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.


  • 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.


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.

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  • Amigo

    “When you come here on Sunday at 1 o’clock, guess what, you’re getting your ass kicked,”
    “When you come to play here on a Friday night, guess what, you’re getting your ass kicked.”

    Puke. Ujiri got this summer Novak-Buycks-DJ….than went on this rant meeting the fans…..what a joke ! He has a 5 years contract ! Car salesman

    • Plus

      What do you want him to say? “Raps will suck for years to come so dont bother coming to the games?” Will that make you happier?

      • FLUXLAND

        How about don’t talk shit/sell garbage to the fans, if you know your team sucks? Is that what makes you happy, buying kool aid?

        • Plus

          I like kool aid, tastes good. Anyway, in the context of things, MU said he’ll evaluate the team. Those statements are his vision, and hopefully would motivate the team. But this team clearly sucks ass with a head coach who doesn’t know how to do his job. I hope MU makes some decisions sooner than later. If it were my choice, it would be Casey and Lowry gone first. Lowry doesn’t have the intelligence to lead the team or get others involved. I would still like to see a real point guard distribute the ball efficiently.

          • FLUXLAND

            Thing is, with an organization like this, you will always hear things like “it’s a process”, “evaluating”, “needs time to gel”, “retooling” while never advising the fans what the plan actually may be or what direction the team is headed. And that’s because there is no plan at all, it’s just going along with what will sell more tickets at any given moment. Fans wanna hear playoffs? This is a playoff team! Fans want to hear about tanking? We’re gunning for the no.1 pick!

            As per KL, I have no issues with a rebounding/driving PG. He’s being asked to play against his strengths, so he just may be what you dislike in a PG. I for one am not a fan of the “tennis ball machine” PG, at least not as your starter – when your guys are having night off you can’t keep feeding them – you are the point guard and need to take charge. I think you are selling him short on his intelligence, because I just see guys that don’t trust each other, but want to win so bad they are willing to take things into their own hands. In some cases they realize the team is not playoff material and go on to protect their stats (99% of the time an agenda pushed by their agents) But all these guys got to the NBA because they were the no1 guy somewhere/sometime. They only respect another player if their game is equal or superior and they will not sacrifice their game unless it makes sense (read:benefit) to them (blame MJ). More importantly, what we as fans need to realize is that it has nothing to do with the individual players – basketball is the one sport where the most critical thing is how the players (and their games) compliment each other (see: Les Pacers). A player’s game is never as important as how it contributes to team success. That’s why no one should care is someone “went off” for a 37 pt career high or JV got a double double in a loss. It means nothing except what it does for that guy’s next contract.

            I am starting to lean on the Casey need to go plan, but if that means George Karl – no thanks.

            • 2damkule

              again, exactly. any GM that doesn’t come right out & explain, in full & clear detail, not only exactly what his plans are, but how he plans on going about enforcing his plan, is really just trying to sell tickets. because THAT’S been such a thing lately, ensuring they sell tickets. apparently, the fan base in TO is so stupid, that they measure the quality of the team – and thus whether they should procure themselves tickets – based on what the team tells them, and not based on their own eyes.

              • FLUXLAND

                I don’t know if you read about other teams, but I don’t see any GM coming out and saying they refuse to shed any light on what their plan/vision may be. Well, except kicking ass and all that. Maybe you missed that part of the off season or do THF have a selective reading criteria? And based on the comments around here during the off season the selling went phenomenal. But you are right, what this team team needs is more time, because after all, it takes years to evaluate what you have. FARM TEAM FOREVAHHH!!

                • onemanweave

                  I’m sure MU will come to his centses soon and let you and Yertu in on what he plans next. He may even consult you. Likely will. He’ll just open the Freshie stand for the rest of us. You guys are cool!!!!!!

              • FLUXLAND

                And only you would read “:advising” as “explain, in full & clear
                detail, not only exactly what his plans are, but how he plans on going
                about enforcing his plan”.. that’s some exceptional ireadwhatiwantto

            • Plus

              BC was the ultimate salesman… I think MU is smart enough not to show his cards (plan) because you wouldn’t want to get criticized right away. Then the media and fans would be judging him all the time. He didn’t know what he has in his starting five and his coach but there’s a clearer picture now. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a move before Christmas. I want this team to win however if the results land us 9-11, then I say tank the season or try to trade up in the draft.

        • DanH

          My understanding was not that he was talking about the current team, but what he wants to build. Promising that he’d put together a bruising, tough team. Obviously he hasn’t done that yet.

