Reaction: Raptors 104, Sixers 95

The Raptors regain their ability to beat down the Eastern Conference bottom feeders.

Toronto Raptors104Final
Recap | Box Score
95Philadelphia 76ers
Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +1

Amir continues to be surprisingly quiet early on, losing playing time to the Patterson/Hayes combo in the first half. Amir made his presence known in the third quarter by punishing the undersized and undisciplined 76ers frontcourt with great positioning and a power slam. And then he was shown the bench and informed that he would be staying there. Ok then.

Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 20 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -4

Why doesn’t his jumper go in every time? Ross is not Steph Curry or Ray Allen or anywhere near an all-time great shooter yet. But he does have an Allan Houston aesthetic to his jumper combined with that lighter than air floating ability he has that makes me assume that every three that leaves his fingers is dropping in.

Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | +2

Valanciunas just isn’t going to get a chance to be a major piece in major minutes on this team. You don’t need to rest your starters on the first night of a back-to-back when they’re 21 and under. There is so much opportunity for Valanciunas to dominate as a true centre in an undersized league, and we got a glimpse of what he can do with a couple of flashes again tonight.

Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 36 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-3 FT | 10 REB | 13 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -1

Kyle Lowry threw up a triple-double on a night when he didn’t even really stand out that much. But no, you’re right, Uncle Drew should totally be the all-star starter over Lowry. It doesn’t matter that Irving has been invisible on defence, his team is imploding and his numbers are down. The people have spoken, and the people want Pepsi Max. I’ll take Lowry, thank you very much; you can keep your calorie-free soda.

DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 10-22 FG | 13-16 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 34 PTS | +15

The 40-point game had DeMar a little trigger-happy early. His love affair with the off balance mid-range jumper is never going to be something I feel good about but it’s tough to be overly critical about 34 points. Consider this a ‘Community’ inspired A-

Patrick Patterson, PF Shot Chart 29 MIN | 5-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +5

Patrick Patterson played a defensively suspect but ultimately effective 29 minutes. I hate to nitpick Patrick, but could you please try rolling to the rim? Just once for me? I get it, you love the pick n’ pop; that’s your game. But if the lane is wide open for a lob or layup if you roll, could you give it a shot?

Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 23 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +9

Nobody eats up space in a good and bad way quite like Chuck Hayes. On offence, he’s just kind of there, occupying space. On defence, he’s great at just occupying that same low post space and taking it away.

John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +8

The veterans’ calm, thought-out style of play was a helpful influence when he was on the floor during an otherwise frenetic game. Bailed the team out on a deep fadeaway prayer when they left him on an island with the shot clock expiring. Some night Salmons looks like a player with a veteran mind. On other nights, he looks like a player with a veteran body. Tonight he put them both together.

Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +10

The bad news: General Greivis’ silver kicks have got to go. The good news: when your shoe game is your biggest hole on any given night, you probably played alright. Well, that and the 1 for 6 shooting. But get rid of those silver shoes and we can write off the 1 for 6 as a bad night.

Dwane Casey

Tonight was another round of lineup roulette with Dwayne Casey. I may not understand how he rotates his minutes and lineups, and I may not agree with it, but it’s tough to get too critical of a nine-point win.

Three Things We Saw

  1. An absolute refusal to box out under the rim. Who wants rebounds? You do Spencer Hawes? Here you go. You do James Anderson? Here you go bud. Free offensive rebounds for all!
  2. The Hayes-Patterson frontcourt is a wreck against athletic bench units. Patterson plays away from the basket and lacks the aggression that his size would suggest. Hayes utilizes much more aggression and closer bench proximity than his size would suggest (there are more 6’6-6’8 power forwards who masquerade as 6’9-6’11 on their player cards than you would think. Hayes is one of the few to be listed at his actual 6’6). But while Hayes excels as a one-on-one low post defender, he is not anything close to a rim protector. Unless the opposing team is playing a low post scorer, it’s very hard to get away with this small ball frontcourt defensively.
  3. The Raptors fourth quarter juice continues! It’s the ability to flip that switch that is undoubtedly contributing to their first quarter napping. Is it possible to have your cake and eat it too?