Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Raptors 99, Celtics 90

Kyle Lowry bails out the good guys late after Jared Sullinger turns into Superman. Magic number down to 1.

Toronto Raptors 99 FinalRecap | Box Score 90 Boston Celtics
Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +8The guy is clearly hobbled, and giving it everything he has. Hit a 3 pointer in the second half, and it says something about how open he was that I was calling for it for most of the game. Very impressed with his effort, though he needs as much time to recover before the playoffs as possible. Had some problems chasing Boston’s shooters around the court, but again, it’s to be expected when he’s playing big minutes on one-and-a-half legs.

Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 37 MIN | 9-16 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 24 PTS | +19Those shooting numbers are pretty, aren’t they? He was certainly feeling it tonight – showed some great chemistry with Jonas in particular, and made his open shots. Made a few that weren’t terribly open, too. His misses were bad shots, which stopped him from getting the full-fledged A grade, but still a very effective night.

Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 35 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 14 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +14Three turnovers, but two of them were within the first couple minutes of the game, when it looked like we’d be seeing ugly Jonas tonight. After that, though, he turned it around in a huge way, using his length to great effect against Boston’s smaller bigs on both sides of the floor. Had some really nice post-moves and a few great assists, both big-to-big and out to the wings, which made it all the more inexplicable when Casey kept Hayes out there late while Sullinger torched the Raptors.

Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 34 MIN | 8-17 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | +11What more is there to be said? Without him, I truly believe the Raptors lose this game. When the team started playing pre-trade ball, it was Lowry who came up with big shots and boards. When Jared Sullinger started going ballistic in the fourth and threatened to win the game for Boston, it was Lowry who kept the team afloat. Masai – give this man an extension. Now.

DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 40 MIN | 5-13 FG | 10-11 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 20 PTS | +20His shot wasn’t falling consistently tonight, but he did a good job keeping the Raptors afloat early but getting to the line early and often. He’s starting to get all-star calls from the refs, which is a nice development as the Raps head for the playoffs.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7The entire game, I was complaining about how he wasn’t getting minutes over Chuck Hayes, when Boston’s small, mobile front line seemed to suggest he’d be a better fit. Then, he came in to start the fourth and promptly fouled to set up a four-point play. Well, then.

Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 27 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +3Three blocks! He got a lot of love on Twitter tonight, and apparently Casey was reading his phone during timeouts, because he inexplicably stayed in for Jonas in crunch time. His lack of foot speed hurt the Raptors at times, especially against the hot-shooting Sullinger in the fourth, but honestly, he gave everything you could expect of him. Worked hard for boards on both sides of the ball, and played good post defence. If you expect anything more, you’re kidding yourself. Side note: those 3 blocks bring his total as a Raptor to 7.

John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -10Some pretty invisible minutes, honestly. He’s clearly slowing down as the season nears its end. I realize that plenty of Raptors are playing injured and he’s probably not first in line for a couple maintenance days, but it’s hard to tell what Casey thinks he’s providing at this point that Fields couldn’t.

Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 17 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -2His shot wasn’t on tonight at all, which crippled the scoring ability of the Raptors’ bench unit. I have no problem with him taking 10 shots, given the difficulties of any non-Raptors starter to score (basically what I’m saying is come back, 2Pat. Come back soon). On the positive side, I thought he did a pretty good job on Rondo when he didn’t get lost on a switch.

Nando de Colo, PG Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -11Was part of the ugly bench effort in the first half. Missed a bad shot and had an abysmal turnover. Not his best night.

Dwane Casey
I was totally ready to give him the A. He called smart timeouts all game long, and responded to the second unit’s lack of scoring in the first half by staggering his starters smartly in the second. Then, with four minutes left in the game and Boston threatening due to their bigs stretching the court, he keeps Chuck Hayes out there and replaces Jonas (having an excellent game) with a hobbled Amir. WHAT THE ACTUAL F, CASEY.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Without Kyle Lowry, the Raptors lose this game. I wouldn’t say the Raptors played poor defence, but Boston’s shooters heated up at key times, and the Raptors offence looked scarily pre-trade for stretches. The team is tired, but they need to make more effort to move the ball. Stagnant ball movement leads to lazy shots from DeMar. Luckily, the refs bailed him out in the first quarter.
  2. The bench was totally abysmal tonight, save a game effort from Hayes. Vasquez was the only player who hit the scoreboard. Flashing the 2Pat signal.
  3. On a positive note – man, oh man, can Kyle Lowry close a game. The guy went toe-to-toe with Rondo all night, and stepped up late when the team needed him. The starting unit, in general, was excellent, honestly. Don’t let those first two points make you think this was a lucky victory, it’s just that without Lowry, it was tough to see the Raptor lead hold up against a white-hot Sullinger late.
  4. I don’t know what the hell Landry Fields did to get stapled to the bench, but he should probably apologize to the right people. If nothing else, he keeps the ball moving on the offensive end and doesn’t take too many bad shots. Also, because I don’t have anywhere else to put this, I want to again state that for 44 minutes, Casey coached a great game. That last substitution was unfathomable, but up until that point, you couldn’t blame him for any of the team’s issues.
  5. With the win, the Raptors magic number for a playoff berth now sits at 1. A Knicks loss later tonight will cement the first playoff berth for the Raps in 6 years. Commence finger crossing.
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