Doing a diary for my last recap was probably the most enjoyable post-game column I’ve done, and since I really have no real interest in dissecting a Raptors’ game right now, I’m going again with the running diary.
So here we go…
– Showing highlights of DeRozan’s big game against the Mavericks. A career night for DeRozan and he looked fantastic. But who are we kidding. Before the game, DeRozan was being criticized (and rightly) for his inefficient offense and poor fourth quarter decision-making. Yes, he played well, but it was one game. Let’s not start getting carried away, here.
– Too late. Leo Rautins just said that if DeRozan continues to play like that, his ceiling is “way, way up there”. Of course, where “up there” is is anyone’s guess. If he has another big game tonight, Leo and friends will probably start comparing him to Kevin Durant.
– Will he and Kyle Lowry make the All Star team? DeRozan’s name hasn’t been mentioned by many outside of Toronto. Lowry? Sure, possibly. But I don’t see DeRozan making it over John Wall, Lance Stephenson or Lowry.
– Looking at the starting lineup, you have to wonder if Thaddeus Young is going to go off against the Raptors again. The only team Young has scored more on over his entire career is Phoenix, and I’m guessing their high paced offense had something to do with that. For some reason, Young loves playing against Toronto.
– DeRozan has hit two long jumpers in the first minute and a half. That’s either a good sign or a bad sign for the Raptors. If he starts falling in love with his jumper, things can go south quickly.
– DeRozan just hit another jumper. Philly can’t hit anything.
– Raptors can’t miss. They’re 6 of 7. The only miss was Valanciunas at the rim. Apparently he wasn’t far enough away from the basket.
– DeRozan missed his first jumper. He hasn’t ventured into the paint, yet. He gets FAR too comfortable out there.
– DeRozan either air-balled a jumper or made a sneaky pass to Valanciunas. That’s when you call out to Jonas that he made a good cut and pretend it was on purpose.
– DeRozan has now missed his last three shots.
– Five of my first six points of the first quarter have been about DeRozan. He’s venturing into Rudy Gay territory in terms of Usage. No assists yet, for him, so he’s in Rudy Gay territory there, as well.
– The Raptors seemed to have stopped playing defense and have given up roughly three dozen layups in the last three minutes. Their defense is almost as streaky as their offense is.
– DeRozan got subbed out before Terrence Ross did. That’s rather surprising.
– And now the Sixers have come back to take the lead. The two teams have completely switched personalities from the first few minutes of the game. It’s like Freaky Friday. Hold on, it IS Friday 1.[aside]1. Lindsey Lohan appeared in the remake of Freaky Friday with Jamie Lee Curtis as her body-swapping mother. I’d like to see a sequel where they swap bodies again, Curtis snorts cocaine off a naked hooker, shoplifts, gets pulled over for DUI and gets thrown in rehab. Basically, I’d like to see Lohan get a break from doing that herself.[/aside]
– Why the hell didn’t I know Philly had a guy named Elliott Williams on their team? I remember when I knew every single player on every single roster in the league. I guess the difference now is that I have a life. And two kids. I can’t even watch games when the kids are at home/awake, now. It kind of limits my game watching opportunities.
– M.C.W. is not a nickname. It’s simply Carter-Williams’ initials. I really hate how player’s initials started becoming their nickname. “E.J.”, “K.J.”, “L.J.”. Basically, if your last name begins with a “J”, then your nickname is your initials. Whatever happened to the days of Dr. J. Magic Johnson, The Mailman, Round Mound of Rebound? The whole nickname on the jersey thing was about a decade or two too late. I do like the Slim Reaper, though. Hopefully it starts a new era in nicknames in the NBA.
– This seems to be unravelling now for the Raptors. The Sixers are running layups drills while the Raptors are chucking from outside. Whenever the Raptors get in trouble, this is exactly what happens. They stop playing defense and get jumpshot happy. This is NOT a 50 win team.
– Philadelphia has taken most of their shots within five feet of the basket. On the other hand, the Raptors have taken most of their shots outside of 15 feet. If it wasn’t for Valanciunas and offensive rebounding, the Raptors would have no points in the paint.
– Whoa. Something happened when I wasn’t paying attention and the game is now tied. It felt like Philly was in control of the game but apparently not. Maybe I fell asleep there for a couple of minutes.
– Lowry just hit an “and one” and then Valanciunas grabbed the offensive board on the missed free throw. I wonder if Lowry invited everyone over for another dinner like he did the last time they were in Philadelphia. So far they seem to be unbeaten in Raptor players’ hometown. I’d like to see a stat for that…
– Young has scored two layups in a row, including a dunk.
– Raptors are now -18 in points in the paint.
– They’re now showing the All Star Starters. Kobe in no way should be starting. He’s played six games this year, is averaging 13.8 ppg on .425 shooting. He is averaging 6.3 assists, but he’s also turning the ball over 5.7 times. 5.7 turnovers a game. And that’s in less than 30 minutes a game. And fans have voted him in over Chris Paul and James Harden 2.
[aside]2. To make matters worse, Jeremy Lin finished fourth among guards in the West, ahead of his teammate, Harden, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and Damian Lillard. Just to be clear, fan voting is stupid.[/aside]
– DeRozan has just missed eight straight baskets.
– They just showed a graphic for the odds for guards in the East of making the All Star game. DeRozan is fifth. Considering only three will probably make it (on top of the starters), then I’d say he’s not going. Lowry is second. What this graphic does highlight is just how crappy the East is, in terms of guard depth. Of course, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo would make it any other year. Let’s hope this year’s draft brings an infusion of guard talent in the East.
