First things first: For those who did not watch the game, or did and couldn’t quite believe what they saw, Jonas Valanciunas played more than 30 minutes for only the 7th time this season and was not only on the floor during the fourth quarter, but at the end of the fourth and played every minute of overtime, where he made some key stops and grabbed some key rebounds, as well as made an important dunk with less than two minutes to go in regulation.

Of course, without overtime, Valanciunas wouldn’t have crossed the magical 30 minute mark, but I guess you have to take what you can get. Valanciunas finished with 18 points, on 8-13 shooting, and 13 rebounds.

The combination of Amir Johnson, with his hustle and defense, and Valanciunas were two of the main reasons the Raptors were ever in the game at all. Speaking of Amir, this game is the perfect example of why I feel he’s underrated. When the game is on the line, and there is a broken play, it’s usually Amir that ends up scoring.

With less than a minute to go in the fourth, and Dallas ahead by one, Monta Ellis steals the ball from John  Salmons and Amir steals it right back, getting fouled as he drove to the hoop. His free throw tied the game.

Here is Amir’s shot chart for the game:

Screen shot 2013-12-21 at 12.20.01 AM

Amir gets a lot of flak for shooting those threes, but I’ve never had a problem with them and there are two very good reasons for that. The first is that the guy is shooting .607 from the floor, good for third in the entire league, and he shoots nearly 60% of his shots from within 5 feet. I’d say that’s earned him a bit of latitude.

Secondly, and most importantly, when Amir hits a three, he makes the defense have to adjust. After Amir hit his first three, this is what happened the next time he went to take a shot from beyond the arc.

Screen shot 2013-12-21 at 12.31.59 AM

Now, in this case what he obviously SHOULD have done was pass the ball, with Lowry open from the top and DeRozan and Ross being defended by a hedging Shawn Marion, but the fact he made it the last time caused both Monta Ellis and Dirk to run at him. Amir taking a three once in a while helps the spacing on the floor.

What’s most amazing about Valanciunas and Amir having the games that they did, and the Raptors coming away with the win, was that the game couldn’t have started out worse for the Raptors.

In the first quarter, Dallas scored 33 points, including 18 in the paint, compared to 22 points and 14 in the paint for the Raptors. Just for fun, I decided to count the number of times the Raptors threw a good pass to a big man in scoring position as opposed to a bad pass. The ratio was 6-3. That means they threw it inside just 9 times all quarter long.

The Mavericks did that in one three minute stretch.

And the fact that the Mavericks had nearly twice as many assists as the Raptors is usually a bad sign for the Raptors. When the Raptors win, it’s usually because they are passing the ball and scoring in the paint, and you can usually tell whether that’s going to happen in the first quarter.

Honestly, I didn’t think the Raptors had a chance to comeback in this game, the way they were playing, but they did.

Truth be told, this was mostly a forgettable game for the Mavericks, who seemed to be sleepwalking throughout most of the game. Dirk Nowitzki looked like he didn’t even care most of the time, and it’s likely this win can be written off as a good team taking the night off against a lesser opponent.

If it wasn’t for Jose Calderon scoring 11 points, including going 3-3 from three, and dishing out 3 assists in the fourth quarter, I don’t know if the Mavericks would have woken up at all. As he often did for the Raptors, Jose seemed to give his team a boost when they needed it.

Screen shot 2013-12-21 at 12.53.12 AM


1. The are some problems with getting the ball to Valanciunas in the post. The first is that there are very few hard cuts by his teammates that Valanciunas can pass off to. His teammates are moving, but they seem to be going through the motions instead of making hard cuts to get open.

On the other hand, Dirk got two assists from Shane Larkin cutting hard to the basket after dumping the ball into Dirk in the post.

Of course, Valanciunas is also becoming a bit of a black hole, down low, once he gets the ball. There were numerous times when he ignored open teammates on the perimeter to take a shot himself. And while he’s a decent scorer down there, Kevin McHale he is not. If you’re McHale, you can afford to be a black hole. If you’re Valanciunas, you can’t.

