Archive for January 10th, 2012

Wolves at Raptors Points Per Game

- January 10th, 2012

Some thoughts on a good Raptors win over Minnesota after I’ve had a night to reflect on it:

- Raptors continue to show the ability to beat the NBA’s lesser teams. They have held tough with playoff squads, but Jersey aside, have handled the minnows quite well.

- Incredible effort from Amir Johnson despite battling sickness and a thumb injury. The thumb issue helps explain why he has had trouble hanging onto balls this season and hasn’t finished as well. Despite denials from Kevin Love, who said his bad night was all him. Johnson was a major reason why he was off.

- Again, Andrea Bargnani was outstanding. His offensive play is self-explanatory – he is simply killing opponents with his fakes and footwork right now, daring them to challenge his shot and then darting by them. But it is his defence that remains the shocker. The man D is improved (not that it was terrible before), but his ability to cover ground and help out his teammates on switches and fighting through screens has been superb. He played 45 minutes against Minnesota, will be interesting to see what he has left against Washington

- James Johnson was also great. As has been the case many games this year, Johnson seemed to be everywhere on the court. And this time he didn’t make as many errors as is sometimes the case from overcommiting and trying to do too much. Johnson has some Jerome Williams in him – ie. doing too much, gambling, over-reading on plays, but I think he is going to be a better player. His jumper even looked good in extended warmup drills and the few times he shot during the game.

- DeMar DeRozan looks tired. Perhaps the effort required on defence and the schedule is hurting him on the offensive end? HE started very well when he was rested. He was more aggressive and even posted up. He needs to do more of that.

- Ricky Rubio is a real talent – duh. I like the Luke Ridnour-Rubio combo offensively, but the Wolves got punished defensively when they were on the court.

- Derrick Williams showed me it is just a matter of time until he becomes an impact player in the NBA. Still like him as a 4, but that obviously can’t happen, given how good Love is.

- Another game where the Raptors hold an opponent under 40% (34%). Impressive stuff, though this crazy NBA schedule has something to do with it.

- Dwane Casey said one of these days something is going to go in for Rasual Butler. Butler is doing his job defensively quite well, but is hurting the team by missing all of his shots. Doesn’t sound like a lineup switch is coming anytime soon.

- Linas Kleiza should learn his fate today. Team seems to be expecting him back on Wednesday against Sacramento, with Jerryd Bayless more likely for the weekend.

A few quotes I couldn’t work into my story:

Kevin Love:

“Just an off night. Nobody scored the ball particularly well and they just executed down the stretch. We had a couple of turnovers and that was the game.”

“The best thing about the NBA is there is another game tomorrow …  everybody has nights like that and I’ll bounce back.”

Rick Adelman:

“We have to finish at the basket and we have to be a little bit tougher than we were tonight.”

Ricky Rubio:

“(Calderon’s) a great defender, he can (play) defence very well. He knows how to defend, he’s smart on offence and defence and he has legs, he’s strong and he can guard everybody.”

Rubio has no regrets with staying in Spain: “I was with a team that won almost everything over there. I know how to handle the pressure (now) because of that.”

This just in, Jose has legs! (For some reason I found that quote hilarious).

Dwane Casey:

“I was pleased by the disposition (of the team after the disappointing second half in Philadelphia). But there were still a lot of subtle things (to work on).”