Raptors cough up the lead in the third, but unlikely heros fend off Wall’s absurd night to secure the victory for the Atlantic Division leading Raptors

Washington Wizards 88 FinalRecap | Box Score 96 Toronto Raptors
Amir Johnson, PF 25 MIN | 7-8 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +22Brought the energy on both ends. Caught some great passes from Lowry and slammed home a couple of alley-oops. Had to sit because of foul trouble, but when he played, he was effective.
Rudy Gay, SF 31 MIN | 6-16 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | +2Gay had a really tough time dealing with double-teams from the Wizards, failing to make the right pass a lot of the time, or simply making them too late, and saw his minutes slashed as a result. Hit some key shots in the fourth quarter and clinched the win for the Raptors. Had a couple of blocks that made Jack squeal “get that garbage outta here”
Jonas Valanciunas, C 37 MIN | 5-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -7Struggled mightily to defend Nene, but did a nice job on Gortat (who is slower). Got blocked a bunch in tonight’s game, including twice on one possession, but he was tenacious. Worked really hard and got rewarded with lots of looks.
Kyle Lowry, PG 36 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -2Amazing game from Lowry. Great passes, solid defense and money from deep. You really couldn’t ask for more. Don’t be fooled by Wall’s outburst; his defense was solid. the gameplan with Wall is always to force him to shoot jumpers, and Lowry did that.
DeMar DeRozan, SG 37 MIN | 7-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | -7Also faced double teams from the Wizards, and he was also slow to pass out of them. Hit his usual assortment of shots. Lost Beal on defense a whole bunch. Luckily Beal just missed on a few of them, especially in the second half. Demar needs to do a better job fighting through screens.
Tyler Hansbrough, PF 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -7I’m coining a new nickname for Hansbrought: Tyler HAMsbrough, because he was going haaard tonight. He has no touch around the basket, but it doesn’t really matter when he can grab all of the rebounds.
Steve Novak, SF 19 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +15The Raptors really didn’t run a single play for him, which usually neutralizes Novak, but he hit a three right in Gortat’s eyes in the fourth which temporarily stopped the bleeding for Raptors.
D.J. Augustin, PG 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +6Good lord. If you’re ever going to remember a 5-minute stint from DJ Augustin, remember this one. He sunk a corner three, created a nice dunk for JV and did a little improvising to get Ross an open three with the shot-clock expiring. Really kept the Raptors afloat early in the fourth. He might have just won his backup point guard job back.
Julyan Stone, SG 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +4Not great.
Terrence Ross, SG 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +14When Ross’s shot is falling, and he’s still managing to get to the rim for highlight finishes, I am a fan. Unfortunately when the shot isn’t, he’s just a springy player who’s out of position a whole bunch on defense. He seems to have jumped over Fields for the first wing off the bench.
Dwane Casey
I don’t want to rag on Casey everytime I do a quick reaction, but he made some really questionable calls in this game, and none more bone-headed than going zone with Novak at the four. Wizards dominated on the glass in the third and grabbed 5 offensive rebounds on 3 possessions with Novak in the interior. And here’s the rub; if you’re going to go small with Novak as your four, at least run a play for him. Not a great night for Casey.

Five Things We Saw

  1. When John Wall’s jumper is falling, he is a superstar point guard in this league. When it’s not, he’s just a whirling dervish that leaves you scampering to SportVU to check his maximum speed with the ball. His shot was falling and he single-handedly brought the Wizards back in this game.
  2. In a related note, after watching John Wall explode in the second half, 0% of Raptors fans who watched this game still have fingernails left.
  3. The Raptors’s offense fell apart in the third. They did such a nice job moving the ball in the first half (especially the first quarter), but the Wizards just doubled/trapped Gay and Demar whenever they got the ball. This blood-stained shot chart was the result.
  4. One more time for Kyle Lowry. His whole game was on display tonight. The nifty passes, the aggressive drives to the hoop, the three-pointer from the wing, the rebounding, the steals and the aggressive defense. Great game from Lowry.
  5. Gortat was 3/10 in this game with 6 points and 8 rebounds in 31 minutes played. They traded away their first round draft pick for him. Oh boy.
  • leftovercrack

    Landry Fields with 0 minutes and Novak with 19? I guess Casey is experimenting with lineups. I wonder if there are any takers around the league for Fields? Seems a waste to have him sit on bench for $7 mil a year

    • Roarque

      DC needs to determine who his 8 regular players are by Dec 15. Novak’s back issue has made that evaluation difficult. DC knows what Fields can do and now he needs to know the same about Novak. Steve Novak is a luxury to have on a team as challenged as the Raptors. Landry Fields is a necessity for a long season. Fields can play the 2,3 and 4 defensively. But he does it at the cost of too much cap space…. but that problem is not Dwane’s problem.

