“I say for three and a half quarters we played them as well as anybody in the league,” Gay said. “The fact that we haven’t been together for a long time, they exposed that in the fourth and a little bit in the third.” Indeed, the Raptors managed just 35 points on 30% shooting in the second half. Whether it was Lowry or John Lucas running the show, the Raptors had trouble.
“They got us out of whack and it didn’t help us that Rudy has only had one day of practice offensively, and to go into a game and everybody’s not on the same page is tough,” said Casey. “But it’s the NBA, it’s nobody’s fault, we just have to get back to the practice floor and get some time together and be able to execute plays.”
We Can Blame This Loss On playing a more talented team for starters, something that really showed late in the game. Despite shooting under 40 per cent from the field, the Raps were within a couple of points with minutes to go, but the Heat stepped up the D, Toronto made some questionable offensive decisions, and at the other end, Bosh and James nailed huge shots shutting the door for good on the Raps.
“It was good to see us bounce back with a better defensive effort,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra outside the locker room. “In the second quarter, obviously, that is not the way we want to hold the fort on that end. We have to give them credit as well. They were moving the ball, moving us around and getting to some easy opportunities.”
The rumours of a Pau Gasol for Bargnani trade are intriguing, but I really would be opposed to including DeRozan in such a trade so quickly after the Gay acquisition. Give this roster a chance to show what it can do. DeMar and Rudy seem to be gelling very nicely and I think at this moment in time replacing DD with Terrence Ross and/or Alan Anderson would cripple Toronto’s wing depth. The addition of Gasol would also hinder the development of Jonas Valanciunas. Is two years of Gasol worth giving up DeMar? I’m not convinced this trade makes Toronto better today, but I am certainly convinced that it makes them worse in the future.
Just when Miami finally appeared to be taking control with about three minutes left in the game, LeBron James raised things to his MVP level. After a Chris Bosh dagger three, James stole a Kyle Lowry pass and went in for an uncontested jam. He followed that up with a three-pointer and later hit another long one for good measure. James finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. “Yeah, he’s kind of in his own category,” Raptors rookie Terrence Ross said of the challenge of trying to guard James.
Head coach Dwane Casey said before the game that no one player can stop LeBron, and he’s right, but Gay traditionally has given him more trouble than most. Gay blocked a James shot in the first half and also forced him into a tough turnaround air-ball.
“As Rudy gets more comfortable and as they get more comfortable with him as a player … man,” Wade said. “Rudy is a very good player. He’s a guy who can get his shot off at any point. He does a good job of mixing it up inside outside and they’re getting even more athletic. “This team right here is one of those teams that’s going to continue to get better, especially if they get their confidence going in the second half of the season. It’ll be tough for the next time we play them. We’ll have to come with our hard hats again.”
Rudy Gay finally comes to Toronto, who Colangelo has coveted for a long time now and makes an explosive impact in his first two games as a Raptor. Amir Johnson continues his stellar play and even plays through flu-like symptoms against the Clippers. Jonas V also returns to the lineup, although is still healing. Lowry is now handed the keys to the team and all eyes are on him to preform. And Colangelo tells Raptor fans that he’s probably not done moving players which, to many fans’ ears means, “Goodbye, Andrea!”.
Many Raps were disappointments this afternoon. Kyle Lowry was dreadful, with 5 turnovers against 3 lonely assists. Alan Anderson’s shooting is as chilly as the weather, in fact. each of the 4 non-starters scored precisely one basket. Jonas Valanciunas is on a tight leash, and had one rebound in 5+ minutes of inconsequential play. We didn’t miss our traded players on Friday night, but we certainly missed them today. Landry Fields didn’t dress because of back spasms, and Andrea Bargnani was in street clothes.
Coach Casey is going to have to expand his rotation soon; we can’t win playing only small ball. It’s maddening to lose a game in which Rudy scores 29 and DeMar 27, but that will continue to happen without an inside threat.
