Quick Reaction: Raptors 82, Pistons 75

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”

Detroit Pistons 75 Final
Recap | Box Score
82 Toronto Raptors
Andrea Bargnani, F 24 MIN | 1-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -5

This guy loves his long twos. Hesitant whenever he was out there, nary an impact. He’s got to turn things around if he’s ever to make the Hall of Fame. He did actually move better on defense and seemed to be on the same page as Jonas in terms of defense. Now the PGs got to be on the same page.

Jonas Valanciunas, C 29 MIN | 4-7 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -2

That’s more like it! Looking forward to seeing him bust his ass every night on both ends of the floor. Great rolls all night where he finished at the rim when he had plenty of work to do after the catch. Ran the floor well and got back on D to deny some hoops – the defense clearly thinks about him when he’s in there. Conditioning looked much better, and so was that sweeeet hook late on. Bonus points for playing the pick ‘n roll on defense so well when he was matched up against the guards.

Jose Calderon, G 14 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 PTS | -6

Tight hamstring, tighter wife. Missed all three shots and wasn’t able to fire up the offense like he did in the last game. The hamstring bothered him right from the start and good thing Casey shut him down. Cause for concern? Hell no, we got Lucas.

DeMar DeRozan, G 21 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-5 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -4

I’m going to totally ignore the five turnovers, the rejection at the rim and all those times he couldn’t finish in traffic and focus on the four made mid-range jumpers. That’s his game, that’s what he’s got to hone, because that’s what’s going to get him paid. His box score line is going to be very predictable this season. He’ll probably be the guy who gets to the line the most, and the only question is whether he’ll shoot close to .500 or not. 42% won’t cut it.

Landry Fields, G 23 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -6

A bit concerned that he’s missing some good looks from three, so far it’s a continuation of his second year more than a reversion to his first. The defensive focus was better than in Detroit and he was bothered enough to pick up three fouls. Despite the sub-par production, you can see that he’s going to get consistent minutes all season because the Raptors don’t really have another three.

Alan Anderson, F 27 MIN | 2-4 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | +11

A tidy game, good defense right from the start, nothing was forced and he gave what Casey expects of him. Couple of turnovers, rather unforced, was the only blemish in his game.

Ed Davis, F 18 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +11

Got his chance against a relatively Drummond-free Detroit bench and made the most of it. Activity around the rim will lead to points and if he can hit those little 2-6 foot shots, he’s going to be a contributor. He’s an above-average rebounder at his position, but what will get him minutes on this team is if he can bring something it on offense.

Linas Kleiza, F 6 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +1

Got some burn in the fourth and played like it was Game 7 of the NBA finals. Keep translating shit for Jonas, that’s his main job. A+ in my books.

Aaron Gray, C 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +3

Another guy who got 4Q-only burn. In the regular season that means you’re special, in the pre-season it means you’re “special”. Did you see that reverse layup on that cut to the rim?

Amir Johnson, C 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +6

I’d say he was more interested in this game than the last, and the activity on defense was great. Actually, for a stretch there in the first half he was DPOY. Casey cut his minutes which was a wise decision because he’s always been a slow starter so there’s no need to push him.

Terrence Ross, G 25 MIN | 1-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | +13

Lots of useless dribbles and pull-ups that either fell well short or got blocked. Focusing on the spot-up shooting would be wiser. Did hit a key jumper late on. Not a good game overall.

Jerel McNeal, G 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -1

He came, he saw, he passed up an open shot to get an assist.

John Lucas, G 29 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 8 AST | 9 PTS | +14

Casey called him the “spirit of our team”. Prediction: he’ll be the official backup point guard by December. The guy is crafty, can obviously score, and reminds me of a poor man’s Nick Van Exel. I like how he does what he does without looking like a douchebag.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Casey preached defense before the game and that’s what we saw. The lethargy of the first quarter in Detroit was wrought out of the system and replaced with a focus that needs to be present in every game for 42 out of 48 minutes if this team is to do anything close to respectable.
  2. Valanciunas’ defensive energy and concentration does not dip. I know it’s only two games but this guy hasn’t “switched off” on defense for a second in the two games I’ve seen.
  3. The guards and bigs aren’t really on the same page, and you notice that with bad entry passes, missed lobs, broken high-screens etc. I’d say that’s priority #1 on offense for the rest of the season.
  4. Maggette, Villanueva, and Jerebko did not play. Drummond only got 6 minutes. Those guys had given us some trouble in Detroit.
  5. Turnovers everywhere – 18 by Toronto, 22 by Detroit. The rebounding was much better and the Raptors were only -4 overall.
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