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Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Raptors 91, Suns 99

This was dumb and bad.

Toronto 91 Final
Box Score
99 Phoenix

D. Carroll19 MIN, 2 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST, 0-2 FG, 0-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -5 +/-

He survived his first back-to-back of the season, playing a combined 47 minutes across the two games. His defense was fine here, and he looked more comfortable in the small-four role than he has in some time. Still, he was next to a non-factor on offense, and the Raptors could have used a better start from him. It’s progress in terms of his health, at least. (He was restricted to 20 minutes, by the way.)

P. Siakam22 MIN, 4 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 2-5 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -14 +/-

It is very difficult to say negative things about Siakam’s play, both because he’s a rookie being asked to play too big a role on too big a team and because his effort level is through the roof, always. The arguments against his role aren’t his fault, it’s just not working right now, which was to be expected. He worked his tail off defensively in this one, showing some nice juice at the five on that side, but the Suns completely ignored him on the other end. He’s going to be quite good, I think. He needs a hand getting there on a more methodical curve.

J. Valanciunas19 MIN, 8 PTS, 10 REB, 0 AST, 2-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -9 +/-

It looked like he hurt his left leg in the third quarter, and maybe that’s the reason he wasn’t used much at all in the second half. He also wasn’t exactly winning against Alex Len and Tyson Chandler, but it’s back-to-back games in which he was used sparingly, both in minutes and role, and it’s curious the Raptors didn’t lean on him more. He wasn’t great, but he could have gotten another look late to goose a tired offense.

D. DeRozan35 MIN, 24 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 8-18 FG, 0-3 3FG, 8-10 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -10 +/-

Yeah, the plus minus will stand out and he was back-cut a few times and it wasn’t his best playmaking night and he struggled down the stretch. Still, the Raptors may have been in an even bigger hole if it weren’t for DeRozan being the only player to come out of the gate with any energy or clue. The non-DeRozan Raptors were 2-of-12 in the first. This could have been worse without him early on.

K. Lowry38 MIN, 24 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 7-15 FG, 3-9 3FG, 7-9 FT, 1 BLK, 4 TO, -9 +/-

It was the second game in a row he was spotted grimacing, and the fact that he survived is all I really care about. Oh, and I care about him playing 78 minutes in an 0-2 back-to-back. That’s trouble. He looked fatigued by the end of this one, too, and his lift and energy weren’t quite at the level to which we’ve become accustomed. He still scored really efficiently, at least.

T. Ross30 MIN, 7 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 3-11 FG, 1-7 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 5 +/-

He had a steal and then only threw down a regular dunk. What gives, dude? A night after he came in and changed the game with his offense, he helped more with his defense and rebounding in this one, as his shot was awry. He was emblematic of how a team-wide bad night from long-range can really make a difference. Maybe 2 or 3 of 7 makes this a different game altogether.

C. Joseph25 MIN, 15 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 6-10 FG, 2-2 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 7 +/-

He got called for a charge at the end of the first half and looked to hurt his hip, because why would anyone get through this game healthy? He struggled in the first half some but picked it up on the second half, crashing the glass and trying his best to push the issue in semi-transition. His having the team’s best plus-minus on the night is probably a bit misleading, though it was nice to see him have a minor bounce-back.

L. Nogueira22 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 2 TO, -3 +/-

There were a lot of peak Bebe plays in this one, like a turnover running the break, or making some terrific passes on the dive, or eagerly trying to check on an injured Chandler. He also started to leak out on a key possession, leading to an offensive rebound, and he was stuck on Devin Booker due to the switch, resulting in an and-one. Not his best night, not his worst. How you gonna get shut out on the defensive glass for 22 minutes though?

N. Powell22 MIN, 7 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 2-7 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, -5 +/-

He checked in and immediately procured a steal. He was a part of a few nice, small stretches. He made some heads up cuts and strong drives to the rim. What was lacking here was Powell’s finishing, as he went 1-of-5 inside the arc, missing an easy layup and then a dunk. Those things happen, and they don’t turn a good game into a bad one. They just matter a bit in a tight, sloppy game.

P. Patterson9 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0-3 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-

There’s not much to say beyond the fact that he left early in the second quarter with a knee strain. Prior to that point, he had missed all three of his shots, including an infuriating floater, and the team had still played better with him out there than without him. He is the WOWY.

Dwane Casey

It’s hard to hang much of this on Casey. The team didn’t answer the call despite Casey’s protestations – he was caught clearly yelling “What the f*** are we doing” at the end of the third – and he lost his utility man and safety blanket early in the second. You can quibble with the call to start Ross over Powell in the third, or with his choice of centers down the stretch (I understand riding Siakam perhaps a bit too long given game flow, but not even going offense-defense with Valanciunas and Nogueira was a little strange), but really, this one is on the players, I think.

Things We Saw

    1. You know how sometimes things happen, and there’s no way to change that they happened, but everyone involved implicitly agrees to never talk about it again? I’m not talking about my dating life, either. I’m talking about the game, specifically the first quarter. The two sides combined for 13 turnovers and 13 field goals, which I didn’t think were numbers two teams could combine for the Raptors had just two assists at half and 10 at the end of the game, and there were a total of 39 turnovers by the time it was done.
    2. There were myriad frustrating plays and sequences. Like, so many. The game was very irritating. This isn’t an excuse, but these games happen. The best team doesn’t go 82-0, the next 80-0, and so on, down to 0-82 for the Nets. Good teams lose ugly games to bad teams sometimes. It’s still annoying and frustrating in the moment, but this one won’t be remembered for long. But no, they don’t get credit for making it tough on a 10-win team or showing resolve or whatever. They should have won.
    3. Terrence Ross started the second half in place of Patterson in place of Siakam. That’s an interesting call rather than going back to Siakam and is a pretty strong vote of no-confidence, especially after Siakam saw some time late in the second. Casey will likely pay lip service to the smaller looks being better/more fluid and it being a matchup decision, and he’ll be correct, but it’s pretty clear that Siakam is just holding on to the starting spot until Jared Sullinger is back. He was at least a part of a comeback run in the fourth as a small center, which hopefully helps his confidence.
    4. Ross got a great steal during a run in the fourth, then immediately turned it over for a PJ Tucker three, then Siakam got blocked on a dunk, and then Powell got called for a bogus charge in transition. It was a lot. I can’t sum this garbage game up better than this:

    5. The Suns are still bad. There are some really likable pieces here – either as long-term assets or as potential trade chips to contenders – but they’re pulling in too many directions. Veterans are important for culture building, but they should get assets for one or two of Chandler, Dudley, Knight, and Tucker , if they can. I hope for good things for them because I like their players and Earl Watson (although Robert Sarver can take off), but they need to pick a plan and stick to it.
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