Posts Tagged ‘Tony Parker

Raptors vs Spurs Points Per Game: Too much depth, talent and team play for Spurs too much for gassed Raptors; Ross gets third start

- December 11th, 2013

Well, that was a game sure to please just about any type of Raptors fan, no? (final score aside for those wanting playoffs)

It was entertaining, the home team fought hard and stunned the Spurs early, there were encouraging signs from Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross and, in the end, San Antonio showed what a championship caliber team looks like and was worth the price of admission.

As always, some thoughts:

- DeMar DeRozan takes (and makes) a lot of tough shots. He was making most of them early, but it’s tough to do that all game. Especially now that he’ll be seeing the top perimeter defender on the other side for the bulk of contests. Once Kawhi Leonard got switched on to him full-time, DeRozan, not surprisingly, wasn’t as effective. He didn’t get a single rebound, but one thing he did quite well, was move the ball. Head coach Dwane Casey said before the game he is looking for DeRozan to improve “his quarterbacking out of the post” and “making opponents pay” for doubling him. DeRozan had seven assists and would have had more had his teammates hit some makeable shots.

- Jonas Valanciunas told me he was simply exhausted after a long trip, the trade of three players and in adjusting to the three hour time change. That’s why, after a dominant start, he faded. Valanciunas was bullied by his old Rytas teammate Aaron Baynes, who benefits from playing sparingly (even with Tiago Splitter out). Valanciunas said Baynes never stops working and he just didn’t have the energy to match him after spending Monday sick in bed. He’s looking forward to working with his new teammates the next couple of days and getting a new start on Friday against Philadelphia.

- Terrence Ross  showed some flashes as well as the inconsistency that is still holding him back. There’s no question that Ross has the tools to be an effective NBA player. The mental side is where things need to come together. He’s making progress though and now will be given a larger role for the rest of the season to see just how far he can progress in his second season.

“It’s a great opportunity for him. Terrence is — and I’ve said this before and people laugh — he’s one of the most athletic guys I’ve coached in the NBA. He’s a freak athlete. But now he’s got to put all the fundamentals in there, the consistency, the mixture of shooting and driving and passing off the dribble. All those things need to be developed. He’s a great athlete, now he’s got to harness that and bring it in and be a complete player and do it on a consistent basis,” Casey said.

- Ross told me he’s ready for the challenge. He also said it’s been tough not having Quincy Acy (“he’s like a brother”) around, but said “(Masai Ujiri and his staff) are going to do what we need to do to win.”

- Casey called Greg Popovich “one of my idols.” “He’s one of the last of the cowboys, doing it for that long. They just keep coming out, churning them out. They could have come out with an emotional drunk from last year but they didn’t. They came out with revenge on their mind, which is the what a true championship team will do. That program should be the model for all of us to go after.”

- Pop was in classic form pre-game, berating reporters for lousy questions (he mocked mine,  the first of the session about whether there’s a danger in a depleted team punching above its weight) and, generally having a good time.

On why Matt Bonner remains so popular in Toronto:

“He’s a weirdo. Matty’s Matty. He’s like a lumberjack from New Hampshire. He’s like the dweeb, egghead kind of guy. Highly intelligent. Great sense of humour, well-read, coach can’t understand have of the time. He always has questions that we don’t even know how to answer. That’s why we love him.”

On Pickering’s Cory Joseph:

“You know, he just keeps advancing. He’s a hard-working kid. Really cares, he’s always ready and would probably do better if his coach would play him more.”

“He gets it. If I play him for three games in a row and don’t put him in, he’s ready to go. He’s a classy kid.”

Casey on the Rudy Gay trade:

“The trade was something, Masai’s already talked about, he had to do to give the organization certainty going into the future. It wasn’t anything to do with Rudy’s talent. He’s a talented young man. The fit with he and DeMar was a little different. But it had nothing to do with Rudy whatsoever as a talent. You do that trade coming this way nine times out of 10. It’s nothing to criticize the trade of Rudy coming here. If you remember, we were scratching and clawing for that eighth spot at the time. It was a piece we felt like was going to get us over the hump. It was a talent acquisition. It was a good move. Going forward as far as the direction of the organization, I think Masai did the right thing to give us certainty with financial flexibility going forward.”