      • Ghotte

        Why not make that decision based on things like, um, match up? (Rather than on paper.)

        The first quarter of the season is usually used to determine who you can trot out in what situation.

        The last two games were not a good match up for Fields but great for a 3 pt shooter as Wsh has no big that can play on the perimeter.

      • Jerry Garcia

        Novak showed some leadership and was directing traffic….we won….I like him !

    • Thimble

      Novak’s minutes definitely felt like a mad experiment. Thank goodness Hansbrough had his usual energy and was able to cover for him most of the time. I think Fields will make it back into the rotation against Miami.

    • steve fisher

      Totally agree except the trade part. For the first 7 games Fields was one of our best players has rarely seen the floor in the last few games apparently in EXCLUSIVE favor of TR.Yes TR deserves increased playing time when he has EARNED IT. He is very erratic especially on Defense where unfortunately he often completely looses track of the man he is RESPONSIBLE FOR. Their must be consequences for poor D hello bench. LF plays consistently great D and moves very well without the ball because of his high basketball IQ and high intelligence which you can`t teach! Coach give both TR and LF a chance because they both have different skill sets.Don`t shortchange your team coach! PSL LF has not forgotten how to play!

  • ad

    This season is unfolding exactly the way I was afraid it would. 6-7 right now, treadmill team. Beating crappy teams and losing to good ones. MU is going to wait 20-25 games. Whats the record going to be then? 12-13?13-12? Even if they are leading the titanic division at that time, I hope he blows it up. Sell high on dd and lowry. Maybe even find a taker for rudy. Dont be fooled by this mediocre bunch with an idiot coach. Cmon masai, make sure we get a top 5 pick!!

    • tonious35

      I might be a fool, but with a winning record, we might trade our high-valued players for other team’s 2014 picks and get bench Gems at trade deadline.

      • ad

        Its going to be VERY tough to get 2014 picks (esp 1st rounders) because it is such a strong draft and teams are uncertain where they will end up. Even if its decent prospects or future protected picks i would be happy.

        • Raptorsss

          As long as this team is a top 10 defensive team in the league (and top 15 in offensive officiency), I am very reluctant to rag on Casey, no matter what the eye test tells me.

    • Duke

      Every time you comment on here, it’s the same crap. Crying about not tanking properly and how you want draft picks. We get it. Holy fuck

      • ad

        Ive been a fan of this damn team for a loonnngg time. I just want to watch an elite basketball team with great talent. The only way that happens is… you know. Should I be pumped up about the 7th or 8th seed like some other clowns and getting destroyed by mia or ind in the 1st round?? Just my opinion and you dont have to agree or reply.

        • Ghotte

          And you’re willing to wait 5-6 pain years for those supposed elite draft picks to usher in a sparkling set of deep playoff conquest, right?

          (All the while being your normal supportive self, eh?)

    • rapsfan

      If RG could actually hit like 45% and him and DD could learn to make better passes Out of double teams. This team could actually be pretty dangerous and entertaining…
      I personally hope they do.
      Park the tank in the garage!!!

      • DDayLewis

        Get the tank out the damn garage! Hurry up with my damn croissants!

        • Jkwasia

          hit em wit the yeezy!!!

    • tonious35

      Treadmill is all what we can see if we fall short at 9th place, but if you put RC Burford (Spurs GM) and his scouting group into our situation, he will get this team winning with a 0.600 record next year. Masai, is going to put his scouting, trading, and drafting skills to the test in the 2014 summer, and I have faith that he will succeed under this situation. Masai knows that it doesn’t matter what your draft picks will be, HE AS A GM MUST EVALUATE, DRAFT, DEVELOP, AND TRAIN personnel SMARTLY. Masai might not have the NBA experience, but he himself has fought in the front lines. He was not given any silver-spoon feedings from a successful father (ahem BC), and Masai is going to look at every nook and cranny to find better quality players and personnel to make the team better.

      • Ghotte

        And as long as he can focus on players with as much heart as talent this team should benefit. (As opposed to knee jerk decision making like BC)

    • Roarque

      Masai is not stupid. If Rudy can showcase his often spectacular finishing skills to the right team by Dec/Jan then he can be moved for a young PG – the future of this team. That would cover the cost of Masai’s salary. After that if he can move Kyle ( plus a young body – Acy?) for a first rounder then he should be a shoo in for Mayor.
      Oh, wait, Toronto already has a popular Mayor.

