Toronto Raptors 97 Final

Recap | Box Score

106 Phoenix Suns
Tyler Hansbrough, PF 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -6Went out early with a shoulder strain and didn’t return. Given the softness of the Raptor D inside, he was sorely missed, which says plenty about the state of this team.
Rudy Gay, SF 32 MIN | 6-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -6The stat sheet doesn’t show it, but I think this was one of his better games offensively this season. Seemed to have an eye to distribute and didn’t resort to the early in the shot clock look as much as DeMar did. His defensive effort, though, was generally nonexistant. PJ Tucker outplayed him on that end continuously, which should never happen.
Jonas Valanciunas, C 29 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | -15Showed some nice creativity on offence – a couple of gorgeous passes to cutting wings stand out in particular. On defence, though, he was basically a pylon. He needs to find a way to a) stay in front of his checks and b) be stronger and not give up initial position down low so easily. He also seemed to have some issues with the Suns’ high pace.
Kyle Lowry, PG 39 MIN | 7-16 FG | 5-6 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | -11The Raptors’ only consistent offensive option – given the way he blew past Bledsoe and Dragic so regularly, he should have done it far more often. Not a great game from 3 by his standards which helps explain his poor shooting percentage. Got lost a few times on D, but, honestly, the whole team looked lost on that end for most of the game, and Bledsoe/Dragic are tough marks.
DeMar DeRozan, SG 39 MIN | 5-15 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -17He reminded me a lot of the DeMar we got used to seeing the past few seasons tonight. Poor decision making on offence and a lot of forced shots, coupled with a lackadaisical effort on D = not his finest hour.
Amir Johnson, PF 33 MIN | 9-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +9The guy deserves better than getting booted from the starting lineup and glass-cleaning on offense. He worked his butt off out there and was effective despite being the only real muscle the Raptors had down low. The Lowry/Amir pick-and-roll is very effective and should be used far more often. This would have been a blowout were it not for him.
Landry Fields, SF 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -3The only Raptor wing that seemed to give a crap on D for the entire game. Had a nice 3 point play and even a backdoor dunk in the first half.
Quincy Acy, SF 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Got in for 12 seconds at the end of the first half. Stood in the block for those free throws like a champ.
Steve Novak, SF 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +6Hit a couple threes, which is honestly all anyone should expect out of him. Again, it’s not his fault he’s playing extended minutes. That said, the Raps are basically four-on-five when he’s out there. Why he’s playing crunch time instead of Jonas is just beyond me.
Julyan Stone, SG 18 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -10I’m sure he’s a nice guy. But he’s not an NBA caliber player. Playing him for the whole second quarter was either a not-so-subtle tank job or an absolutely brutal coaching decision.
Terrence Ross, SG 9 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +8You’d think, given the Suns’ pace of play and the difficulty their guards have in staying in front of their checks, that this matchup was made for him. Instead, he was more or less invisible, though I blame some of that on coaching. The guy needs to be put in a position to succeed if he’s going to succeed. This complete lack of a system that is not.
D.J. Augustin, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | Hey coach, remember me?
Dwane Casey
It’s almost too easy to give him an F at this point – but when the rotations are this messed up and the offence is this stagnant, the buck ultimately stops with him. There were some good things on offence in the first half, followed by a reversion to hero-ball in the second – not many coaches can make negative adjustments in the locker room like Casey can. If the Raps are serious about tanking, keep him for the year. If not, he should have been out the door a month ago.

Three Things We Saw

  1. After Hansbrough went out early, the Raptors looked generally lost on defence. Phoenix bailed them out multiple times by missing open looks, but this scoreline could have been far uglier than it was. I realize that that was, at least in part, a personnel issue, but for a team that’s supposed to be making it’s mark on that side of the floor, it was a pretty poor effort all around.
  2. I don’t blame the Raps at all for releasing PJ Tucker years ago, but man, oh man, would he look good back in Toronto. He’s solid on both ends of the floor, knows his role and plays within himself – something Toronto’s wing players are sorely lacking.
  3. This game featured two teams with a similar talent level. One has a clear identity and gameplan. One does not.