Toronto Raptors 99 FinalRecap | Box Score 112 San Antonio Spurs
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.

Dwane Casey
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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Raymond Felton tonight, talking about himself and Melo: “Pray for us. I’m serious.” Who else is excited for the upcoming Knicks double dip?

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  • DryDry

    After watching them scrap all game and have a shot to win, it was so frustrating to see Novak walk onto the court colder than a fish stick in a truck broken down on the 401.

    • Tanks-a-lot

      Novak was in for the bail out 3s if he got the chance. meh.

      That last turnover was Derozan’s fault for throwing it at Novak’s feet.

    • pops1

      Agree,I think more minutes for amir and jv was needed as well. Don’t think game was coached well enough.

  • StabbyRaccoon

    Much better game than the score suggests. They really looked like they were on par with the Spurs at times, though you can tell who the better team is, when will the Raptors ever bury the Spurs under a mountain of raw talent to clinch a victory?

    Demar deserves a harsh glaring D. 1. His shooting was terrible and that’s basically his entire value. 2. Then he would be DDD :D. Everyone has off nights, this means little, but it’s good that we’re questioning his true value.

  • Delabar’s Weighted Balls

    Thought it was a great game. The wily Ginobli teaching Ross to stay down on long jumpers late in games, Valanciunas learning the same on Duncan… Good learning game all-round, the Spurs show why they’re consistently great (they play solidly & consistently execute their style of play and just grind the other team down. The Raps for our part showed a lot of heart & ability to hang with the Spurs all game long & while the Spurs are getting older, these Raps can hopefully evolve into something like the Spurs… Love Valanciunas and Amir together on the floor, and also thought that lady ref blew a bunch of calls… both teams were scratching their heads on some of this whistles (but good non-calls at other times…)

  • Captain_Dog

    They hung in there until the very end. Oh well, on to the next one…

    Seeing as how Masai said we won’t end up in the middle, I’m just going to enjoy whatever happens, if we end up tanking, great, if we end up trading for talented players from teams in desperate situations (without giving away picks or crippling us long term financially, mind you), also great.

    Sit back and enjoy the ride folks, In Masai we trust…

  • jjdynomite

    Watching Rudy go all iso-ball vs. Tyreke Evans in a stop-and-start game vs. the Pelicans on RaptorsTV right now makes me very very happy he’s no longer on the team.

    Then IT2 just threw an alley-oop dunk to Acy and I feel sad that Q was collateral damage to get rid of garbage Gay and his contract.

    • rtzyyz

      Yeah…I just saw Rudy pass and the guy hit a 3…I was like huh? then he went back to doing his iso thing.
      on a bittersweet note though, I know it is sad to see Q go, but at least in SAC he is getting some minutes, unlike with Casey

    • tonious35

      They can prove me wrong, but Sacramento will still be 10 games under 0.500 when the season ends. That new owner has another garbage pile of a roster to clean up.

  • tonious35

    The Raptors were like the hero that dies at the end in this fashion: The cool and respectable villain (San Antonio) riddles the hero with a hail of bullets and the usual human would of died, but the hero gets up will gushes of blood dripping and still comes after the villain, then the villain shoots him in the heart. The hero gets up again and says “Is that the best you can do you cock-sucker?”, then the villain shoots the hero in the head and his henchman fire shotgun blasts to make sure he is dead. This was what the winding second of the 4th quarter was like with Terrence Ross keeping it close. Okay: you can look it as this way too:

  • GetLicks

    I don’t understand the Novak sub right at the end when he hadn’t played all game, esp cause it meant losing Amir’s D. Thought it ruined an otherwise highly entertaining game. It’s not like we were desperate for more floor spacing with Ross & Lowry each having hit a few 3s and the Raps getting the lead down to 5.

    • why

      when you are down 5 with 2+ minutes left and SA has the ball and you need a defensive STOP there is no reason to have Novak on the floor (especially when you could have subbed him off after the SA timeout after the score by Ross that made it 100-95).

  • rtzyyz

    Welcome to today’s episode of “WTF is going on in Dwayne’s head?”
    Every day Dwayne makes at least one decision that makes the rest of us say “WTF is going on in your head?”
    Today, the raptors have fought a tough SA team on a back to back. With 2.5 min left, a 5 point game and SA calling a TO Dwayne looks at his huddled heroes and says to himself,
    “Amir has been a warrior for me, he does everything he is asked of him and then some, he is my hardest worker so…it’s time to bench him”
    As Dwayne looks down his bench, first he sees John Salmons and says to himself
    “This guy is a responsible vet. He makes good decisions with the ball, and in the last two road wins against 2 tough opponents he was my primary ball handler down the stretch and made some key plays to secure the wins…verdict…NAH”
    He continues to look down the bench and sees Steve Novak and thinks
    “This guy has played a total of 32 seconds since the Gay trade and is as cold as Ice, with him its like we are playing 4 on 5, he cannot rebound or play defense. This is the guy I need out on the court. Than lets make sure he switches up on Tony Parker on the defensive rotation for good measure”

    and once the rest of us are left to wonder “WTF is going on in your head?”. Tune in tomorrow when to hear about Dwayne landing in Toronto and trying to scrape the ice off of his car with a Banana.

    • AC#3

      Haha I love this!

