Raptors-Sixers Points Per Game: Raptors take a Holiday in second quarter; Searching for a capable three and time to pare rotation down

- November 11th, 2012

It was a rare Saturday night Raptors game, but the result was the same. The team didn’t show up for all four quarters and one stinker was enough to sink them.

Some thoughts:

As expected, the Raptors came out energetic and took it to the Sixers in building a lead early. Philly was playing a back-to-back, Toronto was rested. But, Philly’s class showed when Jrue Holiday and Spencer Hawes turned the tide. Every year Holiday seems to be getting better and he’s a two-way force. Now that he’s playing a bit more like a point guard, Holiday has taken his game to the next level. Still hate what Philly did this off-season (besides adding Bynum and Wright), Nick Young, good game aside, is no Lou Williams, Iguodala’s defence will be missed, but this will be a solid squad.

Right now, the Raptors just don’t have the horses to compete. The hole at the three is as glaring as ever. Alan Anderson was a 30%-shooting stop-gap and now even he is out of the lineup. Linas Kleiza might be a better option, since he’ll bring some offence. At some point, Bryan Colangelo is going to have to do something about the perennial abyss at the three.

Andrea Bargnani’s best games have come with Kyle Lowry out of the lineup. That’s going to need to change. They will need to learn how to work together. Bargnani was solid on Saturday, but like DeMar DeRozan, who did a lot of good things but shot badly, Bargnani’s shot selection needs to improve. Both Bargnani and DeRozan take horrible shots throughout games and seem to take their worst shots late in games when the Raptors are hanging around. There is no worse shot in basketball than a long two – except, I guess, a contested long two. Must be driving the coaching staff crazy.

Dwane Casey said he saw a light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m not sure. Unless Lowry comes back in the next few days, the Raptors aren’t good enough to win against most NBA teams. It’s that simple. Not enough scoring, not enough defence, not enough fight. Lowry is good enough to fix most of those on his own, but ankle injuries are tough to play through, especially for point guards. This could be 1-8 very soon because Utah is a solid group, with two big men the Raptors have never shown an ability to stop, plus the ever-improving Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, along with swingman Gordon Hayward and another longtime Raptor-killer, Mo Williams. The hope is struggling Indiana has a bad one against the Raptors later in the week.

Finally, there’s been a ton of talk about Casey’s rotations. He’s throwing everything out there, hoping something sticks. As mentioned earlier, he doesn’t have the talent at small forward to have an advantage there over other teams, but is desperately trying to catch lightning in a bottle. Instead, he just has to make a call and stick with it. Kleiza won’t defend threes well, but he’ll provide some offence. McGuire will do the opposite, he will hurt the team offensively, but provide strong defence. Ideally, Landry Fields will fix his hand and provide balance at both ends.

Jonas Valanciunas played well again, but with Philadelphia going small (and super-small when Thad Young or Dorrell Wright played centre), Casey simply couldn’t use him. Which was too bad, because he was one of the better Raptors and a big reason why Toronto took the early lead.

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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2 comments

  1. larry smith says:

    I no Nick Young’ is not no Lou William; Nick Young is much better than Lou. And many others out there. You writers need to fine some one else to poke fun at, because NICK YOUNG is not the one.

  2. ryan.wolstat says:

    Lou Williams was Philly’s best player last season not named Igoudala. I’m not sure how anyone can rationally say Young is a better player, it simply isn’t true. Williams is a more consistent player, a more accurate shooter, a better defender and a far better passer.

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