Raptors 121 – Suns 100 – Boxscore
Sorry to dissapoint, but WordPress crapped out on me while I was in the midst of publishing this article and I lost pretty much everything, so I’ll just make a few points, and post my game notes:

  • Weems and DeRozan shoot the ball too much, a combined 12-36. Take them out, and the team shoots 35-64 56.2% from the field
  • Bargnani is back offensively; it was just a matter of when, not if. What concerned me with this game was that he started out so hot, but everyone looked away from him in the 1st quarter. Triano/Calderon/Jack need to identify who the hot scorer is, and keep feeding him the ball
  • If Reggie Evans is going to be starting at power forward, which I’m against, Barbosa should probably also start since the offense has the potential to get into a one-pass-shoot mode since Evans doesn’t even come close to demanding a double team in the post. I was impressed he didn’t force anything on offense, and just took what was due to him (no need for him to shoot the ball more than a couple times a game). I will be lowering the volume on my negative rhetoric on Evans, he is actually playing well
  • Jarrett Jack is clearly the starter on this team. Calderon doesn’t seem to thrive in the type of offense Triano wants to run, which was evident in the 2nd quarter when the Raptors began their run with Calderon sitting on the bench
  • The biggest weakness in the Raptors defensive schemes is transition defense. In the 1st quarter, the Suns ran back every chance they got and had something like 12 fast break points in the quarter. The Raptors tightened up a bit through the course of the game, but it was always lingering
  • I really have no read on the Raptors. They absolutely own the Suns (who I might be over-valuing based on their reputation), but turn in piss-poor performances against the Celtics and Bulls where they weren’t rebounding or playing the same level of intensity as the Suns games
  • Ronald Dupree sucks; the guy has been building a house the last five games
  • For those who are counting, that’s 72 points that Raptors have beaten the Suns by over two pre-season games

Game Notes

1st Quarter
- Evans starting again (talk about his impact on the starting unit from the tip – he’s playing pretty good the last two games, might need to start Barbosa if he starts so scoring doesn’t grind to a halt since he doesn’t command much defensive scrutiny? find another word)
- Bargnani hits his first jumper off the dribble
- Kleiza turns it over under the rim, Grant Hill hits a layup on the break back
- Bargnani forces a shot on the baseline, Nash finishes layup on the break back
- Richardson goes coast to coast and lays it up easy, zero defense, sickening
- Raptors stopped looking for Bargnani really quick, Evans getting more touches
- Nash is just picking the Raptors defense apart off the pick-n-roll
- DeRozan curls off the screen nicely, but misses, Suns run it back down thee Raptors throats
- Bargnani didn’t help Nash on the pick-n-roll, leaving Nash wide open to hit a jumper
- The Suns are shooting 7-9 from the field; chalk that up to zero defensive pressure, bad rotations, and a generally crappy Raptors team
- Raptors trying to get into an up and down game with the Suns, not a good decision
- Bargnani playing big in the post
- DeRozan gets into the pain, and draws contact. at least he’s playing aggressive
- Weems take another bad shot, Nash runs it back and finds Childress for an easy layup
- DeRozan grabs his own missed shot.
- Weems forces another bad shot, almost ends up in a layup on the break > finally hits a long jumper on the next possession

2nd Quarter
- Amir puts back a missed Barbosa layup
- Sonny fumbles the ball out of bounds, fml
- Kleiza gets in the post and hit s a turn around hook
- Weems turns the ball over again
- Raptors only scoring off of one on one play, no ball rotation, no sharing, nothing
- Suns run back the made Jack layup for a layup
- Kleiza answers with a three, cust lead to 6
- Dragic runs it back for a layup
- Weems penetrates and kicks to an open jack for three
- Barbosa recovers Jack’s bad pass, and finds Johnson under the rim for a dunk
- Jack gets caught in the pain and turns it over
- Bargnani and Caldeorn return to the game, and the defense falls apart rapidly (4min mark or so)
- Evans strips Clark sending Barbosa on the break who hits the layup
- Weems with another bad shot, but Amir is under the rim to clean up his mess
- Calderon hits a LONG two with his foot on the line in transition
- DeRozan gets the ball to Amir on the break for a ridiculous dunk
- Raptors play aggressively in the 2nd quarter cutting the lead to 2 with some aggressive play from the bench. Jack and Amir need more playing time

> terrible transition defense, suns running everything back at the raptors in the 1st quarter to build a large lead
> bargnani got going early, but raptors didn’t look for him enough when he was hot
> calderon just garbage, jack needs more playing time
> end the 3rd quarter on a big run

3rd Quarter
- DeRozan continuing to get into the lane, hits floater after taking the contact
- Evans finds Kleiza in the paint for a jumper
- DeRozan loses J-Rich who sticks a three
- Andrea answers with a three
- Calderon starts the break off of Nash turnover, finds Kleiza who hits a three and gives the Raptors a 1 point lead
- Turk hits a three, smiles, lol
- DeRozan with a long two
- Kleiza misses the layup, grabs the loose ball and dunks it, Raps up 5
- DeRozan forces a travel on Lopez (great defensive rotation)
- Nash with a rainbow jumper
- Calderon answers with a jumper
- Barbosa to the rim, Bargnani with a tip (and miss), Johnson with the tip in
- Jack with a steal on Warrick out of the timeout, draws foul and hits both from line, 8pt raptor game
- Jack steals the ball from Dragic, finds Amir in transition for a layup +1 (3 point play)
- Reggie Evans takes Frye off the dribble, apocalypse now
- Amir plays great defense on Warrick, played with feet and not hands (needs more of that to avoid foul trouble)

> Raptors come out from the half with focus and effort, Reggie Evans leading
> 29-14 run from the end of the 2nd quarter into the 3rd quarter
> good things happen when Barbosa gets to the rim, opens space for Amir/Bargs to get in for offensive rebounding
> Amir a beast on the offensive boards

4th Quarter
- Reggie and Amir are all over the place (offensive boards, loose balls)
- Kleiza gets loose under the rim, Jack finds him for a layup +1 (hits it)
- Jack’s jumper from 15ft looks great
- Kleiza curls beautifully off that the sreen for a sweet J #raptors
- the game played out like the first 3 quarters; bench didn’t let up

> maintaining energy levels from the 3rd quarter, Amir and Evans are huge in leading that charge
> 4th quarter was the same as the 3rd, Raptors maintained their energy, aggressiveness and effort and maintained
> give kudos to the bench for not letting up in the 4th; bang up job

Bulls up on Wednesday.

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