Raptors at Magic Points Per Game: Buzzer beating winner from DeRozan!

- January 25th, 2013

Raptors fans have waited an awfully long time for a buzzer beater to go the team’s way for once. Since December of 2006 actually, when T.J. Ford memorably sank the Clippers, leading to frenzied hugs from teammates and then head coach Sam Mitchell. This time, DeRozan got a peck from Dwane Casey.

Casey was thrilled for DeRozan, who he has been on constantly to be more aggressive over the past six weeks or so. Both Casey and DeRozan are well aware of his struggles. You could feel a weight lift from the shoulders of all of the Raptors when something finally went right for them.

This was an impressive trip for the Raptors. Hanging with the Heat is just as big an accomplishment as sweeping the Magic in a four-game season series.

Some thoughts and updates:

- It was an ugly game, a dead crowd and not much defence, but ugly games count too. Credit the Raptors for pulling out four wins over Orlando, though Casey isn’t planning any parades yet.

- Now the club needs to build on this, with the next 7-of-10 at home.

- Amir Johnson said he rolled his ankle again recently, and that makes six times this season where that has happened. Johnson said it’s not the ankle he had surgically repaired last year. Still, the ankle is very loose and will bother him the rest of the season.

Andrea Bargnani continues to take shots before games, but is still in pain and still likely needs another week or two. Expect Jonas Valanciunas back first. Valanciunas needs to get in a practice or two before he is allowed to return, most likely, so mid-week seems most realistic.

Linas Kleiza still doesn’t look anywhere close. He was icing his knee after the game and wasn’t even dressed for the contest. Just about every Raptor had some body part wrapped in ice afterwards. Valanciunas continues to ice his hand.

- If you missed my all-star selection (mild) rant, I find it as wrong as Mark Jackson that Stephen Curry didn’t make the team. No Brook Lopez was the second-most egregious error, followed by no Marc Gasol.

Random stuff that didn’t make the paper:

“Last game was totally different, they didn’t have Jameer (Nelson), didn’t have E’Twaun Moore, didn’t have Davis. They’re playing much better basketball, as are we. Totally different team,” Casey said beforehand.

There was a lot of praise for Nikola Vucevic, who has been tremendous and came away with another double-double.

“He’s long and he also can step out and hit jump shots. He can stretch the floor as a big five. He gives us all kinds of problems in the post,” Casey said.

Vucevic went to work, tapping in countless shots and controlling the boards, but Orlando didn’t use him much in the pivotal fourth.

WANT MORE? YOU’VE GOT MORE

Casey said he wants to see more aggressiveness out of DeMar DeRozan.

DeRozan started the year better than ever, but has plateaued mightily since.

Forays into the post, where DeRozan has found considerable success, particularly when he gets the ball in close, have been far less frequent, and he has not attacked the basket like he did to start the year.

Casey said the team was tracking DeRozan, and he got to the rim about seven times a game last season, but has not approached those numbers recently.

“This year there’s a significant dropoff. He and I talked about it. Not the easiest team to do that against (because of Arron Afflalo, a strong defender who has given DeRozan trouble in the past),” Casey said before DeRozan answered the bell.

Against Orlando, DeRozan continued to play passively, settling mostly for jump shots, many of the unhelpful long-two point variety, until the fourth quarter, where he began to play more to his strengths.

Though not all of the close looks fell, DeRozan found more success playing that way and it paved the way for his heroics.

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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2 comments

  1. jim says:

    Ryan,
    What is the word on Amir starting once Jonas V. returning? Raptors are so much better with Amir.

  2. ryan.wolstat says:

    No word yet, but the expectation is Amir and Ed stay in their starting roles.

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