The Raptors finally broke out of their 0-for-showing with Bargnani injured this season, and got a win with the franchise on the sidelines. Individual plays and levels of effort aside, you have to appreciate this one; the Raptors never lost a quarter, and dictated the flow and tempo throughout. In fact, had it not been for early solid free-throw shooting in the first half, and some above average offensive rebounding by the Nets, this would have been one of those games where a Nets blogger’s post-game would have been a picture of tightly curled turd on the Nets logo.

An aside to the win, the Raptors managed 94 points without Bargnani and Barbosa. Granted some of that has to do with Jersey’s lack of…everything, but the Raptors did as good a good as job as possible with defensive rotations and assignments that you could expect. I mean, Deron Williams dropped 24 points, but it took him 20 shots (3-10 3FG), and some heroic off the ball movement to get good looks at the rim.

Case in point, in the 2nd quarter, Williams started at the top of the arc, ran around the low block, brushed past two low screens, came around to the top of the arc, caught and shot the ball with Bayless on his ass. He hit the three (without as much space as you’d think), but the point is he wasn’t blowing by pylons to get his baskets. He’s the type of player that can make those kind of plays happen, the rest of the team couldn’t and caved to the Raptor defense.

I like Calderon and Bayless starting in the back-court together. As much as Bayless offends me with his decision making, when he doesn’t have to be the floor general, he makes things happen. He also takes pressure off Jose to cover the likes of Deron Williams. I’d like to explore a lineup of Calderon, Bayless, JJ, Bargnani and Amir with DeRozan, Kleiza and Davis as the first three off the bench for a few games. Bayless attacks the paint off the bounce as much as possible, something DeRozan and his new-found love for the jumper should be doing. It gives a bit more balance, which takes me to DeMar…

…I wasn’t that impressed with DeRozan’s game last night. Sure, 27pts on 8-12FG 11-16FT looks great on the boxscore, but it didn’t sit right with me. Three times in the first half, DeRozan pulled up on the break and popped (missed) a jumper when he could have made a move to the basket and either converted or drew a foul. His 27 should have been at least 30. The second problem I had was 17 of 27 came in the second half with the Nets thinking about dinner and watching Californication.

The saving grace of his second half “dominance” was that he got to the line 12 times and hit 9 of them. Had they all been jumpers, I guarantee we would have been watching him shoot jumpers at an even more alarming rate for the rest of the season. Not sure if it’s just me or is his development looking a bit like VC’s? He doesn’t have the same finish Carter had at this stage of his career, but we watched VC go from a guy who wanted to break the backboard, to the POS jump shooter he became. I’m way to lazy to pull stats on this (maybe Liston can put something for statophile), but I’ve noticed myself sighing with more regularity that he’s shooting instead of driving. I can live with the shooting if it continues to improve, but only if he gets to the line more; 4 times a game is half of what of what he should be doing.

Photo Credit: James Herbert via Twitter

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  • Ppellico

    you just can’t…with this team…say what is your starting unit or the first off the benck without knowing who is the opposition.
    Casey impressed me with his change because of his matchup planning.
    Ditto for next game.
    Who they have inside will make the big decsion.

    • What the


  • AB7.38pt.on.CB4

    “…I wasn’t that impressed with DeRozan’s game last night”.
    WTF. The kid had 16ft.16 fucking FT.i’m happy if he goes for 8ft all his future career. He just worked on D taking charges and was efficient OFF.

    • Sam Holako

      I gave him a lot of credit for getting to the line, but you have to temper the adoration for his achievement with the fact that most of the free throws came in the second half with the nets having already given up. 

  • What the

    buddy one thing you need to realize and it’s this Demar Derozan will never come off the  bench for the Raptor so you all need to stop talking about him coming off the bench any coach that tries this will be release form his coaching duty(JT/BC) so deal with it.

  • Brian B

    Bayless & JC as starting back court only works against teams with weak two guards, like NJ- if Bayless is “covering” JC’s defensive lack, how can JC guard a good two? And Bayless is too small. Ray Allen, Joe Johnson, DWade, Rip.

    Ppellico called it- situational lineups. Casey deserves props.

