Archive for February 6th, 2012

Raptors at Washington Wizards Points Per Game:

- February 6th, 2012

I’ll subscribe to the “If you have nothing good to say …” school of thought for the first 2 plus quarters of this one.

- OK, I tried, but I have to add, starts like the one the Raptors had against the Wizards have become far too commonplace. I’m not sure if you can put a finger on why exactly the team consistently comes out so terrible, but it is awfully tough to win basketball games if you fall behind and look dead in the water for most first quarters.

- Leandro Barbosa told me he was in a groove on Saturday. Since then, he’s shot 1-for-12 from the field. He had at least two airballs and something clearly has changed. Bryan Colangelo needs him to heat up again closer to the trade deadline, since games like this again proved that Jerryd Bayless has a future as a dynamic scorer off of the bench going forward. There isn’t room for both Barbosa and Bayless long term.

- Bayless was excellent. Obviously the offensive numbers stand out, but he also gave John Wall a few problems at times and frustrated him a bit, which no other Raptor could do.

- Surrendering two defensive rebounds off of missed free throws cost the Raptors this game. Pure and simple. Once is bad enough, but the overtime miscue cannot happen.

- Linas Kleiza is playing very well and like Bayless looks like a nice bench piece for the future.

- After a string of good games, Ed Davis was a non-factor.

- Aggressive DeMar DeRozan showed up again. He needs to keep taking it up strong. If he does that, results will follow.

- Jordan Crawford takes some silly shots, but if I’m Washington management, I move Nick Young and give him more minutes. He’s slightly less clueless offensively and a lot better defensively.

 

Raptors at Miami Heat Points Per Game:

- February 6th, 2012

The Raptors turned in a nice effort in South Beach on Sunday. Minus Andrea Bargnani, the team hung with the Heat for a while, before falling by six. No shame in that.

Holding the Heat to 44.9% shooting was solid work, especially considering LeBron James started off 5-for-5 and the Heat shot over 68% in the first quarter.

- DeMar DeRozan has had success over the course of his career against Miami and that continued. He brought the attitude we mentioned here earlier this week that he needs in order to play at a high level. DeRozan came to play, he showed some new wrinkles in an encouraging 25 point performance and got to the line 11 times, making nine of his free throws. If that DeRozan shows up on most nights, he can be a key building block going forward. Consistency is the key, something Jack Armstrong brought up on the broadcast. He can’t just play like that once a week, it has to be a permanent thing.

- The play of Ed Davis of late also has to be a positive for the Raptors. The sophomore forward had been struggling, but recently has been productive. His jumper looked quite a bit better and he was active on the boards. His eight point, eight rebound totals equalled what he had been averaging in his previous five appearances.

- One thing the Raptors did quite well was fight to establish position on the boards. Winning the battle 38-36 against Miami was an accomplishment and a lot of that had to do with fighting harder to establish inside position. That was particularly evident on the offensive glass. Toronto hauled in 10 offensive boards to Miami’s four.

- Leandro Barbosa’s streak is over. He had been carrying the team of late, but did not have it at all, shooting 1-for-8, 0-4 from three. His outside shooting has been horrible of late. After connecting on 6-of-7 in late January, Barbosa has hit just one of his past 14 three-point attempts.

- Interesting to see Jerryd Bayless get the call down the stretch with Jose Calderon making some uncharacteristically bad decisions. Bayless played well and how the two are utilized could be interesting to watch going forward.