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.

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  • fdjgdfkl

    i didnt realize until tonight that it was massai’s plan all along to keep casey.
    hes not gunna fire him because hes doing exactly what we want to do and will continue to be the scapegoat until he is gone

    • StabbyRaccoon

      That makes a lot of sense. Without knowing the thoughts of the mastermind himself it’s impossible to prove but I have a hard time believing that he cares about making the playoffs and getting knocked out by the Heat in the first round. He definitely wants to be the guy who finally makes the Raptors good and a draft pick from a bad year that nobody can possibly blame him for will help big-time for his overall reputation.

  • ad

    Keep that tank rolling baby!!

    • Junior Qamar

      Each raptor loss brings me a bigger smile

  • Roarque

    Watched the game in a bar on Salt Spring Island. The laughter at Rudy’s efforts to score were only exceeded by watching Novak playing defense. He reminded me of the kid on my high school team whose dad owned an eight-seat van which was the only reason he was on the team. He got to play the third quarter in exchange for his dad driving us to away games. He played defense just like Novak – the flailing fool was his nickname. Don’t feel sorry for him – he’s a millionaire today, kind of like Novak.
    I can only watch this team if I drink heavily and enjoy the comic side of Rudy’s refusal to pass the ball except to someone who is in a worse position on the floor than he. The petulant scowl draws howls of derision from the bar flies where I was watching. Ruuudie, Ruuudie!

  • AB4EYE

    No Hansbrough hustle and we got blasted 53-36 on the glass with some late FT misses adding to that low total. Amir had a nice offensive game filling in but Morris went off bettering his game leading to the bench to still get outscored by 12 points despite the 22 from Johnson.

    Julyan Stone hasn’t made a shot in a month and is a -22 so far on the trip in 27:56 of play not sure why they keep sending him out there unless its part of the tanking plan. If that’s the reason its clearly working.

    The best the team looked all night was when Rudy went out with fouls real early and everyone was getting to shoot the ball rather than taking turns between him and DeMar. Hope the Tyler shoulder deal don’t keep him out long as it could hurt us on trades going forward.

    • lewro

      Yes, they were better when
      Rudy sat. Rudy is a gift from the tanking gods. He will help us land a higher pick and then he will be a 20m expiring that will give flexibility to add pieces around our pick. Lowry trade will help too.

  • Plus

    Rudy Gay deserves an F. Guy misses lay ups, dunks, and an open novak. This guy needs to go. Casey doesnt discipline his top guys for whatever reason. He leaves Stone out there!! Play Acy!! If they are really trying to win, bench Gay and start Landry. Good things happen when they move the ball. Ughh. Something has to give. Casey needs to grow some balls and buy a clue.

  • desktom

    Why even play the games. Just forfeit the games. The coach sucks Rudy Gay sucks the defense sucks the offense sucks. The coach has lost Jonas and Terence, that’s a crime. Pick and rolls worked everytime, it would be unimiaginable to run the fing offense through our bigs and let Jonas have all the touches he can get just for once to see what would happen. Everytime Amir gets the fing ball down low its in. This is absolutely disgusting the bs of watching this team play hog ball over and over and over , and watching the same results. You mtfkers running down Jonas and Terence when its all the coaches fault is an fing insult to us fans that watch the game. F Casey

  • DryDry

    I only tuned in for about 3 minutes of the game and I got to see Rudy hustling across the foul line for an offensive rebound and getting it with his back to the basket.

    And then, instead of turning around to face the basket, he started dribbling on the spot with his back to the basket and then, inexplicably, began dribbling away from the key.

    And then I understood why – the intense whiffing of air by Amir’s waving arms as he stood wide wide wide wide wide wide open under the basket must’ve blown Rudy in that direction.

    It felt good to turn the TV off.

  • StabbyRaccoon

    Craptors in FULL effect now. I honestly thought they would play better than this because the bench improved and I thought that Rudy’s offensive efficiency would improve slightly, but it declined. They’re actually playing worse together after having a training camp together! Absolutely Casey’s fault, Rudy could certainly look for the bigs more but the overall offense is hardly set up for it.

    Those two gone next year and a brand new draft pick are looking pretty sweet. Meanwhile there are far more interesting teams to watch, even if Amir, Jonas and DeRozan are hurting from this.


    Guys Casey is not getting fired Masai said in his interview on bob Mccowan that Casey will at least be here until the end of his contract and maybe an extension. However Masai did say that they re looking to make moves so next couple of weeks some trades might start happening. Btw when novaks on the court the offense is actually 4 on 4 cuz Novaks man is glued to him so stop hating on the guy its not like our defense is so much better without him on the floor check the 1 st quarter today to see the proof.

  • alvintrilliams

    Re: “Another step along the road to Wiggins.”

    Anyone screaming Wiggins is sadder than the on court product


    And if we do land him there is no guarantee we turn this team around… AT ALL

    • leftovercrack

      There are 5 or 6 excellent prospects in this draft, it is about more than Wiggins

  • BigDickKamen

    lynch that nigga rudy!!!

