Raptors lose winnable game against the defending champs on the back of missed free-throws. Eat your heart out.

Miami Heat 90 FinalRecap | Box Score 83 Toronto Raptors
Amir Johnson, PF 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -14Let’s hope he’s still struggling with the flu because he was struggling with the whole “playing basketball” thing tonight. Benched in favor of Hansbrough, and for once, it was actually the right move.
Rudy Gay, SF 40 MIN | 9-21 FG | 2-7 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 21 PTS | -2Best game from Gay in a while. Solid rebounding (he was mostly used as the small-ball four), some much needed scoring and a very nice weak-side block on the Birdman. Yeah, he still took a bunch of bad shots, including one where he completely ignored a wide-open Ross in the corner to shoot an ill-advised iso-long-two, but hey, I’m not expecting much from Gay at this point. The missed free throws hurt (running theme). Oh, and your answer to the most important question of all?
Jonas Valanciunas, C 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -16You know it’s bad when even the opposing commentating crew noticed that Valanciunas is “a missing man in the Raptors’ offense”. Even they have figured it out, and the Heat has played the Raptors twice. Meh game from Jonas. Got open, demanded the ball, and rarely saw the ball end up in his hands. Just another depressing day at the office for the young Lithuanian.
Kyle Lowry, PG 43 MIN | 4-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 7 TO | 15 PTS | -2The 7 turnovers stick out, and some of them were really ugly (mostly trying to force bad passes), but his threes from the left wing were huge. Worked tremendously hard on defense as well. I’m glad to see that Lowry has put the finger injury behind him because he is playing very well.
DeMar DeRozan, SG 44 MIN | 10-20 FG | 3-7 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | -14Hit some really tough shots in the first. Cooled off as the game went on, but this was a pretty impressive performance from Demar. He was schooled a bunch of times by Wade, but that will happen to the best of shooting guards. He hurt a finger on his shooting hand which likely impacted his free-throw shooting. He missed some key FT’s in the fourth. Promising couple of games from Derozan.
Tyler Hansbrough, PF 25 MIN | 0-2 FG | 8-12 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +13HE. WORKED. SO. HARD. I. LOVE. THIS. MAN. (more on him in the recap tomorrow)
Landry Fields, SF 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5He played?
Quincy Acy, SF 4 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -2He played?
Steve Novak, SF 17 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +12He did play. He just wasn’t very effective. The Heat ran him off the three-point line a lot and the lack of ball-movement in the Raptors offense didn’t afford him very many good looks. Hey, he’s like a wrench; just because the carpenter is an idiot, doesn’t mean that the wrench is useless. Some decent defense tonight.
Dwight Buycks, PG 5 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -5He played?
Terrence Ross, SG 23 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Played for almost the entirety of the fourth, and rightfully so. He played some excellent defense on Dwyane Wade, using his superior athleticism and quickness to stay in front of Wade and forcing him into some tough shots. Didn’t score, but this was a pretty promising development for the young swingman.
Dwane Casey
I slag Dwane Casey’s coaching all the time, so it’s not like I’m some sort of apologist for the man or anything, but he coached a good game today. He recognized that Amir and Jonas didn’t have it tonight, so he went with his most effective unit (Hansbrough + smalls) for the majority of the third and fourth. He also drew up a very nice play coming out of a timeout for Hansbrough in the last two minutes of the fourth that resulted in free throws. It’s not his job to sink free-throws.

Four Things We Saw

  1. Demar tried to kill Bosh with a dunk attempt in the fourth. Unfortunately, Bosh fouled him and he missed both free throws, but had Demar completed that dunk. the ACC might have exploded.
  2. #HotSprotsTake: Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are very good basketball players. 49 points on 19/33 shooting with a bunch of assists and rebounds is the norm for these two. At one point in the third, Lebron just started taking random jumpers because he can. These dudes can ball.
  3. The Raptors lost this game on the back of missed free-throws. The Raptors hit 19 of 32 free throws!!! This game was a 4-5 point game for much of the fourth and the Raptors had many chances to tie the game. They shot 2/10 in the fourth. Sigh…
  4. One more time for Ross and Hansbrough. Their performances tonight exemplified why the boxscore is sometimes insufficient – it lacks a column for effort.
  • StabbyRaccoon

    I used to just refer to Hansbrough as “that goon”. But now he’s definitely our goon :). In fact not just a goon, much much more. What a great pickup.