2. Kyle Lowry had a very good game, but I can’t tell you how many times he shoots a three at the worst time. In the fourth quarter and overtime against Dallas, Lowry went 0-3, including missing two three pointers he had no business taking.

Fans love it when he hits those, but that’s not smart basketball and it can sometimes cost the Raptors the game, and it almost did tonight.

3. While DeRozan shot poorly, once again, he actually impressed me as much as any time this season. It was probably his best non-scoring game of his career, coming up with 7 rebounds, nine assists and some of the best defense I’ve seen from him. Of course, he’s showing the strain of being the team’s main scorer when he shouldn’t be, and many of his 6 turnovers lead to fastbreaks.

  • SR

    Great game overall, really.

    I also thought the heavy use was showing up in DD’s game – most of his misses were short, and those 6 TO’s. Casey has to reduce his offensive responsibility a bit.

    • Dex613

      so far this season hes no 2 in minutes played

    • johnn_19_2000

      You don’t not use your best player with the game on the line. DD hit the tying shot for OT and the winning shot in OT as well as shooting 4/8 and 9 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds in the 4th Q and OT, while being the object of the Mav’s gameplan and defense all game long.

  • The Mega Sage

    It seems apparent that Val is becoming a ‘black hole’ because the offense doesn’t help him. His first year and a half, he ‘learned’ by playing next to two of the highest usage wing players in a “system” that was essentially a series of isolation plays. He has been taught that the only way he can score is to be selfish.

    This is why I fervently believe Casey is the worst coach this team had ever had. He is SO desperate to win so he can keep his job that he has COMPLETELY ruined the learning experiences of two promising young players. It is horribly depressing. I’m sure Val and Ross will still become decent players, but two of the most important years of their basketball careers are being butchered by Casey.

    • Meow

      JV lack of passing is concerning. Not sure it is all on Casey though.

      You make a fair point about TRoss and JV getting less-than-desirable experience. However, being “SO desperate to win” can’t be a knock on the coach – that is the point after all. Casey could be doing a better job (plays out of timeouts, for example)…but I’d be careful suggesting that he might want the team to win less in order to develop just 2 players.

      It’s the GM’s job to orchestrate a “development over winning” (read: “Tank”) strategy, not the coach’s. A great coach will develop while be desperate to win.

      • cdub

        the irony is that his decisions are making the team lose not win. that’s the problem. if we were winning from these decisions fine but we aren`t, we either lose or win in spite of them

  • anon

    I disagree with your valanciunas assessment, he is a willing passer, I’ve seen it many times this season, he just needs more experience.

    • Meow

      Agreed – he still needs to get better. The “black hole” observation is only partly JV learning and partly Casey’s offence being sub-par.

    • moe

      I disagree, he does hardly pass but I don’t Blane him. he is so used to getting nothing so when he gets it, he trys so hard to show that he deserves more chances and thatwls why he forces shots

  • cdub

    I`d like to comment on Ross sitting the 4th and OT. He was shooting 5-9 and 3-4 from 3 and DC sat him for Salmons who hadn’t even scored a bucket at that point. This isn`t a complaint about Salmons just Casey.
    I just wish they would get rid of this guy, I don`t see what good he`s doing at this point. Salmons has been on the team for 2 weeks and Casey has anointed him his new AA apparently. At least he`s not as much of a chucker as AA but if Ross is the starter and hes playing decent why is he getting benched at the end of games.

    • Adrian

      I thought the same thing, but Salmons was playing great D on Monte as well and Salmons has the experience angle, so I can see why Casey left him in. Although to Ross’s credit he was cheering on his teammates in OT and wasnt sulking or showing signs of disappointment in coach’s decision, which adds to the unity of the team which you want to see

      • mountio

        But again .. who cares if Salmons has the experience angle? I would have thought tankers and non tankers alike can at least agree that wins RIGHT NOW are not nearly as important as building a winning franchise long term. With that in mind, I think we all know that Salmons isnt going to last past this season on this team. So, why the hell is he playing in crunch time? It just doesnt make sense.
        With Ross, its a win win. If hes great and you win now, then fine, you are at least winning with the pillars of your future contributing. If you lose some extra games, then so be it, you get a better draft pick and hopefully either develop Ross/JV or figure out that they cant take the heat down the stretch and move on to other players. Salmons or TH down the stretch? I just dont get it ..

