Raptors keep it close through three, but Miami turns on the Heat (get it?) in the fourth and cruises to the easy 9 point victory.
Miami Heat 104 FinalRecap | Box Score 95 Toronto Raptors
Amir Johnson, PF 24 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +7Solid when he played, but was rendered mostly ineffective by being drawn out of the paint with Miami playing Shane Battier at the four. Made a sweet pass to Jonas in the first which led to a dunk. Didn’t see the floor for all of the fourth for no reason whatsoever.
Rudy Gay, SF 34 MIN | 3-10 FG | 6-7 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 13 PTS | -4Disgusting effort. Aside from a little burst in the third, he was completely over-matched by Lebron on both ends of the court. Did very little to deter LBJ on defense (Lebron abused him in the post and on the perimeter), while throwing in his usual quota of ill-advised jumpers on offense. The rebounding total looks great, but many of those rebounds were of the uncontested variety.
Jonas Valanciunas, C 27 MIN | 7-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | -9Came out of the game like a man possessed. Lowry and Co. found him early and often and Jonas used his size to dominate the interior. Showed great touch around the rim and sunk some impressive shots from the post. He would have played more minutes had Casey not decided to leave him on the bench for most of the fourth while the Heat built their lead. Didn’t do too much to deter the Heat’s offense in the paint.
Kyle Lowry, PG 35 MIN | 4-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | 0Really inconsistent game from Lowry. He missed on all of his open three-point attempts, but he sunk two bailout/end-of-shot-clock heaves. Did a decent job facilitating, made an noticeable effort to get Valanciunas the ball, but the Heat’s superb pick-and-roll defense took away his best offensive weapon.
DeMar DeRozan, SG 40 MIN | 8-15 FG | 5-5 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | -7Empty calories. 21 points on 15 shots is nice, but he did absolutely nothing else, other than one sweet pass off dribble-penetration (someone on RR wrote about this recently). Wade mostly contained him on defense, while Demar let Wade have his way with him. This is your average game from DD.
Tyler Hansbrough, PF 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 6-7 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -2Great energy boost in the first quarter, grabbing rebounds and goading Birdman into silly frustration fouls. Played some really solid defense in the post in the second. Casey rewarded his sparkplug by playing him over Valanciunas and Johnson in the Raptors’ small-ball lineups.
Landry Fields, SF 28 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -18Aside from one heady play on offense and a couple of nice defensive possessions against Lebron, Fields was noticeably absent (that’s stupid, those words are antonyms, whatever). Lots of minutes, not too much effect on the game.
D.J. Augustin, PG 13 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 0 PTS | -9DJ Augustine is to the Raptors as what JP Arencibia is to the Blue Jays. Looked horrible in this game. Allowed Norris Cole to blow by him in several half-court sets. Committed silly turnovers, including two in the fourth while Miami built their lead. If there was a letter grade worse than F, I’d give it to DJA. Horrible game.
Terrence Ross, SG 24 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -3Splashed home some threes in the second quarter, prompting fans and bloggers alike to ask the question “Wait, is Terrence Ross good?” Sadly, at this point, the answer is still no, but he did show some flashes of potential. Not great on defense, but his scoring off the bench was nice.
Dwane Casey

Dwane Casey giveth, Dwane Casey taketh. Let’s split up the good and bad:

Good: made a concerted effort to give JV touches in the first, smart move by going small in the third which kept the game close.

