Since the All-Star break, the Toronto Raptors have only beaten the very worst the NBA has to offer, accumulating a 3-8 record and falling to just one game above the .500 mark. Now in the middle of a four game western road trip, dropping below .500 has become a definite possibility.
And they did this by allowing their scoring to drop to just 101 points per game while giving up over 108. The Raptors have clearly struggled in recent games.
Once comfortably in fifth place, the Raptors have dropped to eighth and only remain in the playoff hunt thanks to Chicago’s inevitable collapse after the Bulls traded away two important depth players for cap space.
The Raptors' fall can be directly traced back to the Chris Bosh ankle injury in the fourth quarter of the game against Memphis—a game the Raptors lost in overtime as Bosh’s effectiveness left him after the injury. And three games into Bosh’s return, the Raptors have yet to regain their pre-All-Star swagger.
The Toronto Raptors All-Star CB4 missed seven games following a minor ankle sprain and a bout of the “flu”. And the Raptors missed him badly.
Since his return however, Bosh hasn’t been up to his old standards, contributing just 16 points and eight rebounds on 36.5 percent shooting.
On the season, Bosh is averaging career highs of 24.1 points and 11.2 rebounds on 51.6 percent shooting.
The Raptors need Chris Bosh to regain his mid-season form again quickly if they are to stay in the playoff picture.
Andrea Bargnani picked a bad time for a minor mid-season slump.
Over the past 10 games, Bargnani averaged just 15.9 points and 5.2 rebounds—a significant drop from his season averages of 17.3 points and 6.1 boards.
Bargnani has continued to shoot the ball well. But without Bosh in the lineup, Andrea found it difficult to avoid opposing defenses and get enough shots to contribute what the Raptors needed from him.
When Chris Bosh was out of the Raptors line-up, Jarrett Jack significantly stepped up his scoring to lead his team.
Unfortunately, Jack also stepped up his turnovers to over three per game in Bosh’s absence. And those turnover numbers should appear generous to those who watched the Raptors play. Jack’s decision-making was putting turnover numbers on other Raptors stat lines as well.
Over the past 10 games, Jack averaged 17.1 points and 5.8 assists on 57.5 percent shooting. That represents a huge increase over his season averages of 11.4 points and 5.0 assists.
Jarrett Jack continues to show leadership potential and skills beyond what was expected when he arrived. The recent increase in turnovers is likely the result of trying to do too much.
Hedo Turkoglu continues to frustrate Raptors fans with his inconsistent play.
Recent injuries and family concerns have adversely affected Turkoglu’s play of late. But it seems that there is always an excuse for Hedo’s inconsistent play, and the fans' patience has justifiably worn thin.
Over the past 10 games, Turkoglu has averaged 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 28.9 minutes. And while these are not great stats, it is somewhat understandable taking into account Turkoglu’s face and ankle injuries.
But what has driven fans (and one assumes coaches) to the brink is that in five of those games Turkoglu averaged 16.8 points and in the other five games he averaged 4.8 points.
Hedo Turkoglu has averaged 12.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists this season. The Raptors need Turkoglu to find his health and his consistency for the stretch drive and the playoffs.
It was starting to look like the Raptors rookie DeMar DeRozan had finally hit the rookie wall and something would have to be done.
DeRozan has started in every game he has played for the Raptors this season and is averaging 8.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 21 minutes per game.
But the pre-All-Star bump in DeRozan’s game vanished quickly after the break, and the rookie was looking like, well a rookie.
Hopefully DeRozan’s better efforts over the last four games means he is over the hump and can contribute meaningfully down the stretch.
Jose Calderon continues to produce at a rate of about 10 points and five assists in 24 minutes off the bench.
Unfortunately over the past 10 games, Calderon's shooting has been off the mark as the usually reliable Spaniard has hit on just 43 percent from the field and 32 percent from three. That’s about six percentage points below normal.
While there have been no apparent issues with Calderon playing in a reserve role this season, coming off the bench has impacted on Jose’s shooting.
One of the expected beneficiaries of Bosh’s injury was Amir Johnson.
And in the last 10 games, Johnson did get an extra half a minute of playing time.
On the season Johnson has averaged 5.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.6 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 17.2 minutes.
The extra playing time and Bosh’s absence only managed to bump Amir’s numbers to 6.4 points and 5.1 rebounds.
Reggie Evans has now played in 12 games for the Toronto Raptors and is averaging 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in just 12.3 minutes for his new team.
Reggie had his best game against Cleveland with 13 points and five boards in 25 minutes, but he got his biggest cheers in his two point, three rebound effort against Philadelphia in his first game back.
Evans' minutes and production have fluctuated wildly since his return. But it was asking too much too soon for Evans to have to produce during Bosh’s absence.
However, Reggie Evans has shown the Raptors that he can contribute.
Wright has been identified as the team’s go-to guy for defensive purposes at the end of games.
And in February, Wright turned some mediocre stats into a 9.1 points, 3.7 rebounds line that had many Raptors fans thinking the defensive stopper had a future at the offensive end of the floor as well.
But in the first five games of March, Wright returned to his earlier season averages of about five points and two boards while shooting 30 percent from the floor.
On the season, Wright is now averaging 5.8 points and 2.7 rebounds on 39.3 percent shooting.
The Raptors need the February Antoine Wright to reappear for the stretch drive to the playoffs.
Sonny Weems continues to impress and has played some of his best ball of the season recently.
In the last game before Bosh’s return, Weems had a career high 20-point, 9-rebound night against the Knicks in a much-needed Raptors win. Weems' best night before this was a 14-point, 11-rebound effort against the Nets in early February.
Weems is averaging 6.2 points and 2.3 rebounds on 49 percent shooting this season. In March, Weems is averaging 9.6 points and 3.2 boards on 59 percent shooting.
It has been Marco Belinelli’s turn in Jay Triano’s doghouse recently, as the Raptors most inconsistent shooter has lost minutes to both Weems and Wright.
Since the break, Belinelli was a DNP-CD four times and averaged just over a point a game in four others.
On the season, Belinelli’s is averaging 7.7 points on 40.5 percent shooting. But in February, Marco Belinelli apparently shot himself out of the rotation by averaging just 36.7 percent.
Marco Belinelli may have played himself into an injury replacement player for the balance of the season as Jay Triano tightens his rotation heading towards the playoffs.
Rasho Nesterovic stepped in as a starter in Bosh’s absence and provided his usual professional effort.
For six games, Nesterovic averaged 7.7 points and 4.5 boards in 20 minutes while shooting 59 percent from the field.
Rasho has played in 35 games for the Raptors this season and has averaged 4.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in just over 10 minutes.
Marcus Banks stepped in to play 24 minutes against Houston and scored 15 points during his only action in a month. Banks continues to impress with his professional attitude and effort.
Patrick O’Bryant continues to style from the sidelines in a suit on most nights.