        • FLUXLAND

          You have to showcase him, if you plan on trading him.

          • Jerry Garcia

            The only time I see Landry Fields is on commercials….

            • FLUXLAND

              Who’s Landry Fields?

        • ItsAboutFun

          You don’t get that it’s the coach’s job to try and win,,,,, you know, the reason they play games. His job isn’t to pander to tankers. As good as Ross was with his shooting, Ellis was carving him and the Raps up on the defensive end. Salmons controlled Ellis, they won against a very tough team to beat on their own court. I don’t know why a coach doing what he’s paid to do is hard to get.

          • cdub

            I’m not a tanker can’t stand it. How many times has Casey made a questionable 4th quarter matchup decision that cost us the game? How do we know we wouldn’t have won with Ross in the game? How will we find out if he’s on the bench? or all the JV benchings over the last 2 years? did Casey ever bench DeRozan or Gay or Bargnani for any reason? Casey is already gone so I guess I’m questioning why MU hasnt let him go yet. I have no problem with the rational with what he did it’s just that he does it every game…..first JV, now he’s starting with Ross…whether it makes sense or not he just does it. It’s like he’s allergic to finishing the game with the same 5 guys he starts with. For me at this point in the season with our record we should be playing Ross unless he is stinking it up and actually costing us games, games we can actually look back at and say “yup, that loss was on Ross” instead of “Casey is an idiot”.

            • RaptorFan

              Maybe Casey’s protecting Ross so that we can say “Casey’s an idiot” instead of “that loss was on Ross”? Maybe Casey know’s he’s not ready. Same with JV. Just saying.

              Maybe it’s a part of their development.

              Too much hate on Casey right now.

          • mountio

            First … not sure Ellis was carving up Ross .. but lets say I even give you that argument. The coaches job is to win as a whole .. not necessarily to win every game. Case in point, Popovich (the coach, not the GM or the owner) decides to sit Duncan and Manu the other night. Does that mean their chance of winning that game are worse? Absolutely. (they won, but that’s beside the point). On the other hand, he thinks that they decision gives the Spurs the best chance to win this season and in the playoffs. Thats called foresight. Casey has none of it. To suggest a coaches only job involves in games moves with no thought for the future is totally false.
            In the case of the Raps (as compared to the spurs), their game to game coaching should have even more of an eye to the future, since we all know this season isnt going to involve a playoff run ….

            • ItsAboutFun

              Oh man, get serious. You judge the Raps’ coach decision making based on the Spurs’ coach decision making? Like, their circumstances and scenarios are comparable, right? C’mon man. That’s like saying a start-up search engine creator should be making the same decisions, and CAN, that the google boys are now making. I could wax poetic about how incredibly different these two organizations are in terms of team make-up, season’s goals, blah, blah, blah, but that really shouldn’t be needed.

              • mountio

                Not comparing the two situations. They couldnt be more different. Just illustrating the point that even the best teams dont blindly coach on a game to game basis. They think about the big picture. When you shitty, like us, you should think about the big picture EVEN MORE, because one win or loss isnt going to change the season, lose you home court advantage, etc.
                The point is, if a team like the Spurs are thinking about more than one game (where win /loss record actually matters), a team like the raps where it doesnt has no excuse to say they are only coaching game to game and thus cant be concerned with the big picture. Its a total BS, cop-out excuse for bad coaching.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  As always, we are all free to feel whatever we choose about how our team is being managed or coached, but it’s always a good thing to know, and accept, that which we don’t know. Are you sure your perception of the “big picture”, and how to get there, is on some higher ground than theirs? Personally, though I have many years of playing and coaching bball under my belt, I accept that I haven’t a clue what coaching in the NBA is like, and that there are many factors and considerations, overall and by individual team, that I don’t know about, never mind have ever dealt with. I wonder about shit too, but that acceptance that there’s likely much more at play than I have a clue about, helps keep my opinions in perspective and not take whatever perceptions I have too seriously. Just saying.

