Recap #73: Toronto Raptors 100 @ Golden State Warriors 138 - Make It Rain, the Keith Smart way

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 25: Dorell Wright #1 of the Golden State Warriors goes up for a dunk on James Johnson #0 of the Toronto Raptors at Oracle Arena on March 25, 2011 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Boxscore | Game Thread | Gameday Links

RaptorsHQBad Meets Worse: Raptors Laughable in Loss

84 points in the first half! The absence of the Toronto's Amir Johnson (and Reggie Evans) left them with a shaky interior and Monta Ellis and Steph Curry took full advantage knowing the Raptors guards could not stay in front, as the Warriors annihilated the Raptors.

But in doing so, we were again left wondering about the curious case of Coach Keith Smart. More on this after the jump...

Twitter-cap

Here's the dump of my notes from Twitter. Please note, I didn't have access to my TV, and the numb-nuts at the NBA League Pass had the game not only blacked out (understandable), but with no access to the archive so I could watch later (inexcusable), so I used the opportunity to dial in on the Toronto radio broadcast.

Scroll down past this to read about Smart.

Trying sumthin new here. Gotta do Raptors-Warriors recap for GoldenStateOfMind. I'll catch the game via TOR radio feed (sorta not by choice)

 

They love their basketball here (Oracle), no matter how they're doing. Only other comparison is Toronto.

 

Raptors radio PBP announcer to color guy: "Did you bring your track shoes?"

 

Easy hoop by James Johnson on Dorell Wright inside. Will play the 4 tonite, per Raptors coach Jay Triano. Later, DeRozan alley oop dunk.

 

Steph Curry rocks Jose Calderon L to R for a pull up. Crowd roars. Btw no Amir Johnson or Reggie Evans. Ed Davis and-one on Ekpe Udoh inside.

 

Great story on Raptors radio re James Johnson, 20-0 in martial arts matches, 10 cage matches: "biggest adrenaline rush"...

 

Raptors call early timeout as Warriors start to get hot, up 12-7.

 

...James Johnson martial-arts kicked 2 balls stuck in the basket during Raptors practice. Said feet could've touched rim. Per TOR radio PBP.

 

James Johnson takes Dorell Wright RH layup good. David Lee PNR good. Johnson another layup, dunk! "Wright lost a tire."

 

DeMar DeRozan layup good. David Lee pick&pop again. Warriors 18, Raptors 13. DeRozan behind backboard good. Monta "spinning like a top!", fouled.

 

That move by DeRozan, we didn't see 2 months ago. On Ellis: his back collided with Ed Davis, should be an offensive foul.

 

Another James Johnson drive and dish to DeRozan. Warriors 20, Raptors 17, less than 7:00 Q1. TOR radio announcers joking about score run-up.

 

Ed Davis with a "signature" up and under move on Udoh. "Udoh doesn't have cable." Meanwhile Keith Smart will get nunber retired at Halifax.

 

Curry trey. Bargnani pretty move "strolling right by Warriors D, had David Lee pinned at hip." Timeout Warriors, just past mid-Q1.

 

David Lee another J. Warriors up 27-21. James Johnson one dribble then pull up good on Dorell Wright. Monta drives. "No resistance."

 

Dorell Wright runout jam on DeRozan misses shot. David Lee steal on James Johnson. Monta "slithers by two defenders." Calderon long trey.

 

Monta trey up top. Leandro Barbosa throws it away. Warriors up 10. Could be working on 40-pt qtr. James Johnson steals David Lee, layup Barbosa.

 

Raptors go zone. Dorell Wright trey. "Shot that from East Bay" then anniuncer corrects "from Alcatraz". James Johnson putback slam!

 

Dorell Wright fouled on J by James Johnson. 12 pts now. Barbosa turnover leads to Steph Curry jam. Warriors 43, Raptors 32.

 

James Johnson packs it pack in the face of David Lee. Monta iso's Barbosa on the last play of Q1 & gets stepback J. Warriors 45, Raptors 36.

 

Warriors best record at home (21-14) of any team under. 500. Dorell Wright another J. Jerryd Bayless layup uncontested R wing. Curry pop trey.

 

Warriors have 50 pts, not even 1 minute into Q2. Barbosa bomb cuts it to Warriors 50, Toronto 41. On pace for 180-144!!!

 

Alley oop jam David Lee via Steph Curry. Warriors have only missed 4 shots. Raptors announcers disaopointed at Triano not cracking whip.

 

James Johnson out. Al Thornton in for Warriors. L baseline jam for Thornton. Was only behind Nick Young & Kevin Durant in ppg for '07 class.