    • http://www.probballreport.com/ Stephen Brotherston

      Tyler was gooned by the HEAT in the 1st quarter – drawing blood – Raps have someone who won’t back down.

  • GoingBig

    “One more time for Ross and Hansbrough. Their performances tonight exemplified why the boxscore is sometimes insufficient – it lacks a column for effort.”

    The stat is “# of stitches” – Hansbrough had 2

  • Red Baron

    No shame in losing to the Heat and they did keep on battling so that’s something. I still don’t know about an “A” for Casey though. Raps still seem to lack any sort of cohesion, no evidence of any real organized half court sets on offense, and still lots of defensive breakdowns. I just never see any sort of theme or strategy to their play….lots of ISO and freelancing. I’m actually starting to think the talent level isn’t half bad on this team..they just need to put it all together somehow. Oh, and Lebron….that dude is just sick.

    • StabbyRaccoon

      This game it was the most obvious it has been all season, you see a team like the Heat with their amazing ball movement and then you see the Raptors’ stagnant hero ball and you realize that they haven’t been coached on offense very well. This game was so exciting purely due to their good defense and tenacity, and that makes me hopeful for the rest of the season. You can coach offense, but it’s a lot harder to coach effort. I do remember that time out where Casey talked to them and they came out blazing though, so he must be doing something right even if he’s far from perfect.

      And Lebron is so sick! 😀

  • ad

    The heat and the refs were basically begging the raps to win this game but tanknation came calling. Dont get the love for ross. Hes terrible. Picking him over drummond was almost like picking araujo over iggy. Hansborough plays hard but has very limited skill on offense and and will always be a role player. Lowrys 7 TO’s really hurt and the missed FTs were a killer. But all in all, entertaining game and Im glad the raps lost and Masai is one step closer to blowing this team up hopefully.

    • caccia

      Hansbrough averaged 14 points and almost 10 rebounds per game last year as a starter. He scored 23 against Utah. If the team ran plays for him, instead of asking for him to screen every time down the court, you would see more of what he can do. No one passes him the ball on the pick-and-roll, for example. But there are good reasons he is the all-time leading scorer in the ACC.

      • ad

        Being the leading scorer in college is vastly different from the nba. Its a totally system in college. Also, hansborough is not skilled and doesnt have a good touch around the rim as someone like val does.

        • just saying..

          Hansborough does go to the line a lot….it seems

      • higdale

        There’s no facilitator in the 2nd unit anymore. I think the last time Hansbroug or Val got a pass in a pick-and -roll was the Bucks game Nov 2nd from Fields. Ross and Novak can’t run a pick-n-roll or create for anyone else. Teams know about Novak and aren’t going to just let him shoot open uncontested 3s all the time and what else does he give you if teams take that away. Ross needs some to run the floor with him so he can get out on the break and get some easy baskets to get going. Under Casey’s direction this team is boring, predictable, never prepared and his post game comments are sounding the same – what they didn’t do – what he told the guys – what they have to work on -you can’t let a team. His message is tired and his system is not working in a terrible division right now where all the teams have a loosing record and 11 teams in the conference have a loosing record. If the Raptors continue to loose over the next 5 games they could be 6-14 on Dec 10th with the fan’s frustrations getting higher their expectations getting lower and their patience turning to boos.

  • Andrey

    Will, are you warming up to Demar or something lmaoo

    • DDayLewis

      It’s encouraging. I might be convinced that he’s not just a Corey Maggette clone.

  • leftovercrack

    F@*! me, we are still in first place at 6-9, what do you have to do to lose this division?

    • arsenalist

      I look forward to adding to my collection of Atlantic Division Champions t-shirts. You know you own one.

      • leftovercrack

        To be worn with hubris and pride

    • http://www.probballreport.com/ Stephen Brotherston

      You can’t – too many teams are tanking to tank successfully – Raps may have won 1st place already (ok, not really, but….)

      • leftovercrack

        The Raptors could wind up in the surreal position at the end of the year, that if the win their final final game they win their division, if they lose it they are high in the lottery. LOL!

      • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

        The problem with your statement is that the four teams currently at the bottom of the Eastern Conference aren’t tanking. Brooklyn, New York, Cleveland Milwaukee all expected to, at least, vie for a playoff spot. It doesn’t even makes sense for the Nets or Knicks to tank, since they don’t own their 2014 pick (unprotected). Cleveland wants to do well in order to attract a big name free agent next summer. And Milwaukee is under strict orders from the owner to remain competitive.