                • mountio

                  I love these type of condescending responses. Of course Casey has forgotten more about basketball than I ever knew. Im fully aware of that. Just like when people respond to my opinions on trades / trade rumours … “how do you know? do you know what [insert GM] is thinking?” Of course I dont. Of course Im not talking to GMs to get their take. Im a dude on a coach typing on a raptors blog.
                  BUT – that doesnt mean my opinion isnt valid and cant be more correct than DC’s, MU’s etc on certain topics. Casey has said a million times publicly (and hes said it to me directly) that he thinks vets wins games and doesnt believe in playing rookies / young players in crunch time. This is his philosophy – he thinks its right. He has decades of experience that tell him that. My observation is that that is old school thinking that doesnt apply like it used to (given younger players in the NBA, less college) and certainly doesnt apply when you are in a situation like the raps where you have to think 2-3 years ahead. It might make all the sense in the world when he was with the Mavs given their roster .. but not now. Am I right? I think so (thus Im writing it here). Could I be wrong? Sure. Doesnt mean Im not gonna express my opinion here ….

                • ItsAboutFun

                  My apologies that it came across condescendingly. I actually thought I was trying to make a valid point myself. My bad. Cheers.

        • Adrian

          I’d rather bread winning vs losing into Ross. Thats what Masai has always said….”there will be no losing mentality.” The raps are not going tanking. Especially when there are A LOT of worse teams playing right now.
          Play solid ball, be a mid-tier conference team and players like wiggins, in 3rd year after he develops, willl come to toronto to take us to the next level. Like indiana pacera. Toronto cannot afford another 3-4 years of “rebuilding”

          Also, The Raps NEEDED this win after their last lose to Bobcats.

          • mountio

            If you asked Ross (or me) – playing him vs Salmons is more likely to breed winning than losing (not withstanding there may be some ups and downs in between). And, a winning mentality (if there even is such a thing on a team that one way or the other will be + or – 500 at end of the day) with players who wont even be here next year (ie Salmons) is irrelevant.

          • ac1011990

            your willing to be a mid tier team for 3-4 years and expect a guy touted to be an elite player to want to join us. We have been a mid level team for many many years now, how many elite talents have we attracted? I know Wiggins is Canadian, but that does NOT mean he will leave his team to come play for us, if his team is playing well why would he leave to come play for a mid tier team? I find it pretty funny how your ok with being in the worst place in all of basketball for multiple years and then say at least were avoiding having a losing mentality. I guess this team just oozes optimism, confidence and a winning mentality to you don’t they lolz. Every year at the begging of the season i hear Derozan talk about HOPEFULLY getting into the playoffs, seems like a winning mentality to me.

            • Age

              Yes, i am happy with the Raps hanging around mid-tier. Giving fans like us some excitement and entertainment from our Toronto teams. Your thoughts of tanking and waiting for 4 years to gamble the franchise with the slight possibility we draft a top 10 player and in +3 years and hope that player to stays with the team (what if its not wiggin) past their rookie contract.

              No thanks. I’d rather have a 45 win team over the next 4 years so I can watch and enjoy some competitive bball with the hope they can add a piece here or there to take them to next level

              • Tim W.

                Why do you say tanking would make us wait four years? Why four years? How did you come up with this number?

                And how do you add that “piece” to take them from a 45 win team to a 60 win team?

              • ac1011990

                Lolz I guess some people are ok with having a boring mediocre team. Just so you know that piece will never come if we keep being a 45 win team, Toronto is not Los Angeles, stars don’t flock here.You better hope Masai can find superstars late in the first round or else this team has zero chance of being relevant ever. I guess no point in arguing with someone who’s fine with being in the absolute worst state in basketball.

  • GoingBig

    I was impressed by the Raptors defence

    From the Mavs Outsiders Report Blog
    “Team Have It All (Nowitzki and Monta Ellis) combined to score a total of five points on 2-of-14 shooting in the game’s final 17 minutes.”

