|Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -3
NO-NO-NO-NO- NO-NO-NO-NO- NO-NO-NO-NO- NO-NO-NO-NO to an Amir Johnson knee injury. I may have started to throw things and pace across the room in panic when he hit the deck holding his knee. Looks like he’s ok. Amir put up a 6-8-1-3-1 stat line that was a lot louder than it looks. He played a few less minutes after playing 50 on bad ankles friday night. There is such a notable difference with this team when anybody but Amir Johnson is playing the PF spot.
|Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 4-14 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +12
Ross’ legs looked tired as everything from outside was coming up an inch or two short. He needs to put the ball on the floor and drive from the corner past the rotating defender closing out to try and find some rhythm. He responded to his justified benching early by coming back in to the game and immediately hammering a huge dunk into his 2013-2014-highlight reel. Ross then disappeared from relevance for a long stretch before Casey uncharacteristically put him back in for the key end of game push. He responded well and contributed to the team’s late comeback.
|Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 33 MIN | 2-4 FG | 9-10 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +14
Valanciunas’ jubilant response whenever he actually gets a foul call to go his way is indicative of how the whistle has worked for him this season. That shouldn’t last for long because he is going to spend an awful lot of time shooting free throws in his career with the kind of offensive rebounding he does. He went to the line 5 times and hit 9 of 10. If you have any complaints about 13 and 13 from your center, you’re not going to get any audience for them from me.
|Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 27 MIN | 9-17 FG | 4-7 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 25 PTS | +11
Kyle Lowry put the team on the back doh’. Lowry’s first half numbers weren’t overwhelming, but he was one of the few Raptors who at least brought his full effort and intensity on both ends. Kyle Lowry embodied the late comeback and sealed it with a beautiful steal off the inbounds pass for a breakaway layup to seal the win. He always works hard, plays physical and delivers. How is Kyle Lowry not the most overwhelmingly popular athlete in this city?
|DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 38 MIN | 8-18 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | +6
DeRozan came out like he woke up 20 minutes before the game and was still waiting for the coffee to kick in. Made a nice pass out of the pick and roll to Ami for a dunk to wake up, which is a big heads-up play for him. DeMar had Schroeder on him and everyone else cleared out for an iso. Instead of fading away for a jumper he posted the much smaller guard up and scored an easy bucket. That’s exactly what we want to see from him. He vacillated back and forth between the good and the bad DeMar on the offensive end for the rest of the game. Luckily, the bad DeMar logged in for the 3rd quarter while the good DeMar showed up for the 4th to help the Raptors close out and win a game they ought not to have had any business winning.
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 12 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -8
Hansbrough is so consistently over-aggressive when he gets a chance to roll to the rim or put up his own shot. Easy big fella. Energy and aggression can be good things, but we need a little less Anakin Skywalker and a little more Ob-Wan Kenobi control from ‘The Big Effort’ if he’s going to be helpful beyond rebounding. Hansbrough grabbed some tough offensive rebounds in traffic and got fouled. That’s his game. It isn’t pretty or high profile, but that’s what it is.
|Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 12 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +16
Give Credit to Hayes for contributing in a shifting role on a night with musical chairs lineup shuffling. He put in a couple of weak-side put back and fought for position on backdoor lay-ups.
|John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
John Salmons came in to the game and the world didn’t collapse in on itself. Take note and find sanity, Raptors fans.
|Landry Fields, SF Shot Chart 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
Landry Fields lives! Well, briefly.
|Steve Novak, SF Shot Chart 9 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1
Steve Novak actually had a good defensive possession, wrestling for the ball with Elton Brand and forcing a jump ball. Let’s celebrate the small victory here.
|Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 28 MIN | 5-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +1
Vasquez destroyed Schroeder, putting his shoulder past him and getting to the unguarded rim at will. He continues to create offence off the bench, but he needs to reign in that 3pt shot when it isn’t dropping and he isn’t wide open. Ray Allen he is not. 0 for 5 from 3, he is.
|Nando de Colo, PG Shot Chart 11 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 3 PTS | +2
Nando De Colo hit a 3-pointer! That’s fun. He countered it with a pair of bad passes directly to the wrong team in the first few minutes of the 4th quarter. Let’s chalk it up to Nando still getting acclimated to a new offence and hope it improves.
Casey tried what he could to get his team to wake up. He benched half the team at one point or another, shuffled through a dozen different line-ups and yelled at just about anybody who would make eye-contact with him. It’s obvious that Casey is driven as crazy by this team’s lackadaisical approach to the first 3 quarters of the game against lesser-billed opponents. The reality is that he isn’t the one to blame for that. At a certain point the players need to be held accountable. The coach is the leader, but making him the scapegoat isn’t helpful.
Four Things We Saw
- This game was like a lazy fart from the Raptors. The fact that they came back and won it late is a good thing, but probably not as much as it is a sign of a bad thing, and the reason why they’ve lost a lot of the recent games that they have. Atlanta is a team that has no business being in the playoffs without Horford and Korver, but the reality is that they might not be bad enough to make it in to the lottery. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Eastern Conference.
- A LOT of Atlanta double-teams. The only exception was when DeMar got the ball on the perimeter, which the Hawks seemed very content to sit back and let turn into a long-distance jumper or turnover off the dribble. The Raptors did not do a consistent job of moving the ball out of it to the open man. Disappointing.
- The Raptors kept trying to bail themselves out on defence by simply resolving to foul late. Turned in to a lot of and 1s. The Raptors are one of the better teams in the league at foul-discipline, but laziness won the day this time.
- If you have a ticket to a Raptors game and they win, but don’t score 100 points, is there even a point to living?
- Raptors Fantasy Forecast, March 23 – Amir
- Raptors Weekly Podcast, March 23 – Tears for Salmons