Washington Wizards 78 Final
Recap | Box Score
88 Toronto Raptors
Amir Johnson, PF 35 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +6

Amir Johnson continues to be the most reliable player on this team, game in and game out. He may have the slowest release in the league on his jump shot, but he drilled two of the three that Washington let him wind up for tonight. If Amir can develop the kind of interior passing game he had with Ed Davis with Jonas Valanciunas, I promise never to miss another Raptor’s game ever again.

Rudy Gay, SF 26 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 6 PTS | +7

I know that Rudy had some points tonight, but all that stands out in my mind are the turnovers. He had the opportunity to hit Ross with a fastbreak pass for an uncontested dunk with 6 minutes left in the 2nd. Instead he kept the ball, slowly dribbled in to traffic and turned the ball over. Gay looks open to the concept of passing the ball instead of constantly looking for his shot, he just doesn’t look like he really knows how to go about doing it.

Jonas Valanciunas, C 41 MIN | 4-7 FG | 16-18 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 24 PTS | +17

Jonas Valanciunas is the Raptors right now, and the announcers spent the entire first ten minutes of television coverage talking about him exclusively. Jonas was kind enough to validate Leo Rautin’s enthusiasm with the best individual performance on the floor tonight.
His excitability on defense still has him biting on his man’s second move and giving up the basket, but the patience to keep his feet and maintain position will come in time. In the meantime, that excitability and energy on offense is explosive, and Valanciunas is showing what an efficient weapon a centre who can actually hit free throws can be.

Kyle Lowry, PG 37 MIN | 2-8 FG | 4-6 FT | 8 REB | 13 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +13

Dear Kyle Lowry,
You are a starting-caliber NBA point guard. I watched you play games for the Rockets in the first half of last year where you threatened to be an all-star. I watched you play the first week of this season as an unquestioned all-star. I know you’ve often been on the court ever since, and you were even there for a couple of stretches tonight, but I’m still yet to see that Kyle Lowry on a game-to-game basis. Please advise as to current address, as I would like to be a fan.

DeMar DeRozan, SG 37 MIN | 11-21 FG | 3-5 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | +20

With the weight of the team off of his shoulders, DeMar is really coming in to his own as a quality contributor. His willingness to drive to the rim continues to reap rewards on the free throw line. DeMar’s mid-range game was solid tonight, as it often is. But there continues to be a collective wince whenever he puts one up from 3. I encourage you to read this fantastic piece by Dylan Murphy, and think about DeMar’s aggressive leg kick on his 3 point shot. Fixing that could make him an elite player.

Quincy Acy, SF 20 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -4

I was concerned when Quincy picked up a foul with a moving screen after checking in to the game, but before time had even started. After he fought hard for an offensive rebound and then sunk the put-back, I was positive that he was Reggie Evans. After all, he is wearing a pretty convincing Reggie Evans costume. I continued to think so until Acy hit a 19-foot jump shot in the second quarter. Then he hit another one proving that he was, in fact, definitely not Reggie Evans.

Landry Fields, SF 17 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +12

I can appreciate how difficult it has to be to come off the bench after not playing in the entire first half and suddenly start guarding someone who has been playing all game. Fields has accepted his role on the team this year, stayed in his lane and worked hard to meet his responsibilities. It’s an often unappreciated role, and Fields quietly went about doing it well against the Wiz’, as he usually does. Landry seems to score at least one basket every game off a really intelligent cut to the basket, and Valanciunas found him for one with time winding down in a close game tonight.

Sebastian Telfair, PG 11 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3

Telfair posted another chapter in the long-standing Raptor’s tradition of incredibly inefficient back-up point guard performances. There have been good nights for Telfair since he got here. Tonight was not one of them.

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

Keeps on chuckin’. Gunning his way to a contract next year on a team that doesn’t value shot selection.

Terrence Ross, SG 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -10

Not a lot of minutes tonight for Ross. While Valanciunas is showing his readiness and improvement now, Casey and the coaching staff are likely already looking to planning their summer league around the development of Ross’ promising game.

