Pacers 94, Raptors 102 – Box
I’ll raise my hand. I didn’t give the Raptors a chance when they announced that Amir Johnson was joining Kyle Lowry on the sidelines with an ankle problem. How wrong was I? The Raptors pulled out another win where they had to hold their nerves and play toe-to-toe clutch basketball for the entire duration of the fourth quarter and beat the Big Bad Pacers at their own game of physical interior basketball. This was about as good as a prep game for the playoffs as you’ll have, and what this will do for the collective confidence of this unit could be significant.

Patrick Patterson got the nod against David West and Greivis Vasquez started his second game in a row. The first quarter was about neither of them, it was about Terrence Ross. The sophomore had the defensive-minded Lance Stephenson on him, who was made to look pedestrian as Ross rubbed him off well-placed screens as he found himself open for two triples. Tip of the hat goes to Patterson for being extremely disciplined in his screen-setting, a rather underappreciated aspect of his game. Complementing Ross was Jonas Valanciunas, who likes to dish it against the slower Hibbert by being active enough for Hibbert to eventually lose interest in him.

Valanciunas was able to craftily get his shot off against the wide-spanning Hibbert by acting without hesitation and using his body extremely well. Dipping that shoulder into Hibbert reduces his chances of blocking the shot, and Valanciunas possesses enough awareness of his position around the rim that he can alter the angles and trajectory of his shot to fit the situation, a very valuable trait. He wasn’t shirking his defensive responsibilities either, playing sound positional defense and relying on the principle of verticality when it called upon to do so.

Grinding it out

“We’re a scrappy, grind-it-out team, so if one player goes down, we’ve got guys who can help off the bench and give us that same spark, that’s how we’ve been winning games.”

Terrence Ross

DeMar DeRozan was jumper-centric but effective. His assists were well planned and weren’t the types where he gives up the ball to the nearest teammate at the first sight of trouble. A couple of his dump-offs to Valanciunas were simply brilliant and showed that he had planned on events to proceed in the way they had, rather than relying upon chance. After all this, though, the Pacers were up one after the first quarter and were shooting 52% to the Raptors’ 58%.

Defensively, the Raptors were missing. West was slaughtering the lighter Patterson, and when Valanciunas was switched on him, the latter was forced to concede the jumper which West welcomed. It was very much about offensive rhythm in the first quarter for both sides, and it wasn’t until the second, with Nando De Colo at the helm, that the Raptors applied enough pressure in the backcourt to force the Pacers into possessions where the tail end of the shotclock came into play.

Vogel on Raptors

“I think they’ve finally got what Coach Casey has been preaching along…. to play for one another like they did in Dallas when Casey was there”

– Frank Vogel

De Colo, who I doubt the Pacers spent a minute preparing for, had four assists in the second quarter, one in which he led the charge against a backtracking Pacer team that was surprised at the resilience of not just the Raptors’ first unit, but their bench. Tyler Hansbrough, the perfect antidote, for bullies like West and Hibbert, brought his trademark physical style into a battle which was ripe with emotion fueled by seething hostility, his history playing its part.

De Colo’s quarterbacking of the second unit, in combination with Jonas Valanciunas continuing to be a factor on offense, had the Raptors go up by 8 at the break. Indiana was caught unaware by the Frenchman’s panache with the ball, and the influence he had on the tempo of the game was considerable, as the pace of it was increasingly turning into a flavor too sweet for Indiana.

It was some irresponsible play from Greivis Vasquez that sparked the Indiana rally in the third. Being up eleven, there was a sense that the Raptors were in firm control, and it was a series of empty possessions punctuated by poor shots from Vasquez that gave Indiana a glimpse of an entry back into the game. Possessions that failed to test Indiana’s defense – which looked to be on the ropes – led to the Pacers getting a mini burst which gave them confidence.

George vs Salmons

“I just thought that he was holding on to me. Refs were letting it go, so I gave him a bump and he gave me a bump back.”

Paul George

The Raptors were up five when John Salmons and Paul George were tied up late in the third, resulting in some pushing and shoving which appropriately culminated in a double-technical.  This woke George from his game-long slumber and Salmons was soon exiled to the bench in favor of Ross. The benching concluded a dull evening from Salmons who, instead of looking zoned in for the playoffs, is drifting into a malaise that the Raptors can’t afford. He’s making the current site poll look very much justified.