 

Alex Ajinca and Ed Davis play "buddy ball" leading to and-one. Compared to Antoine Davis who's in the house. Ajinca trey. 60-47 Warriors.

 

Curry catch n shoot trey. Monta trey. 18 pts. "Cooking with gas." High in a half vs Raptors is 72. Warriors 45 pts Q1 was all-time high.

 

6:10 to go in first half. Warriors have 66 pts! Monta leans in left shoulder knocks down J to go up 21.

 

Warriors already have 4 players with 12 or more pts. 5 mins to go before end of first half.

 

Al Thornton turnaround good. Raptors announcers: "How in the world was he put on waivers?" Amundson jump hook gives 73-51 Warriors lead.

 

Monta Ellis is the master of the spin move and crazy finishes but misses that one. 3:12 Q2 Warriors 73, Raptors 53 as Bargnani FTs. 0 reb

 

James Johnson guards Steph Curry, who does a crossover behind the back and draws 2 FTs, foul on Bayless.

 

Warriors shooting 72%. Still over 2:00 to go Q2. Curry 15, Monta 20, Dorell Wright 15. Warriors up 77-54.

 

0:19 to go first half the Warriors have 84 pts. They will not hit 90. :-(

 

Raptors turnover. Udoh great pass to Curry trey good. Warriors 84, Raptors 55. James Johnson rips a dunk out of Al Thornton's hands.

 

Warriors 84, Raptors 58. Halftime. This is not a typo.

 

Run n gun. "Keith Smart seems to have perpetuated that?" asks Raptors radio announcer of Toronto asst coach Scott Roth. "Yes."

 

Raptors asst coach Scott Roth on Toronto's halftime radio: "I think DeMar DeRozan will be an all-star. He reminds me of Michael Finley."

 

Running L layup Dorell Wright. Bayless answers w/ a LH layup. Warriors 88, Raptors 60. Curry 3-on-1 has Monta wide open L side but makes J.

 

RT @gswscribe Jose Calderon is out with a left hamstring strain

 

Dorell Wright and-one on Bargnani. Becomes 3rd Warriors player with 21 or more pts. Over 8:00 to go Q3. Warriors up 33 on Raptors.

 

Warriors 96, Raptors 62. Warriors will easily hit 100 here in Q3.

 

Raptors turnover leads to David Lee runout dunk. Warriors 101, Raptors 68. Plenty of time left in Q3. Timeout Jay Triano.

 

Monta up top wide open trey gives Warriors lead of 40 over Raptors. 5:30 to go Q3.

 

David Lee trey. Warriors 9/12 from three. Warriors 107, Raptors 66. Approaching 4:00 Q3.

 

Dorell Wright misdirection step around Bayless. Warriors steal then Dorell reverse jam from his hip.

 

Raptors announcers wondering why Keith Smart has 5 starters in and Warriors up 50. Also re playing the bench players some like Charlie Bell.

 

RT @MSteinmetzCSN David Lee's 3-pointer late in the third quarter was the first 3-pointer of his NBA career. Now 1-for-15.

 

RT @gswscribe The lead is up to 45. All the starters still in. #messagetoLacob #keepmehere

 

Raptors announcers: "No point guard, no 2-guard. They're just playing. Then again, how much success have they really had?"

 

Raptors announcers aren't aware of why Monta said in 2009 that he couldn't play with Steph Curry. They're perplexed as to why that was said.

 

RT @gswscribe End 3Q: #GSW 116, TOR 74. Monta 25 and 8 ast. Curry 23 and 8 ast. Lee 21 and 7. Dorell 24. TOR - Andrea Bargnani 7 and 5 (2-10 FGs)

 

James Johnson hits 14th pt. Season high. Monta airball trey, up by 42, and has played every minute of the game.

 

9:37 Q4. Warriors 118, Raptors 81.

 

Bench players now in for Warriors. Raptors announcers remarking on Al Thornton's wingspan and athleticism. Comparing to James Johnson.

 

Raptors announcers discussing James Johnson. Needs to cut down turnovers. Roster wise, could spell trouble for Sonny Weems.

 

Slam dunk Reggie Williams on the lob by Dorell Wright. Warriors 126, Raptors 81. Not even mid-Q4. Dead ball, Wright subs out.

 

Jeff Adrien jump hook!

 

Raptors will lose 7th straight to Warriors.

 

Knee or ankle bothering Sonny Weems.

 

Ed Davis 8th double-double.

 

Raptors anouncers: "How do you not empty your bench if you're Keith Smart?" Well, Acie Law has a bad wrist.

