|Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -19
Amir has been much less explosive than his healthier self all playoffs. He seemed another half step slower tonight and, worse still, sporting a Z-boesque vertical. That’s a problem for someone who is a defensive anchor already playing the fish out of water role guarding the perimeter.
|Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 23 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -14
Ross is still staaaaruggling to get his shot to drop. But there was something of a spark from the sophomore in the second half with a pair of nifty behind the back passes to Valanciunas for great looks at the basket and some much better defense forcing steals and turnovers and helping to contest shots at the basket with his anti-gravity x-a button special ability.
|Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 26 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -13
I’ve made a point of noting how similar his numbers looked to a developing Roy Hibbert through the season. It was meant as a compliment then. When I note that Valanciunas’ first half numbers look just like 2014 Roy Hibbert, it isn’t. 0 points, 0 rebounds and 3 fouls in 9 minutes. Hibbertian. He bounced back well during the Raps aborted comeback, but he needs to be as dominant as he was earlier in the series for the Raptors to win. They have too few advantages to work for him to disappear.
|Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 38 MIN | 4-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | -24
The first half saw the natural regression to the mean on shooting percentage for the level of difficulty and physicality on the kinds of shots that Lowry has been living on. Lowry’s shots ate up the front of the rim, the typical tired legs miss. If Lowry’s out of gas, the Raptors bus is running on fumes.
|DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 40 MIN | 8-18 FG | 10-11 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 28 PTS | -4
DeMar was spectacular. He took care of the ball, he chose his shots well, he hit his shots and he was a beast in transition. DeMar has had great quarters and halves through the playoffs, but this was arguably his best complete game. It’d sure be nice if someone else on the roster could’ve helped him out in the first three quarters.
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 13 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +4
For those of you wondering whether or not Tyler Hansbrough would ever play anything close to meaningful minutes in this game, you got your answer. I hope you’re happy. If Hansbrough ever wants to be known as a serious-tough guy instead of a silly-angry guy, he needs to channel his ephedrine-induced rage into action over pouting and close=-faced post-foul talking. Who wouldn’t love to see Hansbrough take a shot a Garnett? There is literally nothing that Hansbrough could do in this series that would endear him more to Toronto fans than tossing a bomb at KG. I’m including him putting up a 30-30 in game 7, and I’m not kidding.
|Patrick Patterson, PF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -6
Patterson has been a blessing scoring off the bench when the Raptors have seemed to need it most. Helpful as his 8 points were though, Patterson went cold as the Raptors hit a wall in their comeback at a ten point deficit.
|Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1
Chuck Hayes was brought in to play a little post defence against Andray Blatche. It’s only a 3 minute sample size, so it’s not as impressive as it could be, but Hayes did manage to put up the all zeroes stat line!
|John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 14 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | 0
Salmons was better on defence for the most part than he has been in the series so far. He also shot over 50% for the first time since early April. He wasn’t a difference maker, but he wasn’t a negative either, which was nice.
|Steve Novak, SF Shot Chart 11 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +10
Steve Novak didn’t seem to do a lot himself, but he was on the court for the only stretch of winning basketball that the team played all night. So there’s that.
|Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 24 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -3
Vasquez was great in transition, pushing the pace in the fourth quarter and making dividends for it. He made some poor decisions in terms of shot selection and passed up two good shots of his own for bad passes that became turnovers. Not ideal.
Casey emptied the bench early looking for answers, putting 11 different players out there. Brooklyn made adjustments, Lowry and Amir looked tired and/or hurt and Valanciunas got in early foul trouble. I don’t think that this one falls on his shoulders. Having said that, the Raptors need to address the mess that Brooklyn has been able to turn their defence into with their small ball perimeter ball movement. What the Raptors have been doing clearly isn’t working.
Four Things We Saw
- Brooklyn has become hip to how sticky the ball can often become in Toronto’s offense. They aggressively double-teamed the perimeter ball handler knowing that the Raptors remaining four players were standing flat footed waiting.
- The Raptors lost this became because they were outplayed, badly. So let’s stop the online threads about how the refs gave Brooklyn all the calls because of an NBA conspiracy or because of Jason Kidd’s critical comments that netted him a $25 000 fine. Having said that, Jason Kidd sure got good value on the twenty-five grand worth of whistles that he bought.
- The biggest loser tonight was DeMar DeRozan, whose truly impressive performance isn’t going to be anything close to a storyline with the Raptors loss and game 7 looming.
- Game 7 cometh. If you have any sports superstitions—and I mean any, pay strict attention to adhering all of them. Take out your lucky jersey, sit in the special spot, exercise any and all reverse jinxes, go through all pre-game rituals, sacrifice small goats/offerings/children and turn around 3 times and spit. Do whatever needs to be done. The sports gods are angry, they are the most spiteful of all the gods and they demand obedience and tribute. They also hate Toronto, which you damn well already know.