Posts Tagged ‘Chauncey Billups

Raptors at Cavaliers Points Per Game

- March 14th, 2012

CLEVELAND – Nobody has an explanation as to why the Raptors are Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers’ Kryptonite. Irving missed a lot of shots he usually drops and looked better than he had in the previous two meetings. The Raptors just prevent matchup problems for the Cavaliers, especially if Anderson Varejao – one of many Raptor-killers – is out of the lineup. We asked DeMar DeRozan why the team has won five-of-six against Cleveland?

“LeBron ain’t there no more.”

- Liked the job Jerryd Bayless did. He made Irving work hard at both ends. He looked for his teammates the way Dwane Casey wants him to and hit some daggers to turn the tide of the game. It’s uncanny how much better Bayless plays as a starter than as a reserve (check the split stats). He is far more suited to a starting role than a reserve one, which is too bad, because I don’t think many people believe he can be a quality starting point guard in the NBA. As a starter his season he is averaging 15.4 points and 4.1 assists though he shoots better from three and the line as a reserve. Last year he averaged 18.1 points and 6.7 assists as a starter.

- Bayless has been a good soldier for the Raptors, willing to accept whatever role handed to him, but there is no question he is one of the most competitive people on the team.

He relishes starting assignments.

“Opportunities don’t come around all the time. Being in the NBA and competing at this level is an opportunity. Every night I’m on the court I’m going to try to do my best and go all out,” Bayless said.

But it won’t be an easy opportunity with Irving, Deron Williams (depending on his health), Mike Conley Jr. and Kemba Walker/D.J. Augustin on deck.

“Might want to be careful what you wish for in this league,” Casey said with a laugh of Bayless’ tough task.

“In the NBA, there’s always a gunslinger coming out. Jerryd did a good job of it on Sunday (against Milwaukee, holding Brandon Jennings to a dismal shooting night).

“For him to run the team is another process for him because he’s an attack guard, he’s a pitbull. He’s doing a better job of seeing his teammates. We need him to score also. Need him to set the table, so it’s kind of a double-edge sword for him.”

Casey likens Bayless to Chauncey Billups, who was knocked for not being a true point guard and bounced around the league (including a stint with the Raptors) before becoming a star. He hopes Bayless can follow Billups’ template.

- Neither DeRozan nor Casey were considered that he only attempted six shots. DeRozan said the double team was coming so he was looking to set up his teammates. With Bayless now in charge and Andrea Bargnani just back (Bargnani had his best game since his return), it is tough to get everyone rolling at the same time. As it is, the Raptors had 25 assists and shot 50%, so they didn’t much need DeRozan to score. Expect twice as many shot attempts for DeRozan in New Jersey tonight.

- More good minutes from Aaron Gray, Amir Johnson continues to sizzle and Ed Davis had extra bounce again.

Some quotes:

Dwane Casey:

“We got back to a defensive focus tonight.

Still a work in progress. A lot of things we did good, a lot of things we still need to improve on.

He’s (Bayless) the head of the snake, the defence starts with him. He did a good job of staying in front. Our bigs did a good job of showing. Giving a solid wall.”

DeMar DeRozan:

“It don’t really matter tonight, we got the win. I was just trying to facilitate the ball. Concentrate on defence. I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.

I understand that they’re going to double-team me, so every time I saw it I just tried to pass it, get a better shot.

It paid off for us tonight.

Jerryd Bayless:

Just tryng to keep the pressure on them. They were pinned back at first. We just kept the pressure on them. If we can make him take tough shots, hopefully his percentages will start to drop. He’s a good player sooner or later he’ll have a good game against us.

He plays against good guys every night, I don’t think anything I did really affected him.

My main focus tonight was trying to get Andrea going. He played great tonight.

Looking for him. I told him before the game I was looking for him. I know how good Andrea is and everybody knows how good Andrea is. Just try to get it to him in his spots and that’s what I was trying to do.”