          • FLUXLAND

            I cannot read that as anything but selling tickets. I mean, should it not be a given that you want to win? Or that you want to win in your house? And kicking ass is not a vision, it’s cheap talk. I’m not sure if anything he’s said thus far can be construed as a “vision.” Less talky, more worky is what ‘s needed.- let your signings and team play do the talking for you and you won’t have to sell anything.

            • 2damkule

              i know, right? there’s been more than enough time to invoke a franchise-wide culture change. pfft…MU = just another salesman, amirite?

              • FLUXLAND

                You sure are! All you have to do is look up his resume and what contributions he made at the places he’s been. If you wanna ride that Nuggets period and call him a genius, drink up on the kool aid. A closer examination will show you he was a liaison and paper filer with the L, not a decision maker – same as his boy Timmy – riding on the success of his former employers where they had little to no actual input. But once they get to TO – watch out we got a shark and messiah! Here come the chips!


      He got the ass kicking part right, I guess.

    • HogyG

      You forgot HansBro! Wouldn’t you call that a positive acquisition during the off season?

      • Amigo

        even a broken clock is right twice a day

  • One relaxed fella

    “Patented shot fake” – damn that’s a good one. But seriously tho, Jonas has to think of some other moves and he should start taking and making those mid-range jump shots just to keep the patented shot fake more realistic.

  • Ds

    Not sure why, but with the Raps down just 2 (109-107), Casey calls for full-court pressure, Lillard hits Batum for a wide-open 3. Next defensive possession, same thing. Another Batum 3. Game over. Bad play-calling or bad luck?

  • Tanks-a-lot

    Well, those 3-pointers killed us. It is the Blazers strategy to bomb from outside. It worked.

    Why oh why was Novak in and Jonas out for OT?

    What is the point of a scoring Center with only 3 fouls sitting on the bench when the Blazers front court was chopped by fouls?

    • Bendit

      DC is employing a sophisticated stealth tank strategy. This also includes allowing Rudy and DD to shoot at will and not passing the ball to JV after the 1st qtr.

      • cn

        Because Casey is terrible coach… How long MU is going to take fire Casey? we can go another season of talking about taking.. and win the final 6 games and not be a lottery team.. and miss the play-off anyway…

      • Jose

        I wish that was the case. I am afraid they’ll make another useless end of the season push and end up at the 9th or 10th spot. Those late season pushes only help the ticket sale for the upcoming season — nothing else.

        So, tank diligently boys and get ready for the one very special summer.

        • Bendit

          Nah. I believe there shall be a sell off by MU in Dec-Jan and the team will just be incapable. I of course opine here without benefit of a crystal ball…just the tea leaves 🙂

  • Nilanka15

    Holy shit, the East is terrible.

  • consmap

    Funniest part of the game, Joel Freeland falls for a JV pump fake AT THE 3 POINT LINE and JV drives by him and gets fouls.

    • That was amazing. I couldn’t believe I saw that.

      • Tanks-a-lot

        please get a clip of that up here

      • consmap

        And then to cap things off, I think one of the Blazers’ commentators said something like: “You know, I’m not convinced that Valanciunas cant hit that shot!”
        I died.


    You can’t “pour in” rebounds.

    • DDayLewis

      Jonas can. He’s that good.

      • FLUXLAND

        Just sad to see people use jargon improperly. Almost as bad as the guys using “our boys” like that HogyG character. Can’ take anything they say seriously, because clearly they started paying attention to bball last summer and now they are experts, calling the rest “haterz.”

  • SuperiorFrench

    I will never understand this team’s management. Team’s on its way to yet another 9-12 place finish meaning no playoffs and likely missing on a high draft pick. It’s been the same shyte for the past 5 years. If you’re not good enough for the playoffs then FREAKING TANK, lose one year or 2 and start building through the draft. Why is it so hard to grasp?

  • Tanks-a-lot


    can we get someone to post this article?

    seems like it’s going to be a series.

    • Bendit

      I’d draft him just for his furrows.

  • Rap fan 2

    It’s about 1/8 th of the season done. It’s 4 and 7 now. At this rate would it project to say 31 and 51? The players have to make adjustments. The coach has to make adjustments. There’s obvious improvement on the defensive side of things. It’s still a work in progress. It’s not on par with Chicago or Indiana yet. But you can see the 5 Raptor defenders working together fluidly. However, that flow does not extend to the offensive side yet. They are making progress. More plays are being made with Rudy and Demar attacking the basket. With their athleticism good things happen when they get to the basket. It’s a high percentage shot. We should run more plays for Terrance Ross when he gets in the game. With his quickness and hops he can easily make a play at the basket. They can also more than likely get a call to go to the free throw line and get the defender a foul call. This is something the Raptors should take advantage of. They should do it consistently and religiously. The other thing that might help on the offense is everybody needs to touch the ball on a procession. Everybody needs to touch the ball!! Everyone!! You’ll get more ball movement and everyone is involved in the flow of the offense. It’s a work in progress.

