Toronto Raptors 100 FinalRecap | Box Score 90 Denver Nuggets
Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 18 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -3Inconsistent offensively, but his defensive effort sparked the Raptors in the third quarter, where the team quickly followed suit and built a big lead. I love the pick and pop play with him and Ross. Played hard on an injured ankle, and was rightly given more time to sit than usual.

Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 37 MIN | 7-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +1The Raptors most consistent scorer on the night. Made great decisions with the ball and unleashed a dunk from the seventh level of hell that made Kenneth Faried reconsider his chosen profession (link below). He’s showing some developing chemistry on pick and roll/pop plays with Amir Johnson.

Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 29 MIN | 4-10 FG | 5-6 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +4Had his defensive issues in the first half, but responded nicely in the second. The Raptors fed him the ball constantly up big in the fourth and let him work, which was nice to see – he even hit a 12 footer. Three of those misses are jumpers in the fourth, which I’m willing to forgive, given the score (the Raptors were comfortably up at the time).

Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 31 MIN | 5-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +15He was excellent in the first, but took some questionable transition 3s that led to easy Denver buckets on the other side (11 three-point attempts?). A lot of this game was played on the pick and roll, though, and Lowry did a typically excellent job there.

DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 33 MIN | 6-17 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | +5Our newly-minted All-Star returned after missing a couple games due to injury and looked rusty in the first half, where he went 1 for 5, all on long twos, and most of those contested. His fourth quarter was pretty ugly too (0 for 4), but he absolutely exploded in the third, putting the team on his back and staking the Raptors to what turned out to be an insurmountable lead. Not a bad night to work out the kinks. Got to the line pretty regularly, as well, which was where most of his first-half points came.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 13 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +5THIS is why there’s been so many “we could have used Hansbrough tonight” comments over the past few weeks. It’s also why it was so good that he waited until he was 100% before coming back. Was all over the floor on offence and defence, making things tough for Faried and the much larger Mozgov and cleaning up the offensive glass. A very effective 13 minutes.

Patrick Patterson, PF Shot Chart 24 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +18Came in masked up and put to rest any doubts that it would affect his shooting right away with 3 jumpers in the first half. His best work came defensively, though, where his mobility was key in putting the Nuggets away. He and Hansbrough were the bigs on the floor for the Raps’ big third-quarter run.

Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -4Not a great matchup for him with Denver’s mix of mobile bigs and the much larger Mozgov. Did what he could, which wasn’t much. Eh, wasn’t his night.

John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 24 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 9 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +16Nine assists! The only reason he doesn’t get an A is because of the hero ball he played in the first half – he took far too many shots and did his best Rudy Gay impersonation for a quarter or so. He was also one of the primary culprits when it came to the lazy wing defence the Raps played in the first half – on one possession, Wilson Chandler went around him like he was standing still. Played a truly excellent second half, though, seeing the floor well and even hitting a couple heat-check shots early in the fourth.

Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 0 PTS | -7I hesitate to give him an F because the margin of victory was so comfortable, but his defensive shortcomings were really exposed tonight. Casey chose to have Terrence Ross guard Randy Foye and put Vasquez on the much larger Evan Fournier, where he was beaten in pretty much every way imaginable. Moved the ball well on offence and made one particularly nice cross-court pass to Lowry for an open 3, but his D was truly ugly tonight.

Dwane Casey
The timeout he called early in the third was the turning point of the game – I don’t know what he said in the huddle, but the difference in defensive intensity was obvious. Had a couple rough moments, though – I particularly question his insistence on having Ross guard Randy Foye and leaving Lowry and Vasquez on Denver’s huge wing players, and you have to attribute some of the weak defence in the first half to him. That said, made the right decisions when it mattered, which led to a comfortable win.

