Jay Triano introduced a few new sets to his offence that put the ball in Turkoglu's hands more often, allowing him to create for both himself and his teammates.
"It helped a lot," Turkoglu said. "It's just not the scoring for me. Everyone knows my game. I can come off the pick and roll and look for my shot or drive and kick and find the open guy which I did a few times today, too. As long as we do that, we can be successful."
Defensively, that extra bounce in their step resulted in nine blocks, as well as consistently contested shots that held the Rockets to just 37% shooting.
"We are starting to get better on the weak side defence and that's really helping us out," Bosh said. "Against a team like Houston, who moves the ball and runs their offence pretty well, I think we did a good job of that."
Pops Mensah-Bonsu, a fan favourite in his first go-round with the Raptors last season, had not seen enough action to warrant much of a reaction this year.
That changed yesterday when he came in against the Rockets, who released him earlier this season, after a crowd-pleasing dunk and two blocks.
Following the dunk, Mensah-Bonsu flashed a smile at the Houston bench but there was no message being sent there.
"I was just looking at T-Mac," Pops said of Tracy McGrady. "It was nothing malicious. No hard feelings on my part. I understand it is a business but I was definitely hurt. I thought I'd found a home there."
Not sure how many noticed a very slight change in what the Raptors do offensively but as Chris Bosh was going nuts from the field (11-19 on a rather economical day), you can be sure the Rockets did.
The subtle shift in a new Toronto offensive set, which Jay mentioned in his post-game dissertation, moved Bosh to the elbow rather than on the low post or midway up the lane and it worked wonders.
The set, which they just put in, works two-fold.
The option of Jack delivering the ball to Bosh at the elbow, heading to the corner while Bosh made a dibble-handoff move with Turk worked wonders. It got Turk around the corner and in paint, where he made little fades or hit an open Jack in the corner.
"It feels great," Weems said. "Coming from last year, not playing at all, to playing 29 minutes today? That's awesome."
And the backup swingman knew exactly what he had to do when he was the first sub off Toronto's bench.
"Take advantage, take advantage," he said. "Especially on the defensive end, that's going to get me the most minutes. I'm willing to do that, as long as it keeps me on floor, I'll do that all day."
The Raptors unveiled a couple of wrinkles to their offence to kickstart some moribund sets and they all worked well. Turkoglu was given more free reign in different spots on the floor, finishing with five assists and six rebounds to go with his 23 points while Jarrett Jack played off the ball a bit and had 17 points, eight assists and a team-high eight rebounds.
It would be wrong to suggest Mensah-Bonsu was the critical component in the Raptors win – it was one of those team victories with many hands pulling on the same rope. Their marquee players were effective with Chris Bosh leading the way with 27 points and Hedo Turkoglu adding a season-high 23 points to go with six rebounds and five assists. Jarrett Jack continued his strong play as the starting point guard, finishing with 17 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. But Mensah-Bonsu did have a pair of spectacular blocks that juiced the crowd of 17,111 and otherwise served as a reminder to a sometimes hustle-challenged group that there are points available for effort.
Coming off two straight lacklustre losses and facing a star-less Rockets team that built a 13-9 start largely on outworking their opposition, the Raptors outsmarted, out-hustled and outplayed Houston. The win improved their record to 11-15.
"It's an 82-game schedule," Triano said. "If you could bottle [that effort], you might win every game
"Is it frustrating? No. When you do it, it feels good. In the games where it doesn't happen, obviously you get a little frustrated."
Triano's charges attacked Houston's basket yesterday while providing swarming defence that forced both bad shots and two 24-second clock violations in the first half alone.
"We had a good effort and energy throughout the game," Triano said. "Good pressure defensively on guys with the ball, better than we've had."
Jarrett Jack confronted Ariza, saying: “Why do that? He didn't do anything to you.”
They were separated, and there was no other altercation.
Ariza has struggled with his shot for weeks. Other than his outstanding night against the Cavaliers, when he hit 11 of 19 shots (including four of six 3-pointers) to score 26 points, Ariza has made 23 of 69 shots (33.3 percent) and five of 22 3-pointers (22.7 percent) in his past five games. Ariza's 38.3 percent shooting is the worst on the Rockets.
Rockets coach Rick Adelman said he did not see the play and had “no idea” if Ariza would be suspended.
Trevor Ariza tried to hit DeMar DeRozan. It is difficult to guess why, unless it was some sort of UCLA-USC thing. DeRozan did not do anything to Ariza, other that steal the ball. But Ariza was 0 for 9 and wildly frustrated, so he took a swing. Naturally, he missed.
That should be an easy call for Stu Jackson in the NBA office. Expect a one-game suspension.
A less obvious disappointment is the play of the Toronto Raptors, who splashed this offseason in the signing of Hedo Turkoglu to tag alongside All-Star forward, Chris Bosh. The Raptors remain under .500 and on the outside of the playoffs as of now.