      • DDayLewis

        Last season Gay was traded for an expiring Jose Calderon. I doubt that Ujiri will get more than that.

        • ad

          Well, not quite. Memphis also got a decent prospect in ed davis and 2nd round pick.

    • http://peterd.mp Beagle17

      I might be wrong on this, but it looks like the way they do the
      conference standings now, an Atlantic division win would have the
      Raptors probably finish fourth (assuming they remain worse than both
      other division winners and one more team besides), thus they would play
      off against the “fifth” place team, which would likely have a better
      record than themselves, but at least they would not be the proverbial
      fodder for Miami and Indiana. They might even make it to the second
      round by beating out the Knicks, or Pistons or some such team. This is
      far from inconceivable, though I expect Brooklyn to take the division
      title despite their poor start.

    • Thimble

      They’re only winning against poor teams right now, but I do notice some improvement in offensive sets and passing the ball. Perhaps Casey’s emphasis at the start of the season was to burn a solid defensive mindset into the players first, then gradually focus on offense. Despite their experience, many of the Raptors are fairly young. It’s easy to forget that Amir’s only 26! Other than Novak at 30, everyone else is 28 and under. Casey probably feels more like a teacher than a coach some days.

  • Nerius

    JV was out of position for most of the first half. Seemed slow and unaware. But second half was much better, we saw him fight for rebounds (13 should be his average not a career high) and less out of place defensively.

  • Roarque

    Amir had an impressive first quarter and then disappeared. Wha’ happened? Like the chemistry withAmir’s point guards. Miss his chemistry with Ed Davis. But heck, they won the game eh?

    • Andrey

      he picked a lot of fouls

  • Jclaw

    5th thing we saw. Classic.

  • rtz

    Hope the stats geeks can come out and help me on this one but what is Rudy’s shooting percentage with 6 min left in 4th? Cause it seems that he shots very well at that point. But that is naked eye with no stats. My suggestion. Don’t shot until 6 min left in game.
    Otherwise…F for Casey as usual.
    F- for raptor organization for fields contract.

    • Ghotte

      Like I said, “lazy parrot.”

  • Adriiian

    Man, Rudy came in thru the clutch, but overall missed a ton of shots. What would our record be if he shot 50% every game this year? This guy is too inefficient for my taste.

    • Casey Sherman

      He’s got to harness that 4th quarter spirit in the rest game soon, right? Ah, one can hope…

      • DDayLewis

        Apparently he had the flu. Call this his flu game.

        • Casey Sherman

          Cuz he fluuuuuuuu over Nene right?????? Block party baby!!!

          • DDayLewis

            One flu over the Wizard’s net.

            …in that he missed some jumpers

            • Casey Sherman

              10 flu over their net haha. In all seriousness though (well, as much as I can provide), he scored on pump fakes a lot. He should use those more. Work the defense.

              • DDayLewis

                Admittedly his shot selection does look much improved. If he returns to his career norms he’ll likely opt out of his player option.

                • Casey Sherman

                  I don’t think so, he took his usual smattering of impossible layup attempts

      • Thimble

        Or just give him limited minutes until then…?

  • Tanks-a-lot

    The Raptors are a showcase team that happen to be winning despite themselves.

  • Raptorsss

    I didn’t watch the game, but in theory going zone with a player like Novak is the right decision. Zone’s are designed to hide your weak man-to-man defenders and Novak is the poster child for that.

    • Ghotte

      Never mind that it was Casey that decided to go zone when the starting unit forgot to share the ball and defend as a team.

      So I guess that “D” was warranted b/c,…he didn’t play Ross or JV in the 4th? Oops. Had a bad out of bounds play drawn up that cost them a possession? Um. Forgot to use his timeouts in the 3rd…? Look, Casey has numerous questionable moves per game but I’m not convinced this grade is anything more than just being lazy.

  • lord_playa

    Hey Lou, pretty sure Novak’s 3 was on Gortat, not Nene. Not that it matters. I’m just glad to see JV get minutes!

    • DDayLewis


  • AB4EYE

    Nice 4th quarter comeback win after John Wall took things over in the 3rd to give Washington the lead.

    Kyle Lowry has been on quite the passing role here of late setting up all kinds of nice plays and putting up some impressive assist to TO numbers. Johnson had his best offensive game of the year but all those quick fouls lead to him going to the bench quick and throwing our rotations off in the 3rd.

