So, that looked like a game nobody really wanted to win. Particularly in the closing minutes when both teams played hot potato with the ball. Not sure at all what John Wall was doing. He’s a long way from figuring out how to harness his considerable natural talents.
That’s five straight wins now for the Raptors, now back to 10 games under .500 and still teasing their fanbase that a playoff berth is still possible.
- Freed from double teams, DeMar DeRozan has been a different player since the arrival of Rudy Gay. In February, DeRozan has been getting to the line a ton (6.8 attempts, making 6) and his overall shooting has been more effective. The one concern would be his minutes are well above, but his other numbers are down (rebounding, steals, more turnovers) which indicates to me that he’s a bit tired. With Terrence Ross available and not getting much burn (more on that later), might be best for the team if DeRozan gets a bit more time on the pine (obviously it’s tough to put him there if every game is close, so what the Raptors really need are some blowouts).
- Jonas Valanciunas is coming along. He has played well since his return from injury and is looking increasingly confident. Once he gets bigger and stronger and gets the benefit of more calls (at both ends, though on offence he seems to be getting more) from the refs, he should be very effective.
- Alan Anderson plays solid perimeter defence, maybe the best on the team, but when he’s shooting as poorly as he has been, and considering how important Ross is to the team’s future, something has got to give. Anderson can’t be playing 20-25 minutes a night regardless of how well he’s shooting, and Ross can’t be playing 3-5 minutes. Landry Fields has also been effective of late and couldn’t even get into the game.
- Positive: Andrea Bargnani came to life in the fourth quarter and all of his points were badly needed. Plus he had four boards, a block and a steal.
Negative: He drifted and was pretty invisible until the fourth. He still doesn’t make much of an effort to go after loose balls and rebounds.
More negative: Though he’s being shopped, the offers aren’t good and he’s likely to stick around until the summer.
- Rudy Gay’s shot selection still needs work after all of these years, but he hits them when he needs to.
- Kyle Lowry’s in a good groove right now. He’s finding his teammates and as he says, is “getting out of the way.” Not sure about his shove on Trevor Booker, but it tells you how intense the dude is and how he has a bit of that “little man’s complex” which is part of the reason why he is so effective.
- The Raptors might not get something done by Thursday’s deadline, but if they don’t, it certainly won’t be for a lack of effort by Bryan Colangelo. He’s been working the phones with no regard for human life, but no bites so far. A small deal for depth at the point behind Lowry and the red-hot John Lucas III is the most likely type of move that gets done.