So that’s what happens when your shooting guard can shoot. DeMar DeRozan, with perhaps the most dead-eye performance of his career, racked up 36 points to lead the Raptors to a fairly comfortable 93 – 87 victory.
To borrow an now over-used term, DD was en fuego on Sunday afternoon as he notched what must be a career high in three-balls. Not one, not two, but three, folks. The third one was so surprising that the officials reviewed it, when it was clear his foot was not close to the 3-point line.
Now the real question is whether this is the beginning of sustained improvement from behind the arc or not. If in fact it is, then not only does DeMar improve his own efficiency and help space the floor (which is what a shooting guard should do, not a big by the way), it opens up his own game that much more. Despite his handles being non-elite, it’s easier to do it from further out then it is long two range.
As has been pointed out recently on this site and elsewhere, the shooting guard position is going through some sort of famine. Never has the talent pool been so diluted, especially with the rules tilted so much in the favor of perimeter players. With that in mind, a DeRozan with a somewhat proficient shot would become a net-positive player going forward. It is a development everyone should keep an eye on.
If you really want to analyze this game, it was really Brooklyn’s anemic offense in the first half that cost them the game. They settled for too many jumpers, thinking the Raptors would be another notch on their winning streak belt. By the time they made their run, it was just enough to make it a close game, rather than to pull ahead.
Quincy Acy was a second round steal. Finally Bryan Colangelo pulled one off. He’s a good fit for today’s game of mobile bigs, although the term “big” is quite generous when applied to him. His basketball instincts, like his pass out of a double team to a streaking DeRozan, are above average.
A word here to temper any kind of optimism you want to draw from this stretch of decent games. The Raptors are in the enviable position of playing relaxed stress-free basketball with nothing to lose AND without “tanking” being a factor. That’s why a banged up Amir Johnson is getting big minutes in these inconsequential games. Generally management and coaching start to give more playing time to the lesser lights under the veil of “development” but really are hoping to not win as many games.
Now Brooklyn is playing for playoff positioning, but come on, it’s not really that important. But what we can applaud is the way the team withstood the 4th quarter run and were able to still preserve a victory when the Nets flipped the switch.