Quick Reaction

Reaction: Raptors 115, Jazz 91

Raptors romp Jazz.

Utah Jazz 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
115 Toronto Raptors
Amir Johnson, PF 27 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +26

Amir Johnson continues to do Amir Johnson things. Offensive rebounding, solid defence and very efficient shooting on intelligent shot selection. The only player on the starting role who both understands his role and is put in a position to fill it.
The Amir three is here to stay. I’m on board. It hasn’t been ineffective, and his delivery makes it a fun gimmick. Amir’s jumpshot has a catapult-like quality to it as he slowly rolls the ball up from his midsection, then bends his knees and then jumps in to his shot in three distinct motions.

Rudy Gay, SF 23 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +13

I was surprised that Rudy had 5 assists when he checked out in the third quarter. He could have easily had 10 if he was looking for them. Rudy is so notoriously committed to putting up his own shot when he drives to the basket or isolates on the right side that he often sees double teams, and often triple teams if he’s near the basket. He is tall and explosive enough to get his shot off in that situation, but if he used that same effort to pass the ball to one of his two wide open teammates in that scenario he could stack up a lot of assists and a lot more points for the team. Start doing it often enough and all of a sudden that second and third defender will be less anxious to help and it would open up his own shooting opportunities in the process.

Jonas Valanciunas, C 23 MIN | 6-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +21

The Raptors usual policy of starting the game with a quick series of Valanciunas post-ups and then never throwing him the ball down low again was given an extra handful of 2nd and even one 3rd quarter post-up tonight! You’re not going to believe this, but it panned out very well for the team’s offence.
Valanciunas gets out of position quickly trying to guard pick and rolls away from the basket, and his help defence is still wanting. But he can guard the post one-on-one very well. Derrick Favors is one of the more strong and athletic big men in the league, but Valanciunas did a tremendous job of using his strength and foot movement to deny Favors position on the block.

Kyle Lowry, PG 15 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +13

Lowry has reduced his offensive game to outside shots almost exclusively while playing through his thumb injury. Spraining his ankle under the basket halfway through this game is probably going to take that away from him too for the immediate future. It looks like it’s time to give the backups some run and let Lowry get his health in order.

DeMar DeRozan, SG 24 MIN | 5-14 FG | 7-7 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +19

DeMar is putting up that three point shot with more confidence. In the long run of things, that’s essential. But the resulting bump in shooting percentage is likely going to be a slow trickle. For now, anything over 30% is a welcome improvement. I want DeMar scoring in transition, I want him driving hard to the basket and I want him shooting with confidence. He did all of those things, and did them well. If he can add above average defence and league average 3pt FG% to that game, then he can make the leap to the next level.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 28 MIN | 6-9 FG | 11-13 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | +10

I’m officially dubbing Tyler Hansbrough “The Big Effort”. Hansbrough hasn’t played a single NBA game wherein the announcers did not repeatedly discuss his effort level with enthusiasm. Sometimes they will pepper in something about his North Carolina days. Thus ends the list of in-game commentary regarding Tyler Hansbrough from NBA analysts. I want to say that they’re leaving out nuanced parts of his game, but are they?

Landry Fields, SF 18 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +19

Landry Fields is the Amir Johnson of the bench unit. He makes smart decisions, plays hard, uses his athleticism, and works on defense and on the boards. He knows his lane, he stays in it, and he thrives. Healthy Landry Fields keeps putting together games like this that assuage all of my worries about 2012-2013 Landry FIelds.

Quincy Acy, SF 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -9

Quincy Acy is just fun. As the easiest Raptor to root for, he made it even easier tonight with efficient shooting, reliable play and impeccable grooming. If I was picking the perfect name for a loveable and fun looking character like Acy that everyone loves rooting for, it would be Quincy. Of course his name is Quincy. I don’t know who spent the summer working with Quincy and Amir on their three point shots, but is there any way that dude can do a seminar with the Raptors guards? Because that would be great.

Steve Novak, SF 7 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8

Steve Novak technically played in this game.

Dwight Buycks, PG 21 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +18

Buycks was a functional, intelligent backup point guard who passed, defended and scored well tonight while wearing a Toronto Raptors uniform. This was weird for me. I liked it, but it made me feel strangely uneasy. I’m not used to seeing such things.
Buycks threw a beautiful over the shoulder fade pass to Rudy Gay for a touchdown in the third quarter. Fantasy football sleeper?

D.J. Augustin, PG 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -8

DJ Augustin subbed in for the final few minutes of the loosely organized scrimmage portion of the game. He played like the bad Raptors backup point guard I prepare myself to see every night. Thank you DJ for assuring me that the world is indeed still rotating on it’s axis.

Julyan Stone, SG 12 MIN | 2-2 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -7

The Juylan Stone sample size was small tonight. But he used the few opportunities he had to show the skill and explosiveness that has Casey and Ujiri investing the bench spot on his potential.

Terrence Ross, SG 17 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +13

Terrence Ross is quickly getting to the point where his development is going to require more meaningful minutes. He doesn’t look like a star out there by any means, but he doesn’t look at all nervous like he did last year. The flashes are there, but he isn’t going to make giant leaps forward when he can’t even get 20 minutes of playing time in a blow out.

Dwane Casey

What are the rules here, am I obligated to give the head coach an ‘A’ grade in a blowout win? My feelings are split on Casey. The Dino’s won this game without putting up much of an effort. I liked the way that Casey split up the minutes between all of his point guards after Lowry went down. He saw reliable play from Buycks, raw potential from Stone and festering stink from Augustin. Thats worth knowing. But he could have used this game for what it is: a glorified practice. Why not try out actual offensive sets or having the players try to establish an organized system for guarding pick and rolls, because everyone on the team is guarding them differently and it’s leading to a lot of easy baskets for a lot of bad teams against the Raps.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The only thing the Raptors hate executing more than pick and rolls are pin downs for shooters. Why is there no movement whatsoever in this offence?
  2. Lowry and Gay were matched up on Jamaal ‘I’m still in the league? Really?’ Tinsley and the artist formerly known as Richard Jefferson. They should play like they’re offended that these guys are trying to match them up and dominate. Instead they both put up less effort than their decrypted counter parts.
  3. I was under the impression that Jonas Valanciunas’ English is coming along well. But there is obviously a lot of work to do, because Matt Devlin notices Jonas calling for the ball in the post more than the Raptors starting wings do. Can someone please teach Jonas the Lithuanian-to-English translation for “give me ball now else I squash you!”
  4. Utah is BAD. The executives in Utah must roll on the floor laughing every time they see another Philadelphia win go by on the ticker.
  5. Has anyone who has seen the highlights from the first Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle games changed their minds on whether or not they want the Raptors to win or lose? My resolve on winning is quickly being called in to question.
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