Wizards 101, Raptors 104 – Box

Saw the whole thing from start to finish in HD. The only thing better would’ve been to be at the game and judging by the scarcity of the crowd, I’m thinking tickets would’ve been cheap! Sloppy game this one even though the total turnover count was only 29. I’m thinking they need a new stat in the box score called “Feels like TOs” which would work kind of like how they do it with temperature. For example: This game had 29 turnovers but it felt like it had 47. I think there’s an idea here and if I had the time to dive deeper, I might even come up with a formula and call it FLK and apply it not to just TOs but everything. Case in point: Jonas Valanciunas had 8 rebounds with an FLKREB of 26.

People would start having basketball arguments and throwing out FLK stats. Doing comparisons and all between FLKPTS/48 and FLKPTS%. I’m sure Hollinger would extend this thing to make it PERFLKTSeFGOREBDREB%. Next thing you know Wages of Wins will be considering Dominic McGuire the most efficient player in all of basketball based on his FLK/WP48/π. I digress.

Jonas Valanciunas had a nice showing again, this time going against Emeka Okafor who clearly hadn’t read the scouting report. That’s the only explanation I have of him falling for a Jonas pump-fake from 16 feet out which was promptly followed by a rather thunderous dunk in the paint as the help defense was left gaping at Jonas’ athleticism. The young big man even had a couple nice hooks, and as usual, was there to contest everything even if he couldn’t make the play every time. I felt the overall team defense was better when he was on the floor in combination with Bargnani, and the two do seem to be doing the job on defense. The stats might disagree here in terms of +/- or whatever but I’m not Blake so I won’t worry about that.

He did get stripped a few times and you saw them coming every time. He’ll soon learn that he doesn’t have the time to check the seam on the basketball before dribbling, and that pesky NBA guards salivate at the prospect of a 7-footer bringing the ball beneath his waist. It’s like me when I watch a girl in tight pants drop her phone on the subway. Four turnovers for him, including a BS offensive foul. He learned a lot of lessons today, one of them being that Okafor isn’t as good as he might’ve been known to be in Europe.

The other big event of the night was Kyle Lowry getting a start and you immediately saw what kind of point guard he is: Homo sapien, black, 6’0″, 26-year old, right handed…er…I mean, he’s probably the most aggressive point guard we’ve had since T.J Ford, except that he’s stronger, can withstand contact, and can play defense. The other comparison to past PGs you might make is Jarrett Jack, which would’ve been valid if it weren’t for Jarrett Jack only knowing how to barge in to the lane and throw something heavy off the backboard. Lowry’s defense was on display as he pressured the ball often enough before he got tired; he looked for his own shot too and was 0-4 from three, and as is his nature, he tried to get into the paint any chance he got. I cans see this guy fitting into Casey’s plans quite well, and once he gets on the same page as the bigs (lots of missed chances on the interior last night), things will click.

I don’t recall DeMar DeRozan even attempting a jumper in this game. He had made up his mind around 4:30pm today that he just wasn’t going to shoot anything outside of 3 feet and he held true to his word. You could not tempt him to take a jumper even if promised a coupon at the Rail. The PGs looked for him and Bargnani in isolation situations and for the most part something positive came out of every time. DeRozan had 11 points on 5/9 and Bargnani had only 7 on 2/7, yet I felt the latter had a good game. Maybe it’s because he collected 6 rebounds and didn’t leave the duty to Valanciunas every time. Now when Andrea has sub-par game, nobody really notices as much since there’s other things to talk about like Lowry, Valanciunas etc. When they said he’d benefit from playing with Valanciunas, that’s what they meant!

Lucas and Jose played together for a bit, with Jose at the two and that was I’d say one of our weaker stretches defensively. I don’t like the idea, I say we scrap it unless its specific to the situation. The lineup that held their own and I totally didn’t expect them to was Calderon, Kleiza, Anderson, Davis, and Johnson in the second quarter. I honestly couldn’t see how the Wizards didn’t get ahead during that stretch because a) there was zero cohesiveness on offense, b) the Wizards looked much fresher than us, and 3) our FLK TO was 16 in that quarter. Yet, the Wizards had only managed to score two points in the first six minutes.