    Tough defence – it gets over-looked by the high-light packages, but it’s at the heart of the game. Team-work and effort and smarts – glad the Raptors showed it last night.

    • MalcomX

      To be honest, I can’t distinguish average D from great D until the shot clock buzzes and I realize the opposition was unable to find a decent shot. How can you tell that Salmons is a great defender as opposed to his ‘man’ is just not interested in trying hard?

  • Al Asifyouknow

    Good job by Vasquez 8 points (of his 14) and one assist were in the comeback from 16 down..Took a few ill advised shots towards the end of the run but he did his work in 15 minutes …..good job…


    calderon rarely played like this for us smh the guy tied his career hugh for 3s raptors are an unlucky team

    • tweed8

      It’s got nothing to do with luck and everything to do with the bodies now surrounding him from team to coaching.

  • arsenalist

    “it’s likely this win can be written off as a good team taking the night off against a lesser opponent.”

    So the Mavs didn’t take the first quarter off but took the rest of the game off?

    C’mon man, give them some credit and not “write off ” the win.

    • ItsAboutFun

      You didn’t expect anything else did you? Tim’s shtick is as predictable as the sun rising in the East, and setting in the West. There may be the odd cloudy/foggy day that makes some wonder where the sun is, but consistency is Tim’s middle name.

      • Tim W.

        My schtick is being right. Your schtick seems to be insulting anyone whose opinion you don’t like instead of actually trying to engage them in intelligent conversation. I like mine better.

        • Robert Archibald

          Do you mean right like when you incorrectly predicted what the Raps’ record would be to start the season or right like when you said DeMar had peaked and we would see no more improvement in his game?

          BTW, I think you contradicted yourself in your last post by insulting the ItsAboutFun and not actually trying to engage him in intellectual conversation.

          I know your opinion about how the Raps should try to build through the draft, especially since the upcoming draft is so appealing. But it just isn’t your call as to what the raps will do. You are smart enough to know that there are other ways to build a team, regardless of what you think the Raps should do. Why make every post a rant against the franchise for not doing something the exact way you would do it?

          • Tim W.

            I guessed the Raptors would start the season 6-14 and got lambasted for it by a number of people who said I lost complete credibility and they would rub it in my face when I was proven wrong. I was off by one win. I’d say that was close enough.

            I never, ever said that DeRozan had peaked and actually said many times he would probably continue to improve. What I said was his trade value was currently as high as it was going to be because it was at the apex of his potential and production level.

            There’s also no point in trying to engage ItsAboutFun on an intellectual level, so I didn’t try. Normally I ignore him.

            I do realize it’s not my call as to what the Raptors are going to do, but I do have a platform to express my opinion that most don’t, so I use that platform to try and make the change I want to see, whether it be to fire Colangelo, trade Bargnani or rebuild.

            As for every post being a rant against the franchise not doing what I want, please show me where, in this post, or most of my others, where I did that. I have a certain reputation, fair or not, and people will give others the benefit of the doubt they won’t give me.

            You want to know what I SHOULD have written? This article:

            Adam wrote a great piece that brilliantly sums up the situation the Raptors currently find themselves.

            Of course, if I had written it, then I would have been bashed as I so often am for trying to actually voice an opinion rather than just make fans feel good about themselves and toe the company line.

            I constantly regret giving Colangelo the benefit of the doubt for so many years, despite disagreeing with nearly everything he did. That’s not to say I am comparing the two, but it’s simply a matter of learning from my mistakes.

        • ItsAboutFun

          “My schtick is being right.”. Therein lies a very big problem, that’s been talked about by far more people than me Timmy, with attempting to engage you in “intelligent conversation”. The narcissism is constant and over the top, to say nothing of the sermonizing.

          That aside, grow some gonads and quit this hyperbolic whine about how I insult anyone i don’t agree with. It’s bs. Yes I cross the RR standards line occasionally when dealing with a jackass, Boo hoo, this part of the world isn’t your personal rose garden. Toughen up a tad, lad, but don’t be a jerk, and people won’t give you some back.