 

Raptors radio will speak to Steph Curry post-game.

 

Raptors radio announcer asks Steph Curry about NBA future commercial. He says he was 11. Great memories.

Raptors Notables

  • Another frontcourt player, Joey Dorsey, was out with flu-like symptoms.
  • I really like James Johnson. After seeing him at Summer League two summers ago, I dubbed him a Homeless Man's Paul Pierce. Radio announcers said he could take away roster spot (contract) from Weems long-term.
  • Another Summer League wonder, Bayless, is not turning out that good.
  • Did you see the thing about Johnson's martial arts exploits at the beginning of the Twitter-cap? Wow!
  • I also like DeRozan. Radio announceers said that he's been adding new wrinkles to his game. Assistant coach thinks he can be an All-Star and compared him to Michael Finley.
  • All said, Ed Davis (8th double-double) > Udoh. :-(
  • Oakland native Antoine Davis in the house! (IDK, was he?)
  • The announcers debated the merits of Keith Smart keeping the starters in all the way through the third quarter when the point differential reached 45.
  • Triano asked bench player Julian Wright to sub in, but he refused.
  • Side note: on Tuesday night during the Lakers-Suns triple-overtime marathon, I was trying to keep track of the game on Twitter (I follow over 1,000 people and have a packed timeline) and Julian Wright kept retweeting quotes, messing up my timeline. So I sent him a tweet saying I hated it when NBA players messed up timelines with quotes during awesome games and asked if he wasn't missing the 3OT thriller. He tweeted back "Sawwy" and apologized!

Warriors Notables

  • Raptors' announcers didn't know why Monta lashed out at Steph that first year (Moped-Gate, promised by front office they wouldn't pick a small). I wonder if the other 28 franchises don't really know, either? The announcers agreed with general consensus out there: really potent offense, non-existent defense, "haven't won much" with the combo.
  • Steph in-game slam dunk!
  • Praises for Monta's scoring and spin move, although they questioned his spin-use-back-draw-contact method as a possible offensive foul.
  • Toronto announcers were amazed by Al Thornton's acquisition, considering his length and athleticism in terms of being waived by the Wizards.
  • 7th straight win for GSW over the Raptors.
  • Warriors are still mathematically alive for the playoffs, with this win and the Grizzlies' loss.

Keith Smart

Even in a blowout of a blowout game, I was puzzled by Smart's substitutions AGAIN. Granted, Acie Law had a bad wrist and I was told that on TV, Fitz kept harping on that all night (in true Fitz fashion). But Smart left the starters in through three quarters when the game was far, far out of reach (nearly 50 in point differential).

I can understand benching Vlad Rad (he just sucks), but what about future asset development? Charlie Bell never checked in, Adrien got only a handful of minutes, and Reggie had a "regular" backup role.

With 7 minutes to play, Monta was still on the floor! He played 41 minutes in a 40-point blowout.

After the game, Smart said this...

"I wanted to send a message to our team that we are building," Smart said. "This is a process. The way we have always done it at this time of year, to sit back and not play, you've got your better players on your team who want to play and will play, and that's a good thing."

Before the game, ESPN's Chris Palmer interviewed Smart by phone and tweeted these quotes:

Smart: “I love our backcourt. We just need to put the rest of the pieces in place.”

Smart: “We’re not a run-n-gun team anymore. We’re transitioning into a more traditional approach. We’ve done a ton of teaching this year.”

Smart: “I want our guys to realize how physically tough the post season is after 82 games. If we made the playoffs I worry we’d break down.”

And during the game, the Toronto broadcasters basically said that the Warriors style hadn't changed and Smart was perpetuating the run-n-gun.

How do you build when you refuse to put your younger assets in for development? What's there to build on for the starters, after amassing a 45-point lead? The build has been built!

How traditional of an approach is to leave your starters in late in a 45-point blowout? I have coached many a game in my amateur leagues and tournaments and let me tell you, there's not much for starters to glean in such situations. They are literally beating a dead horse. You use the minutes you've been gifted to develop your youngsters. Period. Unwritten tenet of basketball. That, my friends, is the "tradition".

In the meanwhile, doing so also protects you from being perceived as a weirdo who is trying to pour it on. After all, you do have to face this team again in the future.

And yet, here we go again. Contradictions and curious coaching philosophies by Smart. I don't think all of it is his fault though, these contradictions. Some of it can be a lack of vision imposed in the heirarchy of basketball front office management, and having incompatible pieces to execute said vision. But bottom line is, I'm once again perplexed by the field general.

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