Bad: Sitting JV at the start of the fourth while the Raptors struggled to find any scoring, not giving more of Gay’s minutes to Fields, poor inbounds plays.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Attn: Derozan and Ross. You know what’s a bad idea? Leaving Ray Allen open for three pointers. I get that you want to double-down on Lebron/Wade when they’re tumbling into the lane, but if you’re covering Allen, DO NOT LEAVE HIM TO DOUBLE LEBRON.
  2. The line-up of Rudy Gay + bench guys really stunk it up in the start of the fourth to give Miami the game. The Raptors committed four straight turnovers on offense (two by DJA, one by Fields, one by Gay) while Miami’s lead ballooned to 12.
  3. However, the starting line-up/the small-ball lineup (Fields at three, Gay at four) played Miami’s starting units very well, fighting tooth and nail in the first and the third to keep the game close. JV dominated early on, and a balanced wing-attack + offensive rebounding kept them going later on in the game.
  4. You know who is really good? Lebron James. Dude just scored 10+ points for the 500th consecutive game. He absolutely destroyed the Raptors in the post early on, scoring at will while creating open looks for his teammates. I’ll leave you with a fun fact: Lebron has more 50+ point games (9) in his career than games in which he’s scored 10 or less (8).
  5. Congratulations to Chris Bosh and his family for the world’s latest Bosh-ling. I know he sat out a couple of extra games in his final year in Toronto, but he’s a class act and a fantastic player. I miss having him on my team.
  • knickz

    typical nba game. the other team and their fans think they have a chance until LeBron decides he’s going to try. we need a legit starting four and a new pg in the worst way!

    • DDD

      lowry was fine

      • Jkwasia

        Were you watching the same game?!!!! I wont even talk about his bricks or that airball three down six with 2mins to go…its the defense or lack of he was playing that really killed me….uugghhh trade dis clown already o.0

    • OvertheWall

      Gay is the one who is gay, ok? Forget about the other players for a sec.

  • Digitking

    Man I’m still annoyed that Dwayne Casey sat JV until 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter… I mean JV was having his way on offense the entire game because nobody on the Heat really matches up well against him but just another game where he was “forgotten” on the bench I guess…

  • arsenalist

    Good thing Casey rested Jonas and his tired legs till late in the fourth while the game got out of hand. I find that resting your best player for an extended period in a tight game in the fourth quarter is the best way to make sure he’s ready for the first quarter of the next game. Personally, I think Casey’s saving JV for Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

    • Adriiian

      Jonas wouldn’t have changed shit and you know it. We would have lost the game either way. Nice tone tho. LeBron would have wiped the floor with anyone on our roster, so why you bitchin?

      • Roarque

        Adriian – you’re right. Let’s just not play the rest of the games scheduled with Miami. We could forfeit them and save the Raptors to play in games you deem to be winnable.

        • Adriiian

          Ok. Fine by me.

  • AB4EYE

    Our small ball should be Johnson and Hansbrough these two and JV should eat up basically all 96 of the PF/C time not take up just just slightly over 2/3 of the time.The fact we play Hansbrough a small PF at center is going small enough as is!

    I can’t wait until we unload Gay, he maybe the worst “Star” the NBA has ever had.

  • Kujo2020

    Mind boggling that JV only played 27 mins. So damn frustrating.

  • Reed

    Can we fire Casey already? Can’t believe you gave him a B+ when he basically threw the game away.

    • DDayLewis

      Coaching against the Heat is really tough. He did some good things tonight.

      • HogyG

        If he did, they were masked by his inability to see what worked earlier in the game and re-establish that. Why did Amir (our lone player with a positive in the plus minus category) have no run in the 4th. Why did coach stick to small ball in the second half? Why did he go back to Augustin in the second half after he left in the first half with his only stat being 3 turnovers?! Last I looked we have other backups or he could have gone with Fields if he didn’t trust the other PGs on the team. He clearly missed an opportunity tonight for a statement win over the defending champs by thinking about the next game on the schedule instead. He certainly does not deserve a higher grade than DeMar, who deserved a much higher grade than was given. He had 21 points on shooting above .500 (1 of only two players on the raptors to shoot well from the floor) and was perfect from the line. He was the player keeping us a float in the 3rd and was the only reason things didn’t get completely out of hand then. In 40 minutes of play (most minutes on either team, as always), he limited his turnovers to only two against what is known as a rather stifling defense. Playing against the Heat is really tough, and you forgot that while making excuses for Casey. In my opinion, you’re out to lunch with your evaluation tonight.

