Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Raptors 97, Celtics 89

Raptors open the pre-season with a win – Valanciunas shines.

Toronto Raptors 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Boston Celtics
Amir Johnson, PF 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +5

Played a bunch in the first half and was active as usual. We saw a 21-foot jumper and some great help defense on driving point guards. Played a bit of center too and didn’t pick up a single foul in his entire shift. Good start.

Rudy Gay, SF 23 MIN | 7-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | +13

A colder start than a Breaking Bad episode, but picked up once he decided to drive instead of settling for the fades. The bulk didn’t show much, but the approach in the second part of his shift was entirely drive-first. Some of those scores came against Gerald Wallace in 1v1 situations which is always tough.

Jonas Valanciunas, C 27 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +6

Efficient, professional, and extremely unlucky to pick up six fouls. Looks way more confident in the post and releases the elbow jumper with no hesitation. He fought for the offensive rebounds and had good success. Sure, the Celtics frontline isn’t anything special, but you can’t pick your opponents.

Kyle Lowry, PG 23 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +8

If distribution is what you want from your PG, then Lowry delivered (assist for Gay, assist for Johnson). You can tell by the speed at which he changes ends that he’s in better shape and you’d be pleased to know that instead of reaching and gambling, he was closing out guys, and that too multiple times per possession.

DeMar DeRozan, SG 24 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +6

Had a couple of big time moves in the post and in transition, on one occasion driving left for a tough lay-in. Two of the biggest knocks against him is that, 1) he can’t shake off guys and tonight he showed success against some athletic defenders, 2) he can’t finish at the rim in traffic, which he did well tonight. The three let him down. That needs to go in for him to take the next step, otherwise defenders will sag.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 21 MIN | 5-8 FG | 7-8 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -6

Never seen a guy hustle this much in a pre-season game. Had two back-to-back put-backs in the third which restored the Raptors’ confidence when the Celtics were making their run. One of the reasons Valanciunas had such a good game was directly the result of the attention the defense has to pay to Hansbrough when he’s aiming for the offensive glass.

Austin Daye, PF 13 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +1

Does not work at the PF – way too small. Didn’t see any quickness so not sure where he fits in the lineup. He needs to be hitting his threes to be productive because he will rarely, if ever, have an advantage in any individual matchup.

Landry Fields, SF 20 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -5

Had two drives to the rim, and one score in transition. Overall, a player like him should move without the ball a lot more than he does. I’ve always likened his role to a Mo Pete, but he’s simply not as active as the former Spartan.

Aaron Gray, C 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +8

This was not a matchup for him. The Boston bigs are athletic dudes who can eat him up by taking him outside, and are mobile to get around him on the glass. Gray has his role on this team and it’s not against a team like the Celtics.

Dwight Buycks, PG 15 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | +6

Welcome to the NBA, looks a lot different than summer league, don’t it? Not a great game, looked rattled whenever he did get by his man and every pass had a touch of nervousness in it. Defensively, he was mediocre and looked generally shaken.

D.J. Augustin, PG 18 MIN | 0-5 FG | 4-6 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -4

The only positive thing I can say about him is that he can go left and right without any hesitation. Defensively, he couldn’t hold his ground against Green and failed to spark anything on offense. To his credit, he did drive every opportunity he got which is a sure fire way of getting into Casey’s good books.

Terrence Ross, SG 25 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +2

Three excellent drives for scores, one huge dunk in transition, and played a bit of point-forward at times. He pushed on defense and even sparked a couple fast breaks, this was the type of game that’ll get you thinking that there’s something here.

Dwane Casey

The team has an interior focus and defense does come first, so what he’s been preaching in training camp showed up on the court. Played the starters for half the game which is a good idea if you’re running two-a-day practices. No idea why Acy and Wright didn’t get in the game, I thought Acy would’ve been perfect for this game.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Tommy Heinsohn is out to lunch, we know that, but now he refuses to see video evidence-based facts, like when a guy is on the circle he can’t pick up a charge. At one point he called Valanciunas a flopper despite having his head sawed off, also called him ‘small’ and compared Olynk to Dirk.
  2. Raptors got out-assisted 25-19, but shot 52% compared to Boston’s 40% to make up for it. Oh yeah, they were +20 on the boards as well!
  3. DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas, and Rudy Gay are easily the top three players on this team when it comes to scoring. Sorry, but Lowry isn’t there yet because he can’t generate high percentage looks on his own. Not that he’s supposed to. What the Raptors now appear to have is an option to start their offense from the block or the wing, the former option they haven’t had since Chris Bosh.
  4. The Raptors generate some clean looks from three but only knocked down 2-11. I think this needs to be rectified for this team to have any sort of success. Kind of surprised Novak didn’t play because the threes were out there to be made, Casey probably thought of the defense (or lack of) he would bring and opted out.
  5. It’s good to have the Raptors back 🙂
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