|L. Scola 23 MIN | 6-11 FG | 4-6 3FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +1 +/-
Scored 13 points in the first half. Left Beverley wide open which accounted for his first 2 three pointers. Wasn’t played much in the 2H presumably because he couldn’t keep up with the agile bigs.
|J. Valanciunas 30 MIN | 6-15 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-6 FT | 18 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | -6 +/-
Though he looked rusty early (which was expected) he more than compensated for that as the game continued. On a whole he was productive on both ends. The first time JV faced Capela the Swiss man gave him trouble, but JV got the better of him tonight. Frustrated Howard who fouled out with just 2 points and 5 rebounds. Even as he eased into the game he still managed to score 6 points and grab 6 boards. He finished with a solid double-double of 16 and 18. Motiejunas is his Lithuanian National teammate. I’m curious if Ujiri will give him a look this summer.
|K. Lowry 42 MIN | 4-19 FG | 3-10 3FG | 4-9 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +0 +/-
Lowry also looked rusty after having 4 days off. He dug in defensively in the 2Q with a mostly reserve line-up intermixed with DeRozan and Powell. Like DeMar he was furious at the no calls and despite his shot not falling he never gave up. Let’s hope it was all rust, and not his elbow that was the major issue.
|D. DeRozan 37 MIN | 6-13 FG | 1-2 3FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +6 +/-
Usually performs well against the Rockets. That said, Ariza is a solid defender who shut down his drives, especially early. He compensated by picking up 4 first half assists. He also held Ariza scoreless in the same time frame. First free throws didn’t come until 4:58 of the 3Q (not for a lack of trying). Credit him for not forcing his shot electing instead to move the ball or feeding others. Finished typing that and then watched him jack up a couple of ill advised shots right afterwards.
He was annoyed by extra hits and pushes all night that went without reward. Ultimately tossed from game at 2:55 of 4Q, trailing by 6 points. Ironically the call he complained/was tossed for was probably the softest of the night. They needed him on the floor, regardless of how he felt he needed to walk away after the first tech. For those interested: Ariza received ONE personal foul.
|N. Powell 39 MIN | 5-13 FG | 3-6 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +5 +/-
Had the best 1H of his young career scoring 13 points and defended Harden well by not over committing. Got burnt on a couple of plays either through reputation calls or Harden’s excellence. On a whole I felt he displayed solid defense, though it’s hard to keep the second highest scorer down all game. He was less successful in the 2H when Harden got hot and registered his triple double. Love his effort and no quit. I’m excited to see his growth as he gains experience/matures.
|J. Johnson 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -10 +/-
JJ played just 6 mins, 1H, but was part of the unit who started to turn things around. Also slowed Beasley who had been on a terror. Bad turnover to star the 4Q. The TO resulted in a Terry 3 pointer which sparked the Rockets big run. Not sure how much of his 2H play was lack of focus, and how much was his foot.
|P. Patterson 20 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-2 3FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | -4 +/-
Had a difficult time guarding Beasley early. His energy helped spark the defense that went on a 25-10 run to close the half. He gets bonus marks for the late score and absolute stare down of the Rockets.
|B. Biyombo 18 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +3 +/-
Tale of 2 halves for him. Was huge in the paint altering shots and getting in the Rockets heads in the 1H. Wasn’t nearly as successful in the second half,plus he didn’t play much (only 18 mins total).
|C. Joseph 22 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-4 3FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 12 PTS | -10 +/-
He looked much sharper than his Boston outing and was pivotal to orchestrating the comeback. Made an amazing defensive stop on Brewer at the end of the 3Q. He didn’t get what were some obvious calls in my opinion, but he persevered.
Going with Powell on Harden was the right move. He could have substituted earlier to try to slow Beasley. JJ did a decent job early on him, but he was less successful in the 2H. Casey (like his players) was annoyed by the whistle the entire night and arguably had a right to be. That said, as soon as Lowry received his first tech Casey should have gone ballistic on the sidelines to stop the nonsense. If he had, perhaps the tide would have shifted.
Five Things We Saw
- Poor shooting night by the Raptors on a whole. Other than the 2Q it felt like an uphill battle. I’m fine with letting the teams play, but allowing one team to be more aggressive isn’t an even playing field. Harden complained on every whistle with no recourse. As much as the Raptors may have deserved to lose, the officials can’t throw out the 2 stars from one team and let someone like Patrick Beverley coerce you into making calls. I’ll be interested to see if Casey says anything post game about this.
- Since I also cover the Rockets I’ve witnessed the Michael Beasley effect and expected him to give us some trouble. He’s a gifted scorer, but like many of his teammates lacks the same focus and intensity on the opposite end.
- Clint Capela is being groomed to replace Howard should he depart in free agency. The one aspect of their games that is identical – they are both abysmal from the line.
- The technical that caused Lowry to be tossed because Patrick Beverley goaded the referee was bullshit in my opinion.
- Last time the Raptors lost 2 in a row was the games that sandwiched the All-Star break.