Toronto Raptors 108 Final

Recap | Box Score

98 Philadelphia 76ers
Amir Johnson, PF 25 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | 0I liked that he didn’t shoot threes in the 1st quarter, but put the ball on the floor and attacked the defense. Early foul trouble got him yanked in the 1st, and never let him recover. Pretty invisible tonight other than a big block on MCW on 3-2 break.
Rudy Gay, SF 36 MIN | 6-16 FG | 4-5 FT | 8 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | +17Had as complete a game as you could possibly ask of him. Didn’t shoot the ball well, but also looked to hit the open man with the pass more than we’re used to seeing. Rebounded very well, played solid defense…will take this from him every night.
Jonas Valanciunas, C 22 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +2Nobody looked to get him the ball in the post, and it’s not like the Sixers had anyone down there to give him many problems. You could see how pissed off he was in the 2nd half when Ross missed him wide open under the rim. One word of advice when your big man is working hard to get position on the low blocks: GIVE HIM THE BALL FROM TIME TO TIME!
Kyle Lowry, PG 38 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 10 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +15My problem with Lowry isn’t that he didn’t have a good game, because he did. My problem is that he doesn’t make the guys around him better. Weird saying that when he drops 10 dimes, but how much of that was just that the Raptors were hot from three? Think about it.
DeMar DeRozan, SG 38 MIN | 10-19 FG | 10-12 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 33 PTS | +4Put on a clinic in the 1st half from the perimeter with a combination of hot shooting and smart decision making on and off the ball (curls, drives, cuts to the basket). Defense was there as well, but did very little else. Fortunately that’s all he needed to do. Way to keep the recent hot play going.
Tyler Hansbrough, PF 22 MIN | 1-5 FG | 3-5 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +7Crashed the boards and made things uncomfortable for the Sixers front court. Shot the ball a few times more than you’d like him too, but when he snags 4 offensive rebounds in 22 minutes, you need to reward him with a few of those.
Steve Novak, SF 16 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +6Meh
Dwight Buycks, PG 10 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -6Made an impression in limited minutes; not a big impression, but his three was timely and stopped a minny run in the 4th.
Terrence Ross, SG 32 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +10Picked up in the second half where DeRozan left off in the 1st. Crashed the boards, played excellent defense, and really made us remember that he was originally drafted for his shooting, and not his athleticism.
Dwane Casey
Best game he’s coached all year by a large margin. There was a game-plan (more below), and the team stuck to it for a full 48. That’s all you can expect.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Heading into tonight’s match, the Raptors were dead last in assists/game in the league. Tonight? 24 assist leading to 36 field goals. We saw better shots, and less ISO plays on the perimeter. This I can get used to. This is the type of basketball we would all like to see. How much easier is it to swing the ball around until someone has a good luck than backing your band and jacking up a fade-away with a second defender running at you? A lot, that’s how much.
  2. Raptors really showed composer in the 3rd, making timely plays every time the Sixers mounted a mini run to cut the lead. In fact, the way the Raptors closed out the 3rd quarter was impressive: 8-3 run capped off with two wide over threes by Ross and Novak from text-book penetration and dish plays.
  3. The one down side was that the Raptors didn’t play good transition defense (24 fast break points), or protect the paint particularly well (40 points). Seemed like every-time a Sixer cut to the basket aggressively, he was rewarded with a pass and either turned it into a basket or a trip to the line (31 attempts). This is what kept the Sixers in the game until the end of the 3rd quarter.
  4. Raptors take possession of the Atlantic division for he first time since in six years. Not sure that this is a good thing or not, but I’d rather see them compete, win, and try to avoid being a treadmill team than tank and not land a top 3 pic.
  5. This was the first game in a very long time that my frustration didn’t show itself with a deep sigh, rolled-eyes, or a pursed-lip-disapproving-head-shake. I can really get used to this team if they can figure out  a way to continue playing this brand of basketball AND getting Jonas more involved. We’ll leave them figure that part out for the next time they have two days off between games.