    • why

      My thoughts exactly

    • Alex Vostrikov

      maybe it was Christmas present from casey to novak… 2 minutes wrapped in Christmas paper.
      you know, those presents that you throw in the garbage the next day… or give it to some one else the next Christmas.
      so, novak, probably surprised himself, figured out that there is something going on. BIG “for me?”. no thanks coach, let me pass the torch to some one else….. two times in a row

  • Raptorz

    JV-27 mins Amir-29 mins….. WTF Casey

    • consmap

      In Casey’s defense, he might have been managing their minutes due to the fact that they played yesterday.
      Although, the fact that the other 3 starters played 30+ mins kind of goes against that idea.

    • DDD

      they played a lot the day before and the refs got them in foul trouble a lot.

  • tonious35

    #6 to add to the upcoming Knicks: “All Raptor players have a packet of Primo to ram up some certain Knicks player’s ass…”

  • HogyG

    My first reaction after the game was why, oh why didn’t Casey chose anyone else other than Novak…

    Actually, my FIRST reaction was that I had wished Amir gave one of those refs his mouthpiece as an early Christmas present via airmail, but right after that, I felt that Novak’s run was a major downer after the Raptors and Casey did a good job staying in the game throughout the night. However, after marinating in it for a little while, I still think he should have gone with anyone else, but I am now thinking that maybe he was choosing minutes with the upcoming games against the Knicks in mind. Now I know, there’s three days off in between for them to rest, so that theory is a bit of a reach, but that’s the best I got as to why Casey would do such a thing after coaching a good game.

    The only other reason I could come up with was for all the trade theorists out there. Perhaps he was hoping for a big game shot from Novak that would pull out the win to help raise his currently rock bottom value. With all the new found attention the Raptors have after their wins over Dallas and OKC, Ujiri may have said “If you have the opportunity…”. It seems in hindsight that Casey’s relentless play of Gay was, at least in part, a call from management to stack up those numbers to help make the best trade. Ujiri and Casey seem to see eye-to-eye on company matters and the coach seems willing to do what is required from the managements perspective moving forward. Novak isn’t going to be sold by logging minutes, he’ll be sold because he can come in and hit the shot when you need it, right?

    The whole team came out and competed tonight, and the eyeball test says they aren’t the same team we’ve seen roll over when the going gets tough. A disappointing finish perhaps, but a great game never the less. I loved the effort and determination that Lowry has been playing with. He seemed to keep rubbing at his knee late in the game, I hope this isn’t anything to be concerned with.

    Being a contract year, is it wrong for me to worry that if the team moves forward with Lowry as the PG, that there may be a chance he was only going all-out this season for his upcoming contract? I don’t want to think that about him, because I’ve been very impressed by his play this year, and think we’ll be hard pressed to find a PG who can defend and rebound the way he does. On top of that, he’s a legitimate scoring option down the stretch and showing not only an ability to pass but keep the turnovers down as well. Maybe for me it’s just a case of once bitten twice shy, who knows, but I wouldn’t be trading him to have Vasquez run the point alone from what I’ve seen so far, no disrespct to General Greivis, but Lowry is the better option. Personally, at this point I am quite happy having both.

    Go Raptors and Happy Holidays to everyone here at Raptors Republic!!

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  • One relaxed fella

    DeMar DeRozans’ shooting in the last four games: 11/26, 6/18, 7/20 and 5/16. 29/80 total. 4.3 apg with 3.3 turnoverspg. NOT impressive.

    • HogyG

      Indeed. he has hit a bit of a shooting slump as of late. I feel it’s a combination of the opponents being able to key in on him as the #1 option on our team and playing against a string of quality defenders ready to stay locked onto him and create problems. I believe he can work through this as long as our team continues to share the ball and other players become more consistently threatening options. Between JV and Amir starting to get more looks inside and especially the way Lowry has been playing as of late, they could be those options to make the defenses play more honestly.

      Lets hope that the Santa brings DeMar 50% – 40% – 90% for 2014!

    • 2damkule

      hey, we’ve got our rudy gay replacement!

    • ac1011990

      I don’t think it’s to much of a slump, Derozan plays better when the defence keys on someone else, (like Rudy). If we could get a SF who has a good offensive game that requires a lot of attention we would most likely see the same Derozan back. He’s a great 2nd or 3rd option but he is not someone who can be the main scoring wing. As bad as rudy was for the overall team, I think he did wonders for Derozans game.

  • mountio

    A much better game than the score showed. Lowry is playing really, really well.
    Nice to see TR bounce back from what seems like a bad one against OKC and nice to see him show some mid range game. Nice to see Casey play him down the stretch. He did lose Danny Green a few times down the stretch though .. has to clean that up (Im sure Tim W was rejoicing as D Green knocked down a few threes)
    I agree the Novak sub was weird .. but it was desperation at that point I think as the game was slipping away.

    • Steve Fisher

      TR had a plus minus of -18 mainly because as usual he is very weak on guarding his man on defense flying all over the place often leaving his feet as he comes in a way too LATE trying to block a shot in desperation. Good defense is a lot of HARD WORK and is not spectacular just effective and leads to WINS It puts his 23 pts into perspective considering how bad his defense must have been considering his 23 pts. Steve Fisher

  • Steve Fisher

    TR and DD both had a plus minus of – 18. DD was given a c- rating which seems about right considering his continuing week man to man defense. TR was given an A despite playing considerably worse man to man defense than DD not to mention rarely taking the ball inside almost as if he was afraid as DD was a couple of years ago.TR whose offense was reasonably good should at best have EARNED a C. Why is so little credit given to the almighty defense? How you EARN an A with a plus minus of -18 baffles many people!!

  • s1nz

    I don’t know why Casey is so reluctant to put Novak on the floor. Instead he likes doing the double PG combo which kills the shot clock much faster!