Raptors die a slow and painful death at the hands of the New York Knickerbockers.
|Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 17 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +7Looks like Dwane Casey didn’t have faith in his health, because he basically didn’t play at all in the second half. Let’s hope he comes back soon, because the Raptors defense absolutely stinks without him. Also, DeRozan’s effectiveness is also stunted without the ability to play freestyle two-man game with Johnson.|
|Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -15Picked up five fouls because Melo’s superstar status must be protected at all costs. Every single one of his three-point attempts were open, and he didn’t sink enough to make the Knicks pay. Get ready for the playoffs when he’s guarding LeBron/George/Pierce’s superstardom.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 37 MIN | 5-14 FG | 4-7 FT | 21 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +7Dominated the Knicks in the second quarter, so naturally, his wings didn’t give him the ball at all in the second half, because that only would have made way too much sense. Beasted on the boards as he continued his recent run of dominance in the post. Struggled to guard Amar’e Stoudemire, who apparently took a time machine back to 2009.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 7-13 FG | 7-9 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | -8He tried. He really did. With the Knicks trapping so hard in the pick-and-roll, he couldn’t generate enough offense, although his assist totals would be much higher had DeRozan and Ross sunk some of their open looks. Found success when he called his own number.|
|DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 43 MIN | 6-18 FG | 12-13 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 26 PTS | -14Lots of shots, not enough points. Struggled whenever the Knicks trapped him. He either needed to split the double, or swing the ball before the trap was fully set. You can tell the difference in the efficacy of his sets without Amir in the lineup. His defense wasn’t so hot either. Didn’t look all too interested in the fourth quarter.|
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1Take it away, netw3rk: Tyler Hansbrough always comes in off the bench like a guy inside an IHOP who just saw some dude lean on his car.|
|Patrick Patterson, PF Shot Chart 16 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -18Found himself in early foul trouble thanks to the refs falling for every Knicks flop. Hit his open threes, but didn’t see more shots because his wings couldn’t effectively deal with traps, which meant the Raptors couldn’t capitalize on finding him while he was open. Basically, he played a Steve Novak game.|
|Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5He played? If you say so, boxscore.|
|John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 23 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +6Sunk his fair share of shots, but did nothing to deter Carmelo Anthony. Luckily, he’s the Raptors’ defender de jour on the wing. I have a feeling that Salmons will find himself in the Gay/Turkoglu/Bargnani purgatory for Raptors fans, provided he lands a roster spot next season.|
|Steve Novak, SF Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +9He came in and missed a triple. Cool beans.|
|Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -1Horrible effort for Vasquez, who looked extremely slow on the court. Again, yet another Raptor perimeter player who couldn’t deal with double-teams, except he fared the worst. Couldn’t even generate any offense in the two-PG line-up. A forgettable day for YOLO.|
You know, sometimes I wonder about Dwane Casey. I also wonder why Jonas was denied touches in the second half. I also wonder why every play coming out of timeouts were drawn up for DeRozan. I also wonder why he didn’t prioritize attacking Amar’e in the pick-and-roll. I also wonder why he went small with just Hayes as his lone-big at one point.
Six(!) Things We Saw
- Carmelo Anthony got the benefit of the whistle all night. I understand the existence of superstar calls, but Ross literally picked up 5 personal fouls for intruding on Melo’s shadow. That’s not cool, refs.
- Jonas Valanciunas didn’t see very many touches in the second half, which is odd, given that he destroyed the Knicks’ front-line in the second quarter. Just another questionable decision on a night chalked full of them.
- Why did the Raptors shoot so many triples? Because the Knicks trapped hard on the pick-and-roll, packed the paint on every drive, and were willing to concede open threes. There’s no problem with trading contested layups for open threes.
- The Raptors need to get Amir Johnson back if they even want to sniff a top-10 defense again. For the reasons why, read Blake Murphy’s excellent piece on Amir’s integral role in the Raptors’ defensive schemes.
- Before everyone freaks out, it’s one bad game. Take a deep breath, go for a walk, contemplate life, and then come back to the comment section. It’s not the end of the world.
- Extra note: Raptors clinch the Atlantic Division crown thanks to the Hawks, who defeated the Nets by a score of 93-88.