Box – Raps 95, Mavs 74

Sweet poetic justice that the Raptors ended the Mavericks streak of 1,108 straight games hitting a three pointer, which dated back to February 1999.

The taste of victory was just as sweet, after six straight losses. 5-19 isn’t any good, of course, but it’s also much better (but less funny) than 4-20…the Raptors stole an article right out of Drizz’s laptop by not dropping to 4-20. Regardless, it felt like a night of validation for the Raptors who were in attendance. This group had at least been working hard for the most part, so coming through with a win (and a decisive one that let everyone get in on the fun) is a nice affirmation for them that the hard work will, at least sometimes, pay off.

As for the game itself, I was in attendance and the crowd was actually great. It’s my first game of the year, in town from Vancouver, but I had season tickets last year and can say that last night’s was an above-average crowd. That’s impressive for a 4-19 team, especially one that has been criticized a bit for the atmosphere of late (despite having the league’s eighth-best, Leafs-fueled attendance). I’m over booing Vince Carter, but the crowd was at least committed in booing him every time he touched the ball, which is fun if no longer warranted. Vince responded by going 1-for-8, which didn’t frustrate him, which is the whole point with Vince, I guess.

One other note from the live experience is that I set next to a teenager and a dad from Newfoundland who were attending the kid’s first game ever. As someone who’s been to a lot of games and probably takes the opportunity for granted sometimes, it was cool to share that experience with a young fan.

As for the actual game on the court, it was a great defensive effort by the Raptors. The Mavericks were bad, of course, but holding any team to 74 points gets your team a checkmark in the defensive effort column. Ross flashed his potential once again as a wing defender. He has the body and athleticism to be near-elite there, and the non-transition defense is starting to come along slowly. The Terrence-dactyl also had a beautiful alley-oop slam on a transition pass from DeMar DeRozan.

The only real trouble on the defensive end was with Chris Kaman early, as he scored four early buckets and looked ready to have a throwback to his 20-10 days. Instead, Amir and Davis guarded him capably to give Jonas Valanciunas, who is exhausted at this point (I can’t think of any other explanation for his recent drop-off than the “Rookie Wall”), a much-needed break. Amir and Ed didn’t have big games offensively but were both capable enough defensively that it allowed the Raptors to play small, with Kleiza at the four, for roughly 30 minutes.

And Kleiza…wow. When he’s allowed to just shoot and be the offensive initiator, he can have a big game, can’t he? We’ve seen it the odd time and see it regularly with the Lithuanian national team. Against NBA talent, he sometimes struggles with his offensive recognition and his shot selection, but last night those shots were dropping (5-for-11 from three, 20 points overall). He’s not great defensively, ever, but last night was allowed to play the four against Marion and James, which allowed him to hide a bit.

As for the rest of the offense, it was shared work. Along with Ross (18) and Kleiza, Calderon and DeRozan each chipped in 14 and John Lucas somehow led the way with six dimes. Lucas was out of control, as usual, but effective last night, including one insane falling mid-range fadeaway that looked to have only a 0.0001% chance of dropping and fell. It was that kind of night for the Raptors, where Lucas’ all-over-the-place game worked, Kleiza’s shots fell, and, get this, they actually GOT STOPS which allowed them to show off a potentially strong transition game.

Oh, and then there’s Casey’s favorite, Alan Anderson. Double-A made his return from injury and made sure to fire up all the shots he missed taking the past few weeks, going 0-for-8 in just 25 minutes. Still, he works hard defensively and hard workers like him get coaches wet, so he’s going to have a role whether or not people like it.

Quincy Acy got on the board, too, which, you know, good for him. Love that guy (as a Human Victory Cigar).

They played awesome, and even against Brooklyn I thought the reserves were kind of “sending a message” with their play. It’s clear this team CAN gel, CAN play well defensively and CAN beat decent teams. Maybe we were overrating them as a playoff squad, but the team you saw last night should only get better with Lowry. Bargs, well, that deserves it’s own article, but he probably needs to go for a bevy of reasons that go beyond just team defense.

I’m sure I missed some notes, so comment away. Apologies for the tardiness of this piece, but I am a bit hung over. Enjoy your Saturdays.

  • mike, prague

    This is a statement of what the raps can do. Lets hope this is  what they will be doing in the future.

