|Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 29 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -10Was unfairly picked on by the refs tonight, but didn’t have his usual efficient game-altering performance. Seemed to be a bit more content to tip the ball out, rather than rebound it strong than normal. Was inexplicably subbed out for Steve Novak late.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 27 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -12Held his own with Tim Duncan, as he tends to do when the Raptors face the Spurs. If he learned to box out consistently, he’d be a rebounding machine. As it is, he’s straight up and down far too often, and it’s part of the reason the Spurs had such an advantage on the offensive glass. Still, showed some excellent offensive moves in the post, fed Ross for a dunk with a gorgeous hand-off in the lane, and had Timmy D biting on his pump fake all game long.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 6-15 FG | 9-9 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 23 PTS | -3Don’t let that shooting percentage fool you – he hung in there with Tony Parker all game long after going toe-to-toe with Russell Westbrook last night. He’s playing some of the most impressive ball of his career. All of his misses, save one, were of the 3 point or at the hoop variety.|
|DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 36 MIN | 5-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -18Like the Dallas game, his shot wasn’t going down. Unlike the Dallas game, he wasn’t affecting the game in other ways. Led the team in turnovers and took quite a few questionable shots early in the clock. It seems like when the other guys on the team are scoring, he takes a few shots just because it’s his “turn.” Plenty of time to turn it around, but make sure you recognize the issue when it’s there.|
|Terrence Ross, SG Shot Chart 33 MIN | 10-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | -18Excellent shooting performance, with the three 3′s the cherry on top. He’s benefitting from the extra attention defences are giving to DeRozan, and he showed a nice touch in the lane tonight we don’t see very often.|
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 16 MIN | 3-3 FG | 4-7 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | 0His best game since his return from injury. Made the most of his offensive touches (and was honestly a couple of unfriendly rolls away from having 16 or 18), and played tough, scrappy defence on Tim Duncan. An Amir Johnson-esque game, sans the summer 3.|
|Patrick Patterson, PF Shot Chart 19 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -2I like the looks he brings the offence off the bench. His game is far more versatile than we’ve been led to believe. Like Lowry, his misses were 3s and at the rim.|
|Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1Still haven’t seen him do anything other than save Jonas and Amir from extra fouls at the end of the half.|
|John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 19 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3He’s a calming presence out there. Was excellent in the first quarter, where he picked up most of his stats and helped stake the Raptors to an early lead. Don’t worry about the lack of scoring – he only took one shot and seemed to be making the right decisions with the ball more often than not.|
|Steve Novak, SF Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -3It wasn’t his fault that Casey put him in at the end of the game (with the score still in reach). It IS his fault that he had 2 turnovers in just over 3 minutes, both of the extremely ugly variety.|
|Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 17 MIN | 2-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -3Every time he shoots and it’s not that floater in the lane (which is gorgeous, by the way), I’m cringing right now. If the two-point guard lineup is going to work, he needs to get his shot right, because he’s a liability on the defensive end and Lowry needs the ball in his hands right now.|
I can’t give him an A because of the goofy decision to play Steve Novak over Amir late in the fourth (perhaps Casey is a closet member of the Tank Nation). On the bright side, though, he’s got this team playing very, very hard right now, and seems to be making the right decisions with his subs more often than not, getting Ross in for Vasquez early in the fourth being the latest example.
Five Things We Saw
- The Spurs won this game thanks to two things: offensive rebounding (they had 16), and the Danny Green/Tony Parker connection down the stretch (four 3s in the fourth quarter). However, they stuck around – every time the Spurs threatened to pull away, the Raptors pulled right back. This game was constantly fought around the 4-6-8 point margin, largely due to the toughness of the visitors. A promising sign.
- Defences are clearly keying on DeMar DeRozan. Hopefully, the version of him that emerges from that is the distributor we saw in Dallas, and not the chucker we saw tonight.
- The Spurs are effortlessly consistent. Every time the Raptors threatened, it seemed there was a key 3, a Parker floater, a Ginobili jumper… something. This is a veteran team that knows how to win games, and a perfect model for the young Raptors to emulate.
- Was it just me, or was the reffing absolutely horrible tonight? On both sides? I can’t say it affected the outcome, though through my eyes, Amir Johnson got the shortest end of the stick. Just brutal.
- Raymond Felton tonight, talking about himself and Melo: “Pray for us. I’m serious.” Who else is excited for the upcoming Knicks double dip?
- Pregame: Raptors at Spurs
- Morning Coffee: X-Mas Eve Edition