So here we were in the fourth quarter all tied up. The easy conclusion to the evening that was in the purview of the Raptors at the outset of the third was a distant memory, and what faced the Raptors was a daunting task against a momentum-heavy Pacers unit whose best player was playing inspired basketball after the mini-melee. Ross, being assigned to cover George, was having little luck as the taller Pacer swingman was able to get his shot off after effective moves that created space. Luis Scola was giving the Raptors trouble off the bench against a tired Patterson, who was again outmatched physically, just like he had been against West. However, that was about it for the Pacers.

The Raptors may not have had an answer for George (4-7 FG) in the fourth, nor for Scola inside, however, they did manage to neutralize the rest of the Pacers who were 2-10 in the fourth.  The Pacers have been brutal on offense since February and their lack of mobile players in the frontcourt means that spacing is often poor, which played right into the hands of the Raptors who had to defend quite narrow to get stops in the fourth.  The control the Raptors exerted on the boards was impressive: they outrebounded the Pacers 15-9 and limited Pacer second-chance points to two. Nando De Colo’s second spell may not have been as statistically significant as his first, yet he was the engine that spurred the Raptors on in the fourth, including a massive three-pointer which was an answer to one the Pacers had just hit.

Ross hit a huge three (and missed a couple which one can’t fault him for taking) and was immense on the boards in the fourth with five rebounds. DeRozan chipped in with a couple traditional jumpers and a layup, and it should be noted that all his scores came when it was a 2-point game or less. Jonas Valanciunas hit a clutch face-up jumper against Roy Hibbert, who Casey tested by putting in pick ‘n pop/roll situations.

The Raptors were helped by Stephenson going 1-on-4 on an impossible break and giving the Raptors the ball back up four, which essentially sealed the game. The Raptors had beaten a Pacer team that is, on paper, supposed to be their kryptonite. The Pacers have now lost 4 of 5 and 6 of 8. Let that not take away from the sheer will and determination the Raptors displayed to pull this one out. Brooklyn and Chicago had routine assignments on the night and it was the shorthanded Raptors who were under tremendous pressure to win, which they did in the same manner as they’ve played since the trade: as a team.

  • Ds

    Can they get to 50 wins?

    • DryDry

      6-0 to finish the season? That would be quite something.

    • c_bcm

      Possible, but unlikely. There is just too much game to be played for them to not lose focus at least once. Those NYK games are not to be taken lightly.

    • DandB

      It would be a great storybook ending.

  • Tanks-a-lot

    Raptors fans would have loved “malice at the Palace” Ron Artest. It’s like they were itching for a hockey fight to break out between Salmons and George.

    • Roarque

      This is Canada after all.

    • Bendit

      You do know that Leaf season ticket holders are/were dragooned into springing for Raptor tickets. The bb crowd is infected.

      • Tanks-a-lot

        I did not know that. It explains all the effete rich folks at the game cause it’s something to do.

  • Fresh_Prints

    I liked Salmons getting into George’s face. It sent a message that this is our building and no one pushes us around. If we want to beat these teams in the playoffs, they need to fear us and not the other way around.

    • Will

      I disagree. I would hardly say that Salmons little display of “toughness” will make anyone fear us. If you want to instill fear, I’d rather see a hard clean foul at the rim to show that we don’t give up easy baskets. All Salmons did was give them two free throws and wake up an otherwise disinterested all star. George drained a couple of threes right after that. Luckily, he was too tired from pretty much playing the entire second half to finish strong.

      • CJT

        George elbowed him to the shoulder and head because he was playing tight D, his response was both justified and right. What message does it send to George, the Pacers and the young players on the Raps if he allows a budding star in the league to take cheap shots like that and it is ignored? I agree that it woke George up and that was an unfortunate result of that particular exchange but I still think it was an important gesture.

      • nutcup

        Any show of emotion from John Salmons is a vast improvement. Leadership from him will win us a game down the road, bank on it.

      • Bendit

        My comments here are not meant to be supportive of Salmons pushing/shoving (a few choice words would have sufficed) but rather your impression that George was possibly “disinterested”. Why would that be? The Pacers have confounded the NBA world with their recent play and team chemistry issues and have also publicly self flagellated themselves. They have coughed up the lead in the conference to the Heat (something they had worked so hard to achieve all year and consider imperative for their expected series in the conf. finals) and finally playing the upstart Raptors who they may very well meet in the second round. So, if George was really disinterested then they have even larger problems than most think.

