Quick Reaction: Raptors 123, Magic 88

Well, that was fun, hey?

Toronto Raptors 123 FinalRecap | Box Score 88 Orlando Magic
Ed Davis, PF 34 MIN | 7-11 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +18Most of his points came early in the game, and he was key in ballooning the Raptors’ lead early on. Casey showed some confidence in him on the offensive end by running a few plays for him, and he made the most of them with a couple of mid-range jumpers and tough layups. Got shredded by Andrew Nicholson on D at times, but coupled that with some solid work on Nicola Vucevic when he was the only big on the floor for the Raps.
Aaron Gray, C 12 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +2I said it’d be hard for him to get knocked out of his everyday “C” grade because my expectations of him were so low, but boy, did he look awful tonight. Some really poor decisions with the ball led to bad shots and bad turnovers, and his plodding D led to numerous open looks for the Orlando bigs. I can forgive the latter, but not the former. Know your limit, play within it.
Jose Calderon, PG 24 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 10 AST | 15 PTS | +9A couple of careless passes in the 3rd quarter when the Raptors offense became stagnant for a few minutes, but aside from that, a nice return to form after last night’s rough outing. I like how he looked for his own shot to start the game – his early makes from long range set the tone for the Raps’ massive first half.
Mickael Pietrus, SG 22 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS | +16He took his shots, and he hit them. When they’re going in, he’s a valuable contributor. Simple as that.
DeMar DeRozan, SG 33 MIN | 7-14 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 21 PTS | +21The B+ only comes from inconsistency – he forced the ball into the lane during the 3rd quarter and made a few poor decisions that led to the Magic briefly threatening to make the game close. To his credit, he did settle down to start the 4th, making a couple of long-range jumpers to end his night. Was excellent early in the game, playing a varied offensive game and making great decisions with the ball.
Amir Johnson, PF 23 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +17Was kind of invisible on the offensive end due to the Raptor shooters going gangbusters, but provided some decent minutes, as far as I can remember. Adequate, but not memorable: B-.
Landry Fields, SF 21 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +20His effort on the floor is contagious, and I was yelling at my TV for Casey to put him back in during the Raps’ 3rd quarter swoon. He’s looked excellent since his return to the lineup and should only get better with more reps. One particular sequence in the second where he got two consecutive offensive rebounds as the rest of the Raptors stood and watched stood out in my mind.
Quincy Acy, SF 3 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +9Was hoping he’d get a bit more run given this game wasn’t in doubt halfway through the 3rd, but played a solid 3 minutes of garbage time and even had a nice dunk for good measure. Side note: it sure is fun to give out this many “A” grades.
John Lucas, PG 3 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 3 PTS | +9Played a few minutes of garbage time and was as effective as any of the other Raptors on offense, hitting a 3 and making a couple of nice dishes. He may have been a bit overmatched as a backup PG, but as a 3rd option, he’s one of the best in the business.
Kyle Lowry, PG 23 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 16 PTS | +21Another game back, another excellent performance for Lowry, who was a distributor early and looked for his own shot to help end the Magic’s 3rd quarter run. As the starters’ began to look stagnant in the 3rd, Casey went to him and Anderson to bring the intensity level back up, and they very quickly righted the ship. We may have seen a bit of Lowry’s “hero” drives tonight, but we also saw a newfound insistence to pass out of the lane, as well. He may not have made perfect decisions, but he’s clearly bought into his role on the team and is quick becoming a difference maker once again.
Alan Anderson, SG 20 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +13Like the rest of the Raptor gunners, his shots were falling tonight, but it was his defence in particular that’s been standing out these last few games. He’s a very scrappy, consistent defender on the wing and did a great job on Afflalo to help kill the Magic’s 3rd quarter run. If he keeps this up, a starting spot may just be a matter of time.
Terrence Ross, SG 22 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +20He’s playing with confidence right now, and its very evident in games like this. Bothered JJ Redick all night with his length and his shot looked as good as it has all season. Made one or two poor choices with the ball, but tonight was a tantalizing look at what he could provide the team down the road.

Five Things We Saw

  1. All those 3s going in really made this feel like a vintage Raptors game, didn’t it? The Raps were 9 for 10 at one point during the night and ended up 15 for 27, with 6 players getting in on the action and 5 hitting multiples from beyond the arc. It might not be the most consistent game plan, but when those jump shots are falling, it sure looks pretty, doesn’t it?
  2. The Magic were, for the most part, awful defensively, but a big key in building the Raptor’s massive lead was ball movement. 33 assists on 46 made field goals is an excellent percentage, and for a team that’s seen far too much chucking over the first few months of the season, watching what appeared to be contagious unselfishness was a real breath of fresh air.
  3. Sure, the D might not have been great, particularly at points in the second quarter and early in the 3rd, but hey! We won by 35! I’m not a fan of taking plays off, especially on defence, but if there ever were a game to just ignore that and focus on the positives, this is it.
  4. Three observations about the Magic:
    1) Hedo Turkoglu was awful tonight. He looked like your out-of-shape uncle at a pick-up game.
    2) Andrew Nicholson may be a limited player defensively, but he does have a really nice touch around the basket. I was very impressed by him tonight.
    3) Hedo Turkoglu sucks.
  5. Well, we’ve won 7 of 8, and now have back-to-back road wins and a big ol’ blowout under our belts. After the rough start to end all rough starts, enjoy this while you can – we’ve got a young, athletic, deep team that’s playing really well right now, which is everything we were promised in the offseason, aside from the record. Hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year, and that we’ll see even more of this in 2013.
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