      Even Leo and Matt commented on the Mavs letting off the gas pedal in the 2nd half. I wouldn’t have called that the Mavs best effort, buy you’re certainly entitled to chalking it up as the Raps “suffocating defense” besting the Mavs.

      • arsenalist

        Every team let’s off the gas pedal when they’re up 19. That’s very different then the Mavs not taking the Raptors seriously from the offset.

        I always catch the away broadcast as Leo/Devlin are unwatchable, and there was plenty of respect being afforded to the road team, far more than our own fans give.

        • FLUXLAND

          I watch every game twice. Once with no sound at all, the next time with those two court jesters babbling in the background, and I happened to catch that in between the holiday ticket pack and beer sales. Just thought it was interesting those two “every excuse in the book” (this building is tough to play in…really, the effing building is the opponent too?) clowns pointed out as much.

          I agree, the Mavs did start off well (showing respect), but it really did look like they just wanted to get the game out of the way and figured by pounding them early it would be cruise control from then on.

          It just seems like they were disinterested after gaining that the lead, and I can see why people would suggest it was more of the Raps taking advantage of the Mav’s disinterest as opposed to the Raps “beating” a team firing at all cylinders. Again, credit to the Raps for (barely) taking advantage, but to take away anything from the game (claims such as ” JV has proved he’s an elite rebounder..ROFLMFAO) without acknowledging the Mavs play or lack thereof, seems like taking a drink out of the Kool Aid punch bowl..

          I know it sucks, but this team rarely, if ever, puts up a win where they’ve overcome an opponent at its best. There’s always a key player injured or resting. Can we honestly say that any team in the L is worried/scared of playing the Raps? Scrubs chalk it up as games where they’ll get burn and may get a career high, stars see it as a night off. When DD is the focal point of your offense… I don’t think anyone of note is coming to the game worried or looking to prove anything. I truly wish it wasn’t the case, but year after year this phenomenon transpires.

          • Robert Archibald

            I don’t wholly buy the idea that the Mavs weren’t trying. Jose was pretty pumped and so was Ellis. Though Dirk was admittedly pretty invisible most of the game, but maybe we should be giving Amir credit for that.

            • FLUXLAND

              Like Tim already pointed out, Jose and Crowder were the only ones that seemed fully engaged. Most of the Mavs seemed pretty irritated to even have to play. So, I wouldn’t say they weren’t trying – but in the grand scheme of things this was in no way shape or form a must win game for them, hence their effort didn’t appear to be at a maximum. (You don’t risk injury against a team you will never see in the playoffs and have no need to make as statement against)

              I don’t know how often you’ve seen Dirk play, but I wouldn’t call his display last night as locked in. Now, if you wanna call Amir the Dirk stopper and claim that was Dirk’s issue, I will simply have to disagree. No big deal.

              • Tim W.

                I was actually wondering if Dirk was injured and was half expecting to see the Mavs announce that he was going to miss some time. I don’t think I remember a game when he looked as disinterested as last night.

                • FLUXLAND

                  That spill he took when Amir shoved him made me wonder the same.

        • GameBreaker

          Totally agree!! I watched Dallas’s feed online. And they gave the players and the team props, all night. Even when they were down. The ONLY thing they dissed was our mayoral situation and joked about it. Lol

          • Tim W.

            That’s great, except I’m pretty sure the announcers weren’t playing, so I’m not sure how the announcers opinions has anything to do with how the players were playing.

    • Tim W.

      The Mavs looked like they thought they had won the game after the first quarter. The Raptors played well, but the Mavs loss was mostly due to their play, not the Raptors’ play. The team the Raptors played was not the team that won 15 of their first 25 games in the West and were 11-2 at home.

      The only two Mavs that played with ANY urgency after the first quarter were Calderon and Crowder. The rest of the Mavs looked like they just assumed they would win the game.

      I give the Raptors credit for taking advantage of the situation, but the Raptors weren’t the better team last night. They just happened to win.

      • ckh26

        “The Raptors played well, but the Mavs loss was mostly due to their play, not the Raptors’ play.”

