|Amir Johnson, PF 30 MIN | 4-8 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +15
Was dared to shoot his mid-range jumper by Randolph early and nailed ‘em both. Battled foul trouble while checking Gasol and Randolph, and put in a workman like shift. Ignore the rebounding numbers, this was a team-rebounding effort and Johnson did his part of bothering the Memphis bigs enough. The missed three is forgiven as well.
|Rudy Gay, SF 42 MIN | 8-18 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 5 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 23 PTS | +12
Even when he’s shooting 2-57 or whatever it was, he’s bringing the effort on the boards and on defense (steals are evidence). Same was the case here, and he even peppered it with some great assists to DeRozan to start the game. Hit the majority of his open jumpers and the high-screen drive-and-pull-up was going in, even after Memphis switched Tony Allen on him. Good game from Gay who gets a win on his return to Memphis.
|Jonas Valanciunas, C 30 MIN | 1-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -3
Struggled against the size of Gasol which I had anticipated before dropping him from my fantasy team for the night. Was matched up with Randolph for brief periods as well but did nothing to stand out. It helps when he has his defensive game going before he can get his offense fired up, and the night never quite got started for him. He did use his size well to pull in some rebounds when Gasol was parked at the elbow.
|Kyle Lowry, PG 35 MIN | 6-10 FG | 6-8 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | +7
This guy isn’t a ballhog, is a great three-point shooter, looks to distribute whenever possible, and I honestly can’t find much wrong with his game other than that he’s not as quick as drive-and-dish PG. That’s part of the reason Ujiri got in Buycks and Augustin, both are supposed to complement Lowry. As for this game, solid all around game including some stifling defense which forced turnovers to get that lead, and a great drive with 3 minutes left to extend the lead to 14. Yes, Conley had a big game but I’d take that over Conley driving past Lowry and creating for everyone else.
|DeMar DeRozan, SG 33 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +14
Using the screens much better especially to start the game and was key to the Raptors hot start. He set the tone and quieted the crowd and Tony Allen early. Defensively, he was switched on, fought through screens well and made over/under decisions in high-screen situations very well.
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF 23 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +16
This guy worked haaaard, man. The rebounding numbers aren’t great and neither is the FG%, but he was a factor on defense and bothered the Memphis bigs into frustration. There’s no stat for wearing the opposition down but if it was, he’d be leading both teams.
|Landry Fields, SF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1
Came in late to spell Rudy.
|Quincy Acy, SF 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 4-6 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | 0
Brought the intensity along with Ross in that second quarter which got the Raptors going after a dip. He drove off the dribble effectively and got some fouls, but more importantly, he provided the same spark as in Houston. I’m surprised he didn’t get more run.
|Aaron Gray, C 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | +2
After riding the pine against Houston, Casey remembered that there’s a lumbering 7-footer on the roster that he can make use of against expansive bigs. So it make sense that Gray got the call, albeit briefly, to spell the ineffective Valanciunas. Delivered on his rebounding responsibilities and didn’t look out of place.
|Dwight Buycks, PG 12 MIN | 0-1 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +8
Meet your official backup PG. Quick off the dribble, looking to drive instead of settle, and digs in defensively. Even if Augustin was fully available Buycks would’ve been the man to go with. He doesn’t have the feel for the NBA game yet so you’ll see him make a pass that gets easily deflected which surprises him. That part will come.
|D.J. Augustin, PG 1 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +1
Came in late for some reason.
|Terrence Ross, SG 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +5
Finally decided to pitch in on defense for two games in a row and it shows in the minutes he got. It’s no surprise his jumper looked more confident; once you feel part of the team by contribute (on defense in this case), confidence flows and natural talent comes to the forefront. Technically, Ross is a good shooter, he just never seems to get long enough of a confidence run for the shooting to showcase itself.
Did well to mix-and-match his lineups, we didn’t see the entire bench play at the same time. Picked the minutes for Ross very well, and got Acy in at the right time too.
Five Things We Saw
- The only dip in the Raptors defense happened to start the second when Memphis started on a 9-2 run and the Raptors looked switched off. Other than that stretch which they recovered form quickly, the perimeter defense was solid and every time the ball got dumped to a big down low, those pesky guards were there ready to swipe at it. Bothered MEM a lot.
- Quincy Acy and Terrence Ross did a fantastic job of upping the intensity in the second quarter. Memphis went to the bench in hopes of one-upping the Raptors but these two, along with Buycks, disrupted Memphis and forced turnovers.
- The Raptors won three out of four quarters and every time Memphis clawed back, the Raptors counter-punched through Gay, DeRozan or Lowwry. Basically, when we were against the ropes, our big guns delivered.
- A complete team rebounding effort – the Raptors were -3 against the huge Memphis frontline but made up for it by everybody pitching in. Credit to Rudy Gay as well for tracking back on defense to help out the under-pressure Valanciunas and Hansbrough.
- Rudy Gay delivered in the clutch. Memphis’ game plan seemed to be to concede the jumper to Gay as long as it was contested or from far out, and he made them regret that strategy.