I’d give credit to Amir Johnson for knocking down his jumpers today, which made up for being bullied on the glass. Thirteen points is sweet output and the other banger bro, Ed Davis, had a cool 8 points and 9 rebounds. Good movement from Ed today and was very active on the glass. The one quality he has is that he’s “slithery”, he can slide off your back and get the rebound around you, he’s got long arms and a good reach so he can make up for poor rebounding position more than others, and when he starts off with good rebounding position, that’s when his FLK DRB% is a 100%.

They say Landry Fields had 15 points on 6-10 shooting, his FLK stats were a lot less and I applaud him for being so stealthily efficient. I can only presume he got his points in the second half on broken plays, transition, and by adjusting the score when nobody was watching. The stat that I look for Landry Fields is from three, which he didn’t attempt any of. I’m already flirting with the idea of using this offense of his as part of the second unit because I have my reservations about that unit’s scoring ability, and maybe a Ross for Fields swap with DeRozan at the three wouldn’t be terrible. Hey, it’s just an idea and it could be a totally brutal one.

“I like him coming off the bench”, is what Sherman Hamilton expounded as Jose nailed a jumper from the left elbow. “I know, dear”, is what I thought as that’s what fans everywhere have been saying for the last 6 years. I’m glad to see our TV analysts are finally coming around to the same opinion. I should really just stop talking about Calderon because he’s consistent in every game and his median performance is a 8 points, 5 assist night. Last night he had 12 and 8, while committing zero turnovers. Lucas got shafted for minutes only getting 12, which he made the most off by registering a team-high +9, and nailing a pretty important three in the fourth. I don’t know how this will shake out, but I do know how it should and I’ve already said that like 10 times this pre-season.

I’d say the Raptors could’ve looked sharper today, they were quite poor defensively in the first half before tightening things up in the second and restricting the Wiz to only 43% for the game. Offensively, they were disjointed in stretches and that’s to be expected given Lowry’s arrival into the lineup. The unforced turnovers are a bit of an issue, but again, that can be attributed to a new guard rotations and how picks are being set by the bigs, and the guards’ reaction to them. It’ll take some time to get on the same page but progress is being made. I’m more impressed by the individual performances of the players than the team as a whole…whatever that means. I enjoyed watching this, that is all.

So, let’s do some one-sentence recaps:

Lowry – Good for someone who hadn’t played at all.

DeRozan – Paint.

Valanciunas – Defensive solid, lessons learned about dribbling.

Fields – Mysterious.

Bargnani – Bargnani.

Davis – Do that every night, eh?

Calderon – Logistical.

Johnson – Production from unexpected areas.

Anderson – Quincy Douby.

Lucas – Still managed to impress in limited minutes.

Kleiza – An old ass uncle.

McGuire – Err…

  • Lorenzo

    **Homo sapien sapien

    • DigBick

      I thought he was straight…

      zing!

    • tankfor2013

      Homo + sapien… ohhhh, I get it. That’s why they’re extinct 😛

  • Cool Mo Dee

    picked up 185 dollar tickets for 40 bucks. scalper asked for 60, i said no. so we flipped a coin, i called heads, got it for 40. 

    good game. solid crowd for preseason. pizza. 
    jonas is nasty. he runs the floor well. hustles to get back on D. this kid is gonna be something for us. 

  • leftovercrack

    It’s going to be an interesting year, at least, seeing what we have in Jonas and Terrence, and hoping that Demar and Ed can break out. Ed’s looked good in the preseason

  • GDWotS

    Look everybody! We have an actual 5! 

    I like his game from what little we’ve seen. I know he’ll still get pushed around a bit and a few bigs are going to steal his lunch money a few nights but I love the drive, the aggression and a few pretty polished moves from a kid. Nice.Oh and when Lowry hits full speed and all the “rust” is off, I think that he will really be the huge difference in this season.

  • Roarque

    Thanks Arse – well written.

  • Lorenzo

    *OFF TOPIC*

    Can someone tell me how to view a really old RR article? It was published on the summer of the 2010/11 season I believe, by Arsenalist. It had something about Kleiza with a mohawk eating children. And then something else about Bargnani changing his name while shaving his head and getting full body tattoos… some funny shit man…

    Help would be appreciated.

  • FAQ

    KYLE “mighty mouse II” LOWRY ….!!!!!!!!

    Still no JELL-OOOOOO ….!!!!!!!!

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!
  • Jebediah

    GO RAPTORS

  • ZZ

    What’s the “errr…” on McGuire for?

