Cue the recording: Another slow start, another huge third quarter and another win for the Raptors. For once, these Raptors do a good job of putting away the league’s dregs. We haven’t seen that from a Raptors team in years. Dregs might be strong, but Orlando lost for the 15th straight time on the road and is full marks for its place near the bottom of the NBA’s standings. If Philadelphia wasn’t so brutal, the Magic could well have the worst record of anybody. In the midst of one of the easiest stretches of the schedule, Toronto’s come through, winning 5-of-6. Beatable Cleveland and a Washington team that has proven no match for the Raptors so far, are next.
- There haven’t been many blowouts at home, but the goal of making the Air Canada Centre a tough place to play for visitors seems to be coming to fruition as the Raptors own a 12-3 record there in the past 15 home games.
- Tough to see Amir Johnson hurt his ankle again, especially on a freak play. Casey said he was kicked and should be fine. Will be interesting to see if he practices tomorrow ahead of Tuesday’s game in Cleveland. Johnson was a big contributor to Friday’s win over Cleveland.
- Have joked here in the past that maybe the Raptors just enjoy the challenge of fighting back in games. They certainly do it often enough. DeMar DeRozan said:
“Maybe we just like a challenge sometimes. Put ourselves in a tough situation so we can fight ourselves out, but we’ve got to stop that and understand we’ve got to come out of the gate so we don’t make the game that hard on us.”
- Lowry and DeRozan have had some absurd quarters this season, but the third on Sunday was up there with nearly any of them. Neither of them missed and Lowry played like he was an NBA Jam on fire character.
- That allowed the Raptors to overcome a very uncharacteristic 24 turnovers. That many miscues usually will make you lose, but not against struggling Orlando (a bad team without its best player, Arron Afflalo).
- Is Terrence Ross getting more comfortable handling the ball? Sure looks that way. He’s been putting it on the deck more often lately, which has set up a number of floaters, which appear to be good shots for him. On Sunday, we saw a new wrinkle when Ross, dribbling over halfcourt with his right, stutter-stepped, then moved the ball behind his back from right to left just above the arc, attacked the rim with his left, then spun away from a double-team for a fadeaway. It didn’t go in and was a tough shot, but it was the initial attack that caught my eye. Already an elite shooter and athlete, a Ross confident in his ability to create his own shot would be something to see.
- That’s 25-13 since the Rudy Gay trade. Here are some stats since Dec. 8, the day a short-handed group of Raptors knocked off the Lakers in Los Angeles. The next game, reinforcements arrived from Sacramento.
25 wins since then, tied for second behind only Oklahoma City.
.658 winning percentage, sixth in NBA.
8.7 made threes per game, tied for 7th and percentage is also 7th and also 7th in free throws made (a good sign the offence is mixing it up).
9th in assists per game, 10th-fewest turnovers per game.
10th in offensive rating.
7th in defensive rating.