That’s no knock on the Grizzlies, by the way. If you’ve got Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph at the helm, you’d better be going inside. At the same time, while Lionel Hollins strategy played to the strengths of the team, it cast a shadow on Gay’s ability as a player for the past few seasons. After all, Rudy has spent his entire career being known as an athletic, lengthy forward with a high release point and as Matt Devlin likes to put it, a “silky, smooth” jump shot. In a vacuum – and under the right circumstances, those are recipes for success.
Bosh, who was received by a chorus of boos during team introductions, scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Heat defeated the Raptors 100-85 on Sunday for their 10th consecutive victory over Toronto. “I was hearing a lot from the fans,” said Bosh, who departed for Miami in a sign-and-trade deal in the 2010 off-season. “I thank them for continuing to stay on me and call me names and stuff because that helped my focus a lot. I was like ‘I need to get in this to shut them up.”’
TRADE TIME! It’s episode 40 of the podcast and the Raptors have made the first big trade of the NBA season acquiring Rudy Gay. This week we talk trade, the past week of the Raptors, we have our #TEAMJACKDANIELS update from U-E and we also have our regular segments “Hoop Heads Humour of the Week” and “The Wenningtons of the Week.”
Though he brought a face to the Toronto franchise when he was drafted in 2003, he couldn’t add the most coveted line of a player’s résumé to his own until he took his talents south. “I don’t really pay much attention to it,” Bosh said. “[An NBA championship] is a huge accomplishment and everything, but I’ve always figured that it doesn’t define who I am as a player.”
The Heat fought off several Toronto runs, with the strongest rally coming when a dunk by DeMar DeRozan pulled the Raptors to within 86-83 with 4:20 remaining. The Heat then scored the next nine points, including a 3-pointer by Bosh with 2:34 left that put them ahead seven. Miami closed with a 14-2 run, the perfect setup for a five-game homestand that begins Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Heat then face four straight Western Conference teams _ Houston, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland _ that are playoff contenders.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said James’ ability to dominate the late minutes might be overlooked. “We don’t take that for granted because we know how valuable he is,” Spoelstra said. “But around the league that probably goes under the radar. In terms of a guy dominating in the last three to four minutes, he was being a facilitator. It speaks to how competitive he is and what kind of winning plays he can make.”
Miami also kept Toronto’s bench to a minimum, allowing only 11 points on 4-of-18 shooting between four different Raptors. The Heat’s bench wasn’t much better with Ray Allen struggling on the road again, but they received five points from Norris Cole in the fourth quarter and some solid defense from Shane Battier who had five points, five rebounds and two blocks in 33 minutes. Chris Andersen racked up four fouls in 11 minutes, but was active on the glass with four boards–three coming off the offensive glass.
LeBron James would like to think the Miami Heat are playing their best basketball right now. If that’s the case, then the timing is very good. Actually, a 100-85 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday ended a four-game road trip that was only 2-2. That might be excellent by most teams standards in the NBA, but the Heat, as defending champions, have higher expectations. Losses to the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers were definitely disappointing and show some potential vulnerability for the Heat when the postseason comes around.
The Lakers’ interest in Bargnani remains a matter of debate in the midst of the Italian’s worst-ever season by far, but he can certainty spread the floor better than Gasol does. The not-for-public-consumption message that continues to emanate from Canada, meanwhile, is that Toronto remains intent on pursuing Gasol even after trading for Gay.
When Rudy Gay was traded to Toronto Raptors, there were worries around the sneakerhead community (ok, me) that his run as a sneaker all-star would be over. During his time with the Memphis Grizzlies, he was often the beneficiary of some great looking PEs of Nike’s performance models, highlighted most recently by his amazing Nike Air Max Hyperposite PE. A trade to the Raptors meant that run of unique PEs was going to be over because even if he did get another Hyperposite PE, how much different would it be from Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge’s kicks? It turns out we might not even have to worry about that as Gay as fit in nicely with his Raptors teammates as the latest member of the unofficial official of Jordan Brand.
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