Everybody has to be used to this by now, no? Kyrie Irving hitting the dagger from the parking lot was a bit of a new wrinkle, sure, but that’s how things go 90% of the time for these Raptors. It isn’t all execution, a lot of the heartbreakers have had a lot to do with luck as well. Irving, as good as he is (and he’s awesome and only going to get more dominant), shouldn’t really be sending that shot straight through. That’s skill, and luck. What was Alan Anderson supposed to do on the play? Irving had been carving the Raps on the drive all night so playing up on him, especially that far from the three-point line, would not have been advisable.
- Let’s start with the Cavs. Irving can’t defend at all, so I liked how they put Alonzo Gee (an underrated, rich man’s Jamario Moon) against Jose Calderon and Kyle Lowry. Gee’s no star, but he’s solid. He was too quick and physical for DeMar DeRozan to handle and he beat him several times in the game.
- Tristan Thompson’s game has really expanded. He looks a lot more comfortable on offence and is in the best shape of his NBA career. He shutting up many of the detractors (including where he plays) who foolishly wrote a young kid off after one lockout-shortened season.
- Though DeRozan had some issues defending, the aggressiveness and confidence we expected to see stemming from Thursday’s game-winner was apparent, especially early. Cleveland did a better job taking the ball out of his hands through traps and the like later in the game, but early on, DeRozan looked good.
- Anderson really has been passing the ball better of late. Even before the Miami game where he forced far too many shots, Anderson was passing the ball more. He is making better decisions, as he told us in the locker room in Miami he would. Sometimes it’s dangerous (the last-minute passes he throws while going up for a shot are very difficult to catch, but they worked on Saturday), but varying things and becoming more unpredictable is helping.
- Quincy Acy gave the Raptors a lift. He’s still making mistakes, but he looks like an NBA player, which is all you can ask for from a second-round pick. Will be interesting to see if his minutes completely dry up when Jonas Valanciunas and Andrea Bargnani return either late next week or early in February.
- The Raptors could probably thank Ed Davis for taking a sparse lead into the half. His rebounding got them a lot of points.
- I remain unimpressed by Dion Waiters. I think he was a reach. His game has a lot of holes. He is talented, but doesn’t play the right way and makes a ton of bad decisions. Like Randy Foye (he’ll probably be better than Foye, but that’s a comparable), he was taken too high with an ill-advised selection. Terrence Ross or Andre Drummond would have been better picks.
- The Raptors have to stop giving up these fourth quarter runs that allow teams to come back. A “duh” statement, sure, but it has to be done, by hook or by crook, as Dwane Casey might say.
- Tough night for Kyle Lowry who had a sore back and had a brutal shooting night. He still moved the ball well and rebounded, but he was a negative because he didn’t hit shots and gambled far too frequently on defence, which Jack Armstrong noted on the broadcast (I’ve come down with the Florida flu. Consider me doubtful for Monday’s game as well).