|Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +12A great defensive set vs Gasol late in first quarter led to a rebound, a push up court and a decisive dunk by Valanciunas under the bucket. Whenever he was on the court the Raptors’ defense was simply better. As soon as he returned to the game in second quarter Raptors closed the 8-point gap and finished with a 3-point lead.|
|Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +1Picked up two quick fouls in first quarter with only a turnover on the board to account for his time on the floor. Well rested, he was improved in the second half on both ends. Held my breath when he twisted his ankle in the third since we can’t afford to have him join Patterson on the injury list.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 36 MIN | 11-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | +16Absolutely his best game this season! Scored 10 of Raptors 19 first quarter points. Utilized an offensive variety capped by a 17 foot shot he drained with ease and a put back dunk to tie the game in the first half. This offensive output continued through the second half. Playing this well against a solid lock down defensive team and imposing front court of Randolph and Gasol indicates signs the young stud is maturing.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 6-14 FG | 6-7 FT | 7 REB | 12 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | +18It was a battle of two very good point guards, but Lowry won the battle handily while filling up the box score. The Raptors MVP excels in grind out high octane games such as tonight and he didn’t disappoint.|
|DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 43 MIN | 4-12 FG | 7-8 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | +14With Prince guarding him it’s obvious the book on DeRozan has spread around the league to use tall guards or forwards on him. He struggled forcing up shots and rushing his game. Although he was better in the second half he needs to figure out a way to conquer tall opposition.|
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5Against a team who seem tailored made for his game he didn’t block out under the basket on several occasions which led to easy put backs by Grizzlies. That equated to Casey yanking him and Hayes getting the minutes he likely would have received.|
|Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 7 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -3Most important contribution came while he wasn’t on the floor. During a time-out he pulled DeRozan aside to tell him to calm down and take the ball with aggression to the basket. The very next play DeRozan drove the key and got his first free throws of the evening. Veteran leadership at it’s best. He earns a B just for that speech.|
|John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 14 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8We’ve come to expect Salmons to perform better on a days rest, however tonight it seemed like he was playing on a back to back as he provided little to no contribution|
|Steve Novak, SF Shot Chart 13 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +1He played and spread the floor, that’s about it.|
|Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 28 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +19Also his best game as a Raptor. Showcased a couple of highlight assists as well as some key scoring, showing glimpses of what Ujiri was expecting from him when he was touted as the key player in the Kings trade. Kept the Raptors close in the second quarter with 10 points. If we ever get this consistently out of him, watch out.|
We’ve nailed him for not keeping players on the floor when they start the game with strong offensive performances (Ross in Brooklyn) so the fact he played Valanciunas additional minutes following a great start deserves credit. He was on the zebra’s all game and did a decent job on match-ups.
Three Things We Saw
- The fact the Raptors out grinded the Grind House speaks to how far they’ve come as a team.
- Several players had their best games of the season (Valanciunas/Vasquez) which bodes well if they can sustain these efforts with 18 games remaining.
- Raptors magic number to clinch playoff berth is now 5 and magic number to clinch Atlantic Division is 16.
- At 6:10 of the fourth the game was tied at 80: Lowry drew a critical foul leading to a Vasquez 3. The very next play Vasquez stole the ball and scored again. Raptors never looked back.
- Raptors are now 10 games over .500 and 5-1 in March