        Timbo .. In every game, when you keep score, from men’s beer league hockey to pro basketball both teams try to win. What else would you do ? There are ebbs and flows to every game but when its over the better team in that game is self evident by looking at the score.. The raptors won last night. The scoreboard said that. They won 3 of the 5 periods played and tied one. So the best team on that night in that venue won the game. Give the raptors their due. They won .

        By the way.. your statement I parenthasized…are generally the words of a sore loser/. The other guys play to win as well.

        • Tim W.

          If you want to call me a sore loser, that’s fine. I find watching the Raptors waist high in mediocrity anything but fun to watch. And it’s exactly where Ujiri said he didn’t want the team to be.

          As for the game itself, if you want to feel good about the win, go right ahead. But what I saw was a Dallas team that seemed disinterested for most of the game and looked as they they assumed they would win. I’m sorry I can’t spread more rainbows and unicorns, but I’m all out.

    • Keepup

      I completely agree. More often than not a team that is down by 19 on the road, they give up. The Raptors kept pushing all the way, adjusted their game plan, and clawed their way back into the game. The Mavs didn’t adjust, and couldn’t match the Raptors’ intensity when it mattered. The Raptors deserve credit for that effort, which included OT. Surely the Mavs summoned some of their best “oomph” for OT, but the Raptors still won. Give them props.

  • Andrey

    “and it’s likely this win can be written off as a good team taking the night off against a lesser opponent.” I have to agree with that. Mavs let it get away from them and Raptors made them pay for it.

  • MalcomX

    Without the Rudy Gay trade, the Raptor line up today could be Jose, DeMar, TRoss, Amir and Jonas with Kyle, Ed Davis,Landry Fields and Psycho T making the top 9 players. We would also have a 2nd Rounder and Aaron Gray to back up Jonas if he screws up with first quarter fouls. I know, I know, we’d have to have signed Jose for four years @ 30 Million but it does make up a nice squad especially if the Bargs deal have still happened – we’d have Novak around if Ross wasn’t doing well. Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda eh?

    • AB4EYE

      Hansbrough would have never came here if they still had all those guys, he wouldn’t have came with the guys we have now post Gay trade #2 either.

      • MalcomX

        Yeah? You think Tyler had a lot of choices? The contract would indicate otherwise – but I have no inside information on the trade.

        • AB4EYE

          He took less money for more PT, it worked out for him until he got hurt and we traded Gay. Amir lead the league and fouls and we had no sure back up, if Ed was here he doesn’t even think one second of coming up to the Raps.

          • MalcomX

            I actually think Tyler came to Toronto to win the starter’s job from Amir and he came close because he fit well with the offense being rolled out there with Rudy. I think that has/will change with Vasquez and the pick and roll being the new flavour of the month. I have to add that I do miss those days last year when ED and Amir replaced JV and Bargs for about a dozen games – remember the interior passing we saw?

            • AB4EYE

              You just made my point for me. He came here because he saw a shot at PT the reason why he wanted out of Indy. Johnson is one of the most foul prone guys in the NBA and we have no 3rd big in sight, if Davis was here Tyler wouldn’t be.

              If Ed Davis wasn’t in Memphis then Tyler would likely be there since that’s his favorite team, close to where he’s from and he fits the Grit and Grind style of play they use when healthy.

              No player is coming to Toronto on a cheap free agent deal unless they see tons of PT lined up for them due to tax reasons. Its one reason why I think Tyler getting scaled back and the way we didn’t use DJ is a very bad thing for the future of signing FA unless we overpay like we had to before.

  • AB4EYE

    I hope the Bulls keep winning because I’m going to be beyond pissed if they move Augustin for a draft pick since we basically gave them DJ who couldn’t crack our rotation but is balling for them with 18-10 tonight and is at 7.6 APG over his last 5, plus his shot is coming back with 16.5 PPG the last two games on 54.5% shooting.

    If they fade or give up they could undercut us on Lowry too since they would be willing to take less.

    • mountio

      Dont worry – they are are not getting anything for DJ – least of all a draft pick.

