Go fix yourself a strong drink. Raptors lose nail-biter thanks to questionable decisions from DeRozan and Casey.


Toronto Raptors 113 Final

Recap | Box Score

118 Atlanta Hawks
Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 33 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | +6Don’t look at Millsap’s line and claim that Amir had a poor game on defense, because it simply is untrue. Amir was the only one who could reasonably slow Trillsap on the perimeter, and showed it on the last play of regulation when he forced Millsap into shooting a step-back two, which clanged out.

Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 40 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | +3Played well early on, but was completely invisible down the stretch. He seems to wilt under the slightest of pressure. I understand why Casey doesn’t trust him — how could anyone trust him? His efforts come and go, and down the stretch, he’s usually a non-factor. Really questionable decisions on defense.

Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 20 MIN | 5-7 FG | 6-7 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +11Started off hot, dominating the Hawks’ small front-line which culminated in a 11-point first quarter. However, he succumbed to foul trouble, and had to sit until the third quarter. Strained his back late in the third and was ruled out for the night. It’s a damn shame.

Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 41 MIN | 8-16 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +4A step slow on defense and couldn’t do much to contain Teague, who managed to break down the Raptors defense time, and time again. Made up for it on offense, netting the Raptors buckets whenever they needed one, including with 10 seconds left in regulation when he tied the game with a driving layup. Also took two charges. Kyle Lowry over everything.

DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 45 MIN | 8-18 FG | 13-14 FT | 10 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 29 PTS | +2No. Just no. I admit it — I’m not drinking the DeRozan Kool-Aid, because it’s just a vat of tears. The free-throw total was hugely inflated by the referees, and made him out to look like Kobe in his prime. Really questionable decisions down the stretch, including with 32 seconds left. Down two, he decided to drive one-on-three, pull out a behind-the-back dribble in traffic, slipped (predictably) and turned it over. Also, in overtime, he shot two straight long-twos (both bricked), inexplicably left Carrol to trap Pero Antic, which led to an open layup. Just, no.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 12 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -9Was horrible when he played, but I maintain that he was still more deserving of minutes than Chuck Hayes because he could, y’know, move laterally, which makes him an asset on defense.

Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 17 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -4A partial list of things that have more lateral quickness than Hayes: 3-legged giraffes, trees, Tree-Beard, Snorlax, the inverse of the speed of light, Hugh Hefner after smoking weed, etc etc. I have no idea why Casey insisted on playing him over Hansbrough for the majority of the fourth quarter. The Hawks simply put him in a pick-and-roll, and profited every time down the floor.

John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -13We’re going to need this guy to come up big in the playoffs? That feeling is crippling anxiety, Raptors fans.

Steve Novak, SF Shot Chart 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -12Caught fire in the first half, and was the only source of offense for the second unit. Can’t fault his performance tonight. Would have preferred to see him play a little more against the Hawks’ smaller lineups.

Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 18 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -13On one hand, he shot 14 times because the second unit couldn’t get anything going. On the other hand, he’s responsible for getting the second unit going. Most of his shots were within the flow of the offense, and he bricked a couple of open shots, but he should never have a game where he’s shooting 14 times against 0 assists.

Nando de Colo, PG Shot Chart 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | 0The fact that he played non-garbage time serves as a metaphor for the atrocity of the second unit.

Dwane Casey
I was going to praise him for actually running a play for Novak for once (see below), but he erased any smidgen of good-will with his bone-headed insistence to play Hayes over Hansbrough for most of the fourth. That decision single-handedly cost his team 4-5 points tonight. He also makes the most predictable decisions with his rotations (see cover photo)

Four Things We Saw

  1. Raptors made an effort to run in transition early in the game, which was made possible by solid rebounding from the wins on the Hawks’ long jumpers. This strategy led to easy points, either by attacking the basket, or by hitting Terrence Ross as the trailer. Again, it was entirely predicated on solid defensive rebounding, with help from the wings.
  2. Finally ran a play for Novak. ATO. 10 seconds left before the half, ball inbounded to Hayes, passes to Lowry, beats the backcourt trap, Lowry drives, defense collapses, Lowry finds Novak in the corner for a three. Boom
  3. Casey’s rotation: starting five out there until ~5 min left in first, then Salmons replaces DeRozan, a big replaces one of JV/Amir. Second unit starts out with the bench unit and DeMar for 6 minutes. Usually Vasquez remains in the game as the starters are brought back to finish the half. Rinse and repeat for the second half. Down the stretch, if he wants defense or ball-handling, Salmons plays over Ross. If he needs more scoring, Vasquez plays in a two-PG lineup where Lowry roams off-ball. Clockwork.
  4. Second unit failed to generate any offense. Vasquez had to shoot 9 times in 9 minutes at one point. Failure arises because not enough shot-making ability, with Hayes-Hansbrough front-court stifling the interior. Casey changed his strategy to start fourth, by mixing in De Colo and Johnson. Mixed results, as Novak’s hot shooting kept the unit afloat.
  5. I miss Patrick Patterson.

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