Rockets 88, Raptors 85

The Raptors dug themselves a hole with a dismal first quarter, made a comeback and lost a close game to a good team. Imagine that.

You know by now that DeMar DeRozan tweeted his displeasure with not playing in the fourth quarter. I’d have been mad, too. DeRozan scored 10 of his 17 in the third, with several drives to the basket, a sweet turnaround over Chandler Parsons, and this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc4DSudiTxM

Still, that’s not how you handle being benched and DeRozan knows it. It was out of character, he deleted it pretty quickly and I’m sure an apology is forthcoming.

I did find his fourth quarter absence strange, but it didn’t stand out that much. Jose Calderon’s late-game benching was more noticeable because it meant crunch-time Anthony Carter and I am just not used to the concept of crunch-time Anthony Carter. If it was me, I’d have put DeRozan back in midway through the quarter, but it’s impossible to know how that would have affected the game. If you criticize Casey for the way this was handled, be aware that the Carter-Barbosa-Johnson-Kleiza-Johnson lineup went on a 6-0 run in a minute and a half to get within two with just over three minutes to play. Do you change things up at that point? Tough call.

I’d also like to remind people that Leandro Barbosa is on the trading block and potential suitors would like to see him play 25 minutes a game.

The good, aside from DeRozan’s third? Ed Davis had FIFTEEN REBOUNDS. As mentioned a million times on the broadcast, he was caught way out of position against Samuel Dalembert on his first possession and committed a silly foul. After that, he was solid. Only five points, but that isn’t what Casey is most concerned about. It’s about focus and effort with Davis and he came through. I’d still like to see him set better screens, though.

Other positives: Jamaal Magloire was a nice interior presence (seriously) and James Johnson came through with his third straight productive all-around game. Encouraging!

The bad? Turnovers. Six after one, 11 at the half, 15 in the game, many of them unforced. You know why Carter was playing late and not Jerryd Bayless? Bayless coughed it up five times and looked even less point guardy than normal. Also, nobody could hit a three, Linas Kleiza was short on everything, and unsurprisingly no one could slow down Kyle Lowry.

All in all, not a bad effort. The Raptors contained Luis Scola and Kevin Martin, forcing a top-10 offensive team into an ugly game. As usual, they fouled a ton (23), but gave up few points in the paint (22). Make a couple of threes, hold onto the ball a bit better, and you have a road win. Let’s see if they can do that in New Orleans tonight.

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