|Amir Johnson, PF 23 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +9He looks like he’s playing at 60% so the couple of days off will do him some good. I still think the starting unit plays better defense when he’s on the court, especially Valanciunas and Ross. His stats don’t jump out at you, but a key block and assist (when they were in short supply) in first half were pivotal.Came out more aggressiveness defensively in second half. In conjunction with Jonas they manned the paint much better which forced Kanter and Favors into more outside shots. The minute he left the game in the third quarter the Jazz got back to back scores inside the paint.|
|Terrence Ross, SF 23 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +9Held Gordon Hayward scoreless in first quarter and to just 12 overall which is big considering Hayward averages 19.9 PPG. Delivered a sweet pass to Jonas in the paint. He tweaked his ankle, had to get it re-taped, but returned late in the second. Obviously the ankle wasn’t that hurt based on that awesome dunk in the third.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, C 34 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +20It’s no secret Jonas gets up for games versus Enes Kanter and tonight was no exception. We’ve been urging him to go up with force at the rim and tonight he delivered in that regard both in scoring and rebounding. Near the end of the second quarter he fought off three Jazz players for the offensive board and got the score (off a goal tending call).His BEST game this season.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG 33 MIN | 8-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +19Distributed the ball early specifically making sure to get Valanciunas and DeRozan rolling. Attacked the paint but the refs weren’t obliging with the whistle.Came out to start the second half with a purpose after the half making sure to move the ball up court quickly, ignited the team with his energy and spearheaded the scoring which saw the Raptors overtake the Jazz on the score board.|
|DeMar DeRozan, SG 36 MIN | 10-17 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 27 PTS | +17If you think he doesn’t care or isn’t aware he’s had two consecutive tough games his 10 point first quarter tells you otherwise. Three times in the first half when the Jazz collapsed on him he passed out of the double and triple teams quickly.After a first half with zero trips to the line he was determined to get there in the second half (5-6 in 3rd).|
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF 14 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2It’s hard to knock someone who plays with so much intensity. We know every game what we’ll get from him: he’ll fight for every board and attempt to block every shot whether he’s successful or not you can’t deny the effort.|
|James Johnson, PF 14 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +1What superlative can I use that hasn’t been already said. He has become the main defensive presence on the floor and is using solid decisions with the ball in his hand. If he keeps this up he’ll need to be considered for Defensive Player or Sixth Man at year end.Turned his ankle pretty badly which affected his minutes late (or I’d rate him even higher). Hope he’s healthy for Memphis game because he epitomizes a player who gets up to play versus his old teams as witnessed against the Bulls|
|Patrick Patterson, PF 25 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +9His shot wasn’t falling from behind the arc in the first half but he was aggressive on the offensive boards and we saw him work inside the paint more. Overall a workman type effort.|
|Greivis Vasquez, PG 14 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +1He was better than his last outing however it still feels like he is looking for his shot more than distributing. Lets hope over time he will develop a chemistry with his court mates which will make the bench even more deadly. Got his shot rolling in the 4th.|
|Louis Williams, SG 24 MIN | 4-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +7Was missing in the first half, but as he showed in the fourth quarter he can still get hot at any time. Kind of reminds me of the old adage shooters who miss, just keep shooting until they hit. Giving him an extra mark just for taking a charge with the Raps up 16.|
The win ties Lenny Wilkins for second most in Raptor history (113). Now he’ll set his sights on Sam Michell who ranks first with 156.It’s hard to fault him for the Raptors defensive lapses because as always he is on the sideline screaming at them to pick it up. Gets a higher than average score for playing Valanciunas extended minutes and for tying Wilkins with second most wins in Raptors history.
Five Things We Saw
- Raptors are now 5-1 at home and 4-1 in their current home stand. Of note: last season Toronto got their eighth win on December 13th.
- Raptors still have a tendency to relax against teams they feel they can beat. On more than one occasion tonight they got up by 5 or more points only to relax on the defensive end. This was specifically notable when both Amir and Kyle weren’t in the game which showcases how pivotal they are to the teams’ energy and defense.
- Raptors didn’t get a free throw until 2:54 remaining in second quarter. Got 21 in the second half to make up for it.
- Utah Jazz have a young athletic team who is playing with a great deal of confidence. If they played in the Eastern Conference they would likely be a playoff team.
- Don’t ever underestimate DeMar DeRozan! He is a student of the game and a hard worker so the fact he was looking to pass out of double teams and mix up his offensive variety tells me he’ll do whatever it takes to make the team better.