    • BCBargnaniJoseCaseyGots2Go!!!

      Speaking from the Jay Triano era this is the future…….recognize game buddy-ro, save the magic beans.

  • Bob

    Shouldn’t this team’s #1 priority be to play outstanding defense?  Why did we drop off from 14th to 29th in the league? 

    And yet we easily won last night when our defense shined.  Go figure!

    • BCBargnaniJoseCaseyGots2Go!!!

      Not really, BC wanted more offense this season as BC is style over substance a used car salesman type of GM/Pres full of hot air (lies, deception).

      Sam Mitchell said on NBATV that Casey told him this past summer in Vegas that he would sacrifice some defense for more offense. 

      It was a mirage game, Raps are 5-19 ie tied for the most Ls in NBA with Clev and tied for fewest wins in NBA with Wash & Clev as well as let’s how the Raptors defensive consistency is over the next 10 games.

      The BC sponsored ‘Culture Change’ pr spin (BC brought in 8 new players in off season) was a lockout mirage that saw many teams come into the season out of shape thus AB’s magical 13 game run when he came into the season in shape via the Italian National team workouts which he avoided this off season and came into camp out of shape.

  • JHP

    So if they play hard without AB and Lowry then I guess we have our answer.

    • guest

      Also without Landry…what a wasted summer. Once BC lost Nash he rushed to do anything that would make him look good.

  • Ahmedjohnson42

    ISO ball Is stupid unless your 2k rating is over 90

  • KJ-B

    It was most interesting to hear Casey say in the post game that from now on if a player does not rotate on defence and play on that end, no matter who they are, they will be sitting on the bench… Interesting, in light of the “The Italian Job” that was bestowed on the Raptors for a Christmas gift… Try to kind to -7 + then he turns back to the Prima Donna of “Reboundball” fame…

    As per the game, those guys played N.o B.oys A.llowed Basketball–it must feel great to have everyone pull their weight–good on ’em…And Dwane, that’s the way! 

    • KJ-B

      “Try to be kind to -7″ — just so comments are taken in context, “The Italian Job” is regarding Numero Siete squealing like a– to the Italian Press, then not being available for comment to the Toronto press before last night’s game…how does he get “lost in translation” speaking in Italian????

      • Dc

        King Bargs’s comments are always lost in translation. His game has been lost in translation for the last 7 years. His game and his words have just been so misunderstood. Poor bastard. Glad he said that and then we blow the mavs out by 20+. Keep talking shit king bargs. 

        • Dc

          In fact I can’t remember another game the last 3 years were we have blown out another team since king bargs has been here. 

        • KJ-B

          Nobody likes dirt being thrown in their face–perhaps the grave he started diggin’ was his own…

          • FAQ

            Oh just shtfu about Bargnani.. all you teen twits are getting really annoying with your non-stop slagging… just to make you feeeel good about your pathetic selves… yer just all a bunch of non-athletic crud wearing #10 jerseys to delude that you are part of the Raptor team… because you never played on any athletic team.  Nerds…!!!!

            • KJ-B

              U ain’t nobody’s daddy… YOU THINK ANDREA BARGNANI CARES IF YOU GOT A SCRAPE ON UR BUTT???? You’re sooooo pathetic!!!! The dude’s an ice block–don’t care what your need is to have HIM BE YOUR HERO….HE DON’T CARE IF U ALIVE OR DEAD!!!! 

              SO JUST STOP ACTING LIKE A JILTED LOVER… DUDE HATES TORONTO AND DON’T CARE IF YOU EXIST–GET OVER YOUR PATHETIC OBSESSION WITH THE IDEA OF ANDREA BARGNANI AS SOMETHING HE HIMSELF DOES not WANT TO BECOME!!!!!!!!!!!

              • FAQ

                Does all that venting make you feeeeel gooood, ya teenie turd living at home with yer mommy and washing yer socks, shorts and jeans???

  • lloyd

    Kleiza played good D last night.  One possession I was impressed how fast he closed out on Carter.   Carter usually makes the jumer  in your face, in the past guys would slack on him and he would hurt them, espeially at the ACC.   On one possession, Kleiza was so on him, I would be willin to bet Carter got wisker burn. 