– Surprise, surprise, both Matt and Leo think both Lowry and DeRozan should make the All Star team. And which one of John Wall and Lance Stephenson should not make it, then?
– TRIVIA TIME: Who are the only two rookies since 1950-51 to lead rookies in points, rebounds and assists? Mmm. That’s actually a good one. Oscar Robinson has to be one, but I have no clue who the other one is. Maybe Magic or Elgin Bayor? Or possibly a guy from a really bad draft.
– Why do the Raptors commentators constantly say the Raptors shouldn’t underestimate their opponent as if the Raptors are an elite team? They’re not. The Raptors simply aren’t that much better than teams like the Sixers or Bobcats.
– Leo handing out his mid-term grades. I’m guessing he’s going to grade on a curve. Dwane Casey gets an ‘A’. Yes, I’d say it’s a curve. And Ujiri gets an ‘A+’ for trading two team killers and getting a decent return for them. He didn’t acquire one player in the starting lineup and most of his free agent signings have been disappointing. The A+ seems to be for not being Colangelo and screwing the team up financially. Imagine what he’d get if he actually did something.
– Amir takes a long jumper. While I’ve been a defender of him taking, those, considering how many jumpshots the Raptors have been taking tonight, I’d probably keep those to a minimum.
– Carter-Williams leading all rookies in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Yes, he’s playing great and should have a fantastic future, but it also speaks to how bad this year’s rookie class is 2.[aside]3. If there was a decent (healthy) big man in last year’s draft, then Carter-Williams’ 5.9 rpg wouldn’t lead all rookies. And his .486 True Shooting Percentage is beyond awful. Definitely a case of a player being given too much responsibility because of circumstances. Carter-Williams has been impressive, but the only reason he’s putting up the numbers he is is because the Sixers traded away most of their roster and grabbed a bunch of guys from the local Y to replace them.[/aside]
– More on Carter-Williams (yes, I refuse to call him M.C.W.): He apparently puts every after-tax cent from his salary into trust and only lives off his endorsement money. VERY smart guy. Maybe Antoine Walker should hang around him for a bit.
– Neither team taking control in the all important third quarter. Thanks to Amir (and Lowry), Raptors are relying less on the jumpshot and scoring more inside. All they need now is to start playing defense.
– And now Casey takes Amir out. Obviously he’s looking for more jumpshots from the Raptors.
– On cue, Lowry shoots and misses a jumper.
– Lowry is now two rebounds away from a triple-double. He’s easily the best Raptor on the court, again. Lowry is averaging half a rebound less than DeRozan is despite being more than half a foot shorter.
– Quarter ends with Raptors up by two. If they lose, they will be 2-4 in their last six and Raptor fans will start demanding trades. If they win they’ll start wondering if the can beat the Heat in a 7 game series. There is no in between.
– Raptors start out playing well to begin the quarter.
– DeRozan hits a three. Will he fall in love with his jumper again after getting to the basket more in the third quarter? After hitting his first three shots, he proceeded to miss his next nine. Not many players will continue taking shots after they miss nine in a row.
– Raptors hitting shots. Sixers not. That’s basically the difference right now.
– After Chuck Hayes draws an offensive foul, I wonder where Toronto ranks in this category. Anyone have an idea where I can look up those types of stats? Tweet me if you do.
– DeRozan hits another long jumper after Sixers miss one. Now up by 11.
– Sixers can’t hit a shot. Raptor defense is good, but Sixers are just missing shots.
– Sixers just had their best defensive set of the fourth quarter and then turned it over on the other end. Things are not going well for them.
– Carter-Williams just took and hit a three. He’s shooting .292 from beyond the arc this year, which begs the question, “why are you taking threes at all?”. He takes 3.4 a game.
– Lowry now has a triple double. I’ve never liked Lowry’s decision-making (he still takes too many threes when the team is struggling rather than getting the ball inside) but he’s been phenomenal tonight.
– Answer to the Trivia Question….. Oscar Robertson and Alvan Adams. Well, I wouldn’t have guess Adams. Adams is a player I must admit I don’t know a whole lot about other than he played for Phoenix 3.[aside]3. A quick look at Adams’ draft class. David Thompson went number one, but started his career in the ABA. Thompson was a sad case. He averaged 25.8 ppg in his first four season before succumbing to substance abuse and injuries. He was often called Michael Jordan’s idol when he was growing up.[/aside]
– Raptors up by nine with less than 2 minutes to go. Sixers simply not playing well enough to make you think they’ll come back. Looks like 22 wins for the Raptors.
– Valanciunas has only played 20 minutes tonight. In last four games he’s averaged just 18.6 mpg. Casey is going with veterans in order to win.
– Raptors win 104-95.
A GAME FACTS
– Amir, Ross and Valanciunas played 24, 20 and 20 minutes respectively. Patterson, Salmons, Hayes and Vasquez played 29, 23, 28 and 22 minutes respectively. Is it safe to say that Casey is going with his veterans now to squeeze out as many wins as he can?
– Kyle Lowry had 18 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds with only two turnovers, but was one of only two Raptors to have a negative Plus/Minus stat. The other was Ross.
– Thaddeus Young scored 16 points, which is a hair above his career average of 15.9 against the Raptors.
– Just for some perspective, the Raptors record of 22-20, which is good enough to be tied for third in the East, would put them out of the playoffs in the West.