Dwane Casey

It has to be frustrating to motivate your guys for a game that they know doesn’t matter. Casey is getting the best out of his young players though, and even managed to squeeze a sporadic stretch of solid play out of Kyle Lowry. It’s next to impossible to judge a coach for a defensive scheme that half of the guys on the court aren’t even willing to play. In tonight’s battle of who wants is less, Casey had his team play less apathetic than the Wizard’s they duelled against.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Raptors came out in this game willing to make passes. From what I saw, it was because ball stoppers like Rudy Gay weren’t taking the game so seriously. The result was a lot of very quick, very easy quality looks and layups. Imagine that.
  2. Late season lottery-team matchups, where rebounding and transition defense are always optional. The Raptors second unit is officially done pretending to play defense for the season, as they’ve completely abandoned defending the 3-point line. Let it be known, if you are willing to stand behind the 3 point line against this squad, they are willing to let you shoot. REALLY glad you didn’t play tonight, Bradley Beal.
  3. Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas are tireless. They are either running a constantly resetting series of high picks, screens and pin-downs or, more recently, isolation low post sets for Valanciunas. The result has not been elite team scoring on the offensive end. However, tonight was another example of how and where results may likely be seen next year. Nene was exhausted by the mid-way point of the 3rd quarter trying to follow the Raptors around in their busy part of the offence. So when Jonas and Johnson work hard on the offensive glass, they’re finding success against opposing bigs who are just trying to catch their breath. This also takes the 4th quarter legs away from opposing bigs trying to guard the rim against the Rap’s penetrating wing players. There is an advantage to having two players with size, athleticism and a whole lot of hustle play together, and what we saw tonight is hopefully a sign of things to see more regularly next season.
  4. When Quincy Acy was sent down to the D-League, it was unclear if he would amount to more than the all-time leader in technical fouls per minutes played. But from the improvement we saw tonight, it seems clear that he seized the opportunity for minutes and development. Acy showed much better polish and, perhaps more importantly, much more confidence in his game. Great use of the D-League here, and kudos to Acy for embracing it as an opportunity instead of a punishment and growing as a result. Loved what he brought tonight.
  5. It’s great to see Valanciunas getting so many looks in the post. That experience is going to be key moving forward. DeMar has been much better against single-man coverage out of isolation in recent weeks as well, with Rudy Gay pulling away the double teams that had been challenging his shots. But with presumably the entire starting lineup returning for next season, it’s disappointing to see Lowry and Gay relatively uninterested in developing sets of their own and something resembling a quality team offensive system. Oh well, here’s to training camp!
  • Sig

    Didn’t watch the game. But damn Rudy? 6 points?

  • RapChap

    I agree with the sentiment about Lowry, but today the guy was one point and two rebounds away from a triple double. Personally, I think they are working on his passing game and getting that down, before letting him loose on shooting again. The thing is you need to be able to drive AND pass to be an elite point guard, and he is only learning the second. Or at least that is my wishful thinking

    • smh

      “Personally, I think they are working on his passing game and getting that down, before letting him loose on shooting again.”

      It does look like he’s evolving his game. He’s listening to the critics that say he can’t be a pass 1st PG, so now he’s showing that he can

  • grizzly 73

    Should have used jv like that for the whole season. We would have more w’s. Casey was too conservative with him obviously.

    • Sig

      The hilarious part about all this “ease the rookie into the game” bull is that Jonas could and would average 15 & 10 in his rookie year if he was to get the PT.

      Which is apparently enough to earn you a max contract nowadays.

    • ItsAboutFun

      Or “obviously” his development has been handled just right, and he’s now able to play very effective big minutes against seasoned NBAers with no sign of a “rookie wall” affecting him. Something he couldn’t possibly have done at the beginning of the year. IMO, it’s silly to suggest that he was ready for this sooner, but nothing is “obvious” about how he should have been handled different, given how good he looks now.

