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.
  • leftovercrack

    It’s just one game against a really bad team, but I’d rather see Buycks or Stone at backup PG than DJ Augustin. We still don’t really know what the two have to offer, whereas DJ is what he is. Also it was good see that Gay got five assists and only fired up 11 shots. I wonder if he noticed how well the team played when he adopted that strategy?

  • leftovercrack

    It’s just one game against a really bad team, but I’d rather see Buycks or Stone at backup PG than DJ Augustin. We still don’t really know what the two have to offer, whereas DJ is what he is. Also it was good see that Gay got five assists and only fired up 11 shots. I wonder if he noticed how well the team played when he adopted that strategy?

    • nottheendoftheworld

      The Pacers really don’t have a real PG on their roster, and they still let DJ go for nothing. He can’t beat his man off the dribble, make a shot, or make a play. It’s Buycks time.

  • Thierry Bertho

    Yay for the Raps tonight!

  • Thierry Bertho

    Yay for the Raps tonight!

  • p00ka

    demar derozan was terrible. Held onto the ball far too long almost constantly. He needs to take full advantadge of his slave genes and run the floor, hard.

    • drg

      I was a little hopeful about demar derozan for a couple games but not much has changed.
      slave genes -.-

  • Red Baron

    So nice to see the Raps just paste a team every now and again. Hope Kyle is okay as our back-up pgs still scare me….I wonder if Fields could play a bit of emergency point guard duties…kind of like Anthony Parker did back in the day..small sample size, but I’m still happy to have JV over Kanter after watching this one…

  • RaptorFan

    Demar INC? Mistake right?

  • Ion66

    Where’s the quick reaction??? I see a bunch of stat screen shots.

    • Shadow Of Christ

      The screenshots speak for themselves…

    • GoingBig

      That’s the joke. Nothing to write about. No real questions answered.

      • RaptorsFan

        Well that went totally over my head. :/

    • arsenalist

      My bad – editing mistake on my part. It’s working now.

  • StabbyRaccoon

    Damn that was a beautiful 3-point shot by Amir. I feel the same way, I was skeptical before but every game needs an Amir 3-point attempt! 😀

    • StabbyRaccoon

      Also, regarding the tanking for Wiggins, I don’t think that the likelihood of getting him is so great that it would justify losing. If you want to be a really damn good team in 5 years time you have to start winning and keep winning. You have to have team morale, fan morale, and preferably a team that knows each other extremely well and has the best chemistry. Tanking is antagonistic to that. Sure there are exceptions like the Heat but the Raptors aren’t the Heat.

      Feel free to point out why I’m wrong if I am.

      And also they can always get him when he’s a free agent. It’s a bit of a wait but he wants to play in Toronto, he might be the X-factor on an already good Raptors team by then, whereas if they got him next year we could still probably expect some struggles and growing pains. Drafting Vince Carter didn’t ensure a great team after all.

      Of course this perspective requires a kind of faith in Masai Uljiri’s slow and steady opportunistic trading strategy. One that I think is justified. Denver Nuggets + Andrew Wiggins already well-established in the league and entering his prime? I’d bet on that.

      • ad

        To be a good team you need elite talent and the raps dont have that right now. The reason why teams tank is to obtain elite talent in the draft to get better in the future.

        • youngjames

          who is an elite talent on the Sixers right now who are winning?

          • Minks77

            Winning chips not a handful of regular season games in November. Sixers will come down to earth as the season goes on. Even if they far exceed expectations they aren’t anything more Than a late lotto team.

            • youngjames

              how do you know they will come back to earth? But lets assume you are correct. Tell me then, why are they winning now? winning these games with out an elite star? The question was “But how exactly do you win if you don’t have the talent?” – it wasn’t how to you win over a season length if you don’t have talent! So, how are the Sixers winning without elite talent if it is needed to win?

