cover

Raptors make a late push to send the game into overtime, but the Blazers outlast our Dinos for the 118-110 victory.

Before I go on, I have to admit that this recap won’t be very long, nor very comprehensive. In fact, the grammar and spelling probably won’t be up to snuff either. You see, at this current time of writing, it is 3:30 AM, and I have just suffered through a power outage, and then I subsequently lost a sizeable chunk of the article with an accidental slip of the mouse. I apologize in advance.

All in all, it was a pretty entertaining game. Sure, there were the usual problems – too much shooting from Gay and Derozan, questionable coaching decisions, not enough touches for Valanciunas – but the Raptors took an 7-2 Trailblazer squad to overtime. That’s got to count for something, right? Anyway, I’ve abbreviated the game recap into bullet points.

First Quarter

  • Raptors come out HOT. They score on their first 8 field goal attempts of the game. Valanciunas has a couple of dunks, Gay had a nice take to the rim and for a moment, things in Raptorland seemed okay.
  • Jonas dominates Robin “don’t confuse me for Varajao” Lopez on offense, grabbing boards and schooling him with his patented shot fake. Everything was clicking for the Raptors
  • Well, except for the defense. Despite the Raptors shooting 63% in the first, the Blazers did this magical thing called shooting three-pointers, which for some odd reason gave them an extra point. I was personally fluxommed by this strategy because the Raptors never seem to cash in on such a lucrative offer. Portland leads 31-29 after one. Somehow LMA has already attempted 10 field goals.

Second Quarter

  • After seeing Gay throw up 9 shots in the first, Derozan follows suit in the second by chucking 9 shots of his own. He hit some jumpers, he missed some jumpers (including bricking a wide-open three from the corner), and he hit an incredible 360 layup. Got to the foul line 6 times as well and his 13 points, albeit not arising from perfect shot selection, kept the Raptors afloat.
  • Despite going 4-5 in the first half, Valanciunas only shoots once in 7 minutes played in the second quarter. Ironically, it was a putback on a missed shot from Demar. Fun times.
  • Wesley Matthews hits  pair of those exotic “three-point field goals”, while Mo Williams reminds everyone that A) he still exists and B) is a very serviceable back-up point guard. It is at this point when you reach for the tissues to wipe off your tears; most teams are lucky enough to have a decent back-up point, rather than three players that all mostly suck.
  • Speaking of back-up points that mostly suck, Dwight Buycks is officially the main backup, of which he entirely earned by having the most important quality of all: not being DJ Augustin
  • Portland up  57-54 going into the half. Demar and Gay’s #MoreShotsThanPoints watch: 20 field goals, 23 points

Third Quarter

  • Yikes! Blazers pull away on the backs of missed jumpers from Gay and Demar (4 points on 2/12 shooting in the third). Portland uses good ball-movement and instinctive player-positioning and motion to create open looks for each other.
  • Lets go back to the shooting poor shooting thing. Gay took 8 shots in the third and he made one. Let’s break them down one by one: elbow jumper with LMA challenging (miss), turnaround jumper with LMA challenging (miss), spot-up 18 footer with LMA challenging (miss),  alley-oop from Lowry (make), baseline 16-footer (miss), drive to the basket on Batum (blocked, miss), drives to basket on Batum (blocked, miss), end of quarter heave (miss).
  • FYI: Rudy has shot 34% on midrange shots this season.
  • Blazers use a well-balanced attack to stretch the lead to 79-69 at the end of three.

Fourth Quarter

  • Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Raptors bench is tasked to holding the deficit while the starters catch a breather, but they cough up the game. Landry, Buycks and Ross were highly ineffective in tonight’s game.
  • Blazers lead balloons to 16 points midway through the quarter but here comes RUDY GAY HEROBALL! Gay takes 7 shots in final 6 minutes of the game.
  • Don’t worry, these were good shots; a pair of dunks and a a pair of layups.
  • Speaking of layups, Coach Dwane Casey put the ball in Rudy’s hands down 2 with 4 seconds left. Lowry is on the the wing while Novak is in the corner. This neutralizes two help defenders, so Gay is afforded the opportunity to drive 1-on-1 against Batum. Gay uses his strength to muscle past Batum and ties the game at the buzzer. Smart play-call by Casey and great execution by Gay.

Overtime

  • You know that expression “live by the sword, die by the sword”?  Well the Raptors died by their favourite stunted machete last night – isolation basketball. First play of the overtime: Demar 1-on-1 in the post versus Wes Matthews (miss). A couple of missed shots by Novak. Gay hits a three. Gay isolated on the wing against Batum and misses an 18 footer. Demar tried to drive on Matthews, but is blocked. Gay drives on Batum, but he misses the layup. Kyle Lowry dribbles down the court, uses a screen from Amir Johnson and fires up a three (miss). Wayyy too much isolation/individual efforts in the OT.
  • Meanwhile the Blazers also run some isolation sets, but Damien Lillard sinks a pair of tough jumpers. The Raptors (notably Demar) are caught sleeping on back-to-back possessions and Batum is able to sink two threes and the Blazers go on to lose 118-110.

Negative Nancy:

  • Blazers sunk 15 three-pointers last night. The Raptors sunk three. Hey, the team knows that 3-pointers are 50% m0re valuable than 2-pointers, right?
  • Gay and Derozan scored 59 points on 54 shots, so they narrowly avoid the dreaded #MoreShotsThanPoints. Their shot charts may look familiar. For the record, aside from his poor stretch in the third, I was very happy with Gay’s shot selection.

gay

Positive Pete:

  • Jonas looked excellent in last night’s game. I know Robin Lopez is no Roy Hibbert, but Valanciunas really dominated him on the offensive end. He put up 19/9 on 8/11 shooting. I’m a little worried that the league will soon learn that he NEVER SHOOTS THE JUMPER, and so bigs stop respecting and falling for his shot fake + two steps + sweeping hook move of his. It seems like that’s his only reliable and repeatable post-move in Jonas’s arsenal.