    I was pleased to see DD rediscover penetration and getting to the rim. He took charges. Sure, he wasn’t perfect, but he was a key contributor.

  • Nilanka15

    It’s nice to see DeRozan and Bayless play well….but considering New Jersey was our opposition, I’m going to hold off from getting too excited about the “progress”.

  • Jeff

    DeRozan can score 50 wih 30 free throws and you will still probably find a way to complain.

    • Sam Holako

      I promise I wont complain if he scores 50 off of 30 free throws.

  • The Fox

    To be clear, Derozan never attacks the glass at 3 years in to his career while Vince was doing for at least his first 4 years. I can’t see Demar becoming anything more than he already is.  we have to accept that.

    • sleepz

      I actually think it’s a little bit unfair to even compare Demar to Carter who many people forget was a killer for most (subtract that last year) of his time in a Raps uniform.

      The Raps don’t have a player on their team right now that can compare to Vince in his day.

      • Nilanka15

        There aren’t too many players in the entire league, who can compare to Vince in 1999-2001

        • 2damkule

          my thoughts exactly.  it doesn’t excuse DD, but it seems that the expectations are unreasonably high, simply because VC was a raptor.  i think you could make an argument that there really aren’t any (or at least more than a handful) of 2’s/3’s that go to the rim like vince did in his heyday. 

          FWIW – it’s a jump-shooting league.  complaining about DD not driving enough stem, IMO, more from the fact that he’s an inconsistent shooter (to put it kindly).  if he was hitting his jumpers, it wouldn’t be an issue (or, it wouldn’t be as big an issue).

        • Copywryter

          Agreed. Early-years VC was one of the best finishers of his generation. What his first step couldn’t accomplish he pulled off with either big ups or crazy english.

          Demar’s eurostep draws nearly as many charges as fouls. Just not a reasonable comparison.

  • Chrish Boss

    I didn’t watch the game.  Can someone tell me the outcome of that play in the picture above? lol please be something good….

    • cesco

      Amir was yelling ‘ I am alone under the basket , please , please some one pass me the ball ‘ . I believe it was JJ who finally heard him .

    • What the

      i saw the game and i can tell you one thing if Calderon had the ball he still would be dribbling

      • 2damkule


  • 2damkule


  • 2damkule

    first off, it was nice to see them play 4 quarters.  the attention to D, effort & energy level were excellent throughout.  granted, they probably had a bit of an extra bounce knowing they were heading home after the game, but still, nice way to end the road trip.

    secondly…how sad is it that this was the first time the franchise has ‘won’ a 5-game road trip in a decade?  and even sadder…that ‘winning’ means going 3-2.  ah well.

    lastly (almost)…yes, it was the nets, but these nets just beat the cavs, who just beat the celts, who beat the magic, who…ah, never mind.  point is, you can only play the team you’re scheduled against, so diminishing (or attempting to diminish) solid, good play because you don’t think the opponent is any good just seems lazy (and last i checked, the raps have been pretty gawd-awful – perhaps worst in the L – lately without bargs, and they were without LB too, so…).  we’ve crushed DD all season for his passivity, and labeled him a soft jump-shooter, and yeah, he probably does need to get to the rim (& finish better) more often.  but someone (liston?) tweeted is TS% from last night…something around 68%.  not too shabby.

    question (serious): who’d the nets have on DD for the bulk of the game?  i assumed it was stevenson, who i thought was a pretty good defender.

    lastly (really): i was really beginning to wonder about casey & his game prep.  for the stretch that bargs was out, the raps had started out horrifically in the 1st Q, and as much as anyone is loathe to question (let alone criticize) casey, a team that routinely starts games seemingly unprepared is usually the sign of poor coaching.  i had assumed this was more a ‘bargnani affect,’ but in the 2 games he played, they still started out like shyte.  it was nice to see a return to normalcy/competence last night, but it’s something to keep an eye on.  at some point, it falls on the coach…

    • Brian B

      Stevenson only played 12 minutes. NJ went with a revolving door of shooters after that. Showed zone some too. So DD got matched up mostly with the immortal Larry Owens, the undersized Marshon Brooks, and the defensively challenged Anthony Morrow. Probably a few plays with Farmar or Gaines as well. And though these may not be great defenders, the key is that the Rap, and DD took advantage of the mismatches.