  • rtzyyz

    There are very few times that I actually give to much thought to anything Jack Armstrong says during a broadcast but today he actually said something that was truly a nugget of truth. He talked about the Suns and how they got a new gm and a new coach and how they have decided on a shared philosophy and they are building their roster and their style of play in that way. The talent level is nothing to write home about but they have a system, they have everyone on board on that system and Good things are happening in Phoenix. Toronto on the other hand had none of that. The gm doesn’t have his roster or his coach, nothing is being done about it right now and it is honestly very disappointing Phoenix had an awful year last year and I one year they became respectable in the west. WOW… they have a good core and lots of Draft picks. Genius. We got nothing. Very depressing

  • Ion66

    I saw several times where Novak was open on the perimeter, and didn’t get the quick pass he needed, or any pass at all. For him to be a net gain, he needs to be used effectively as a weapon, not just out there to set screens and run around trying to get open. Maybe he needs to carry a little flare gun, and set off flares when he’s open, so his team-mates will pass to him. He is well capable, if used properly, of scoring in double digits, and that’s how he needs to be used on this team. Too many decent parts not being used properly on this team. There is talent here, if it just got used to it’s potential. Having Novak play fairly big minutes, but get left open all the time, is like having a $600 bicycle rack on your car, and never bringing your bicycle. It’s good, but what’s the point if you don’t use it?

  • nyStef

    Tonight, I wondered if Bryan Colangelo tuned in a Raptors game how long it would take for him to wonder “what the hell was I thinking?”

    • theswirsky

      What Colangelo would think after watching a game:
      Masai ruined this team by trading Bargnani
      Its Casey’s fault

      • Sukatori

        or Amir the last one – the rest are craps

  • hotshot

    Casey doesn’t tank when he needs to but tanks when he shouldn’t. Come January the schedule becomes easier and when become really out of the playoff pictures that’s when Casey and the Raptors will start winning games. I beg for Masai to put an end to this kind of crap we see on a yearly basis and come Dec.15 blow up this team and fire the coach and the new coach (one of the Raptors assistants) main job is not to worry about wins but player development and that is by giving Jonas, Ross, Fields, Acy and Buycks heavy minutes to develop and play through mistakes so not only can we tank properly but also have a clearer picture of what we have on the roster going forward.

  • Ds

    Where has the defence gone? They were hovering at around 102 per 100 for most of the season, and now with 5 straight losses, it has ballooned to 105.2. It’s like if their shots aren’t falling, they forget to play defence.

  • ppellico

    The constant praise given to Amir on this and other sites has gone from amazingly dumb to now just stupid.
    The real reason everybpdy likes the new Amir from past is his sudden awareness that OFFENCE is what the fans and the bloggers want. Get your baskets…and stay out of foul trouble.
    Score…stay in the game.
    This team…with its reinventing itself fron the solid D of Casey’s first season to this new and ugly Offensive team is the simple fact.they DO NOT PLAY OFFENSE well. They are simply not good enough individual O players to do this. There isn’t a good enough scoring star. Everybody here is simply C+. Casey can’t coach O plays!!!
    Amir going from a solid D player to taking long shots just cracks me up…and yet he gets praised here.
    I remember looking at the stats halfway through the game and they were out rebounding us bu nearly 2o rebounds. WE had our golden points from Amir and JV…but our defense sucked.
    It is all about the offensive numbers you put up IF you want to be loved here and in the stands.
    There is no place in the NBA for a solid D players who just does his job and isn’t pretty and exciting.

    • why

      This team is becoming unwatchable. Say what you want about Calderon (and I think his time here was up) at least the team had some entertainment value when he was here.

      • ppellico

        I never had a problem with Jose. I think he was loved by most fans and posters here. He ran the team as a leader first and as a shooter seciond.
        I think, like most better leaders…he looked to make his players better. He worked well with Amir…but by making Amir better as a Big and under the basket…not asking him to come out deep and be a long shooter.
        This whole Amir as an offensive threat is…offensive.
        And I think JV would have been a much better player today if Jose had been around to set him up…or even see him working for shots.

  • robertparrish00

    Here is what i see.
    This team needs to play Gray and if not him some other back up 7 ft, just to bang, rebound etc. This countering with Amir and Novak as the bigs is terrible.
    Jack called it (although when talking about Tross) it is the ill advised shot leading to run outs. Its like this team has no idea when another team mate is going to shoot.
    You can’t help but think we would win a lot of games if plays were drawn to get open looks, not this iso-crap.

    • ppellico

      don’t get me started on Gray. His not being allowed to suit up let alone play and bang inside and stop all the inside madness is the utmost stupidity this season.
      He should be banging and fouling out…but takeng names.
      But then again..he aint the scoring threat we seem to now want Amir to be.
      so wrong.

      • robertparrish00

        Exactly. Go in, change some shots. Grab a rebound. end this small ball madness.

        • B3astCity


          tat pretty much sums up how bad the raps are…..
          and when novak is your help side D or rebounder when amir goes to block a shot


  • DC

    “This game featured two teams with a similar talent level. One has a clear identity and gameplan. One does not.”
    Precisely. The Raptors don’t have a coherent game plan. Nor, apparently, a coherent plan to develop young talent. These are management problems. The question now is, when should these problems be fixed?

    • ppellico

      So…why does everybody not see this IS coaching? If this team issue isn’t coaching…not Gay.
      Gay is just a problem child allowed to run about nuts and causing trouble in the house. The so called parents are reading Parent Magazine and should just spank his ass.
      oh…who cares?
      Doesn’t matter. I feel like I am pissing in the wind.

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