    • Roarque

      Rap Fan 2 – good post. Positive criticism is needed on this site. I suspect that Dwane will be putting more emphasis on offense after Christmas and/or after he is convinced the team is prepared to play his D day in and day out. Let’s not forget it was a Dwane Casey D that last beat the Heat. I like the idea that T Ross gets some focus. Combine that with Acy and Fields being more involved.

    • kameko

      thats not really a ‘projection’. all you’re doing is multiplying numbers for no particular reason other than to add up to the same percentage. by that logic, the pacers will go 73-9 and the trailblazers will go 65-17.

      Attacking the basket for both DD and RG have actually been kind of disastrous. It’s good that they’re getting to the line, but they’re also missing a TON from in the paint. Both are well under league average for makes from in the paint this season which is sad. So instead of ‘and 1’s, its always just a 1 and sometimes a 2. I suppose thats still better than none from long jumpers but still…

      • Rap fan 2

        Yeah, no you are right, 31 and 51, just numbers based on their winning percentage at present. That’s why I used the question mark. Though if you compare it to last seasons final 2012/2013 numbers of 34 and 48 or 41.5% winning percentage it’s not too far off. It’s still early, if they make progress on improving their offense we will see additions on the win side and subtractions on the loss side. The point I wanted to make is that they need to play team system offense. Try to shift around the opposing defense. Make a habit to pass until you find somebody open or pass to a cutting team mate for a layup or a dunk. Have Rudy, Demar and Terrance moving without the ball, then receiving the pass and quickly going into their shots. I think Rudy and Demar have the advantage often when going hard at the hoop. Team systems that focus on attacking the rim as their primary option create an advantage. It’s probably more painful for players that attack the rim, however you’ll get more calls to the free throw line. Looking back at the Chicago game, they were relentless attacking the Raptors on the inside. Easy buckets. I don’t think Rudy and Demar are in their sweet spots shooting from the outside. Personally, I think the bread and butter of their offense should be inside. Limit their outside shots. Getting more of their shots at the rim will not only make them more efficient the team will be more efficient as a whole. Only the best shooters should be taking shots from the outside on a regular basis. I don’t think you can just leave it up to the players or point guard to run the offense. Can we try emulating what the Heat and Spurs do? Would you call the Raptor’s offense dysfunctional? It’s early, it’s a work in progress.

        With that all said, personally I think Raptors are still a ways away from being a title contender. They need more talent and depth. Maybe in two or three years? Two more lottery picks? More development in the players and refinement in the systems.

  • Raptorsss

    Like last year this team is losing a lot of close games, but playing hard. If this team traded for a whole team of Calderon’s or other High IQ low athleticism players I might be happy, at least then we can say we’re losing, because of a lack of talent.

  • drg

    I remember when DD seemed to lack confidence. He used to dribble a lot and make safe perimeter passes. He was hesitant to shoot. Now he is over confident and chucks everything at the rim. If we are not going to tank we need to instil a culture with disciplined players who make good decisions with the ball. Demar should be the first to go, raptorland corrupted him into someone who thinks he is a primary scorer.

  • AnthonyF

    Pretty simple really….. Portland passed the ball, were unselfish and had a bucket load of open 3 pointers. Usually the team that hits more 3 pointers wins the game. I am not talking 10-8, I’m talking when there is a significant spread. Raptors were outscored 45-9!!!!!!!

    Portland is a team projected around .500, so don’t fall for the line that the Raptors lost at home to a better team.

    Lopez fouled out, JV owned him and the paint, yet was on the bench. Great job Casey.

    And yes I was smiling watching AB school Howard the other day…..

    • Tanks-a-lot

      Howard is overrated.

    • GoingBig

      “Portland is a team projected around .500, so don’t fall for the line that the Raptors lost at home to a better team.”

      I think it is a better team(8-2) than the Raptors. They have a steady offence that knows how to produce on threes, some steadiness with Mo Williams coming in off the bench, and an ability to move the ball.
      Casey and the Raps knew that the ‘Blazers would be 3 heavy – and could do nothing to counter that except for that desperate stretch at the end.

  • HogyG

    I never get Robin Lopez confused with Verajau…Sideshow Bob maybe.