|Amir Johnson, PF 30 MIN | 9-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +2The best player on the floor tonight for the good guys. Hit two open threes, banged hard on defence, and was the only Raptor big who played even reasonable help defence against Dallas’ pass-heavy offence. It’s been said a lot in this space, but Amir, my friend, you da real MVP.|
|Terrence Ross, SF 23 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -7Defensively, he was decent, and he moved well without the ball and found a lot of open looks in the first half. Like most of the team for the better part of the night, though, he wasn’t able to hit with any consistency. I would have liked to have seen him in the game late rather than Vasquez, but I don’t feel like it would have made a difference in the outcome.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, C 28 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -16Tyson Chandler ate him alive in the first half, but he recovered nicely in the second, asserting himself with solid positioning on the glass and getting his stroke going a bit. His difficulty closing out on Dallas shooters meant that he was benched for large stretches, but he played his best basketball in the fourth quarter and was rewarded with crunch time minutes. He needs to find a way to flip that switch early and consistently, because Chandler’s first half dominance was a huge reason why the Mavs got out in front and didn’t look back.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG 32 MIN | 9-22 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | +4Saddled with 3 quick fouls in the first quarter, he was never able to get into a groove, finishing with one of his poorest shooting nights in quite some time. With all the length on Dallas, it’s a tough matchup for an undersized point guard. Still found a way to contribute, as always, finishing with 7 boards and some big plays to spark a couple Raptors mini-runs. Late in the fourth, he was huge, bringing the game back from the brink seemingly by himself.|
|DeMar DeRozan, SG 20 MIN | 0-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -5Was having a really off night until he went down in the third with what’s being reported as a groin strain. Was grabbing his hand before he went down, as well – just a tough night all around. An off night is OK, but it was seriously overshadowed by the injury. The incomplete grade is out of respect – he deserves the benefit of the doubt that things could have improved in the second half. Get better soon.|
|James Johnson, PF 17 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +3The extended minutes is promising, but it’s clear that he’s still trying to find his footing out there. Uncharacteristically bullied by Chandler Parsons on the defensive side of the ball, and made some poor decisions offensively that led to unforced turnovers.|
|Patrick Patterson, PF 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +1One of his most impressive individual games from a defensive standpoint – he’s a beast one-on-one, and he did an excellent job guarding Dirk when given the task. Missed his fair share of open looks, but overall a solid performance in extended minutes.|
|Chuck Hayes, C 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -5Got a bit of run in the first half, but was rightfully benched once it became clear that the Mavs were going to take advantage of any speed disadvantage the Raps gave them. Tough stylistic matchup.|
|Greivis Vasquez, PG 25 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -7He’s still having difficult figuring out how to operate in this reconfigured Raptor backcourt, but he was dynamite in the fourth quarter, hitting three 3s to keep the game within reach. His decisionmaking is still a bit suspect, to be kind, but it was a promising sign as he’ll be seeing extended minutes until DeRozan returns.|
|Louis Williams, SG 30 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-5 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | +10It’s a bit wild that a game like tonight is one of his least impressive in the last couple weeks. Managed to get his points through the creative open-shot-or-draw-a-foul game he does so well. I’m actually quite impressed with his defence – his ability to play man to man against bigger checks is impressive, and he’s very good at poking for steals in the other team’s halfcourt. Don’t let the slightly unimpressive percentage from behind the arc fool you – he went 0 for 2 on contested buzzer beaters.|
Had a hard time adjusting early to Tyson Chandler’s dominance, but finally found the right look by removing Jonas and going with an Amir and wings look that slowed the Mavs somewhat. Docked a few points tonight for leaving Lowry in after his second quick foul – you’re taking a gamble no matter what, and part of that falls on the player, but when a decision like that comes back to bite you in the ass, you have to take the fall for it.
Five Things We Saw
- Tyson Chandler only finished with 11 points and 10 boards, but it felt like his hands were all over this game. His presence in the lane led to a number of turnovers, either from sloppy kick outs or hesitation before taking the ball to the rim.
- With THAT being said, it was the Raptors’ work on the glass that kept them in the game. They absolutely dominated the Mavs on that end, finishing with 55 to Dallas’ 37.
- The refs were really, really spotty tonight. It affected both teams, but there were numerous plays that weren’t even considered for review when replay showed that the call should have been overturned. Amir, in particular, seemed to be unfairly picked on. The Raps as a team were doing a lot of barking at the officials, which didn’t help matters, I’m sure.
- Even though the Mavs won tonight, the fact that the game ended up as close as it did is a positive sign. Winding up with 17 turnovers and keeping the final score within 4 against a team like Dallas is pretty impressive stuff and speaks to this team’s attitude. That said, they’re going to need to find a way to adjust to the West’s best if they want to be considered true title contenders.
- One of the NBA’s sleeper ironmen, DeMar DeRozan has only missed 11 games in his career to this point. From all of us at RR, get better soon, DeMar.