"WI-HICKTORY BABY!" (Victory baby) - Jonas Valanciunas.
Raptors win over Washington 104-101.
Summarize: This game marked some significant things tonight. Which were all positives. Lowry's debut, Fields' true ability, JV against a defensive big man, and more. This game was different than every other game last season, and our first 3 games. First of all, it clearly was a game where Toronto went off to a great start, but started falling short defensively. Now, that could be a matter of fatigue, and still getting into the flow, (Being Lowry, JV, and Bargs still fairly unconditioned), but again, 30+ points in a quarter is unacceptable, especially for a team that prides on defense. This was the first time where, all our key players are healthy - In my opinion, I don't see Ross a key player. Yet - and we looked to have some good chemistry and connection on the floor. Overall, this game didn't have a great feel to it necessarily, being the game seemed like there were more than 29 turnovers overall. Also, Toronto shot a whole 50% from the field for the game, which is a good sign for Coach Casey and his hard work put forth to the offensive end. Toronto also put a huge emphasis on points in the paint with 50, but, so did Washington with 50 as well.
Landry Fields - 15 points, 1 steal, 2 assists, 3 rebounds.
Kyle Lowry - 14 points,4 assists, 3 steals, 3 rebounds.
Jonas Valanciunas - 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 steal.
Honorable Mention = Jose Calderon - 12 points, 8 assists, 2 steals.
Valanciunas with the double pump-fake, and slam.
Lowry finding a cutting Fields on a reverse slam.
Derozan with the drive and slam off JV screen.
Kyle Lowry/Jonas Valanciunas - These two were extremely impressive on this side of the ball. Not only did the stats show it, but by watching the game, it was obvious. Valanciunas did a wonderful job of changing shots, and making it hard for the Wizards big men to get good offensive possessions. Jonsd will only continue to get better with his post defense, as long as he is playing fundamentally. Lowry at the point of attack, really made it easier on the bigs tonight. Lowry was able to keep both A.J Price, and Shelvin Mack in front of him, and the he seemed to change the dynamics of the defense of the team. It seems different knowing that the penetration won't always be there every night.
Demar Derozan - I know JV, Lowry, and Fields should probably be here, but I was very impressed by a number of things. He made up his mind tonight, that he is ONLY attacking the rim, and that's the type of mindset he should have, whether he got stronger or not. But, his ability in the post really popped things out at me. His post offense has improved, his finishing has improved, his strength no doubt has improved, and looks like a different player. If he can continue to attack and get to the free throw line, him averaging an EFFICIENT, 16 points per game and 5-6 free throw attempts a night, not to mention to continue getting in the passing lanes. He'll earn a nice contract. I'm a huge Derozan homer by the way, so don't be surprised if I'm trying to defend him.
Toronto Positives: Well, Kyle Lowry seems to have filled in his role very well. Not to mention, he has been up to par with the expectations of being a big time player for us. Defensively, offensively, he has met my expectations. No doubt come regular season he will start impressing us more and more. I was very pleased as well with the point guard depth, statistically wise, the guards were great. Lowry - 14 points, 6 assists, 3 steals, 3 rebounds. Calderon - 12 points, 8 assists, 2 steals. Lucas III - 5 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds. Not to shabby! Derozan, JV, and Fields with very solid games. This team's depth and talent was a sure see in tonight's game.
Toronto Negatives: The game was sloppy at times, and that again comes to offensive execution. Last season, when the team wasn't executing or getting great shots at the hoop, it translated into "c'mon go in" type attitudes. Where, at some point, defensively, they were just gonna get tired. That was a factor in the early stage of the game. Only pre-season, and a team being ran by a brand new point guard, who has not played a game with yet, did pretty darn well in acclimating to him.
The huge negative, or in this case, disappointment, was Andrea Bargnani. Goodness gracious he was just invisible tonight, he got 6 rebounds (Solid for him actually), and scored 7 points on 2-7 shooting. Not exactly efficient numbers. The one thing that I notice more and more, is that the team is fading from trying to get him involved early, turning it into plays for Demar. Now, I want to make a point, it really looks like this team is good enough to win without Andrea, but, he will be important come regular season.
To add insult to injury, Andrea suffered a left calf contusion in the 3rd quarter, and did not return. Fortunately, he was only "kicked." Nothing related to last season.
Overall, solid win, offense still needs work, and continue to try and get Lowry, JV, Fields, and other new faces working/connecting with one another.