      • 2damkule

        thanks, that’s what i thought, but to be honest, i wasn’t paying too much attention.

  • 2damkule

    and by some miracle, it was even converted…

  • Akash_singh

    I stopped reading after you started shitting on demar….obvious attempt to stir shit up for no reason

    • Copywryter

      Did you watch the game or just read the box score? I watched it and I tend to agree with Sam.

      • Nilanka15

        Yup, me too.

      • Akash_singh

        your expectations are too high, the guy has been struggling all season, and played a lot better than he has in forever, by bringing more energy and hustle to the court.  Derozan style of play hasn’t changed since the beginning of last year, for you to expect him to suddenly play differently, and then be dissapointed even though he got results is borderline retarded. (directed @ halako as well) 

        • Copywryter

          My expectations aren’t high for DD and never have been. They are somewhere in the middle, as appropriate for his skill level. He’s mapping out to be a serviceable NBA player, possibly a starter, probably not an all-star. I’m not disappointed with his results, I’m just suggesting that many *many* NBAers can give you his stat line from last night on any given evening against a talentless team that came out flat (while still managing to contribute little) 

          Demar has never been a good man (or help) defender or rebounder and doesn’t score well in the intangibles category. Offensively, he can’t create his own shot (admittedly rare in this league) and doesn’t have great range. Not a great finisher, either. 

          If I’m disappointed, it’s in homer fanboys who evaluate him according to a dunk contest three years ago and continue to champion a player who isn’t fundamentally good simply because he wears our uniform.

  • WillFerell

    Derozan is better at Penetrating now … that Sonny Weems is back in Toronto

  • What the

    Demar i said 2 baskets per 1/4 and a couple times to the line plus some defence gives you 20 points as a starter i didn’t mean for you to go into beast mode on them if you get this club to 500 before the all-star games you will get an invite if no invite you’ll make the 8th seed in the playoffs and make your coach the COY

  • 511

    I like Bayless’ edgy attitude. Not so crazy for it when he’s off his game but otherwise, like last night, I think he and it can be a real plus for the team. No idea if management passing-for-the-moment on that contract day/thing for his draft class that happened late last week had an effect of some sort on him, but … Bayless is one of those guys – I like to think – that is smart enough to understand what it is he has to get better at to improve his stature in this league as well as the athletic ability to then go out and get it done. I think there’s reason to be hopeful for Jerryd Bayless. 

    • 2damkule

      agree.  it’s weird how ‘playing well’ or even just ‘hitting shots’ makes a lot of things that would otherwise be incredibly irritating much more palatable….

  • LeeZ

    Calfornicatio??? Huh? Has the new season started already? Why didn’t anyone tell me!

    • voy

      ahh, just read bukowski.  basically the same thing and you dont have to deal with the annoying baldheaded guy on the show.

  • Buschfire

    season 5 episode 4 was last night…

  • Copywryter

    Great defensive effort from Bayless tonight. Now if only he could drive “and” kick. Given his skillset and mindset he’s much better at the 2.

  • Balls of Steel

    I’m racking my brains about Demar’s game and this just dawned on me: if DeRozan just hung around Ron Jeremy, I guarantee you that his penetration skills will improve and he will likely repeat last night’s performance (pun intended).

    • cesco

      He does not need Jeremy as a teacher , he should read Casanova memoirs who used his guile , wits and passion to conquer . DD is still a little bit short on passion and intelligence , of course technique is important but not as important as the other ingredients .

      • nottheendoftheworld

        Wow, you should write for ESPN, or perhaps coach. I’ve never read anything of this depth or import on the other teams’ sites.

  • Ppellico

    One thing nobody said
    about the game….

    I was gassed to see that
    big mouth self-lover DW lose!

    I will never forgive him
    for the way he treated one of my fav coaches (and being a long time bulls
    lover) over in Utah!

    These egos just need to
    spend some time in limbo and purgatory(?) for awhile!!!

  • nba

    Starting Bayless at the 2 is an awful awful idea. 

  • gunu

    I am so much impressed after seeing your gives us knowledge so I just wanna say its knowledgeable.