Ed Davis, PF29 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -11Continued to showcase his ever-developing offensive game, hitting a couple of jumpers as well as being effective on the pick and roll. I wish the Raptors gave a couple more of DeMar’s shots to him in the 3rd quarter.
Landry Fields, SF40 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -13Heavy on the effort, low on the finishing skill. I don’t think I’ve seen a guy botch two fast breaks that badly in a while, and he really does seem to be a bit lost on the offensive end. That said, impressive stat line, and he continues to rebound hard, leading the team again in that category tonight.
Aaron Gray, C17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | -4His best game of the year – played passable defence, following Brook Lopez to the top of the key, which is rare for him, and showcased a few nice offensive moves (even a beautiful pass to a cutting Fields). Oh, and #letgraydunk (credit to Eric Koreen).
Jose Calderon, PG29 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | -15His shooting kept the Raps in the game early, and was consistent as usual (0 turnovers when the Raptors seemed to give it up every second possession becomes even more impressive), even when he cooled off in the second half. Here’s hoping his injury isn’t serious – the team can ill afford to lose him for even a game at this point.
DeMar DeRozan, SG34 MIN | 5-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -19Ugly, ugly shot selection. It seemed like all he was taking were either ugly right-handed-on-the-left-side-of-the-hoop layups (I counted at least 4 misses) or jumpers just inside the 3 point line (at least 3 of those missed, as well). If he really wants to be the offensive leader of this team, he needs to make better choices on a consistent basis or develop a left hand – as it is, teams that game plan for him seem to be able to stop him fairly easily.
Amir Johnson, PF26 MIN | 6-7 FG | 3-6 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +5Casey did his best to limit his minutes as much as possible tonight (same with Lowry, I’m not sure why he was playing down the stretch with the team down 15 and a bum ankle), but he continued his consistent efforts on the offensive end and was the Raps’ only strong defensive presence in the post. These last few games have really been breakout performances for him.
Quincy Acy, SF6 MIN | 2-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +6Only 6 minutes, but by far his most effective offensive performance of the season. Nice to see him assert some position in the low post on that end and it led to a pair of and-1s – nice to see him with any kind of offensive moves, really.
John Lucas, PG12 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | 0Got burned on D in some seriously unfavourable matchups (I’m pretty sure he got posted up by Mirza Teletovic at one point), but held his own in the 4th during semi-garbage time, as he usually does. That floater in the lane was beautiful.
Kyle Lowry, PG15 MIN | 5-7 FG | 7-7 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 21 PTS | +16Clearly, he heard the cries of everyone clamouring for him to look for his shot, and responded with one of his finest performances of the season. To come back in the 4th quarter with a sprained ankle and make it rain the way he did is nothing short of spectacular. Say what you will about the decision to leave him in when the game seemed out of reach, but you couldn’t ask for a guttier effort.
Alan Anderson, SG9 MIN | 0-4 FG | 2-3 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -5I love his effort, but he got torched by Joe Johnson (as were the rest of the Raptor wings) when he was in, 0 for 4 from the field, and lost a tooth. No, it was not Alan Anderson’s night.
Terrence Ross, SG23 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +5A couple of highlight reel dunks (that putback in the 4th off the Lucas miss was INSANE), but he struggled from the field and was out of position too often to bug Joe Johnson with his length. Nine rebounds is a nice surprise, but it doesn’t hide the fact that he was pretty ineffective tonight on both ends of the floor. Young guy, he’ll bounce back.
Four Things We Saw
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers: Even though the Raptors cleaned it up halfway through the fourth quarter, the Nets still outscored them 24-8 on points off TOs and even worse off the fast break due to all the missed long twos from Ross and DeRozan. Those possessions are key, because no matter how good your defence has been playing, you can’t set up if the other team’s on the run.
I can’t express how impressed I was with Kyle Lowry’s fourth quarter performance tonight. To come back from a sprained ankle and submit that kind of offensive display is almost Jordanian, and it really points to the kind of character the guy has. Sure, we have to save him from himself, sometimes, but you can’t question his heart – a huge quality for a guy you want leading your team.
Aside from the turnovers, the Raptors’ rotation D in the 3rd quarter was a big reason this game got away. The Nets only went 8 for 21 on three-point attempts during the game, but there was a point in the 3rd where it seemed like they just couldn’t miss, and it seemed like lethargic rotations on the wing were directly responsible. I don’t want to harp too much on this point as they were playing with an injured Calderon on the floor, but it’s been a constant point of contention with the Raps this season and it cost them tonight at a key time.
That said, I think a lot of pundits had the Raptors getting potentially blown out tonight, and to hang with a white-hot team for four quarters, given all the injuries we had both before and during the game, is a positive result. Chicago tomorrow night, where our guys will be heavy underdogs again, but can hopefully pull out enough stops to put them over the top.