        • DDayLewis

          What excuses have I made for Casey? I’m one of his biggest detractors. I thought he did a capable job in today’s game, emphasizing going to Valanciunas early on, and trotting out the small-ball lineup in the third, and he did some dumb things, but given what he’s done in the first three games, this was a B+ from Casey.

          And come on, Demar did not have a good game. Yeah, the shooting is nice, but what else did he do? He was horrible on defense tonight. B- is pretty fair for empty scoring and poor defense.

          • Paul

            Have to agree on Demar. The problem is it’s difficult to evaluate players when it’s obvious that the coach has no offensive scheme whatsoever. Does anyone seriously believe this team can compete with Rudy and Demar going one-on-one to jack up long contested twos? Seriously. This is half our offense. It’s pathetic.
            Blow it up, hire a new coach, and let’s see what we have with our young players in an actual offensive system.

            • Rap fan 2

              You said it, there’s been too many isolations plays on the outside. They’ve been taking a lot of tough shots from the outside. We should just copy what the Miami Heat do, make the first option on offence a drive, dunk or layup at the rim. If it’s not there the first time pass it out to the perimeter then back inside or have cutters driving inside again. You kind of have to be tough and pain tolerant to play this way because you will get hit a lot but you’ll also get more calls for the free throw line and get the opposing team in foul trouble. Demar has been going at the rim and getting his shots closer to the basket. But I think Rudy’s been trying to get through the opposing defence too many times on his own and usually with the opposing defence locked in to him and usually in a double team scenario. It would be way more effective and successful if you set plays and passing scenarios so that they receive the ball and can make a shot with the least amount of defensive resistance possible. Looking at Lebron, he might have taken in total around 3 shots at most from the outside. Most of his makes we’re in the paint or at the rim and at the foul line. He also made most if not all his free throw line shots.

              • Ghotte

                Neither Demar nor Gay react well to double teams. I was at the game last night and they would either not use the screen or get caught in double teams, passing out of trouble to late or poorly.

                They were the reason the team went away from passing into the post not the bigs.

          • Reed

            DDayLewis It was Val making the big plays and not Casey going to Val. Watch the post reaction interview with Gay. He basically said there was no pre game plan to go to Val with Bosh out it was just Val playing great. If Casey had planned to use Val we would have seen him in the 4th.

            Casey got lucky in the first year as coach and that was due to Calderon hiding his inefficiencies in running an offensive coach. As far as I am concerned it was Val and not Casey otherwise we wouldn’t have seen Casey go small ball.

          • HogyG

            Your excuse for Casey: “Coaching against the Heat is really tough.”

            How many SGs in the league go off for 20+ against the Heat? I assume not many.

            How many SGs can contain Wade in the league? I assume not many. Wade shot 52% last year and was held tonight to 9-18. still very good (but he is freaking Dwane Wade) and it was still below last year’s average. I wouldn’t call DeMar a stand out defender tonight but would consider him adequate or on par with the league against the Heat.

            How many players have 21 incredibly efficient points (8-15!) against Miami and are said to “not have a good game”? I assume not many.

            DeMar also had 3 assists, maybe not as many as you wanted from him, but certainly not hollow (unless you are referring in a fantasy sense). Granted, tonight was the first night of the season he failed to grab a board, however I would say that comes from running around the perimeter and going through a plethora of screens. The man had a good game, quit hating.

            • DDayLewis

              How is that an excuse? Game planning against Lebron James and Dwyane Wade is a nightmare. These grades are given relative to each person’s normal performance. This was a better coached game than usual for Casey, which is why he gets his grade. Is it objectively good? No, but he’s usually not that great.

              Did you watch this game? Did you see how many times Dwyane Wade punked Demar? Did you see Demar leaving Allen open for threes? Did you see that sequence where he looked off JV in the post, drove baseline and kicked it out to a covered Terrence Ross with three seconds left which culminated in a missed shot, and then Demar failed to hustle back in transition while his man Ray Allen hit a wide open three pointer.

              21 points with shoddy defense your average game for Demar. That’s why he gets an average grade.

              • HogyG

                So by the logic you just gave for Casey’s grade, his best shot at an A+ would be to not show up then, right?