              • Minks77

                C’mon now, you know when they talk of needing elite level talent to win they mean championships. Philly has won some games early but over the 82 games and beyond? Put it this way: in the past 30 years of nba ball only the 04 pistons won anything without a true superstar but they did have sheed, Chauncey, and dpoy Big Ben AND faced an injured, old and spiteful lakers team that still nearly won.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  And in the past 30 years not a single team has won a chip through tanking, but to paraphrase PT Barnum, a fool is born every minute. That’s long been accepted, but the disturbing thing is how many are finding their way to RR 😉

          • nottheendoftheworld

            Let’s proclaim the 6’ers a winning team after 41 games, huh?

        • StabbyRaccoon

          True, I’m just trying to do the cost-benefit analysis. You can also get great talent by being a team that good players want to play on because you win. But if you’re always tanking then that never happens. Getting a hot-shot rookie one time probably isn’t enough to make a team good enough. It helps but so does being a team that isn’t known for tanking. Championship players don’t play on teams that are in perpetual rebuild mode.

      • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

        But how exactly do you win if you don’t have the talent? And why do you think the tanking is just for Wiggins?

        • youngjames

          Ask the 76’ers – they will tell you!

        • nottheendoftheworld

          Well, you can trade for talent, trade for picks to obtain talent, you can develop talent that other teams have not recognized, and you can coach to your talent’s style of play and strengths in an attempt to win games. You can also play a red boring brand of D-ball a la Kevin O’Neill and hope to goodness the other team can’t make the few shots you give them.

          I think a lot of people use the term ‘tanking’ to mean using your young players, even if they make mistakes that result in losses. I know this is not news to you.

          I’ve always felt that hoping for high picks is a fool’s errand, as the chance of ending up #1 is 25% at best. OK, so you end up #3, draft a stud, and then he blows out his knees. Where are you then?

        • ItsAboutFun

          You’re right. Tanking is just for losers, just like in every walk of life, where there are always people looking for the easy path to success. Some can be found behind bars, many can be found in casinos, but most are simply anonymous dreamers buying lottery tickets and scheming foolish plans/inventions that they’re sure will bring them success, despite any evidence that it ever has.

        • ItsAboutFun

          This is getting ridiculous that you deleted that comment. Tanking is about losing. I say tanking is for losers, and you delete it. Petty bs, man.

        • ItsAboutFun

          Can’t handle it, eh. Tanking isn’t “just for Wiggins”. It’s just for people who can’t handle the truth: that it has never lead to winning a championship. NEVER..

        • StabbyRaccoon

          True it doesn’t have to be Wiggins, it could be anyone. One point that I left out is that winning attracts good players, so it’s not to be dismissed as useless. Even if the Raptors got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs good free agents (which will be in abundance) would see them as a team that they could help to a championship.

          Tanking and getting a high draft pick is a strategy to secure talent, but so is being good. They’re never going to win a championship unless they become a team that championship players want to be on. Vince Carter, as good as he was, didn’t ensure a good team. Then again they could draft a hot-shot rookie, become a fairly good team in the next few years, and then become attractive to free agents. tough call.

          • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

            WInning doesn’t necessarily attracts players. Players and locations attract players. Kevin Garnett agreed to the Boston trade because Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were on the team, not because they were winning (they weren’t).Chris Paul agreed to a trade to the Clippers because of Blake Griffin and them being in Los Angeles. Then he chose Houston because of James Harden.

            If winning attracted talent, then San Antonio, Oklahoma and Memphis would have been able to sign much better free agents. Denver has made the playoffs for ten consecutive years, yet have lost more good players than signed them.

            Toronto is not a prime NBA location. They have no players good enough to attract other players.

            Winning would probably prevent their OWN free agents from leaving, but it’s not going to attract ones. At least not impact free agents.

      • nyStef

        Couple things about that. First, some say ‘later’ on Wiggins, maybe, if/when he goes elsewhere to start his NBA career. Thing is, if he turns out to be as good as that, wherever he ends up playing, chances are good he’ll get used to where he is, maybe even get to like it, maybe a lot. If it’s somewhere warm, well, all bets might be off. (Just saying.)