    Clutch block at the end.

    • Matt52

       Agreed.  He was a difference maker in his very limited minutes:  oop dunk, nice assist, key block.

  • no disrespect

    did t-ross even play? dont see him in the boxscore

    • K.J.P

      He did not

    • CJT

      sore knee.

  • Kevin

    I had somehow disillusioned myself that Andrea had changed on defence, but he is exactly the same. I would like to do a video breakdown from last night of Andrea hedging HARD and then being way to slow to recover. Somebody else repeatedly got stuck guarding two men and one of them would always score. They did it to him over and over, and now that’s year after year of the same crap. I hope he steps it up when the games matter because I really can’t watch him do that any more. His offence just doesn’t make up for it. 

    • NyAlesund

       You’re right. Sometime I saw AB not supported by a good rotation, but basically he is fault. There is a lot of job to do to see the guys moving on the court correctly.

      AB is injured again. Left calf!!!!
      Unbelievable how that injury (after Jazz) is threatening his career. After 5 months, he got an hit and suddenly he was out of the game.
      This for a damn two games played (for more than 80 minutes) in 24 hours.

      I think it’s time to trade him. If he is not able to play consistently is useless for the team and himself.

      • unknown guest

        Or move him to anchor the 2nd unit with Calderon playing less minutes. Yes, AB would be a very expensive bench player, but it’s better thatn getting either nothing in return or someone elses headache back.

        AB would make a good 6th man and Calderon would be a steady hand that guide the 2nd unit.

        • dreaming

          I want JL3 running the 2nd unit and calderon gone from this team the sooner the better

      • Nilanka15

        I haven’t heard an update, but during the telecast, they referred to the injury as a “contusion” (bruise), which probably means he got kicked or kneed in the calf, as opposed to a muscle strain/tear like last year.  I’m guessing he’ll be fine.

        • NyAlesund

          He said he didin’t practise because of pain on his calf. It was a precaution and expect to play soon. I suppose he won’t to play against Knicks. I hope that everything is ok.

      • pran

        to put it in perspective, didn’t jonas have the same calf injury a weak ago? he looks fine now.   
        Isn’t it a possibility that bargnani just doesn’t have the fitness to play at the high intensity he played at last season? (which he only sustained for a short period)  

        Im just really really really tired of the excuses. Dude is 27, has had as long an offseason as anyone else on the team, when did he say he had completely recovered from his calf injury, back in july? (someone correct me if I am wrong) Can someone give me a solid reason he came into camp so friggin unprepared?   

        and when he was at his best he was dirk nowitzki  lite with worse defensive awareness, and less clutch.     

        NYalesund I think you are on point when you say we need to trade him…. 

        • Kdel

          trade him!!!are you guys sick! this is just preseason… tell me which other PF out there that had a more reliable than brags…some of u so call raptor fans

          • NyAlesund

            I like Andrea, believe me, but I don’t understand what happening to him. I whatched the game on-demand and when he left the game he was limping a little bit. I know we are in pre-season but I didn’t expect the problem recurred again. Unfortunately AB on the bench is not the best case scenario if we want to get the PO spot.

            • Nilanka15

              He’s listed as “day-to-day”.  It’s not the same injury.  He’ll be fine.

        • FAQ

          Put yourself in Barg’s shoes and have some empathy for his situation.

          The Ratpors will not be a playoff team during the term of his contract.  He most certainly doesn’t want to cripple himself as his career is coming to an end. His motivation must be somewhat affected by the failure of the Raptors to improve with new players around him… just like Bosh encountered.

          I suspect he is amenable to coming off the bench for short p.t. and hopefully for game impact. Meanwhile he collects his $$$$… and if they want to trade him so be it.

          Hey… and remember, he’s Eyetalian…!!!

    • Nilanka15

      At the very least, his 1-on-1 defence was respectable.

  • 511

    So … anyone still talkin about the other day’s missed-pick-topic … when we got this guy? gtfo … is all I got to say. I’ll go with the Raptor. Every day. Twice on Sunday. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkyc68TNrqU&feature=youtu.be  

  • mountio

    I know it was against a shitty wiz team .. but it was refreshing to have some new faces down the stretch .. and you know what .. they did pretty well. Lowry was very good .. getting to the hoop or getting fouled. Fields even had a nice move for a mid range J. Jonas got involved too.
    We have been so lost at the end of games over the last few years .. it was nice to see some new blood. We had one brutal possession (which like 55 seconds left, basically a shot clock violation) – but other than that, a very solid finish to the game.
    Hopefully fields can keep this up .. I dont think hes gonna be a good shooter for us .. but this game showed a nice mix of getting to the hoop and mid range game..