      • AB4EYE

        You’re probably right because if he keeps playing this good he will lead them to the playoffs.

  • GameBreaker

    Well said.

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  • Joelkorrie Mueller

    The problem with trading derozen Amir or Lowry is you probably won’t get back equal value. Ujiri is a very patient man and if he chooses to tank two months from now when some team gets desperate, then he will act. I’m happy to watch the product on the floor. For the pro tankers, they can still easily bottom out and be in the bottom five if ujiri chooses.

  • Roarque

    I was one of those guys who shot the ball 6-8 times per game ( I was mostly on the team for my rebounding ). When I set up for one of my shots, I never had the ability to change my routine to dump the ball off to a team mate who was momentarily unguarded. So I can sympathize with Amir’s inability to pass to Kyle in either off his 3s from the right side. The lightening reflexes Amir exhibits when he’s in the paint seem to abandon him when he’s out at the three point line.

    • Tim W.

      That was one incident. Amir normally doesn’t miss open players, even when he’s on the perimeter.

  • Keepup

    Every Raptors win is like a punch to the gut for Tim W, and we all know why.

  • HogyG

    Good write-up on this one Tim. Way to show both sides of the coin for a change. You managed to get in the positives that fans like myself want to hear/read, while still putting your negative insights onto the players you think deserved your chastising. This is a much easier way to take in your pessimistic outlook on everything our team does. Too bad you had to turn into a dick in the comments section. Maybe not as much of a dick as as you have been in the past, but one never the less. You need to recognize that you’re paid to be on here, show you deserve that right by being the bigger man for a change, and try not to belittle the people who come on here with criticisms on your style or opinions. At times they may be irate, irrational or even wrong (that’s doubtful though, haha), but they still take the time to respond to yours and others posts and comments. Just because you have a platform to give your opinion to the masses from, it clearly does not make you right all the time, and it certainly does not give you the right to be a jerk to your detractors. They can harp on you, because that, in part, is what you’re paid for, to take their abuse with a smile and find a professional way to respond if you choose to respond to them at all. However, you should never consider being rude or disrespectful back to them, EVER. Too late for you to keep that off your track record perhaps, but still not too late to change your approach in the future. Maybe you can make it one of your New Year’s resolutions. (However, I imagine that due to the low completion percentage of New Year’s resolutions in general, you wouldn’t even believe in trying to make those.)

    At one point in the comments here you even go back to saying your “bold prediction” was only 1 game off, trying to somehow prove you’re ALWAYS right (a bold move after posting when the team was 6-8 if memory serves, that you were wrong with your prediction, where upon some of your detractors actually gave you credit to owning up to being wrong. Way to make them feel stupid after the fact for giving you the benefit of the doubt. Don’t worry, I’m sure it won’t happen again anytime soon.). When you looked at the schedule before the season started to make that prediction, I would find it hard to believe that you called the wins and losses in the same order in which they actually happened. If this is true, it would more clearly indicate that you got lucky rather than used your Nostradamus like insight to accurately predict the outcome of the first 20 games of the season.

    You even linked another post showing a more pro-tanking/negative outlook at the win and then commented that;

    “Of course, if I had written it, then I would have been bashed as I so
    often am for trying to actually voice an opinion rather than just make
    fans feel good about themselves and toe the company line.”

    Your “woe-is-me” attitude for having your opinions questioned is getting very old (even older than the debate of whether to tank or not to tank) Get over yourself, and learn to do your job more professionally when answering people in the comments section. You gotta suck it up and quit griping to the masses (maybe this can help you understand how that concept works If not then quit, as I’m sure there are many better writers than you, chomping at the bit, just waiting in the sidelines for a chance to be in the position to be paid, to write about a team they wholly embrace and love, even with all of their flaws. Late night deadlines, belligerent behavior and “toeing the company line” are just some of the negative things that come with the job. There isn’t a job in the world without its negative aspects, but I can’t imagine a boss at any of them that would want its employees to bitch to their costumers about those things. Wise up, and be thankful for the position you and your co-workers are in.

    Merry Christmas Ebeneezer!!