|Linas Kleiza, SF 15 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -3
Provided a brief spark in the third in a one-on-one battle with Beasley. Other than that, not much.
|Andrea Bargnani, C 27 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -8
Terrible offensive game where he was completely uninterested in the proceedings, and got rightfully yanked by Casey. In the surprising absence of Jonas Valanciunas, stepped in to provide some defense late on, including a good set against Scola and one against Dragic.
|Jonas Valanciunas, C 17 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -7
No idea why he didn’t play a single minute in the fourth quarter, which is probably the main reason this game was even close. Could’ve really helped in those offensive boards Phoenix grabbed. Casey has a lot of explaining to do to play the ineffective Bargnani ahead of Valanciunas who was giving everything.
|Kyle Lowry, PG 24 MIN | 5-9 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | -7
Did he get burned by Dragic consistently and even by Brown? Did he have a key turnover when he threw the ball in the first row? Did he have a potentially big missed FT late? Yes, but he also hit some big shots including one at the end of the half which swung some momentum, and paired well with DeRozan to counter Phoenix’s punches. Along with Calderon, matched Phoenix’s energy
|DeMar DeRozan, SG 35 MIN | 8-18 FG | 7-9 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 23 PTS | -3
Sole reason this was even close in the first half. Taking it to the rim was the first option, which was nicely supplemented by the jumper. Hit the glass hard as well, and let it not be said that he took even a single minute off in this game.
|Ed Davis, PF 21 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | +12
His introduction in the first quarter when he replaced Bargnani might have saved this game. The Raptors were atrocious on defense, especially defending backdoor cuts and Phoenix’s movement stemming from the high-post. Davis came in and stabilized matters immediately by playing some big minutes.
|Amir Johnson, PF 31 MIN | 7-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | +11
I hate that jumper, but if it’s going in I’ll take it. After an ugly airball to start the evening, he only missed one of his jumpers and even provided a bit of defense against Scola. Folks, this was his good game for the next two weeks so bask in its glow whilst you can.
|Jose Calderon, PG 24 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 9 AST | 13 PTS | +11
Hit massive shots late on and matched Phoenix’s guard play by pushing the tempo, and supplying the offense through three big threes. The defense was awful, but on this night the offense made up for it.
|Terrence Ross, SG 14 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +2
Nice quickness on the drive again. Had some trouble against the “explosiveness” of the Phoenix guards, which was surprising. All in all, though, I felt he contributed more than his line shows.
|Mickael Pietrus, SG 32 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +12
Big minutes in his debut, didn’t do much of substance really but still managed to look 10 times better than McGuire. Go figure.
Five Things We Saw
- Poor defense for the entire first quarter. It had to have brought Casey to tears on the inside. The way Phoenix was ripping us apart with quick passes was embarrassing.
- Dragic was a big problem for the Raptors and they countered it in the good ‘ol best defense is a great offense approach by going at him.
- A very entertaining game played at a prodigious pace that could’ve gone either way, and the Raptors’ persistence to take the ball to the rim got them the W.
- Raptors were 8-14 from three. I’ve said this a few times now, if we can improve our three-point shooting, it changes the entire complexion of our offensive threat as it leaves tons of space for our bigs (who are often on the perimeter) to drive right down the middle as they did today.
- Good defense by Bargnani late on, how he found the motivation to give a shit after his first quarter performance is a subject of research.
- Raptors FINALLY-FINALLY Sign Pietrus; Internets Rejoice!
- Morning Coffee: December 1st Edition