        • Will

          I would not disagree that the Pacers do have larger problems than most people think. They are in a funk right now and really needed yesterday’s game, both to get back on track overall, and to boost their confidence against us should we meet in the playoffs. If the playoffs started today and we were their first round opponents, I think they’d be worried.

    • bobo12

      I agree, games are going to get far more physical during the playoffs and it’s good to know that we got players who are going to back down. That said, he did seem to spark PG’s game, which was worrisome.

      • bobo12

        Aren’t going to back down****

  • AnthonyF

    Where’s TimW????? I did a search and found he has posted about the NCAA’s….. Really????? How pathetic is that???? Proved exactly what a coward and non-fan he is. All those posts and articles claiming he was an objective fan wanting only the best for his Rapotors and he goes awol. Pathetic……

    Oh yea , another nice win and different parts contributing. Remember the first game vs. Indiana this year and Hibbert owned JV and made him look bad. Not going to say that JV is now better than Hibbert, but how times have changed……

    • Marz

      Tim W’s main argument that winning now would hurt us in the future, which remains to be seen. I disagree with him, but I hardly think you can call him out when basically the entire comments section asked Raptors Republic to stop posting his game recaps.

      • Roarque

        Agreed – I for one miss TimW and his opinions. Our loss.

        • nutcup

          Timt W. was the first moderator to ban me because I stood for this team when nobody would. I take that as a personal badge of honor. Go Raps!!!

      • MoPeteRules

        you know what else will hurt us in the future? rising sea level, mega-earthquakes in seismically active zones, and super-volcanoes that have been dormant for much longer than anticipated. but that doesn’t discourage people from living and enjoying their lives, particularly when it comes to something they love doing. if he really enjoyed writing about the raptors, i don’t see how he could be so stubborn and one-dimensional particularly when they’re playing their best season to date and there’s so much to talk about. i’ll quote jack armstrong on this one, “the guy’s a hack!”

        • Steverino

          And we all eventually will die. Each and every one of us. That’s a great point. Yet we continue to enjoy our lives as best we can. No sense despairing over what will happen or when it might happen.

      • AnthonyF

        He is welcome to comment and if he truly thinks that this season has crippled the Raptors going forward, I need a good laugh. The point is not an article or a single comment in 3 months, which shows his true colours.

        He’ll tell us Demar still is a inefficient shooter and bad defender, Ross inconsistent, JV no where near a finished product well behind Andre Drummond, Lowry uncoachable and selfish and a weak bench…..

        I admit it that I miss him.

        • jjdynomite

          I don’t miss TimW AT ALL. There are enough negative naysayers like FUXLAND in the comments — why also have a staff writer who looks at everything through one-note shit-coloured glasses. As if the 2014 draft would simply have delivered the next Durant in our laps.

          Good riddance.

          • FLUXLAND

            That’s FLUXLAND, thanks.

            • jjdynomite

              Don’t worry FUX, I always proofread my comments before posting. :-)

              • FLUXLAND

                I don’t mind your inaccurate opinion of me, that’s fine. But you can spell my handle right, that’s not too much to ask. Unless you’re in grade school and just being a child. Is that what it is?

                • jjdynomite

                  Actually, FUXtard, you know what grade school behaviour is? Going onto a comments section of a team you apparently actively dislike and troll their readers.

                  I don’t set my avatar as a Raptors #17 jersey and go onto the Lakers’ TrueHoop affiliate board and taunt them for their pathetic frontcourt, or to the Rockets board and proclaim JV is better than the chronically-injured and underachieving Howard. Why you think you’re somehow immune from flack when you pollute a Raptors board with your one-sided garbage is beyond me.

                  I am sure I am not the only one who would be perfectly pleased if you disappeared like TimW.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I don’t know why you just went off on a tangent, but I hope you feel better. No one said you weren’t entitled to you opinion, just spell the handle right. that’s all. Thanks.

                • nutcup

                  Heeeeeeyy its the fuxtard, how about that JV ? you have ran him down all year a nothing player that will never be anything, just took Hibbert to the wood shed, yea buddy Tross slamming 3s and JV taking care of business down low, that great basketball mind of yours must be reeling from what is happening from our second year scrubs that will never be elite. lololololol The Fuxtard in turmoil lolololol Why don’t you make like the Timmer and puck off.

