Archive for February 14th, 2013

Raptors at Knicks Points Per Game: Defence returns; Anderson, Lucas continue to step up; APB on Bargnani; DeRozan’s bounce-back

- February 14th, 2013

As we’ve been saying here, ugly, pretty, it doesn’t really matter, a win is a win. Things were a lot prettier against the run-and-gun Nuggets, but Wednesday’s victory over New York was just as valuable to the Raptors.

Dwane Casey was furious about the team’s laughable defence against Denver (70 points allowed in the paint) and he let his team know. They responded well, locking down the Knicks. Sure, Carmelo Anthony had an off night and getting hit on the arm had something to do with it, but Landry Fields and Rudy Gay really did a nice job on him.

Some thoughts before I head to Houston for the All-Star festivities:

-  It was an ugly first half but the defence kept Raptors in the game. The defence was even better in the third, when the Knicks were held to 19% shooting from the floor. New York had just six assists through three quarters. Some of that was bad shooting and bad decisions, but a lot of it was good defence and good rotating by the Raptors.

- Kyle Lowry’s first ejection was deserved. Has to keep quiet in that situation, not swear about the call while turning towards the refs. Again, John Lucas III stepped up and was a major factor, hitting clutch shots for the Raptors. Lucas is now shooting 64% from three and 52% from the field this month. He’s up to 42.7% from three for the season, which puts him in elite company.

- Rudy Gay was due for a stinker and this was it. He’s struggling with his shot right now, but was still able to provide solid defence, while helping on the glass and distributing the ball. He also hit a clutch jumper and free throws in the fourth.

- Have been on Alan Anderson of late, but he was crucial in this one. Only DeRozan and Anderson had their offensive games going, so Anderson was needed to step up. It cuts into Terrence Ross’ minutes, but Ross seems to have hit a rookie wall and has not been playing well. Anderson and Lucas played tremendous defence on New York’s last real chance in the dying seconds, forcing a turnover.

- Have to like DeMar DeRozan bouncing back from a couple of real stinkers this month (against Boston and against New Orleans) with a few really strong games. He carried the Raptors against New York and was solid against Denver as well. DeRozan attacked the rim and made all 10 of his free throw attempts. He’s 16-for-16 over his past two games and is making six a game in February while connecting on 89.4% of his attempts. He has benefitted from the presence of Gay perhaps more than any other Raptor.

- Another invisible night from Andrea Bargnani. Tough to trade him if he’s not doing anything. Bargnani attempted only one shot, nailing it, and had a block in just 11 minutes. When he was out there, he was pylon-esque on defence.

- Against the small Knicks, Jonas Valanciunas wasn’t used much and wasn’t a factor.

- Toronto has to get back to passing the ball to get better shots. If teams close down DeRozan’s attacking lanes, moving the ball will open them back up. An assist each for Lowry and Lucas isn’t nearly enough.