        On the other hand, if we’re in a position at the end of this season to have a shot at Wiggins and we end up not getting the first pick but we end up getting one of those very good prospects we’re told will be there, maybe by the time Wiggins is done on his rookie contract, we’ve built enough of a team for him to really want to come home … and win a championship.

        Also … the whole idea of slowly-but-surely building a winning organization without top picks, just doing it brick-by-brick, with honest sweat and Bob Seger playing in the background (again, without top picks) is a lot closer to tooth-fairy and Santa Clause stories than it is, reality. And the guy who sells that notion the most that I see isn’t a fan (‘of the team’) and is as full of crap in his grousing ways as the rest of us.

        Of course, it we actually end up having a chance at Wiggins right off the bat (which would certainly seem befitting, somehow), here’s hoping that Mr. Leiweke has a little o’ that first-pick-magic in his pocket that certain teams seem to get dusted with often as not … because that’d be alright, too.

        • StabbyRaccoon

          Good points. I also forgot to add that winning attracts good players, if they see that you’re on your way up and that their presence might make you very good, they’re more likely to play for you. But of course that has to be balanced against the very real value of a high draft pick.

          The other relevant point I see is that a high draft pick may not become NBA-good for a few years. They may have talent and potential but that doesn’t necessarily translate to being a superstar so when you own their contract and it’s inexpensive because it’s a rookie deal, they’re also not at their potential yet. And I guess it will depend on exactly how Andrew Wiggins feels about playing in Canada. I agree that he could change his mind.

  • deebee


  • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

    After watching that game, it’s apparent that Utah is absolutely horrible. Yes, they played poorly, and they’re not as bad as that, but they’re still bad. Astoundingly bad. Unless Trey Burke comes back as a Rookie of the Year candidate, then they will finish with the worst record in the league, and might even threaten the Nets’ record of most consecutive losses to start the season. They have a tough schedule ahead, and might end up having to beat the powerhouse Phoenix Suns in a home and away series to prevent it.

    Or they could end up beating Denver on Monday. They are bad, too.

    • mountio

      This was a schedule loss one way or the other for Utah – 4 in 5 nights on an east coast road trip. But – I agree with you … they are very bad. They also have one of the (if not the) worst coaches in the league. Things look very good for them getting a top 3 pick

  • One relaxed fella

    Good win against a team which has the worst record in NBA. So, basically Raps did what they had to do. Hopefully this can help Raps to gain more confidence, because next week is going to be a slow tour through hell. One thing I still don’t understand: how the hell Raptors have confidence to play Jonas and create for him in the beginning of games but after that they absolutely forget about his presence on the offensive end once the second quarter starts? I mean, is this really their game plan? Or do they just forget that they have a guy who can score in the paint on the consistent basis?

  • youngjames

    Most impressive stat by Buycks was his plus/minus stat.

    This is the definition of plus/minus for the uneducated who “think” they know what they are talking about:

    “Plus/minus began as a hockey metric, and has been kept as an official NHL statistic since 1968. Around 2003, Roland Beech of 82games.com brought this concept to NBA basketball…and a few years after that, the league made +/- a part of it’s official boxscore statistics.

    Interestingly, this metric is much more meaningful in basketball than it is in hockey, even though it took much longer for the NBA to begin using it. The more scoring there is in a game, the more useful this statistic becomes. Plus/minus is a useful way to determine a player’s value to his team, because it encompasses everything a player does on the basketball floor, even things the NBA doesn’t keep official statistics on.

    An example of Plus/minus is as follows: let’s say a player’s team was 7.5 points better than their opponents when he was in the game (+7.5). When our player was not in the game, however, the team was 3.3 points worse than their opponents (-3.3). To find this player’s +/- rating, you simply take the difference of the two numbers, which yields a rating of +10.8.”