                • FLUXLAND

                  What about him? He took advantage of team in a clear slump? You ready to call him elite?

                  Slamming 3s? That’s not a ball term, nutcup. Come back when you learn some more ball jargon.

                • Troll Hunter

                  Come back when you… Wait, no. Don’t come back. Just go away.

                • Steverino

                  Oh, he’ll be back as soon as the Raptors lose next, don’t you worry. And they’re going to lose eventually so it’s only a matter of time.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Steverino, c’mon now.. “Win or Lose. Here We Stand.” : )

                • nutcup

                  lololololol that ass of yours has got to be getting sore, what with all the kicking your getting , lolololol Everytime that young kid goes up with that pure shooting look it looks like a slam dunk to me. Clearly slumping team?? lolololol That got their ass handed to them !!! lolololol JV can play and is going to play at a very elite level for a long time, bring your ass here anytime you want to get it handed to you , lolololololol …… fuxtard.

                • Troll Hunter

                  Not nearly as sore as when he finger-pegs himself while watching Kobe highlights.

                • nutcup

                  Kobe is an out of shape, injured over paid rapist, that has been on the stage for way to long, it will be a pleasure to watch him tear up his knees again next year. Kobe is the perfect douche for fuxtard to be pegging himself with lolololol

                • FLUXLAND

                  LOL! Thanks for the laughs.

                • nutcup

                  That’s all you got fuxtard ?? lololololol ……. pretty weak ,,, get that garbage outta here !!

                • FLUXLAND

                  That’s all your comment needed for a reply.. it wasn’t even weak, it was just ignorant.

                • nutcup

                  Your boring and you got nothing , you cant even give the kids some credit for playing well and representing this city with hard work and improvement. You have been wrong all year and this team will keep on making you look like a fool , lololololololol I wonder if Kobe is eating a doughnut right now ?

                • FLUXLAND

                  Nope, I can’t give out credit for average work. I could care less how he represents the city or how hard he allegedly works. I care about the results on the floor and defensively first and foremost.

                  I have been wrong about what exactly?

                • nutcup

                  Your mother was wrong for having you.

                • FLUXLAND

                  At least I have one. You are just mad your “parents” met in a dark ally for a transaction and you were the result.

                • nutcup

                  lolol nice one, Why don’t you go and watch Kobe the rapist work out with the doughnut in his hand , while us Raptor fans enjoy young players improving with every minute that they play. I don’t have any clue what you are watching but I’m watching our young players kicking butt and taking names, and it aint gonna change , this is just gonna get better and better, take your weak ass negative put downs to your Laker page, lololololol

                • FLUXLAND

                  You don’t have a clue. See? I knew we would agree on something. Make sure you put the toys away and change your diaper before you watch the Raptors, OK?

                • nutcup

                  How about you pull your head outta your ass. Give these players and this team some credit, that isn’t a big thing. You ran these guys down all year, and now with marked improvement you cant even give them a nice word. Your a fan of a rapist, I don’t have to say anything more.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Credit for going from brutal to average? Why would you credit someone for that? And just because you do, doesn’t mean I have to.

                  You should educate yourself on the case before calling someone a rapist. He may be an adulterer, but there was no rape.

                • nutcup

                  I was wondering when the rat was going to take the cheese. He might have got off on a technicality but that don’t mean crap to me. The real truth is how much did The Black Raping Mamba pay that poor girl off so she would go away. If you pay somebody money to shut up your damn well guilty. As far as your other bs we are top ten far from average and this team is going to be good for a long time, but why do you care your just someone that has held the same narrative over and over all year long and when players and the team have clearly become better you give them no credit. The Lakers will be bad for a long time , and that warms the cockles of my cold dead heart.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Again, he didn’t get off on a technicality. You shouldn’t talk about things you are ignorant about.

                  The Lakers are getting a top five pick and KLove next year… loolol. But you are right, the off-season will be long.

                • nutcup

                  Again, he got off he did not face a jury , everyone found a number that would make it all go away. Kobe is a rapist , that is the truth.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Like everything else you have typed today – WRONG!