    • Nilanka15

      Agreed on Fields.  His jumper doesn’t just look off, it looks downright broken.  Even his free throws look flat.  He’ll have to make his living on transition.

    • FAQ

      Do you see this current Raptor team only for entertainment value.. or do you delude, fantacize, masturbate, and pray that they make the playoffs with a roster that obviously hasn’t jelled yet, and may never??

      • CJT

        are talking about the Knicks?

      • mountio

        ummmmm .. not sure how to answer that. Even the weirdest of weirdos I dont think would say yes to the later .. would they?
        I like watching ball. The raps are my team. I split seasons tickets every year. I want to have playoff bball back in TO, mostly so the games are enjoyable for me to watch / attend. I hope my son doesnt have to suffer through the shit ball that I have had to over the last 5-10 years. Interpet that as you like …   

  • Daniel

    Yup, Calderon is a backup. The guy with the best Pure Point Rating last year in the entire NBA, ranked in the first 5 in Assists/game and 1st or 2nd in Ass/TO, and the highest WP48 produced since Bosh left. I’ll call him “the other guy” as he has become a ghost for the Raptors management, media and fans. Well, he is the scapegoat for a shitty team and a white European to boot. I lost my marbles when I heard Lowry on TSN saying that the Raptors have a lot of “foreigners”. The idiot probably doesn’t know that Toronto is in Canada and Americans are “foreigners” as well. On the other hand, the guy who ended every freaking season of his career as a backup is considered the damn saviour. Washington without Wall and Nene scored 101 points on us? Well, we saw “flashes” of what Lowry can do on defense. He has no vision and barge into people like Jack or Bayless? Well, he “atacks” the basket as if this is not the role of the wings and the bigs. The freaking AJ Price scored 8 consecutive points in the 3rd Quarter? Crickets silence…Or maybe, “well, at least he’s not Jose Calderon”.
    This fanbase had the blessing of a guy who can dish 8 assists with his guys closed on a challenged offensive team. I’ll follow the evolution of the fanbase realizing that Lowry doesn’t change anything for this team for 2 reasons: first, he’s just an average player. Second, the problems in this team start at the top and no one player can change everything.  

    • Dcoghina

      Sorry, I meant with “his eyes closed”.

    • mountio

      Im not saying Lowry is perfect – but watch the posessions down the stretch. He got to the hoop for a layup (last time Jose did this was a decade ago) and he got fouled and went to the line. He puts pressure on the other teams defense. Jose, on the other hand .. dribbles around the outside and hopes an opening to appear (through pick n roll or otherwise). If it doesnt, he reverses the ball to another guy on the wing, whos not in a position to score. That doesnt cut it when you need hoops.
      Jose is a nice, efficient player, who doesnt screw up much and usually makes the high quality pass. But, he does not create open shots for his teamates. Its early days, but it looks like Lowry does. There is a HUGE difference there.

    • unknown guest

      I agree/understand. Jose’s injury rate + age + defensive liabilities are a sore point for a many fans who enjoy the quick, score first, active, uptempo PGs.

      Nash might be the only pass 1st PG in recent memory to be successful.If Jose does get traded, I hope it will be to a slow 1/2-court based team where he can utilize his skill taking care of the ball and setting up teammates.

      On the flip-side, if we end up keeping him, I hope he can realize how valuable he is when he looks to score off the bench and in leading the 2nd unit as an efficient ball-handler who is not turn-over prone.

    • Statement

      Daniel, I agree with you that Calderon gets the shaft a lot of the time.

      For my money, he is one of the best all-around offensive players in the league (8.5 assists/game with a shit team, who does that outside of Calderon, Nash and Paul?)

      But his defense is seriously lacking.  I’ve never really noticed, because he has always been our starter (for damn good reason), but there is a reason he, and not Lucas, was pulled from the game at the end.  We needed stops and Calderon was getting abused.

      It’s early days, but IMHO Calderon looks to be just as good, if not better, than Lowry on offense, but a MUCH worse on defense.  So on net, Lowry is a larger plus.