        So, not there’s actually aren’t a whole lot of teams tanking successfully. There are a whole lot of teams that are simply playing badly, whether through injuries or poor managements decisions or both.

        • Paul

          Bingo. The tank actually looks better now than it did at the beginning of the season. Charlotte, Boston and Philadelphia are all exceeding expectations. Brooklyn and NY will win games at some point, if only to save face given their lack of a pick. The only teams running away with the lottery right now are Milwaukee, Utah, Sacramento and maybe Cleveland. Even if Milwaukee and Cleveland change their strategies to tank, there is plenty of room at the bottom for the Raptors. We just have to stop winning meaningless games. I really MU is just waiting for Dec15th to do some deals.

  • Jamshid

    UM needs to make up his mind about Big Val as soon as possible. We are either going to develop this guy or we just don’t think he is that big of a deal. As of now, he has no place in the team’s offence and this is NOT the coach’s fault but the personnel problem. With Gay and DD, there is simply no room, no touches and no opportunities for Big Val. It is time to make some changes.

    • ad

      Not true. Casey needs to take the blame too for not discouraging this iso ball shit. Its mostly the players fault and lowry is not naturally a PnR pg, but Casey is at fault here as well. Val would thrive in a system more focused on PnR.

      • Minks77

        100% agree. Where’s Jose when ya need him? Oh yeah: BC decided volume shooters were a better fit for a rim crashing young big.

      • Jamshid

        You are right about PnR but the problem is we don’t have the PG for it and also our wings player, DD and Gay are not the type of players that thrive in that system. So this goes back to having players that don’t fit with one another

  • DrFunk

    Acy gets an A+ for hard picks and bench cheers.

  • johng_3

    Exactly. He played?? What the hell is wrong with Casey’s rotations? Last game, Acy is wearing street clothes and now he is playing in an important game against the champs for 5 mins.

  • HogyG

    Too many missed opportunities at the free throw line down the stretch was what ultimately killed the Raptors chances at success tonight. I’m sure they’ll all have nightmares of free throw line misses after this one. What really hurts is usually when they face Miami, the Raptors struggle to even get to the free throw line. They got there 32 times in this contest, but just couldn’t knock it down, finishing on only 19 of them! They played their asses off tonight, and couldn’t take advantage of the tide turning down the stretch and finish up strong at the line. Great defensive effort to bring them back into this game, hope to see that level of intensity be the standard they strive for.

    The 7 turnovers from Lowry trying to force some looks inside were tough too. He’s been good limiting his turnovers this season, so I would chalk this number up to the intense defensive pressure of Miami always cheating towards the middle making it hard for teams to pass through or into the paint, and Lowry’s desire to get his bigs involved inside.

    Tough loss tonight, it looked like they were gonna pull out the win at the end of this game!

  • KingRaptors

    Does LeBron make it look easy or what, anyone else feel like he didn’t have a 27-point game.

  • DDD

    DeMar should be an allstar this year

    • FREEJV

      If we re still a top 8 team he should but if not then hes just a good player on a bad team so it doesnt matter how many pts he scores if the team is shit anyone can take 20 shots and average 20 pts.

      • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

        Right now, being a top 8 team doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t a bad team. Boston is sitting at 8 with a winning percentage of .382, which translates to 32 wins over an 82 game season. The Raptors are on pace for 33 wins and they’re a fourth seed (thanks to a horrible Atlantic Division).

    • http://www.premesso.pl/ porato6

      Twoja witryna poza Top 10 na nadrzędne frazy dla branży? Tracisz, sporo tracisz. Z nami jakkolwiek uda Ci się wskoczyć na pozycję TOP 1! Porządne pozycjonowanie Katowice wyłącznie u nas, jedynie teraz! Gorąco zapraszamy do współpracy.

  • PsychoIsUnderpaid

    The way he is playing HansonBro is going to get a decent offer after this season. Like to see him stay right here, he fits in well with the Raps.