                Wade picks everyone’s pockets, he’s done that now for a decade. Or haven’t you watched him, haha

                • DDayLewis

                  Honestly, if he sits on his hands and gives the bulk of the minutes to his best players (unless the other team presents a really unique set of challenges), that would be an A+ for Casey.

                • HogyG

                  And that’s why he’s a bad coach deserving of an F

                • DDayLewis

                  Again, the grades are relative. If they’re objective, nobody on this team would ever get an A.

                • HogyG

                  Wow, really!

                • DDayLewis

                  Yeah, because if these grades were objective, A’s would be reserved for performances like what Lebron had today.

                • HogyG

                  Man, just looked at DeMar’s numbers from last season, he was above his points (18.1), assists (2.5), shooting% (.445) and steals (0.9) in tonight’s game against last year’s best defensive team. If they’re relative to last year’s performances this shows he improved. Quit expecting perfection, he certainly wouldn’t be the reason I would choose for why we lost tonight. he’s what kept us afloat in the second half while Casey threw the game away.

                • DDayLewis

                  Defense matters too. Nobody is saying he had a poor game offensively, but his defense was worse than usual. Altogether he had an average game for himself.

                • HogyG

                  Fair enough, but he does play the shooting guard position, classically filled with guys who start due to their scoring prowess and not for stuffing the stats sheet. His job is to fill the basket and he did just that. Mission accomplished!

                  With that said, I guess I don’t have as much a problem with his grade on its own (though changing that – to a + would go a long way for me) as much as I do of it in relation to Casey’s grade, as I believe he failed the team tonight with his usual inability to see what works and how to get the most out of the personnel.

                  The few things you may have seen Casey do right (more likely due to blind luck, then game plan) were dwarfed in comparison to his mistakes. I believe that is becoming the consensus on here tonight.

                • DDayLewis

                  TBH I kinda want to downgrade Casey’s grade, but it’s a pain in the ass to do so. Again, I really want to make it clear that I am not a fan of Casey’s coaching decisions.

                • HogyG

                  Haha, okay. In that case I can go to sleep tonight after all. I thought I was going to have to be on here all night trying to convince you otherwise. Your admission to want to is good enough for me.

  • 204 pegcity

    Casey a B+ really!!! I’m sick of watching this guy get out coached. He’s in over his head and he never ran any plays for jv that’s a joke cause he had a crazy look before half time like he was gonna go off on heat.

    • wrooster

      I think keeping Casey as coach for this season is part of a subtle tanking plan.

  • thegloveinrapuniform

    If Masai is dead serious on getting this team to the playoffs, its time to get George Karl in. But it seems he is dead serious on one thing…..getting back into the lottery.

    • DDayLewis

      George “Hates playing Centres” Karl? Really?

      • Andrey

        I don’t get this whole George Karl thing…his style of play doesn’t fit raptors. And Masai and Karl didn’t get along at the end of the Nuggets last season

      • thegloveinrapsuniform

        Jerry Sloan then?

        • DDayLewis

          Lets dream big. Let’s get Phil Jackson out of retirement to indoctrinate the roster on the ways of the Zen.

          • youngjames

            Lionel Hollins would be my first choice!

      • leftovercrack

        Whatever happened to Nate McMillan? I used to like him as a coach and I believe he doesn’t have a position right now

    • Matt

      Stan Van Gundy! He knows how to get the most out of a big guy. He’ll get Jonas running pick and rolls, which is where he should be dominating. Plus he’s one of the best interviews in the NBA. Plus he looks like Ron Jeremy.

      • DDayLewis

        I would be thrilled if Stan Van and his diet pepsi came to town. He’s a genius.

      • robertparrish00

        SVG is the opposite of Casey. So basically he is perfect.

  • rtz

    I use to defend DC but I think itis becoming plainly obvious he has no clue what he is doing. I’ll assume he wants to keep his job so why are you not running JV until he can’t stand anymore? You watch rookies and second year players who are making a name for them selves because they get a chance to play. This is ridiculous. Everyone around the league is saying how JV is going to break out… All star potential… Well how if he doesn’t pay our develop. 18 and 9 in limited minutes… He is young… Not Tim Duncan that needs a rest.

