|L. Scola32 MIN | 8-15 FG | 3-6 3FG | 1-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +0 +/-Continued hot start in first quarters once again tonight, going 4/9 for 8 points in the first quarter, grabbing 3 boards and he was active on defense. Was also active in the third quarter, and kept the Raptors within striking distance with 2 more timely three-pointers. Played one of his best games in recent memory. Sure, we can get this once in a while from Scola, but a more consistent answer (both offensively and defensively) still appears to be needed at the 4.|
|B. Biyombo36 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-6 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 6 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -3 +/-Unbelievable energy as usual, with a relentless pursuit on the glass and rolled hard off of a few screens leading to easy dunks. Easy for him anyway. Biyombo was a force in the paint with 6 blocked shots, including a late block on Fournier to seal the victory. Also liked his improved defense on Nicholson in the fourth. The logical long-term choice at the 5 still remains JV in my opinion, but this will mean Raptor fans’ demands to see Big Bizzness in the starting lineup come playoff time will only increase.|
|K. Lowry40 MIN | 5-15 FG | 1-4 3FG | 7-10 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +3 +/-Second half surges from Lowry is pretty much what we expect in games like this, but we’re forced to realize that it’s simply not possible for Lowry to save us from the burning building every night. It was nice to see DeMar and others chip in late as well in this one to seal it. He had some defensive lapses against Oladipo in the first half and third quarter, but an overall balanced game in the stat sheet. If this was a loss, the grade would likely be much different.|
|D. DeRozan37 MIN | 6-16 FG | 0-2 3FG | 13-16 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | +3 +/-DeMar was coming into this game averaging 28 points per contest, and shooting 47% from the field, in the month of March. He got to the line at will off of pindown curls and dribbles drives to the basket in the first half, but struggled at times defensively against Evan Fournier and could have shot better from the field. If he can play a defensive game similar to Indiana on Thursday, I’ll take that DeMar any playoff game. But clutch baskets are just what we’ve come to expect from DD or KLow every night. Simply clutch.|
|N. Powell23 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -9 +/-Found it tough against the crafty Evan Fournier who carved him up early (and Oladipo as well as in the second half). Norm Powell still is playing out of his mind at the moment and outside what we all expected, and I’m sure he’ll shake it off and be ready for Wednesday against Boston. Powell had 10 points on 3-5 shooting against the Celtics on Friday.|
|J. Thompson28 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-5 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +13 +/-His low maintenance offensive game makes him an easy fit in most sets, though he showed some confusion on a few plays. Nonetheless, energy play leading to opportunistic rebounds and points made this a good game overall for the late-season addition, including a clutch basket late to give the Raptors the lead 83-81. Missed some bunnies and could’ve easily had 14 points in this one. Could have also tightened up the D on Ilyasova in the first half, but pretty much the entire team stunk it up defensively in the first half. Fueled the late comeback by the Raps, and was +13 for the game.|
|T. Ross28 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-4 3FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +13 +/-Pretty much exactly what we need from T-Ross on a nightly basis. Three-point shooting could have been better, but mixing it up with drives, mid-range jumpers and putback dunks is an encouraging sign for Ross’ overall offensive growth. I’d like to see him more active on defense, but hey, I’ll take a consistent offensive Terrence Ross most days of the week. Tonight, it was enough.|
|D. Wright16 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +5 +/-Showed no signs of nerves, and seemed to fit in overall on both ends of the floor. Couple of nifty passes including a beautiful dime to Scola in the fourth quarter following it up with a layup, which ended up being 2 big baskets down the stretch. Yet another reminder of how wonderful the Raptors 905 truly is – expect to see more Wright as the season winds down and rest for Lowry/Joseph becomes more of a factor.|
Smart to get Joseph some much needed rest, with three days off upcoming. Couldn’t get his team to start the game with energy on defense, but gradually made adjustments (or was the beneficiary of some great individual plays from Biyombo and others) to help slow down Orlando. Didn’t like the game planning against Fournier, Oladipo, or Nicholson all of whom got their way for most of the 3.5 quarters. A win is a win though.
THREE THINGS WE SAW
- Defensive intensity picking up in the 4th quarter: After allowing more than 25 points in each of the first three quarters and 50% from the field for most of the first 3 quarters, the Raps showed life late holding the magic to just 18 points in the final frame. Awesome defense from Biyombo, who was the clear catalyst for most of the night
- Missed free throws: The Raps got the line at an amazing pace as usual, with 45 attempts, but missed 16 of them. Just making 8 of those 16 would’ve meant this game likely would’ve been over a lot earlier than it was. Discouraging? Yes. But somehow it’s also encouraging because you know this isn’t going to happen many nights.
- Home Cooking: The Raps improved to a franchise best 28-8 at home this season, and now are just 1 game back of Cleveland for first place in the east, with a tiebreak in hand. Cleveland is the favourite tomorrow night at home against Denver, but we all know there are no guaranteed wins with this Cavs squad. Ah, the last 3 weeks of the NBA regular season.