  • RapthoseLeafs

    “but the team you saw last night should only get better with Lowry”

    This statement is one I’ll question …. and so should other fans. Kyle has the tools, but does he have mental capacity to be a Leader, who makes his team-mates better?

    .

    • FAQ

      No … he doesn’t …. soooo obvious.

    • Konanas

      It could if Lowry starts from the bench. He’s obviously upgrade over Lucas :)

  • Aaron

    The raptors were bound for a good game and opposition to have a bad game.  People seem to forget the raps were 3-4 at home with andrea and lowry.  There road record is abysmal and the real reason they’re second last in the NBA.  The biggest thing is for the raps to play like a team on offense and defense.  This game they did it but I still see way too many outside jump shots.  THis is the demise of the raps.  Bad ball movement and consistently settling for jump shots.   We just hit them tonight.  
         This is the first step to maybe playing like a team.  THere rotations on defense were much better tonight especially into the paint.  
        Casey finely admits its time to have accountability to defensive rotations.  FINELY.  What took so long??

    • FAQ

      ^^^ Another product of phonics education … soooo obvious..!!!

      (It’s not your fault, Aaron… and we understand you.)

      • 511

        Too funny. 

  • footie

    This win means nothing if this team learn how to use better Barg and  Lowry we’ll be maybe the play off team that many people thought it could be , Bargnani this here is not use offensively in and out where he can makes the difference and Lowry I don’t know if he is selfish or he does not know where to give the ball …he is a different guard he is not Calderon but in the right condition can makes a difference with his athleticism and drive. 

    • FAQ

      Bargs has condemned the Raptors with his “worst team” comment that DIRECTLY criticizes BC.  Either Bargs or BC goes… and now we wait for the MLSE ax to drop.  Gonna be interesting times for the team..!!!

  • FAQ

    The truth emerges and comes to the surface with Barg’s “worst team” comment… which should give BC the excuse he needs to trade his #1 pick poster boy.  Barg’s statement may have been intentionally planted with the blessing of his agent.

    Bargs is playing on the wrong team with the wrong coach and the wrong players.  His skill set could  better be used on a team that needs a 3-point shooter for offensive punch.

    TRoss, Jose, and Kleiza can be used for 3-point production.  Keep Jose or else the team really craters…!!!

    • CJT

      do some research before you make these stupid judgements. 

      • FAQ

        Okay, smartass… exactly what do you disagree with?… other than I’m a lot smarter than you… sooooo obvious.

        • CJT

          You’ll figure it out.  do some reading.

          • FAQ

            Yer performing forum fellatio on yerself… LOL

    • what the

      so the Jello didn’t gell so now another team can use it for punch,what kind of koolaid is BC selling FAQ?

      • FAQ

        TRaps jelled for 8 minutes and just slopped about for the remaining 40 minutes …. while Dallas played diarrhea soft for 44 minutes…. ergo a Ratpor win.

        • Dbobb28

          Here’s the bottom line. The Raps played great team ball, both offensively and defensively. The difference being that the two most selfish guys on this team (Bargnani and Lowry) were out. The boys had a closed door team meeting and those two were the ones the players expressed concern about.
            I want Bargnani to get traded for a variety of reasons but the main reason is so that this team can gel and I can watch him struggle wherever he goes. Let me ask you this FAQ. If the Laker deal goes through, how patient do you think Kobe will be when AB gives zero effort and doesn’t care? Especially when he was picked up for somebody Kobe respects (Pau Gasol). Bargnani is protected here by BC and now that he has made his ignorant comments, let’s see how this gets handled internally. 

      • Lorenzo

         why dont you ask your boy, Quincy Douby?

        • what the

          get it right Loren it QUINCY ACE and don’t let me have to bitch slap you.

  • NyAlesund

    Is there anybody can say that this team is playing a good basketball game? No. AB said that this team is playing the worst basketball of the league. Can we denied this? No.

    He said that they aren’t playing like a team and they continuing struggling to find chemistry. Can we say that it is not the true? No.

    He also said, that for him to score 16 points, 18 or 50 couldn’t have a positive effect in a team like Raptors untill they don’t find a solution. The last thing he said, was that the whole words spent in pre-season about po is now a mirage. Can we denied this? No.

    Can we denied that AB and his teammates were playing better last season than now? No.