Three Things We Saw

  1. So, this happened. Enjoy it, share it, watch it over and over again. The bench reaction was almost more entertaining than the dunk.
  2. This game represented streetball pickup for the first half, with both teams executing pick and roll plays seemingly at will. The Raptors turned up the defensive intensity in the third, which basically put the game away – holding the Nuggets to just 17 points and jumping out to a 22 point lead at one point.
  3. The Raptors haven’t won in Denver in over 10 years until tonight. Having a full contingent of players was key to that – the Nuggets were banged up and couldn’t hang once the bench contingent came into the game. Quincy Miller and Anthony Randolph: point guards you are not.

  • JRedmond14

    The Terranosaurus Ross went back to prehistoric times and made the Manimal extinct

    • Abused Raptors Fan

      Thought that nickname would catch on. Posted a few more in the forums. I also thought of Trey Rex

      • TheR3dMenace

        Tyrannosaurus Ross, Trey-Rex, T-Rex, T-Wrecks are all awesome by any account.

      • Plu

        I like Trey Rex lol T Ross sounds too similar to t mac

    • Maniacal

      still think the best i’ve heard is “Hot sauce” Ross

    • rapturd

      Could also spell it as TerranoSoarRoss.
      Love all the nicknames.
      This guy could be our next McReady…he can defend, he can shoot, he has some sweet passes (room to improve for sure) and he can fly like no other.
      Once he learn how to take it to the rim in a constant basis and get fouls watch out.
      Love this guy

  • GetLicks

    Oh my God.
    That T Ross dunk.
    Haven’t jumped out of my seat like that since DD dunked on Mozgov. We’re getting a new highlight if the year every game, and we’re winning, and it’s awesome.

    • GetLicks

      Of the year**

    • Philoveritas

      That dunk was so sick that I froze up. It took me a few seconds to digest how dirty it was, I was speechless and actually in awe. Faried got all amped up after blocking Amirs dunk the play before and thought he’d have shot against the defending champ. Posterized…or Video-clip-ized…

      • GetLicks

        I didn’t think the kid had it in him to be honest, it came outta nowhere. I know he can dunk over JJ Reddick but Faried is one of the best shot blockers in the league. T Ross made him his bitch, wow

        • GM

          You didn’t think he had it in him? You’ve obviously not been watching him.

          • GetLicks

            Lol been watching this team for many years. I know Ross can dunk, but he’s never posterized a bigger shot blocker like Faried. Only guy he’s dunked on before is Reddick, and even that was over the back and not a complete poster like this was.

            • GLF

              I remember he dunked on that guy on New Orleans. I think it was Jason Smith. The dunk didn’t count though because Amir got called for an offensive foul. But that dunk was nasty

              • GetLicks

                It was nasty, but Amir did tug his jersey to prevent him from getting over fast enough. He might have got dunked on anyway but it’s too bad that didn’t count.

        • Abused Raptors Fan

          LMFAO if you think Faried is one of tje best shot blockers in the league! Where do you even get something like that from? He only averages 1 block per game. Even his per 36 min is only 1.3 lmao

          • GetLicks

            Lol my bad. I really thought he averaged more than that. Every time I watch him play he blocks 2-3 shots. My mistake…there’s really no need for your childish tone.

    • RPT23

      Is he still called T.Dot Flight 31?

      • tweed8

        Of course he is! Especially in that sweet Denver air. He’s so high up there!

        • Jonasbrutha

          Ah I see what you did there sir! A little double entendre action mixed into your enthusiastic comment. “Denver…he’s so high”…you sly devil you!

  • morgan c

    So I live in the States and watch every game on my computer, usually in front of the tv or doing something else. Point being, I don’t often hear full games of Matt&Leo. And wow, Matt Devlin on the Twitter Q ASKING Leo “why did Lowry get snubbed,” then proceeding to offer a rambling, total BS, run-in filled nowhere rent was just too much. Wow.

    Great game. Maybe one of the most impressive of the year. On the road, against a team missing two key guys, but still… we just dominated on the road against a very good home team. Fucking awesome.

    • RPT23

      Hearing that is awesome. Just knowing that there are fans in the states that are following the Raps is great. Even some folks they showed on t.v. drove from Edmonton to Denver for the game. That’s dedication. lol… The roads are pretty slick up here in Alberta, namely southern Alberta…

      • Mexiballer

        And in Mexico too.