    • John Pinsky

      Uhhh, Hansbrough is under contract through next year at 3.3mil, though it is non-guaranteed

  • GoingBig

    Feeling good about Sunday’s matchup against Denver

  • Paul

    This game was not decided by free throws. If the Raptors makes those shots, the Heat still have two more gears to kick in and get the win.
    Close losses are fools gold.
    We’ve been losing close games for years.
    Lebron was on cruise control this whole game.
    Blow it up

    • nyStef

      You’re right. I was there and at the end I said, ‘Heat never even kicked it outta second gear’. Wasn’t close at all.


    lmao im a raptors fan and i knew we had no chance even if me made the free throws Miami was playing around after the 20 pt lead. Did you see Lebron just come down and start taking those heat check shots that wouldnt happen if he was serious about this game get your heads out of your asses raptors aint going anywhere with this iso ball #tanknation #fireCasey #freeJV

  • TheJonezTHC

    why are people cheering for the heat in our own house…….i get they are a good team and we have lost a bunch of games but i don’t get why players should want to play for us when half the city gets on its knees every time another team comes to town…… any team that has a winning culture has loyal fans we are down by five and our fans are making noise during free throws …WE DOWN BY FIVE TO THE DEFENDING CHAMPS..and half the fans are loyal to #Heatnation just like when Linsanity was the craze….yes Rudy is shooting terribly but Demar and Lowery and Hansbrough are playing well even tho all the city they play for can talk about is how to get someone else to replace them …..i hold rudy accountable for his poor shoot selection but i see EFFORT which is more than we have seen in much of raptor history so lets see some proper support and if your not a raptors fan …….stay home or be quiet ….you cant cheer for the other guys on your home court …this is our house …….also bring back sam mitchell #bringbacksmitch

    • rtz

      I agree…for once we have players who are trying and look like they are giving effort and want to be here…We need to support them

    • johng_3

      Hey its a chance for MLSE to raises its ticket prices for Heat and Laker games. They know there will be these LeBron or Kobe fanboys at these games and can profit off them.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      My guess is that people want to cheer for a good team, for once. The more successful a team is, the fewer fans of other teams seem to be in the crowd.

      The Raptors need actual success, and they’ll get more fans in their own house.

  • rtz

    Anyone that gives casey anything more than an F on any given night is on the wacky tabbacky. Just cause a game is close doesn’t mean he did a good job coaching. Hustle is the only reason the raps were in this. Nothing else. For sure not casey. This offense is beyond bad. Every play starts the same (if it a play). Jonas or amir will come to top of the key set a pick than it is iso hero ball. Then the double comes and it is a tough tough shot or a TO. I dont blame the players. They worked their assssses off, its all on casey. As much as I hate the heat watching them is a pleasure. No one dribbles without a purpose…Everyone knows their roles and plays it well. Great passing…great vision…

  • requisite toke n

    Watching Casey doing his post-game thing, I don’t even think his heart is all the way in it anymore. He knows what the long-term plan is. The new big boss rubs elbows with all the right league-bigwigs; they all know that as long as there’s at least a *certain* number of pp balls bouncing around in the machine with the claw on them, we’re gonna get what we need to start the new construction sometime around this coming off-season. This is near-already done, it’s the NBA way, dontcha know … pretty much just another billionaire’s club. We’ve paid enough dues, we’ve got the right guy in charge now, we’re gonna get ours. A little more time is all it’ll be. I’d bet on it. Large.

    • johng_3

      I guess they should of just fired the poor guy in the beginning of the season.

      • requisite toke n

        It could all be part of Casey’s deal, for all we know. He’s a better coach than anything he’s shown us so far this season. I won’t be surprised whatever happens.

  • Rap fan 2

    The Heat know what it takes to win ball games. They operate together as one finely disciplined and well oiled machine. They also play at a focused high competitive intensity level throughout the whole game. The Raptors brought the team ball and intensity in spurts. They brought up the intensity in the second half. They ran out of juice at the end. Too big a deficit to close on against a great defending championship team.

  • Trace Fairley

    Wow The Raps turned it on in the third. Lots of criticism is warranted in a lot of areas, style of play, substitutions etc, etc, but I like the competitiveness of this team. Easy to bitch about Casey, but he gets them ready to play. The talent level is just not there when a guy like RG is your best your best player! Last year’s vaunted rookies are not and will not be all stars.
    Led by Psycho T and KL, this team battles. Last night’s game and a few OT losses together with only one or two blowouts are an indication. They are a decent trade or free agent signing from respectability.

  • Andre Julian Ward

    Dwayne Casey does not have any plays to get Novak open 3s.

  • Louvens Remy

    Its all getting blown up after game 30. So that means 15 more games until I stop caring about the Raptors until the draft.

  • Louvens Remy

    I wanted the Raps to do well and make the playoffs but something is cooking and Masai has a plan and both teams played hard.

  • chris

    So Casey gets A and there’s no ball movement and the bigs…ALL 3 OF THEM combine for 6 shots??? C’mon man!