Clippers at Raptors Points Per Game: Most entertaining Raptors game since? Stunning doesn’t do Ross night justice; Other soph not bad either; DeRozan’s growth

- January 26th, 2014

Wow. What else can you say really? Most entertaining Raptors game this decade? Has to be. Probably one of the 10 most exciting in the history of the franchise. Ross didn’t just shatter his previous career high, he was a point away from doubling it and actually scored more than his previous two best games combined. He was in some kind of a zone.

- I know many disagree, but seemed kind of wrong to beat Vince Carter’s record on meaningless free throws, so was kind of happy he just tied it. Now Ross has raised expectations on himself significantly. He’s gone from a “bust” in the eyes of many fans (making a final judgment on players in their first – or even second years, unless they’re Rafael Araujo, as I’ve said before – is idiotic), to a solid “3-and-D” guy, to a potential star scorer. Everybody chill. Enjoy the night, but don’t expect Ross, who Dwane Casey said “told on himself” (as in, showed what he could do) to come anywhere close to this level reguarly. What he appears to be, is a very good 3-and-D player capable of some night where he gets red hot from deep. Think Michael Finley (who this corner and Bryan Colangelo originally compared him to), prime Jason Richardson and players like that.

- Many will still fret about passing on Andre Drummond, but can we give it a rest? How about, they were both solid picks. If you like what Jonas Valanciunas is doing, you’re happy Drummond wasn’t the pick, because there was no way either Valanciunas or Drummond would look as good as they do many nights, if the franchise had tasked itself with the near impossible challenge of developing two impressive, very young, very raw, big men at the same time. Centres are extremely valuable and Drummond is one of the best rebounders in the league already, but players like Ross also carry decent value, moreso if he becomes a 17 point a night scorer, while keeping his defence steady.

- Ross attacked the rim a little more than usual, a trend lately, and that’s encouraging for the Raptors, since considerable work has been done trying to balance out his game.

- Toronto fell short of evening its record against the ultra-tough West at 8-8 this season. 7-9 isn’t too shabby either.

- Ross tied a franchise record with five threes in a quarter and seven in a half. Donyell Marshall has the record of 12 for a game. According to Elias Sports, Ross became the first player ever to score 50 points while coming in averaging fewer than 10 points. That makes his feat not only improbable, but possibly one of the biggest stunners in NBA history. He tied Kevin Love for the second-most points ever scored in an NBA game by a Portland native. The record-holder? Damon Stoudamire, who scored 54 for the Blazers in 2005.

- Not sure if Hedo got DeMar on purpose, but DeMar certainly was considering that. He was more pissed than I’ve seen him in a while post-game, though that could just have been frustration since he’s not used to being injured. He’s missed only a handful of games and has twice played in all 82 contests.

- Los Angeles running wild from deep was partly Toronto’s fault – the defence was a bit lax, the pressure wasn’t at the level we’ve seen lately and players weren’t closing out on the three-point line as quickly, but, give some credit to the Clippers. This team can flat out score with anybody, even without Chris Paul. Funny that Darren Collison, who made a name for himself by subbing in brilliantly when Paul was hurt in New Orleans, is doing it again (though he hasn’t been nearly as good as he was a Hornet).

- Blake Griffin gets the LeBron James treatment from the referees. A few Raptors weren’t too pleased with that fact afterward. But Casey and Kyle Lowry gave Griffin credit. He’s much-improved and a very difficult cover.

- Before the game, Casey gave a long checklist of things he was looking for out of Valanciunas.

“Keep (DeAndre Jordan) off the boards, don’t let him get behind him. Defend when he’s in the paint. Make sure he keeps a body on him so he can’t spin-lob. Just play with energy. Run the floor, make sure he gets back in transition, that’s a lot,” Casey said. Valanciunas answered the challenge, outplaying Jordan and adding to his team-leading double-double total. The Raptors expected to need Valanciunas’ length and that was the case. He was great on the boards and offered good resistance inside, forcing Griffin into a number of tough shots.

SOME QUOTES: 

- When do you know a player is in a zone like that? “When he hits 10 threes,” -  Lowry. “It kind of makes me speechless a little bit.”

- The great Doc Rivers, the best pre-game coach to chat with by a huge margin, had some fun with being in Toronto. “Don’t they usually play hockey here Saturday nights?” Rivers asked.  “Alright, so they gave (the ACC) to us.” Then he reminisced about his days as an analyst on Canadian TV. This was the fourth and final Saturday game for the Raptors at the ACC this season, the most played there since the team moved in in 1999. Toronto dropped to 3-1 in the games.

 

- Rivers, who has been raving about DeRozan for about three years now, had a good response about DeRozan now likely making the all-star team: “My scouting talents are amazing aren’t they? It just took a while. He’s playing great, he really is. He’s making the jump shot now, he’s starting to learn how to get to the foul line when he wants to get to the foul line. I think that’s been the biggest thing, it’s good to see,” Rivers said.

- When it was over, Rivers was spotted having a chat with Masai Ujiri and raving about the city of Toronto and the fan-base. The secret is out. If this team ever wins regularly, the place is going to be bananas.

- Casey on the status of Tyler Hansbrough, who won’t be returning until he feels no less than 100%.

“Tyler is out and you’ll have to check with him when his foot’s well. I’ve asked that and I don’t know when that’s going to be.”

- Casey on why DeRozan has taken such a leap this season: “I think time. In this league, everybody wants to be that player right now. You come out of high school, come out early, it takes time to learn, what John Salmons is doing, what Chris Paul is doing for (the Clippers),” Casey said.

“You don’t learn that overnight. You learn that through mistakes. He’s still not where he needs to be yet, but he’s just grown by leaps and bounds. Every game he walks out, he learns something new. It’s just a matter of him going through the wars, getting beat up some. Shot selection has gotten better and that’s come through time.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Basketball

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2 comments

  1. brad says:

    Is there anything more behind Casey’s comments about Hansbrough? I’ve sprained my ankles before, twice badly but playing highschool and playing rec men’s league i came back faster than he has….seems like an awfully long time to be out with a sprained ankle (i know high ankle sprains are worse but don’t believe that is the case here). Will be awkward if Derozan is back playing after a game or two with the same injury. No one in the media really seemed to expand on Casey’s comment, and seems to have a lot of frustration in it.

  2. ryan.wolstat says:

    Pain tolerance is up to the player, but I’m sure the delay was frustrating.

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