  • Age

    Good win raps. They took care of a game they “should win” against an injured Nuggets team, while getting back the space in the division from Brooklyn, who happened to get run over by OKC tonight and play Indiana tomorrow.

  • FREEJV

    when vasquez and hayes come in i shit my pants. they almost blew a 25 pt lead and we had to bring back the starters. Unacceptable

    • Jonasbrutha

      Agreed. I shed a single tear every time Vazquez attempts that grotesque tear drop, why is it even in his arsenal? He has no touch when driving to the basket and don’t even get me started on his defensive deficiencies. Masai needs to get to working them phones and find a backup pg, ASAP as possible!

      • FREEJV

        andre miller for fields. Get it done Masai.

      • Mexiballer

        Hopefully he has been on the phone.

      • show time

        that is his signature move you use to drop those on will in New Orleans, and even in Sac town. but for what ever reason his been struggling in Toronto. but i have faith he’ll be back to normal in no time. :)

        • show time

          that is his signature move he use to drop those on will in New Orleans, and even in Sac town. but for what ever reason his been struggling in Toronto. but i have faith he’ll be back to normal in no time. :)

        • GLF

          That’s what I heard too. It’s sooo off right now though. It never looks like it’s going to go in. Hopefully he gets that touch back soon.

    • RPT23

      I think Vasquez is good enough to spare some minutes for Lowry. But a starter (at least currently for this team) he is not.

      Hayes, imo is only good in situational… I hate that they keep feeding him the ball thinking he’s going to do something on a 7′-0″ center…

      • Vanlivin

        Vasquez is a capable NBA player but the ideal fit for this team would be a backup pg whose strength is defense.

        • Ghotte

          I think the team is built such that the 2nd unit just has to keep pace with the opposing team at the least. So, having a PG who can ensure the ball is moving well – it’s a given they are supposed to be playing good defense – becomes just as important. More of a ‘team defensive’ approach.

    • Philoveritas

      They took their foot off the gas when it was a 25 point lead, trying not to shame the home team too bad. It was just a matter of running out the clock vs. running up the score. But they needed to hit at least a couple of shots for the sake of respect. The coaches were probably gunning for this win knowing that Portland is going to be tough on the tail end.

    • morgan c

      Vazquez just can’t play for this team. He’s a useful to good offensive player, but his defense is so atrocious, it’s hard to get past. Casey needs to continue to play to the defensive identity thing, because it’s clear we play our best when we are active and engaged on the defensive end. Our offense will come with the improvement and our depth. But Vazquez is a total liability on the defensive end, he gives up everything and more than he gets on offense, even on a good night.

      • Abused Raptors Fan

        He’s almost useless unless he starts or plays big minutes sharing the floor with Lowry.

        • Ghotte

          He’s a good back up. You seem to be grading him as a starter in the league.

  • StabbyRaccoon

    It’s dunks like this that make me miss Quincy Acy even more than usual. He would have done something completely outrageous in response.

    But the new team is kicking ass so it’s all (mostly) good 😀

  • Vino

    ROSS!!

  • Adriiian

    A little hard on Lowry and DeMar. Kyle took some questionable shots in the 3rd, but other than that his game was stellar. (and that stepback 3, damn)
    Tyler was great.
    And of course that TRoss dunk! That was huge.
    LETS GO RAPTORS.

  • Zimdim

    While Demar tries to move like Kobe,

    Ross is trying to move like Jordan.

    • RPT23

      Saw that AMIR got blocked by the Maninmal and TROSS got his revenge for that!

      • Zimdim

        He sent Mannimal back to the cage looking for his bone!

        • RPT23

          I, for one wouldn’t mind having the Manimal with the Doctor of Denial… lol.

  • JayTeam

    Also got to thank that imaginary 6th guy the Nuggets had on the floor in the 3rd, – the one they kept passing the ball to. 25 freaking turnovers. Ugly.

