If you’re experiencing heart palpitations, sue the Raptors.
|Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 4-5 FG | 3-5 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | -14Landed himself in foul trouble once again, which hurt the Raptors’ interior defense and allowed the Nets to make their torrid comeback. Had a great start to the game, including some great finishes in traffic on PnR’s. But holy hell can you ever NOT FOUL ON A CLOSEOUT IN THE CORNER?????????|
|Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +13Hey! This is a good Terrence Ross game nowadays. He gets a good grade because he hit three shots. His defense was still terrible, and his decision making on both ends was iffy at best. But forget all that. Three made baskets gives him an A.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 25 MIN | 7-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +10Destroyed whomever the Nets put against him. Plumlee, Blatche, Garnett, it didn’t matter. He was left on the bench for way too long, but given that it was a blowout for much of two quarters, that’s a little excusable. He doesn’t get the full A+ because his defense was lacking.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 38 MIN | 11-19 FG | 8-10 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 36 PTS | +15He bailed out everyone on the team tonight, including his head coach. I’m sure Zarar will post a video of his heroics from this game. This man is your hero. I wish there were a grade above A+.|
|DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 5-12 FG | 12-13 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | -13Sunk all his clutch free-throws down the stretch, and attacked the interior relentlessly in the first half. Unfortunately, he was destroyed by Joe Johnson in the second half, and when he wasn’t covering the ball, his help defense was extremely questionable.|
|Patrick Patterson, PF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +1He passed up just about every open shot he had and looks to have caught LandryJumperItis. I wonder why he doesn’t trust his jumpshot. Maybe his elbow is flaring up again?|
|Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 11 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +6He held the fort down in the first half, but was left out for too long in the second half. He can’t make easy chippies around the rim, but he apparently can hit buzzer-beating 18-footers.|
|John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 13 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -15At least his defense on Joe Johnson was good. I know it doesn’t look like it in the boxscore, but most of Joe’s second half outburst came against DeRozan. Salmons at least stemmed him and held him in-check. Zero on offense.|
|Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 26 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +7I can’t ever seem to properly evaluate his game. His numbers are great, and he hit huge shots, but his process and decision-making is so suspect at times. I guess I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop with him. He has been crucial to every Raptors’ win thus far, and tonight was no different.|
The easy answer is to blame the Nets’ comeback on Casey, but he did everything in his power — save for subbing out Chuck Hayes sooner in the fourth — to right the ship. Down the stretch, he played offense-defense, and it looks like he was the one who told Patterson to foul Blatche on the Nets’ final play.
Six Things We Saw
- The first half was a case of good process, bad result for DeRozan. At a glance, 1-for-5 shooting looks horrible, but DeMar made the effort to continuously attack the Nets’ interior defense. His drives earned him 7 free-throw attempts in the first half (one was a tech free-throw). His shot chart, although stained in red, is the process you’d like to see from DeMar.
- Early foul trouble on Jonas and Amir were in part due to poor perimeter defense. Jonas picked up his second foul rotating to help on a Pierce blow-by, and Amir was stuck making up for Ross’ mistakes. Luckily, Hayes soaked up some quality minutes in their stead, and held the fort down. That’s veteran leadership.
- Good on Lowry and DeRozan to make an effort to get Ross going. Midway through the third quarter, with the Raptors’ lead topping 20, Lowry pump-faked a defender, had an open triple, swung it to DeMar, who also drew a defender, and kicked it to Ross in the corner for three. That’s leadership.
- Please get some help, mayor Rob Ford. It’s not even funny anymore.
- Kyle Lowry, man.
- There’s an easy explanation for the Raptors’ second half meltdown — they treated the game as if it were over. As fans, we can only hope that they learn from this experience. However, as much as their performance let us down, don’t forget how great the first half was. Sports entertainment is a vicarious emotional roller-coaster, and the ups are fleeting. Cherish those, because that’s why we watch.