Toronto Raptors 99 Final
Recap | Box Score
82 Detroit Pistons
Amir Johnson, PF 38 MIN | 9-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | +27

Efficiency is thy name. In a season where little has gone according to plan, Johnson’s chronicles remain the reason to be optimistic. His shot-making after a catch anywhere up until the 8-feet range is simply impeccable, and when the defense pays him no thought, he naturally becomes more effective. The catch-22 here is that Amir Johnson shouldn’t be the best player on the roster, yet he currently is.

Rudy Gay, SF 26 MIN | 7-14 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | +17

Sleepwalked through the first half, likely because Kyle Singler was boring him and this was a game anyone would have trouble getting up for, let alone Gay. Made amends with a third quarter of the like we haven’t seen since he torched the Knicks at the ACC: 7-11 FG, 18 pts, 2 ast. That quarter effectively decided the game, since the Pistons played defense with hands in pockets.

Jonas Valanciunas, C 39 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 13 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | 0

Was shown no respect by Drummond or Monroe as they left him unattended from the perimeter, and weren’t focusing on him when he did have the ball. Valanciunas made them all pay by using post-ups effectively, hitting the short jumpers (including ones where he catches the ball high and shoots high), and getting offensive rebounds he has no business getting. The line speaks for itself and given the size of the opposition, it’s impressive.

Kyle Lowry, PG 30 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +15

Too many poor decisions for my liking, especially on some of the passes he makes when even under moderate pressure. His second-half performance, notably in transition, made up for some of the mistakes, but looking ahead to next season he needs to drastically improve the consistency at which he impacts the game. Right now, he can’t be counted on for much.

DeMar DeRozan, SG 33 MIN | 10-20 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 21 PTS | +21

Started off with an airball and getting his shot swatted into the first row. Very perimeter oriented to begin, but got a feel for the game in the second when was posting up Knight. Once the Pistons gave up in the third quarter, he found his movements and scoring come much easier.

Landry Fields, SF 20 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +7

The brightest spot in the first half and the only Raptor who looked totally into the game. Got a couple offensive rebounds and even nailed some catch-and-shoots, including one in transition. Of course, these games don’t mean anything but from a health perspective, it appears that he isn’t as useless as he appeared earlier in the year.

John Lucas, PG 18 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2

Got the call as the backup tonight and did little to even deserve a mention. Looked for Valanciunas on the PnRs which was good.

Alan Anderson, SG 22 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | 0

Hoisted up five quick shots in the first half, making one. Didn’t do much of anything in the second in limited minutes. He looks to get his everytime he touches the ball, it’s so obvious that I’m shocked he’s even getting a single minute of playing time.

Terrence Ross, SG 15 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -4

Limited minutes on account of the Raptors playing with two bigs to counter Monroe and Drummond, which means that the four-guard lineup was nowhere to be seen, with Casey opting to go with Gay/DeRozan/Lowry for when this game was in question. Still, though, whatever is given to Anderson should be funnelled here, regardless of performance.

Dwane Casey

Good job for not trotting out that ridiculous four-guard lineup which could’ve gotten us slaughtered. Rudy Gay’s great third quarter meant a big lead for the Raptors, and more importantly for Casey, meant that he didn’t have to make any real decision in the fourth. That’s a great feeling for a coach.

Five Things We Saw

  1. It’s rare the Raptors face a team that’s actually worse than them, but tonight was the case. They looked to have made things tough for themselves, but that third quarter sealed the deal. The Raptors were +2 (35-15) in the third quarter, in which they shot 60% to the Pistons’ 35%. Ten of their 15 field goals were assisted, as Detroit failed to come out for the second half.
  2. There’s a lot of commentator talk about how Casey wants this team to “go go go”, meaning they should run the ball. Easier said than done, I say, since pure athleticism isn’t enough. The guys who force the issue on running teams are the wings who can rebound, have the ball at the start of the possession, have superior ball-handling skills, and are committed and focused enough to push consistently. I can see Lowry getting there, but I just don’t see it with DeRozan and Gay.
  3. The Pistons don’t seem to raise their hands on shot-contests with their bigs being the guiltiest parties. Their defense is so easy to break down that I’m surprised Lawrence Frank has a job (25th in the league). They seem to have the talent on paper but don’t seem to sustain on defense at all.
  4. The confidence at which Valanciunas is playing is great. He’s also getting the ball immediately on the pick ‘n rolls, with both Lowry and Lucas both looking for him instead of just dribbling to the other side after a screen. The form on his jumper needs improvement but its actually already somewhat effective and will only get better. You have to like how he mixes it up but keeping the defense honest with a drive every time. Now, if he could only go left, and spin back to the middle. That would be sweet.
  5. Raps snap a five-game losing streak. Jose Calderon returns to the ACC on Monday. Give him a big hand if you do see him. Those of you calling for his return next year should ease up though.

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  • knickz

    like I said, the pistons are horrible! be glad colangelo drafted val and not knight. knight has the worst basketball iq i have ever seen! btw, how good would it have been if we had val and drummond on the block for years to come.

    • Fire Colangelo NOW

      Instead we drafted shooting guards that can’t shoot nor play defense. Oh well, what can one expect from a GM whose best bb attributes was being the PHX ball boy and fronting the decisions of his dad.