    • Zimdim

      Raps D whith PP makes me ===D

      • Abused Raptors Fan

        Get a bone? Haha

  • GoingBig

    Competent win against a banged-up team. Got it done and saved some energy for the Portland.
    Like a cold beer on a hot day – tastes great. Let’s have another

  • Zimdim

    The combination of JV, Amir, PP and TH may be complete enough to compete in playoffs.

    Now a real back back up PG and we’re talking business.

    • DDayLewis

      If the Raptors want a move to contend, they should try to get another wing who can reliably handle the ball and create for himself.

      • raptorstand

        Rudy Gay?

        • DDayLewis

          At a fraction of the price? Yup.

          • raptorstand

            Lot of things gonna happen in this world but that aint one of them.

            • DDayLewis

              Of course, but someone like him would be nice. Lots of back-up wings could probably be had for cheap.

              • Abused Raptors Fan

                Part of it is not having your traditional combo guard as a 6th man, but having someone else who can create off the dribble for himself and others is never a bad thing. Think Ross is showing us he could take on more responsibility with regards to playmaking though so maybe that wing is already on the team. Would be nice to have one for the bench unit though

          • What the

            i told you guys DDayLewis is not a raptors fan bring back Rudy he says the has been hanging out with Rob Ford

      • What the

        we could always trade DD to get that player ain’t that right mr.lakers fan tim w. jr {Budda fan) cause it ain’t pretty

        • DDayLewis

          You should spend more time with your loved ones, or pick up one of these things http://www.tehcute.com/puppies-hanging-in-baby-clothes.html

          • raptorstand

            DDay lewis who is out there that would improve over demar Tross and Salmons? Would like your thoughts?

            • DDayLewis

              Not upgrade, just bolster. I like Jonas Jeremy and he could be had for cheap. Along the same vein, Stuckey or Avery Bradley would be nice.

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  • lewro

    omg terrence ross i just shit myself!

  • raptorstand

    Packing the dirt with the shovel of tank nation. The dunk was nice , but Tross went into the lane and hit consistent from 12-15 , drove to the hole and got fouled for the 3 point play. The outside 3 is nice but watching Tross drive to the bucket and succeed is the greatest thing Raptor nation can hope for. Trossis developing into something special right before our eyes. 37 minutes for the kid tonight , cannot be more happy for Tross, great game.

    • SR

      I thought exactly the same thing tonight. We’ll see how the season plays out, but at the moment it looks like his in-season development is off the charts.

  • Hound

    Wife and I were at the game. Ross’ dunk even sent a murmur through the Denver crowd. I stood up, spilled my beer and almost fell over the railing! Great game, but the boys were exhausted. That thin got to them. There were guys bent over grabbing their shorts in the first half! Tomorrow could be a very tough back to back, but a good win here tonight. Go Raps

  • Rob Ford

    Ya mon, when me see dat dunk, me jump up and say “Ross Clawt!”

  • Mexiballer

    A back up point guard and were good to go Masai.

  • Hassan Mehmood Khan

    Tross is gonna be better then derozan

  • Lets Play

    Terrance Ross Dunk has made David Stern Retire!!!

  • ayy

    I was watching this game in the library while tryin to study accidently yelled out loud after that ross dunk..embarassing

  • asifyouknow

    Garrett Hinchey on your take on Salmons ….There is a concepts coaches learn early in their training, IF you got an open look you take the shot, just a thought. I’m in no way questioning your expertise in basketball theory. Is jut a thought from one with 50 year of experience.

  • rapierraptor

    I’m just going to start calling Ross NASA – the dude took off like a rocket. p.s. welcome back Tyler and thanks for being WAY better than I thought you were going to be 2Pat and Salmons.

  • Mexiballer

    Best dunk Ive seen all year and I have League Pass. I seriously thought he was in trouble when he was nearing the lane and Faried was lining him up. I was thinking, shit Terrence dont go air borne, thats dangerous. And then Holy shit, he just just powered it right through him. I jumped up and yelled no way! Slam dunk champion.