This win slightly softens the blow from Friday’s romp at the hands of the Hawks, plus makes it four of six overall and improves the Raptors to 11-15 on the season. They’re headed to South Florida for a date with the Heat Tuesday, followed by Superman and the Magic in Orlando the following night.
THE FAN presents all of the highlights and Eric Smith's game recap in a 101-88 Toronto Raptors victory.
Prior to the tip of the Raps and Rockets game Eric had a chance to catch up with Raptors Assistant GM Maurizio Gherardini
The Raps didn't need another closed-door meeting to get out of their two-game funk. After dropping an ugly 111-89 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Jarret Jack helped turn the Raptors around in yesterday's 13-point win.
Hedo Turkoglu had his best game as a Raptor putting up 23 pts on 9-18 shooting along with 2 threes, 6 boards and 5 dimes. Jarret Jack filled in for the injured Jose Calderon (who will not make the Florida road trip) and put in a great defensive effort for the Raps. Jack (17 pts, 8 rebounds, 8 dimes) was a leader on the floor and has made a significant impact to the team since filling in at the starting PG slot.
So why was Jarrett Jack's confrontation so unique? Forget for a second that it was probably the first legitimate get-in-your-face stance a Raptor has taken this season for one of his teammates (the Bosh-Stoudemire incident seemed contrived). Jack's confrontation of Ariza was distinct because he didn't even have a clue as to what Ariza actually did! Jack stated:
The Raptors, by contrast, were emphatically booed as the layups continued to blow past their fleet of disinterested 7-foot sharp shooters. How much longer can Toronto continue with Scott Van Pelt at the helm? Will Bosh be on the block? It’s getting ugly in the city of Kelly Gruber.
The Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors found themselves in a heated scuffle during the third quarter of their game today. With just less than four minutes left in the quarter, Rockets guard Trevor Ariza swung his elbow at Raptors rookie DeMar DeRozan after losing control of the ball. Toronto guard Jarrett Jack confronted Ariza following the elbow swing, and players from both teams rushed to midcourt. Ariza, who had just one point and went 0 for 9 from the floor in 26 minutes, was ejected, and the Raptors easily beat the Rockets, 101-88. Scroll down for video.
Sonny Weems. In my practice notes yesterday, I said Jay hinted at Weems earning minutes as a result of the energy he has played with. Today he was rewarded by being the first player off of the bench. Not only did he get into the game early, he logged 29 minutes after averaging just 11 on the season. One thing about Weems: He gives you everything he has when he's on the floor. He's not the most talented, nor the most skilled, but the guy is athletic, energetic and he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time when he's on the floor.
- Even more importantly, he recognizes his role. He is the last guy to give hugs, pounds and handshakes to each of the starters before they head onto the court. He is the loudest guy on the team by far, but you'll never hear him complain about minutes or opportunity. He knows he's got a shot here to show what he can do and he's appreciative of it.
Force opposition under 40% = win, easy right?
Unfortunately for the Raptors, this doesn’t come often enough. Today’s game is the exact opposite to the Atlanta game. The Raptors controlled the pace from the start, pounding the ball to the paint. They scored 20+ points in the paint after 1 quarter. The Rockets were perhaps a little tired, they didn’t start the game with any energy, and they couldn’t come back after that.
The only good news from this is that the loss wasn't a product of poor effort, but rather of poor shooting. You make some, you miss some – that's how basketball goes. However, if the Rockets want to continue their winning ways, guys like Chase Budinger, Dave Andersen, and Ariza had better start hitting those open shots more often.
Oh, and about that Ariza forearm? Whatever. He'll probably miss one game at the most. He's got to be frustrated with himself. Perhaps he will use it as motivation.
Well today Ariza proved to be just as much of a punk as Artest when he took a swipe at Toronto Raptors rookie point guard DeMar Derozen, who I happen to be a big fan of. The incident occured towards the end of the third quarter. Ariza let his frustrations get the best of him after shooting 0-9 from the field at that point in the game. Ariza tried to throw an elbow at Derozen after a steal, and rightly so, got tossed from the game and more than likely will receive further punishment from the league.
Hopefully Ariza learns his lesson from this mistake and does not turn into another Artest. He is still young and has enough time left in the league to prove he isn’t a punk, unlike Artest who will always have the reputation of being a punk.
Check out the Raptors vs. Houston Rockets game all in just six minutes.
Head Coach Jay Triano talks to the media following the Raptors win over the Houston Rockets.
Chris Bosh talks to the media following the Raptors win on Sunday at the ACC.
Jarrett Jack talks to the media following the Raptors win over the Houston Rockets.
The Raptors rookie speaks with the media following his team's win over the Houston Rockets.