  • knickz

    ive seen every piston game but one since jose has been traded, that team is full of guys with no clue on what theyre doing.

    • Arsenalist

      I got to agree. Their wings are very poor and Drummond/Munroe aren’t playing any D. Jonas owned them.

    • FAQ

      Oh, my beloved Bad Boys of yore …. sigh…!!!!

    • mountio

      I would have thought a true floor general like Jose could get these guys in line. Hes such a winner, you would think it would ware off. Maybe not …?

      • c_bcm

        I think that was Dumars thought as well.

    • dabosskwasia

      I was wondering when you would come and profess your love for dribblez and why your hero isn’t helping detroit win even tho he is such a great floor general 0.o

      • knickz

        have you watched the pistons?

  • peter

    seriously? klow got a c? he dished out 11 dimes and only shot 4 times and still got 4pts! thats a B-. the guy is trying to facilitate and when he does yall dont recognize…

  • Guy

    KL has a couple lazy passes in a blowout win and apparently that trumps 11 assists, 2-4 shooting, 2 steals & a +15 rating. I’m hoping Arsenalist takes off his Jose-colored glasses just once before the season ends. Fuckin pathetic.

    • Arsenalist

      Mayhaps I was too harsh on Lowry, sometimes first impressions become last impressions when watching a game with the quality level such as this. That said, the grade cannot be changed due to ethical reasons and auditability concerns. We run a tight ship here.

      • Guest

        Sad. Every time someone complains about your Lowry grade, you post something weak like this. Stop the pussyfooting and stick by your opinion for once.

        • Arsenalist

          What…it’s true. I thought his assists didn’t stick out and the game was basically won by Rudy Gay in the third. I’m generally harsh on Lowry because he hasn’t panned out the way I’d hoped he would. Pretty sure I’m not alone here. I hold him to a little higher standard, and this is like the fifth or sixth time somebody has made a point about Lowry’s grade, and they usually have a valid one.

          BTW, anyone who wants to do these on their own and post it here can:

    • Guest

      Wow, you serious? Four points and the second lowest +/- of all the starters and you think he deserves a cookie for his 11 assists? His performance wasn’t even among the four most valuable (maybe not even top five) on his own team tonight. When his performance is just okay, then he deserves a C. Try whining when he’s impacting the game like he’s the team’s second-best player.

      • Guy

        Pull your head out of your ass. Look at Lucas’ stat line, 3 Rebs, one assist & a +2. Otherwise zeros across the board. This apparently warrants a C+. Compare that to Lowry’s stat line & it isn’t even close, but KL gets a C. If you agree with that you’re a buffoon. Congratulations.

    • ad

      Yah jose is really helping the pistons rack up the w’s these days.

    • The Truth

      That is the same kind of stat line that Calderon got lambasted for as a result of not being aggressive enough, so yeah.

  • Adriiian

    Jonas “Futures Bright” Valanciunas.

    • Ds

      Big Val’s last 5 games: 14.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 0.697 FG%

  • FAQ

    Does anybody recall when Frank openly yelled at Jose and Jose got mad back at him, all because he missed an in-bound ball for a turnover? I think he sat for the rest of the game… Frank benched Jose!!!

    Methinks Jose will not be returning to the Pistons next season if Frank remains the coach… ya think..??!!!


      So, no matter where Jose goes, there are sideline discussions and explanations going on, with coaches and players. You don’t say. Muy interesante, hefe.

    • Guy

      Frank isn’t the reason Jose wont be returning to the Pistons, he wont return because they stink.

  • 511

    Among whatever there is to feel good about right now, the biggest is Jonas Valanciunas … as more of us (I trust) are seeing or coming around to. I won’t get crazily optimistic about it (just yet) but … the ceiling that many still imagine for JV is, I believe, lower, maybe even quite a bit lower than what it may prove to actually be. A couple more seasons and he’ll be a guy who will have shown to be well-worthy of ‘building around’. Imo. The trick will figuring out how best to do so.

    • robertparrish00

      That’s what I think too. It would have been nice for Casey to give JV and Ross more playing time this season, since it ended up being a write off….again.

    • 511

      Damn. Just reread what I wrote earlier and … what I had meant to say, was, I think JV’s ceiling is quite a bit HIGHER than what many might think. Higher. Not lower. (You knew that’s what I meant, right?)

      • 511

        annnnd … rereading the first post AGAIN, I guess I did say what I had meant. Sorry about that. Just had knee surgery a few days back and I’m sort of perc’d … if you know what I mean.

        • What the

          What the

      • What the

        i was saying to myself What the

  • ckh26

    Raps need

    – an offensive scheme or a head coach that can conceive and execute on one.

    – a PF with an inside game..

    – a veteran presence of any kind that can reign in the attitudes of lowry and gay to get them to play to their ceilings.

  • Roarque

    There was an interesting exchange between Jose and Lawrence Frank that resulted in two things happening:

    1. Jose sat the rest of the game

    2. The Raptors learned that Jose won’t be playing in Detroit in 2013/14 and beyond

    I have no doubt that a message was being sent by the strategic Senor Calderone – he wants to retire a Raptor and he wants to coach in the NBA – preferably in Canada.