ability. THAT they care about a lot.


    Maybe a separate post about this specific topic would be best for another day.

  5. Raps Fan Says:

    ok, i think i get what you are trying to say. just needed it spelt out to me like i’m a five year old.

  6. khandor Says:

    Raps Fan,

    The article you wrote on the financial situation with MLSE/Raptors basketball is terrific!

    IMO, the current sorry state of the team’s “championship-heading” fortunes is traceable back in time to a very specific point … when things began to unravel for real, and the principal focus of the entire operation lost its way.

    A situation [mess-?], like this, simply does not happen by itself.


    “Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could, so somewhere in your wicked, miserable past there must have been something, something good [or, in this case, perhaps, the opposite?].”
    Nothing comes from Nothing [The Sound of Music]

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