    I also use to defend RG but really…I can’t anymore… stupid long twos… cap defense…butter fingers for handles… its like he is eating the primo pasta…

    No Amir in 4th… JV on bench… DJA nightmares…and DC pulling the strings…AWFUL

    When even Leo Rautins points out things that you should be doing that you aren’t as a coach you have serious problems coach.

    • morgan c

      Same here. Defended Casey until now. It just has to stop. He has zero offensive game plan, and his substitution and play patters are terrible. Honestly, fire him now. Having him around limits Masai’s ability to “see what we have,” because it will be impossible to tell what this groups ceiling is with a coach that is actively limiting their ability to flourish. Not saying this squad is a top 5 seed or even a playoff team, but it would be nice to know what we could be with at least an average coach. Oh and our defense still looks lost at times.

    • Ghotte

      Even though Casey is coaching at a sub par level, the biggest issue with the team is they are not able to consistently impose their will on an opposing team. Passing and motion offense is a work in progress unfortunately.

  • HogyG

    How do we go small ball for the entire second half tonight and not even try to play Acy at all? What else would he be for? …and why do we have 3 back up point guards and not try one of the other two after Augustin shits the bed in the first half.

  • Adriiian

    Lowry’s game just makes me cringe. The guy fucking sucks. He’s too short for his own good. Pudgy lil’ fuck.

  • Raps2015

    A few extra notes:
    1) Wade’s mid-range game was on. Very tough to cover him, bur Demar and Amir had terrible communication on those duplicate screen plays for the Wade jumper. May have been why Amir was pulled?
    2) the refs missed 1 or 2 delay of games by the Heat. I hadn’t seen them miss one before this game
    3) JV was lost several times on defense in the second half. He was in between going for the block and getting rebounding position that he did neither on several plays. He also didn’t hedge well on LeBron near the end leading to the And 1.
    4) Rudy misses long WAY more than he misses short
    5) TRoss needs to watch video on how to avoid dribbling into pressure and forcing slow passes back to the point
    6) a lot of standing around off ball in the 4th quarter, including Landry. Casey doesn’t seem to have plays when teams step up the pressure. How about back-doors, kick outs to guys who pump fake and draw fouls. Stop the Iso’s!

  • Phat AlberG

    My problem is with Casey, he can’t coach and it shows in philosophy. If you guy like Jonas, you thrown ball in the paint and surrounded him with shooters its that simple. Why does he feel he has to match up with other teams all the time, just play your best players and if they go small punish them inside with Jonas.

  • Chris

    If they are not sure on what to do with the round ball, Just give it to Hansbrough so he can draw a foul and Team will earn points from there in the FTLine. Rather than throwing the ball anywhere else.

  • brendanvanson

    Not sure Casey gets such high points. End of 2nd quarter draws up a terrible play that leads to nothing. I also saw very little actual play running in the third quarter, it was mostly just gay or dd playing 1 on 4 and fighting the shot clock. There was good offensive flow in the first quarter, then it slowly evolved to too much dribbling and the ball sticking way too much. Watching the ball movement of the Heat vs. ours in that game showed how far this team has to go.

    • Ghotte

      But this is not Casey; this is the players not executing. When the ball sticks to Gay’s hands, that’s not Casey. ISO is the players not reading the play properly. Ditto for inbound plays. IT’s about execution. Plain and simple.

  • Rap fan 2

    Watching the game you can see that the first option on offence for Miami is to get it inside and attack the rim. Most of Lebrons baskets were at the rim. I think that’s why big athletic shot blockers like Tyson Chandler and Roy Hibbert are so effective when playing the Miami Heat. Maybe that’s the type of player we need to add to the roster.

    • Tanks-a-lot

      An experienced Jonas is just around the corner which is better due to his offensive potential as evidenced by this game.

