We’re trying something a little new with the quick reaction today. I was tweeting from the ESPN Daily Dime accounts during the game, and submitted the following five 35-word chunks after the buzzer for inclusion in tomorrow’s Daily Dime. I’ll share them below and add some thoughts at the end. Arse will check in tomorrow morning with longer form thoughts.
Kyle Lowry. While he didn’t score in the fourth he kept the Raptors’ heads above water late in the second and in the third. He lead the teams in points, rebounds and assists with 22-7-5.
That was…sloppy. The Timberwolves turned the ball over 24 times for 32 points and had a -9 offensive rebounding margin, giving the Raptors far too many possessions.
Alan Anderson, who earned a contract with a 17-game tryout at the end of last year, has emerged as the first wing off the bench. He scored 18 points, 10 in the fourth quarter.
Andrea Bargnani shot just 4-of-16, continuing an ugly start to the season that has him at 33% shooting through three games. His only other appearance in the box score was a lone rebound.
Both teams employed their second units to start the fourth quarter, where Toronto extended their lead from six to 13 over a five-minute span with an 11-4 run. The Wolves went 1-for-6 with three turnovers.
The Raptors played a pretty good game, although their defense wasn’t quite where you’d like to see it. They did force the 24 turnovers, but a good number of those were unforced errors on the part of the Wolves. The offense clicked and the guards in particular played aggressive and played well.
Lowry – see above, played another great game and deferred in the fourth since others were hot. Leads the team in rebounds with 22 through three games, which is a testament to him but an indictment of our bigs.
DeRozan – another strong, aggressive game for DeRozan, who finished with 22 points and seven boards. He’s taken 16 free throws through three games and surprisingly has 15 rebounds, too.
Fields – another near-zero offensively but his work on defense forced multiple turnovers. All the hustle in the world isn’t going to keep people from turning on him if he doesn’t start scoring a bit, though.
Bargnani – see above, a terrible game for Bargs. Kirilenko is a tough defender but having no assists, steals or blocks and just a single rebound in 24 minutes is unacceptable, even for him.
Valanciunas – another tough test with the bull Pekovic, but Valanciunas held his own. He took a shot in the chops for a charge drawn, which was nice to see, and he had a 4-4-2 line with a block, making up for some poor shooting (2/8).
Anderson – see above, this was probably Anderson’s best game. He still takes too many shots given his role in my mind, but tonight he was effective. Single game plus-minuses are misleading but Double-A was a ridiculous +20 in 31 minutes, if you care.
Davis – Davis missed an easy dunk and an easy layup he should have dunked, but was otherwise decent with six points and seven rebounds. That kind of softness around the rim costs the team easy buckets, though, and from a selfish perspective, takes away easy points Davis could be adding to his stat line (read: it costs him money).
Johnson – Amir’s wet jumper hit for another long two tonight, and it appears 18-feet is now comfortably within his range. Amir had 9-5-3-2-1 but even that versatile line doesn’t do his game justice, as he was also a very active defender.
Calderon – Jose played just 14 minutes, chipping in seven points and three dimes while avoiding getting torched on defense, thanks to J.J. Barea leaving the game early with a concussion. Having Lowry and Lucas means Calderon won’t have to play heavy minutes on the business end of back-to-backs, which should keep him fresh through the season.
Ross – Ross got on the board with his first career points, a nice long two off the dribble. It was his only hit in four tries in what was another difficult game for him. He picked up three fouls in just five minutes in the first half and only got in for garbage time after that.
Lucas – Lucas played just six minutes since the Wolves were a little too big to run two point-guards against. He missed his only shot and I almost missed that he was in the game.
McGuire – played two minutes of garbage time, blocking a shot. Hooray!
Gray – no minutes. Message heard, I hope. #TeamAnti-Gray
Kleiza – out with a family matter. Hope all is OK.
Acy – inactive but looked fresh.