    I felt like Casey stuck with Novak a little too long in the 4th, he does some good things but he doesn’t have much defense and doesn’t rebound well unless it comes right too him so the longer he’s out there if not hitting shots it will eventually lead to a run and the Wizards got off on one before he checkout out but thankfully Washington cooled in due to Nene and Beal while Rudy got hot late to seal the deal and overcome a very bad start.

    Hope this is the start of D.J. Augustin getting an extended run as the back up PG since he has the most experience and sparked some very good 4th quarter play. I also hope Tyler Hansbrough didn’t get a concussion with his previous bout with vertigo from earlier in his career. Right after he got hit and stayed down on a knee for a bit he missed 2 FT off bad for a good foul shooter and then miss the rest of his shots from the field by a wide margin as well on shots he usually has no problems with but did later hit 2 more FT, it could be something to watch going forward.

    Even with those bunnies Tyler missed in the 3rd and Novak missing we still outscored them 25-9 in bench production which is real nice for what people expected from the bench this year.

  • Rap fan 2

    Why does Coach Casey get a D? Didn’t the Raptors win? They also won 3 quarters.

    They brought out the elusive line up of Jonas/Amir, Rudy, Demar, Terrance and Kyle at the end. Love it! Makes it tough on the opposing defense. Who do you stop? I think Rudy at the four could be the answer. He’s bigger, stronger and a tad slower than last year when he was a three. He’s seems to be lacking some explosiveness this year so far. It was good that Dwane gave him a bit of rest then played him at the four at the end of the game. Hey, maybe the Raptor’s dietician can add some gensing to Rudy’s diet to give him some extra boost of energy. The next big test will be against Miami next week.

  • Kujo2020

    This is starting to feel like the 2006-2007 season. Nets underachieved, and the Knicks, and C’s were horrible. Raps ended up winning the division, though that team was way better than this team.

    I still gotta believe the Knicks, and Nets will turn it around, but this is clearly the worse div in basketball, and it’s conceivable that winner will be under .500. Not sure if that has ever happened before.

    Nice seeing the Raps play better, but this is still a mediocre, treadmill team.

  • mountio

    Like the lineups that casey has been trying better rotations. The fact of the matter is that LF can not play with either of DD or RG. Those guys absolutely need shooters around them given that a) they are ball hounds and b) they arent great outside shooters themselves.
    TR is good. We need to understand this. When he gets minutes and confidence, he performs. When he get the quick hook, he doesnt. Its a shame it took casey this long to figure that out and give him real minutes (both in aggregate and in crunch time). If only he developed the 2nd half of last year? Where might he be now .. ?

  • doncity

    face it people – the team looks solid and could surprise as the year goes on if they can stay healthy…
    while I understand why the Raps seem to have attracted a lot of miserablists as fans due to their poor performances over the last five years, the fact is the Raptors had every opportunity to fold up and lose last night. They faced down 37 from John Wall and instead of sulking and throwing up bricks, Gay manned up and made shots in the clutch yet again. If Ross and Hansbrough and Novak do their jobs and provide stability off the bench this could be an over .500 squad.

  • Ds

    This is eerily similar to the 2006 campaign. A bunch of crappy teams in the East gets the Raptors the Atlantic division crown and false hope.

  • drg

    Casey didn’t deserve a D… he was holding Gay accountable and subbing him out (perhaps only because he had the flu).

    Overall I think Casey has been doing steadily better too. His plays look better and his line ups (for the most part) are not bad. He might even adjust to using Novak.

  • Son of Dad

    Is it not time to seriously shop Demar? His value is at an all time high right now. I wouldn’t miss him for a second. I think Terrance Ross is a WAY better all around player then DD. Better defender, rebounder, shooter and higher IQ. Ross has demonstrated that he is ready to take the next step but is being stunted by DD. I’d rather see Ross put up 30 fg attempts per game than Derozan. It would also take a lot of salary off the books.

  • steve fisher

    Finally KL is showing some of his great potential which must involve a nice BALANCE of passing shooting driving and especially driving drawing a couple of defenders and then hitting the open man. For the RAPS to excel this year DD and RG MUST stop forcing bad shots/turnovers and hit the open man earlier BEFORE the double team trap that WASH regularly threw at them and which they DID NOT seem to adjust to very well. Adjust or perish as a TEAM. Still one of their biggest weaknesses on the all important DEFENSE is the HARD WORK on man to man defense by always keeping between their check and the basket while always being able to see the ball. The last crucial thing on D is to always TRY to challenge Every shot with their ARMS UP and a HAND IN THE FACE !!! GO RAPS GO !!!