    Accidentally, without Lowry the team has one gambler less and one more ball movement.

    This year:
    With AB 4-21;
    With Lowry 2-16;
    With AB without Lowry 2-4;
    Without AB and Lowry 1-1;
    ——————————–
    With AB (in 2011-12) 13-18;
    Without AB (in 2011-12) 10-25.

    • Phat AlberG

      Hey is it because of Lowry or is there too many PG’S??? Because I hate when Casey plays 2 point guards at the same time.  So what happens when Lowry come’s back??

    • Truthkiller

      Also 

      With AB (in 2010-2011): 22-60

      • NyAlesund

         When I was born the world was a perfect place to grow up.

    • Dbobb28

      You make valid points but Andrea should have kept those comments in house, not through the press. He seems to love to flap his gums to the Italian media. I just want to know how much fault Andrea places on himself for all of this, as he is not producing himself.

      • NyAlesund

         Andrea has never denied his mistakes. Generally, when he talks to the italian’s media he pays attention on what he is saying. Now he is frustrated expecially after years of loosing games.

        I am not defending him, but what he said is the awful truth.

      • cesco

        How much blame does he place on himself ? Are BC , DC , Lowry , JC and others ready to say how much of the blame is theirs ?  When he said “we are the worst team in the NBA” it was out of frustration and himself has a good part of the blame but how much exactly ? The coach want him to spread the floor and he does that whether his shot is falling or not . The first unit is dysfunctional as is the second unit ( except for the last game ) . Is he to be blamed for all the times the first unit got a lead and the second unit let the lead evaporate ? .

        • what the

          “The coach wants him to spread the floor ” please Cesco!

      • 511
  • FAQ

    NBA IS A SHIT-SCAM LEAGUE THAT MILKS THE T.H.F.s TO THE MAX.. SOOOO OBVIOUS.

    Turned the TV on and watched some of the Heat-Wizards game… and then turned it off.

    The NBA has three levels of teams… A, B, and FF..!!!

    The FF teams are not only mismanaged over a long time, their ownership are greedy bastards!!!

    The A teams are the big market teams way down South where the culture is cool and lots of poon walking about in cameltoe summer shorts.

    The B teams are the ones on the cusp of making the playoffs and will get wiped out in the first round anyway.

    The difference in talent between the A, B and FF teams is logarithmically astronomically enormous…. believe it.

    What is amazing is the t.h.f.’s keep on supporting a lost cause while whining and complaining constantly.  They live in total delusion because their lives are insignificant without their hero worship and team uni belonging.

    BTW… TRaps are a FF team… soooo obvious.

    • RaptorFan

      You are sure getting better at being the RR Troll…..soooo obvious…..ya think!?

      You remind me of my older sister when she was 14……Except she was more mature!

      • Dbobb28

        As usual, FAQ has something ignorant and incorrect to post. Just to correct you. 
        You say that “A” teams are the big market teams. So the top 4 in the Western Conference are:
        Oklahoma City- Definitely SMALL Market
        San Antonio- Definitely SMALL market
        LA Clippers- Big Market
        Memphis- Definitely SMALL market

        Faq quote, “FF teams are not only mismanaged, their ownership are greedy bastards”.

        Toronto- Large market, weak team but certainly not a greedy ownership. Raptors have overpaid in fact for players to bring them here ie” Hedo, Landry Fields. They have also offered a lot of money to players such as Steve Nash who didn’t come here.
         
        New Orleans- Small market, weak team but Tom Benson is DEFINITELY not a greedy owner. He gives everything to the teams (Hornets, Saints)  he owns in that city. They signed Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon to big  contracts. Doesn’t sound like a greedy owner to me.

        Cleveland- Small market, weak team but again an owner that is not greedy. Remember, Dan Gilbert(owner) is anything but greedy. He tried his best to re-sign Lebron and signed everybody he could, (even Shaq) to try to please Lebron and make the Cavs a winner. 

        On the other hand, the Los Angeles Clippers:
        Strong team, very large market, been mismanaged for the longest time and have the cheapest owner in the NBA ( Donald Sterling).

        Your points make no sense Faq

  • Thehaircut

    my take on how we would progress with Bargnani gone
    http://thehaircutrobles.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/good-riddence-bargnani/