      According to ASPM (advanced statistical plus/minus…more stats) Lowry had a 2.59 ASPM last year while Calderon had a 1.10 with a 1.3 point discrepency in favour of Lowry due to defense

      http://godismyjudgeok.com/DStats/aspm-and-vorp/2012-aspm/

      Still, both are good players and Calderon gets dissed way to much, in fact, he’s probably my favorite Raptor of all time.

      • FAQ

        During the game when Jose was on with Lucas, one of the announcers opined that Jose could be an effective 2 for scoring punch.. like at the end of a game when the Raps are down.  Jose looks like a potent SG scorer and maybe that will be his function coming off the bench.

        I suspect BC is expecting that playoff teams will desperately need somebody like Jose come February trade deadline.  Bye bye Hosay …!!!!

  • Chris

    How was JV’s dunk NOT in the top 10 yesterday?!?!?!!?

  • Chris

    Great article flare as always Arse

    “It’s like me when I watch a girl in tight pants drop her phone on the subway.”

    LOL didnt see that one coming

  • Nilanka15

    Two days in a row with a “Rail” reference.  Hahaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  • Nilanka15

    Jonas looked pretty solid last night.  We can definitely see the potential.  Aside from the hustle and contested shots, he has a pretty soft touch around the hoop, and a nice 10-12 foot jumper.

    Defensively, he seemed to give up deep post position too much for my liking.  But ‘m sure he’ll improve on that over time.

  • Nilanka15

    Was that Amir Johnson or Reggie Miller?!?!?

    • Statement

      It was Reggae Even

      • Nilanka15

        lol, whatever happened to Overeem???  I’m guessing it was Julian Wright screwing with us due to the immense boredom from never seen the court.

        • Statement

          I don’t think Julian Wright was that much of a genius.

        • Statement

          Also, I don’t know what happened to Overeem (hopefully nothing bad), but that guy was money…..he loved Zarbs (Mike Fratello’s) hair.

          • j bean

            He’s on the Bobcat’s blogs. He loves Kemba.

    • Miska Vlasics

      I bought a lottery ticket shortly after he hit his 3rd straight.

  • Nilanka15

    With Lowry in town, we finally have a legit perimeter player to run plays through in crunch time.  With all due respect to Bargnani, he wasn’t the type to give the ball to in the dying seconds of a game and be asked to win us a game (unless he’s on the receiving end of a drive-and-kick).  This should help us win some of those nail-biters we couldn’t pull out last year.

    • sleepz

      It’s Lowry’s team.

      It will be interesting to see how he distributes the ball this year and who gets the touches.

      • FAQ

        He better practice his lob passing to Twin Towers Bargs and JonasV..!!!

    • mountio

      Totally agree. As much of an AB apologist as I have been – there is no denying that he just hasnt got it done down the stretch. Im still convinced that our best option, when we need a hoop in the clutch is to post up AB. He should score or get fouled 80% of the time. BUT (and its a huge but), this almost never happened. Whether its him being lazy or the plays we called, it would be AB 20 feet from the hoop. In that case, Ill take Lowry beating his man off the dribble and either scoring / getting fouled at the hoop or finding an open man. Ill take that all day every day.

  • j bean

    There was talk here about the Raptors finishing behind Washington because of the vast improvement they made to their front court. The Raptors abused them in the paint. JV loves the game and it shows. He’s gonna get better and better. 
    With the game on the line Lowry is all business, nails his FTs and is sending out the winning vibe to his team. 
    How can you not like LF’S sweet touch at the hoop to go with a solid game at the other end. When his jumper starts to drop he’ll be the strongest 3 they’ve had for a long time. 
    Not bad for a bunch of new guys!  

    • Nilanka15

      Difficult to judge the Wizards while missing their 2 best players.

      • j bean

        Nene is already on the downward side of a nice career that never developed offensively.  When you’re a big and your knees go that many times you’re probably on your last deal. Okafor isn’t a great rebounder or a big scorer just a nice solid big without the wow factor. Not an awesome front court.
        Even with Wall they don’t have enough fire power.

      • sleepz

        Agreed. Wall is going to have a big year.

        Although Nene is a vet and has been productive for most of his career he is going to have problems dealing with that #17 in the future who is all arms and activity down low.

        It is incredibly early but I have been very impressed with JV, most specifically in being physical but playing with smarts so as not to take a bunch of bad fouls.