                • nutcup

                  How much did he pay that poor girl to go away, you would know. Kobe is done, K Lobe has done nothing in Minnisota with the same talent. The west is going to be good for along time , Lakers are gonna suck along time lolol You better start jumping onto the Toronto bandwagon soon fuxtard or your going to be left in the dust, your narrative is becoming clownish and one were people snicker …….. lolololol

                • Steverino

                  I don’t have an opinion on this, but instead of just saying WRONG, couldn’t you tell us why? Or provide a link? You may sway some people. Of course, it’s fine if you just say you don’t know, but you’re a fan of his basketball abilities. You don’t need to defend his personal life, or even condone his personal life.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I was trying not to get baited into that conversation, in particular because I could care less what they do off the court as long as they are producing on the floor.

                  I don’t have any links, there’s no reason to sway anyone – people that care enough can do their own research, the rest will rely on the conviction he received in the public/media court as proven by nutcup. They did reach an agreement out of court, no one knows what the terms were and there is zero evidence to suggest he committed the act nutcup is implying. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest she in fact took advantage of the situation.

                • Steverino

                  “Something like 13th?” No, FLUXLAND, they’re actually tied for 10th. But we know all about your reading comprehension abilities. Every day it’s something else with you.

                  Objectively now, Kobe won’t be nearly as good next season as he’s been. So they get a top five pick and KLove, where does that put them? Will they go from brutal to average? Possibly. Will you slam them for it? I love Love, but his Wolves have a decent roster and they are the very definition of average (.500). We’re not sure how it’ll play out in Los Angeles, but it’s fun being a real fan, isn’t it? And I don’t fault you for it. I only fault you for your inconsistency.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Tied for 10th? Are we doing Steverino math again? They would be 10th in the West, alone.

                  No, I won’t slam them for it. We have been over this – Jimmy is running the franchise into the ground. But their history allows them to be as bad as they want to be, there’s plenty to look back on and smile.

                  I am very consistent, but placing the Raptors and Lakers in the same conversation and asking to scrutinize them in the same way would be…dumb?

                • Steverino

                  Yes, why not give credit for going from brutal to average? Isn’t it a step in the right direction? You only give credit for going from brutal to world champions? If you ever become a boss or have kids, I pity them.

                  At least you’re right about the Rockets and how bad they are without Howard, being able to beat that chump Durant and his poser team, the Thunder.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Because I do not support average – that is what enables MLSE to do what they have been doing.

                • nutcup

                  Bottom line , this team is good and can beat anyone in the NBA you wanna sit and be all snarky and run down the players every game , not giving anyone their due on improving , hey man your a champ. I’m having a blast watching you eat everyone of your words . lolololol Fuxtard the last of the tanking scum.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I agree, we have different standards.

                  Bottom line, this team can lose to anyone in the NBA. You wanna sit there and be all peaches and cream and over estimate players every game, not criticize anyone ever, hey man you’re the grand champ of all fans. I am having a blast watching you have zero standards and show everyone your ignorance. lolol, nutcup, the lil blind tribal honker.

                • Nutcup

                  Do you know how easy it would be to be a negative douchebag ?, I’m sure you do . Do you not think I get frustrated at the youth and learning?Sure I could shit on the kids for messing d assignments, but I don’t . I choose to praise the success and stay quiet on the poor play, I choose the harder path of positivity. If that makes me a homer jock sniffing douchebag then have at it . 5 years of negativity is enough for my ass . I choose to enjoy every moment of good basketball in front of me . You fuxturd choose to highlight the negative , what a douche.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Do you know how easy it would be to be a positive blind homer? I’m sure you do – “I choose to praise the success and stay quiet on the poor play”

                  Do you think I get all excited when the youth does something that’s expected by a professional? Sure, I could lose my mind and talk about how elite they are, but I don’t. If that makes me troll in your eyes then have at it. 20 years of average is enough for me. I choose to acknowledge the poor play and not be silent, while enjoying the good basketball in front of me. You choose the easy silent path of everything is always positive, what a homer.

                • nutcup

                  proud homer here , I want every success for my team, I have always stood with positivity , tyour team is the Lakers , pretty easy to rip a team that isn’t yours and never acknowledge good play. Fuxturd go have a shower you smell.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Proud realist here, I want every success for my team. I have always stood with reality, such as the Lakers belonging to the Buss family. Pretty easy to rip any team but yours and never acknowledge reality and always be silent about poor play. That’s your diaper you smell, go ask uncledad to change it.