  • Puffer

    “Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas are tireless. … tonight was another example of how and where results may likely be seen next year.” A1 to that. Johnson and Valanciunas may become an example that other teams bigs aspire to in the next season or two.

  • FAQ

    Didn’t the TRats look like a playoff team tonite…??!!!!

  • WhiteVegas

    Great recap. Love it when they’re full of praise instead of complaints. Jonas is a freaking beast and we need to officially start building around him.

  • gmc765

    six points and four turnovers in 26 minutes from the $16 Million Dollar Man. What a waste, it is like Turk’s second coming

    • Duncan

      he scored 34 points last game on very efficient shooting. he’s fighting back spasms so let him rest and relax. because now is about the rooks and not the proven players

    • WhiteVegas

      classic post form someone who didn’t watch the game, just looked at the box score and popped into to do some bitching.

  • FAQ

    I think JonasV has proven himself as an up-and-coming NBA centre and perhaps BC should offer him a contract extension for the next 4 seasons to match Derozan’s $9.5 Mil per year contract. It would be chintzy for BC to hold Jonas to his rookie contract now.

    As for Bargnani, the coaches must devise a strategy to best utilize his limited abilities because he doesn’t exactly match the run’n gun TRap style of play now. Bargs, and even Jonas, are best suited for a structured half-court game controlled by a strong pass-first PG.. which the TRaps totally lack now. Kyle is trying but his bball IQ and physical stature is lacking and that’s so obvious now. Perhaps Jose will return next season for a 3 year, $24 M contract… let’s hope and pray.

    Rudolph is playing like a one-man team, and must be incorporated into the rest of the team or else he must be traded to get Wiggins if at all possible… ya think?!

    • NyAlesund

      I totally agree.

    • WhiteVegas

      You are hoping and praying to resign Jose at $8M per year!?!?!? You are freaking nuts!

      • smh

        No more than $4-5/yr for sure

        • WhiteVegas

          Right, I’d offer 3 years $12M at the most, FAQ wants to offer him double that. This is the same guy always complaining about how we’re not building a championship contender, yet he wants to plunk down $8M per year on an old declining PG who has proven he can’t lead a team to squat except the lottery.

          • smh

            2 yrs $4-5 a piece and final yr club option could do as well. Cheaper too.

    • Dan

      Detroit has had the worst record since the all star break. That’s right around the time Jose was made the starting point guard. Jose puts up nice offensive stats but it never seems to lead to very many wins. I’m not saying Lowry is the answer but based on the last 5 years and the Raptors Record during that time I pretty sure it’s not Jose.

      • smh

        You mean the time Detroit also had injuries? Or shooters that can’t shoot? If they players had been making, “shats” in Detorit, JC would be averaging more than 10 ast/game. Jeez, why the Jose hate?

        • WhiteVegas

          So basically if you surround Jose with championship talent he could win a championship. Too bad thats true about pretty much every player in the NBA. Take off your Jose colored glasses, the guy is a top notch backup PG at this stage and nothing more.

          • smh

            “Too bad thats true about pretty much every player in the NBA” sure, but for sake of argument, I’m trying to point out he wasn’t as terrible as others made him to be. He’s level headed, efficient, and get’s the ball to teammates. The teammates need to make the shot to work. Now imagine Jose with shooting guards who could, you know, catch and shoot 3’s.

            As for defensive shortcomings, sure, he’s a pylon. He’s the one player on the Raps that could not be paired up with you-know-who. Ever wonder why he kept being trade bait?

    • Remi

      Are you kidding sigh JV on worst franchise in NBA , you really hate him so much , if nothing drastically changes in off season i hope JV leave Toronto when contract expires for better team and opportunity to compete for championships .

  • Ds

    Big Val’s last 10 games (32 mpg):

    16 ppg
    8.3 rpg

    1.7 bpg
    0.678 FG%

    18/10/2 next year?

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