 

 

Raptors at Clippers Points Per Game:

- January 23rd, 2012

So, eight losses in a row. All but maybe two of them well-deserved. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark right now with the Raptors and it seems Dwane Casey is at his wit’s end. Some thoughts:

- Casey sat down Ed Davis earlier this year when he felt he wasn’t playing hard enough, not running the floor the way he can, etc. Casey did the same thing on Sunday against the Clippers to Amir Johnson who has not looked like himself of late. Another change to the starting lineup could be coming, unless Casey wants to see if Johnson finds himself when Andrea Bargnani comes back, likely on Tuesday in Phoenix. If Bargnani isn’t back, Casey needs to give Aaron Gray – who played well – a look. The Davis-Johnson combo is too small and slight and is getting lit up every game now.

- Casey sent a message by playing his bench – which has been better than the starters for two or three game snow – for large portions of the game.

- The Raptors aren’t playing like a team. Some evidence of it I noticed came in the fourth when the just-returned Jerryd Bayless got absolutely annihilated on a screen that Linas Kleiza (or anybody else in the vicinity) failed to warn him about. That’s how team chemistry suffers.

- Jose Calderon is back to not being able to keep anybody in front of him. He did a decent job of it early in the season, but something has happened and a system that was covering for it well is no longer doing so. It wasn’t just Calderon who had trouble with this though, as the other Clippers guards did whatever they wanted against whoever was guarding them. Most notably, Mo Williams,who scored the first 17 points for Los Angeles in the fourth quarter and 25 in all.

- Clips have an embarassment of riches at the point. Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Mo Williams would all be upgrades for the Raptors and Eric Bledsoe is much more of a true point guard prospect than Jerryd Bayless, though I like Bayless in a Leandro Barbosa role long-term.

- Horrendous performance by the starters, but you probably already know that, and a decent effort from the bench to at least give the Raptors the feeling they were in it a couple of times.

- Davis has a lot of work to do on his offensive game. Another reason why Johnson/Davis doesn’t work as a starting frontcourt stems from their offensive failings. Neither can create for themself and while Johnson can hit a few jumpers, Davis currently is lacking any semblance of an effective jump shot. That needs to change.

- As a whole, Toronto’s shot selection without Bargnani has been mostly horrible. Where is the basketball IQ? Bad shot after bad shot with no spacing or movement. For a few games they were getting good looks but just missing, but against the Clippers, the offence looked completely out of sorts and the players looked exhausted. The stagnant group missed 10 straight at one point.

- Another fatal flaw is the fact that Toronto tends to foul like nobody’s business but doesn’t draw enough at the other end. You can’t win if that keeps up.

- Finally, the zone again worked for a while and continues to be a good weapon for Casey’s Raptors, but like any scheme, it loses its effectiveness the longer it is used. The Clips figured out how to beat it eventually and that was that.

- Positives? The bench. Drew fouls, scored, hit from long-range. Linas Kleiza: Played reasonably well. Bayless: Returned to the lineup. Gray: Did his job.

We end today with a quote from Casey:

“We compete in practice harder than we do to start the game. Our starts in the first quarter and third quarter aren’t who we are. I’ve got to find seven or eight guys who are going to come out and compete.”

Canada gets a big-time sponsor; Good luck to Ujiri in Denver

- August 27th, 2010

Nice to see Canada Basketball get some much-needed cash from Bell. Though having Bell on the jerseys will be pretty weird, the organization desperately needs the sizable funding it will gain in return.

Canada has a real shot to get through the first round of the World Championship in Turkey next week, the group is wide open after Spain. Three teams make it through. Lithuania and France are decimated by injuries and no-shows. New Zealand is a wild card and Lebanon is pretty much just happy to be there.

Good luck to former Raptors executive Masai Ujiri in Denver. He was named executive VP of basketball ops there. He won’t have full general manager powers, the leadership structure there is pretty bizarre, but it’s a pretty substantial step up for the former head of global scouting. Ujiri will have a big say in the fates of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. If they are moved for young players and picks, Chauncey Billups becomes redundant there and could also be moved for solid young building blocks.

And for those that missed it, here‘s DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems hooping in Toronto recently.