    It tells (with Buycks for example) that last night that his on floor value allowed the team to be 18 points better then the other team whne he is playing!….But who cares about that when your constantly stuck on shooting percentages, right RR!

    • Milesboyer

      Sounds like you should start your own website so you can educate and give your amazing opinions to the legion of Raptor fans not happy with this site.

      • youngjames

        I am so thinking about it – My site would be based around allowing the people to comment, judge and vent holding accountable any and all “media outlet/personalities” on the T.O sports scene. The media has no one to answer to but there direct bosses (managers) – as long as they are “company guys” they talk the biggest shit w/o any accountability. This frustrates many of many actual fans – these “writers” who take a journalist degree with thier parents money, graduate and just happen to get a job working on Raptors stories, ruins it for the REAL fans (who are not getting paid to be here) with insufferable, lacking knowledge blabber! But argue back with consistent smarmy non supportive points!
        My site is for the fans – the ones who are not getting paid to be a part of this, the ones who are a part of this because its thier hobby, thier passion. These people should be able to express, vent, explain, or discuss the inaccuracies of the writes/media outlets who cover all T.O sports (but for now – The Raptors). This might hold the writers more accountable when the public gets to weigh in on thier performances! Maybe even email blast the head of the corporation (going to thier bosses, boss – real company decision makers) and letting them know, the level (or lack of) quality from their workers in the public eye. Companies rely on public image, but if the head guys are not seeing this on a ground level – they will never know – with my site, the fans comments and updates to these companies, maybe we tighten the screws and gets some quality back. The quality fans deserve!

        • Jkwasia

          LOL ur totally missing the blatant sarcasm laid on thick by @11adb6910641d14de2024f1520f2d185:disqus o.0

    • korrector

      I like how you’ve mistaken correlation with causality. Single-game plus minus is a useless stat by all accounts. The aggregated version has some value but that’s not what your comment is about.

      • youngjames

        “Single-game plus minus is a useless stat by all accounts”…How is that, explain?

        “The aggregated version has some value but that’s not what your comment is about” you could say that about any stat. Amir lifts down 17 boards today – but overall only averages 7.5, so that one game stat is misleading. Nice try on the big words there “Kelly Dictionary from the Star” – but I got this – you can sit-back watch and learn now!

  • John

    I’ve changed my mind on tanking. This team sucks. All I want to see this season is JV developing and us getting closer to a high lottery pick. We have no chance with Rudy or DeMar chucking long jumpers anymore. Masai will know to trade Rudy by the deadline

    • youngjames

      This Tuesday night: KC Jaywhawks vs Duke – Wiggins vs Parker. You will get a good look at two of the top 5 projected eligible draft prospects for 2014. Maybe one of those players becomes a future Raptor!?!!

  • Rap fan 2

    Looking at the stats, as a team the Raptors shot 48.2 FG% and had 23 assists. That’s better than their average of 43.6 FG% and 17.3 assists per game so far. The Heat have season averages of 51.6 FG% and 28 assists per game. Watching the game Toronto/Miami game recently you can see that the Heat systematically try to score in the paint or at the hoop. I was trying to find stats on how many attempts and shots made in the paint they average but didn’t find anything yet. The Heat are at the lead in terms of FG% and second from the top in terms of assists per game. I think this formula of scoring more in the paint will lead to more successful and efficient offensive numbers for the team and individually for the players. Guys like Jonas and Tyler who get most their shots from the paint are offset by players who shot a lot from the outside like Rudy and Demar. Wouldn’t it make sense to set up Rudy and Demar, who also happened to take the most amount of shots, to take more shots in the paint? I think it’s a process and they are working on ways to improve their efficiency and be more successful. I know, a lot of what I’ve posted here has been already posted by others.

  • Rap fan 2

    Yep, Utah is on full rebuild, tank, mode and developing their current prospects. It’s possible for them to turn things around if they get some quality picks in the next two upcoming drafts.