cavsraps
Toronto Raptors 110 Final
Recap | Box Score
113 Denver Nuggets
Andrea Bargnani, C 40 MIN | 10-20 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 23 PTS | +7

The only guy who could take advantage of his matchup. He scored over Faried with ease and bailed the same out in equal measure. From a strategy point of view, I’m surprised Casey didn’t call enough plays where he caught the ball in the post as the first option. It would’ve slowed the pace down and given the Raptors a semblance of a chance.

Jonas Valanciunas, C 23 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -18

To give you an idea of how hard Denver runs (on make or miss, BTW), Valanciunas with all his hustle still couldn`t keep up with their bigs running down the heart of the lane in transition. He had good moments against McGee and even Koufus, but got visibly tired as the game went on. He did make a couple nice moves for a reverse dunk and a floater over McGee. Easily the best screener on the team who needs more touches, if for nothing than to keep the fans interested.

Kyle Lowry, PG 34 MIN | 6-16 FG | 11-11 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 24 PTS | +3

I’d like him to calm down, take a breath, and have a good long think about what the best option on the floor is. I appreciate the emotion and gun-slinging persona, which would be great if you`re a backup coming in to spark the fire, but as a starter you got a higher level of responsibility, that of team function, cohesiveness and organization, all areas of interest that seem to bore him. Went some ways to redeem himself by hitting some crazy shots in the fourth, but had absolutely no reason to leave Lawson to help in the middle on that three at the two-minute mark.

Mickael Pietrus, SG 25 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -5

Not much from him this game. He was guarding Gallinari in the first quarter, hit a three on him I recall. Lost out on PT to Ross, who was simply more energetic.

DeMar DeRozan, SG 40 MIN | 8-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +6

Decent statistical game, but lacked impact in my opinion for the first three quarters. Looked somewhat intimidated by Iguodala early and who, I felt, he showed way too much request to. Did hit the glass early when nobody else was, but overall, I felt he scored when it didn’t count as much, if that makes any sense. Nice play in the fourth quarter, though, how much of it was against the Denver bench, I do not recall. Missed the potentially game-tying three. BTW, I know I`m being harsh on him.

Ed Davis, PF 17 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS | -3

Played a big part defensively in that fourth quarterrun which amounted to naught, and had a big offensive rebound for a put-back late on. Hedged hard, tracked back to the paint, and hit the glass like we’re accustomed to seeing. You just have to think, though, where he was when we needed him on the glass in the first half.

Amir Johnson, PF 16 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +8

Given the massacre on the glass, it’s hard for me to give credit to our bigs for anything, especially the bench kind for their performance in the first half. Let it be said, though, that Johnson did hit his jumpers, including an unlikely three which kept the statistical hope of a comeback alive till late. I do not like the rebounding numbers.

Jose Calderon, PG 16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 4 PTS | -7

Brutal first shift where he turned the ball over which led to Denver scores, took bad shots which led to Denver scores, and defended poorly in transition and the half-court which, you guessed it, led to Denver. On a night where Denver’s second unit decided the game early, ours was nowhere to be found and the first guy you got to look at is Jose.

John Lucas, PG 5 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -2

Started the run in the fourth quarter, yet couldn`t keep a cap on the 52-year old Andre Miller. Give him credit for at least initiating that almost oh-so-sweet run.

Terrence Ross, SG 24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -4

With the team down big and free to play, Ross flourished in the fourth quarter in transition, and hit a massive three which cut the lead to three with just over two left. He brought the Mo Pete-style energy which I was expecting him to bring right from the start of the season. Coming along, slowly but surely.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Raptors slowed the pace down in the second half, which is the main reason they came back in the game. Denver’s transition points decreased, as did our turnovers, rebounding differential, and shot quality.
  2. The Raptors need to stop bringing in help from three different directions on every drive. It leaves perimeter shooters wide open, and Denver made us pay.
  3. Combine the ridiculous speed at which Denver goes from defense to offense with a sickening rebounding differential (especially in the first half), and you should be shocked this one is even close.
  4. Valanciunas was benched in the fourth in favor of Ed Davis, with Casey going for two fours because Davis and Bargnani happened to be playing well. Fair enough.
  5. Raptors were down -19 at one point, and came back to almost tie it at the buzzer, but for DeRozan’s miss. They were -15 on the glass for the first half, but only -1 in the second. They were -11 on the offensive glass in the first half, and only -3 in the second. The Raptors were -24 FTA for the game.