Monday , Apr , 28 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Off-Season Changes Needed After Another Late-game No-show by Toronto


Off-Season Changes Needed After Another Late-game No-show by Toronto

Game 5 pretty much played out much the way Game 4 in Toronto played out, as it was a close contest throughout, but again the Magic pulled away from the Raptors late, outscoring them 22–10 over the final 5:01.
 

This came after Chris Bosh scored the final four points of a 6-0 Toronto run that brought the Raptors to within 84-82 with 6:02 remaining in fourth quarter.  But then, inexplicably, the Raptors went away from Bosh down low, even after Dwight Howard picked up his fifth personal foul and stayed in the game.  Those would be the easiest points Bosh would score down low in the series because if Howard commits the foul, then he’s gone, but instead they rushed things on the offensive end and instead settled for the outside shots that were their downfall all season long.
 

But Orlando just did what they’ve done all series long, which is pull away from the Raptors in close games, as they answered Toronto’s 6-0 run with an 8-0 run of their own, including two big three pointers, by the two players who have killed Toronto most in this series, Keith Bogans to start the run and then Jameer Nelson to end the run.  This brought the Orlando lead to 92-82 with 2:57 left, effectively ending the Raptors season three minutes early.
 

Tonight’s effort overall was just ugly, as it started off like every other game in Orlando has, with Toronto down by double-digits early, this time it was 12-2 not even three minutes into the contest.  But the Raptors used a 12-2 run of their own to tie the game at 14 and make a game of it throughout.
 

The Raptors led for most of the second and third quarters, with the Magic using an 8-0 run to regain the lead and hold a comfortable 74-68 margin entering the final quarter.  Toronto couldn’t make any inroads until midway through the fourth quarter, but then subsequently collapsed like in Game 4.
 

Overall, tonight nothing really went right for the Raptors, as they got off to a cold start and couldn’t get anything going offensively.  I just didn’t see that desperation of a team facing elimination, instead I saw a team that knew it was going down and just wanted to get it over with.
 

Bosh led the way for the Raptors, scoring 16 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, but on 7-for-19 shooting from the floor.  The PG duo of T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon would combine for 26 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, and 5 TOs, but only 4 of those points would come in the second half.
 

Anthony Parker added 11 points, while the Carlos Delfino (14 points and 7 rebounds) and Jason Kapono (13 points) were again solid off the bench, but they just couldn’t get anything going overall.
 

The Magic were just the better coached team in this series, and I would seriously consider a coaching change this off-season for the Raptors if I were GM Bryan Colangelo.  The team was awful for the really the final third of the season and that play continued in the playoffs.  They didn’t even look like a team facing elimination tonight, as I didn’t see that desperation.
 

Bosh and the PG duo were the biggest disappointment, while the bench and Kapono and Delfino were really the two most consistent players of the series, amazing considering the bench’s inconsistent play throughout the season.
 

The Raptors need major upgrades at the 2 and 3 positions, as they really don’t have a scoring threat to offset Chris Bosh here or anywhere really.  Parker is nice, but Moon is really more of a bench player than starter and not a serious offensive threat.  Also, this franchise needs to keep a close eye on Bargnani this off-season, as he regressed horribly this season and was pretty much a non-factor in this series.
 

But serious changes need to be made, be it coaching or roster because this team as it is cannot contend in the revamped Eastern Conference and that was proven throughout the second half of the season and this playoff series.
 

You can go to www.mvn.com/nba-raptors/ to hear more about in-game commentary and about what potential moves the Raptors should make this off-season.

[image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67225156@N00/]