                • Nutcup

                  Your babbling now. Lololol your a negative troll that is joke . Nice game your playing , I get it . It’s a great time to be a fan of the Raptors, I’m having a blast , make sure you catch those lakers for their final game of their loser weak ass year. Lolol Go Raps!!!

                • Steverino

                  Well, for starters, you’re wrong about the definition of ‘average’ in this case.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Oh, I didn’t use the Steverino definition of average? How silly of me.

          • SUXLAND

            FLUX isn’t even a negative fan. He’s just a troll who thinks he knows basketball but really doesn’t.

        • d1212

          Don’t miss him one bit, I used to argue with him 3 years ago on another forum, about how management was bad and Triano was a joke as a coach, and against his pro-tanking, and he would basically label as someone who didn’t know what I was talking about…Forward 3 years later… new management and no tanking = +45 wins team a chance to advance in the playoffs!

    • Bryan Colangelo

      It was becoming very apparent that TImW hated being wrong more than he liked the Raptors or it’s fans — that should tell you everything you need to know about TimW as basketball ‘fan’, writer, and person.

    • KJ-B

      AMEN Brother!!!

  • Feather Ruffler

    I’ve always believed that as intriguing a story-line as a challenger coming from behind is, it takes TRUE courage to stand at the front of the pack, look each challenger in the eye as it draws next to you and surge ahead once more. This team shows a strength of character, and a fierceness that makes me indescribably proud. What an amazing season thus far! The Raptors aren’t holding on to the Atlantic crown, it’s rightfully theirs.

  • Roarque

    Terrence Ross’ rebounds in the latter stages of the game came because of the excellent rapport that exits between he and Jonas. I noted JV boxing out the looming Pacer bigs while TRoss slipped underneath to snare the rebound. Good team work. Should there be an assist on a rebound? 😉
    Much as DDR and Amir “think as one” on their side of the court, it’s a wondrous thing to watch the sophmores providing their skills TOGETHER on the other.

    • Nerius

      Yup, and a couple of dimes from TR to JV were pure beauty.

    • ace5950

      lol when you said DDR I thought you meant dance dance revolution

      • Steverino

        I don’t know about anyone else, but until initials become a player’s nickname, or they’re all that’s used in reference to them, it takes me forever to figure out who’s being talked about. It just took me about five minutes to figure out who TL was. Still haven’t figured out DDR… Oh wait, that’s DD? Gah! How hard is it to write out a name?

  • nutcup

    Yup , I seem to remember reading on here the whole year that Jonas and Tross just arnt elite talent and they never would be, where are those people now? lololol Leaps and bounds , just a blast to watch , and we get to watch them for years. I cant tell you how great it is for them to shut the Negative Nancies and Debbie Downers up. Yup , what we need to do is tank . lololololol

  • dunkmycat7

    I loved this victory and the heart of this team w/o KL and Amir. At the beginning of this week I thought they would win 1 of 3 and I thought that would be Miami with all the players that were out.
    So happily wrong.
    Every time I want to be sceptical all they do is WIN BABY.
    If you had told me at the beginning of the year 44 wins playoffs 3rd overall DD an all star I would have asked you if you were taking your meds. They are doing it with 2 sophomores on the roster and both of them played out of their minds last nite. And was that JV laying a BEAT DOWN on big bad RH ?
    YES IT WAS !
    SO glad to see TL on the re-sign KL bandwagon , because this guy has proven he gets it, he gets it done and he gets what he wants. So TL, DC. MU -whatareyouwaiting for ?
    amazing the difference in this organization since TL and MU took over, makes the BC years look even more pitiful.
    Is that possible ?
    Playoffs ?
    BRING IT ON !!!

    • nutcup

      I hope we break the axles on the bandwagon. Go Raps!!

      • dunkmycat7

        LOL !!!

    • jjdynomite

      It’s a unique scenario, since Kyle is an unrestricted FA at the end of the season, where he’d be able to earn a much better contract as opposed to re-upping during the season. Melo is doing the same thing among others. Of course Kyle (and his agent) are taking a risk themselves that he doesn’t incur a long-term injury during this season; but hopefully he sits out the next couple of games to heal up (against scrub teams like the Bucks) even though his injury-proneness will play into the contract talks with Masai.

      I’m sure it’s hard for Kyle to stay on the sidelines, though, watch the Strombo/Lieweke video for a retelling of what a bulldog he is, coming off the trainer’s table to check back in for that multi-OT OKC game.