    • Why

      Point taken however I am not sure I would consider Hibbert “athletic” – he is more in the Mark Eaton mold, massively big and long

  • mountio

    My first in person game this year. A few things
    – Our best lineups were either a) early when we punished them down low and maybe either Haslem guarding JV or Battier guarding Amir pay down low. Not sure why we didnt go back to this more. Yes, we have to match up on D, but casey caters to the other teams style too much as opposed to exploting mismatches
    – In Casey’s defense, in the 1st half, we did seem to have a lot more motion / semblence of an offense. Even a decent amount of inside out. No idea why it faded to iso ball.
    – Our best lineups included both TR and JV! (what a shocker .. our young players might be good!!?). Both of these guys need more minutes – I know i keep beating the same drum, but whether you want to win now or develop, heavy minutes for these two is the right strategy
    – LF is actually a useful player this year .. its nice to see. Shot is still awful, but we seem to have more offensive options so we are able to hide him better given Amir is a quasi option on offense, as are DD, RG, KL, TR, etc (and we dont play Gray any longer .. that was a deadly combo last year when we played 3 on 5 with Gray/LF
    – All in all, some good things, but some frustrating things.
    – Also, totally agree, LBJ is just disgusting. Total man among boys .. when he turns it on, he is just beautiful to watch

  • Minks77

    This game was lost when the starters fell apart upon coming back in midway through the second q. Lazy on both ends, stopped going into the post and were a mess out of TOs. Were MIA to start the third and the bench completed the job from there. 4th was an illusion, raps were done. Every element of a good team playing a bad team was on full display.

  • hateslosing

    Didn’t see the game but I’m not upset with the result. Keeoing it close with a team like the Heat is probably the most we can ask for right at the moment. I love seeing that Jonas Valancuanas statline, 18 and 9 in 27 minutes is a beautiful statline. While I hate seeing 0 rebounds in DD’s statline, I’ll take him scoring 21 on 15 shots every day of the week. He’s becoming a potent offensive player this year and I’m excited by the possibilities.
    Interestingly, the only player with a positive +- was Amir….

    • SR

      Yeah, part of being pissed off at this Raptors team (which there seems to be a lot of around here so far this season) has got to be tempered with the realization that this roster is not, and never will be, all that good. There are 0 All-Stars on this Raptors team. This roster has had 0 playoff success. You just played the two-time defending champions and the league MVP, who is the best player to play the sport since a guy named Michael Jordan. Really, how pissed can you be that the Raptors lost by 10?

      Yeah, we want to see some progress and positive things from the players, but with the level of frustration in the reactions, it seems like we’re expecting perfection.

      • hateslosing

        People just need to chill, the best case for this team is squeaking into the playoffs as a low seed. They are not going to beat the better squads in the league with any regularity.

  • Why

    I like your Item 5 – I know people crap on Bosh for how he left however, I too thought he was professional and classy in his time with The Raptors. If your options are “I can stay and play with Bargnani and Turk” and compete for the last play-off spot or “I can leave and play with Lebron and Wade and comptete for champuionships for the forseeable future” what would you do?

    • SR

      It’s not that he left – it’s how he left. He and LeBron could have been like Carmelo (and other players) instead, who gave their franchises a heads up with enough time left to get value back in a trade. If you’re not planning on re-signing, work with your team to find a trade destination you both approve of in the year or two before your contract expires. You end your tenure with a win-win instead of by pissing off the fanbase that just paid your salary for X number of years.

    • Nilanka15

      Yeah, it was a no brainer. The one to really blame is Colangelo.

  • Duke

    Plenty of frustrating things from Casey this game (don’t get me started on this small-ball bs), but one play really showed his lack of offensive sets..and when I say ‘lack of’, I mean he’s got nothing. Coming out of a timeout when the Heat were starting to pull away (in the 3rd I think), his play was to give Amir the ball at the 3-pt line and have him dribble into the lane which ended up being a contested miss. I’ve screamed at my tv far too often during these first 4 games.

  • J.R Buckets

    @ #5 hahahahahahahah