      • dunkmycat7

        Saw it GREAT story and exactly why I think KL totally gets it now and LOVES being GREAT.
        I’m just freaked out that someone like Miami or ??? will offer him a LUNATIC contract that the Raps won’t match and we have another CB4 situation on our hands. So all this stuff about how TL loveslovesloves him is VERY encouraging. .Also think re-signing him sends a GREAT message to the rest of the team – do everything we asked you to do and you get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
        Just like DD – and remember how much everyone HATED that deal at the time. Looks SENSATIONAL now doesn’t it ?
        HEY BULLDOG !!
        Great Beatles song nobody knows about.

  • Jerry Garcia

    Great Post Zarar !! ” fueled by seething hostility, his history playing its part.” This might be my favorite among the many well crafted selections.

    • Haim not Feldman

      Word to the mutha. Z just Mozgov’d the writers and commenters at Raps Repub.

  • Quest

    we are after all third place and are headed to a division win. we are above 500 vs the west and at home as well as away. so that begs the question, are we Beasts of the East? (as in an elite east team)

    • jjdynomite

      I’m a hugely optimistic fan as much as anyone but I wouldn’t coin the Raps Beasts of Anything until they win their first playoff series in a decade plus.

      • Quest

        that’s what i was thinking as well, thanks for your input :)

  • Paul

    JV and TR. Woweee
    It’s a joy to watch the future of this team blossoming before your eyes.
    I was pissed we lost the coin flip to Golden State and missed out on Barnes (I’m a Tar Heels fan and like his game), but I resolved not to be too down about it. You never know how things will shake out in the NBA. I remember years back when we traded a geriatric Kevin Willis for a young shot blocking phenom named Keon Clark. At the time I couldn’t believe how stupid Denver was and thought this trade was a sure win. Fast forward two years and Keon drank his way out of the league. Willis would play till he was 44. You just never know.

  • Rapsfan

    Great win last night I think we will finish with 48 wins

    • KJ-B

      That’s kinda my sense as well. Who couldda thunk the Raps with a chance of 48-50 wins a year ago especially with the vaunted 2014 Draft–as an aside, I think Bill Self doesn’t prepare his players for superstardom at the NBA level–he just like Big 12 rings!
      As per Wiggins, does the name Andre Drummond come to mind? Looked awful in NCAA and look at him now… Wiggins with NBA coach and preparation will be as good as it gets. Best pure “basketball athlete” I’ve seen since His Airness!

      • jjdynomite

        You’ve never seen LeBron or Durant play?

  • Mike

    Casey for Coach of the Year! IMO yesterdays game was a great example of how he has maximized who ever is on the floor. When Pacers were making their run De Colo and Chuck Hayes became relevant. He is not afraid to play anyone on the roster as long as they produce. And the stat that has stood out the most to me, Raptors 35-8 when holding opponents under 100. Not many expected Raptors to be competitive this year. COY.

    • Will

      He is not afraid to play anyone on the roster as long as they produce? How do you explain Landry Fields’ benchings?

      • CJT

        injuries and match ups. He will get his chances and he has done a good job when he has been in. But I think you have to admit that even though you may not like the way Casey thinks, it is proving to be successful and has the team playing well. I think we have to accept that maybe Casey is viewing things differently than we are in terms of what a player is bringing to the floor. We may not understand why he is making the choices he is, but they, for the most part have worked for a team that is light on elite talent.

  • gizzly73

    Lets give Casey some props here. You dont beat teams like these without good coaching especially with no truly dominant star, a young team, a developing center etc. This team is so fun to watch I have forgotten about hockey. Canada’s team

    • nutcup

      Great post Grizz ! Casey has got every player that gets into a game playing like a person that knows the system, that just wants to do well and help the team, not often have you seen a player try and get his after not playing for games on end. This is a TEAM, and that comes straight from the coach. Sure he has made some boneheaded calls and some questionable lineups, but he always seems to realize that the team and himself can improve and they do. I hope nothing but the best for this coach no matter what happens.

    • KJ-B

      Props to Dwane C!!! He’s finally becoming a Head Coach. Toronto was a very unattractive market to outsiders for a long time–he stuck it out…including all our Pound the Rock jokes–hope MLSE steps up and creates some stability!