On where he and his staff go from here:

“I feel the utmost confidence in our staff and my ability to develop players. That’s what we’ve been doing since we got here. Ed Davis, DeMar — I’ve seen growth in DeMar. Terrence Ross is still growing. Jonas Valanciunas is still growing. We’re working hard at it. There’s not a staff that’s going to work harder as far as working with players. As a coach, you also want to win. That’s my goal, also, to develop and win, which is probably the hardest thing to do in the league. That’s what we were doing. We were working with guys. I don’t want to send a message to Jonas or T-Ross to go out there and make as many mistakes as you can and it doesn’t matter if we win or lose. We’re competing to win. I do know that our job is to develop those guys and get them as good as possible for the rest of the season.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spurs at Raptors Points Per Game:

- February 16th, 2012

Another good game, another tough loss. The Raptors are making an art of entertaining their fans, while still losing enough to stay in the Anthony Davis hunt. As usual, a few thoughts on the game and then some quotes I couldn’t get in to my story.

- DeMar DeRozan really needed that game after being a no-show too often of late. I keep harping on this, but he needs to be that aggressive player in order to succeed. He also took better control of the ball, which is needed since he can’t be turning it over off of strips 1-3 times every night.

- You have to appreciate the Spurs. Nobody ever pays any attention to them, yet all they do is win. Tony Parker: “We are nine in a row so if nobody talks about us, that’s good, we’ll keep playing good basketball.”

- Definitely some strange units out there. Dwane Casey said he was searching for offence with Bargnani, Bayless and Kleiza out. That left more defensive-minded players like James Johnson benched. He said he gave the red hot DeRozan a long break because of the back-to-back. Thought DeRozan would be able to give more down the stretch if he did that.

- Anthony Carter looked finished earlier this year, but now has found his game and is contributing.

- This team sure finds novel ways to lose eh? Five second call one night, two hands on the ball another. A foul out of bounds …

- The Raptors need to have better court awareness and stop taking a ton of offensive fouls. Too many Raptors are charging into opponents and it hurt them on Wednesday.

- Amir Johnson had been struggling mightily to hit mid-range jump shots this season, but he was nailing them on Wednesday

ONE OF A KIND

Metta World Peace one game, Popovich, the next? As a reporter, you can’t beat that.

The irascible Popovich is always a riot. With a dry, quick wit, Pop mixes bemusement with frustration as well as anybody.

He had some gems before the game:

To a larger crowd of media than he is used to: “It’s Toronto and San Antonio, take a break.”

On whether Cory Joseph should have stayed longer at Texas: “What am I, the answer man?”

On Joseph’s biggest challenge: “(Said dryly and in a short manner) “He’s a rookie.”

Some quotes on Joseph:

Cory Joseph:

“I don’t try to put pressure on myself, I just try to focus on the gameplan, play hard and let everything decide itself.

(Talks to Tristan about once a week). Only had like a week of training camp. Wanted me to get some game experience. Everybody looks at the D-League like it’s a bad thing, but Austin’s a good thing for me. Good coaching staff. (Soak up) A whole lot. Decision-making, what decisions I should do within the system. Just try to soak up as much as possible. Anybody can play in this league just given the opportunity.

(Watch Texas?) Obviously I miss it, but I’m happy where I am now. I watch them a couple of times when I’m able to. Hopefully they can win this next couple of games to solidify themselves in the tournament. That would make me happier.

Talk to Myck. Tell him to run your team, make sure you get the wins.”

Tony Parker:

“They played them all the way to the end. Just tough games for Toronto.

If we play like that, move the ball great and everybody’s healthy, we have a good chance to go all the way.

We played basketball all season long then TD got hurt and Manu went down the last game (last year).

On Cory: It’s tough as a point guard he’s not playing that much and we don’t practise so it’s tough for him to get some minutes because he doesn’t know the system, he doesn’t know the plays and Pop, sometimes he calls plays he didn’t call for 10 games. I’ve been here 11 years so I know the plays, so it’s tough for Cory. When you’re a point guard and you have a coach like Pop, you need practice time and you need to know all the plays and right now we never practice, we just rest, play, rest, play. He’s talented, we just have to be patient with him.”

Dwane Casey:

“Health is an important thing in this league and when you don’t have it you search. Tonight I was searching for any group that could help us.

This is a difficult team to play. We’ve played three emontional games, and I think our team competed in each of them. My hat is off to our guys because I think they competed and any basketball person, in seeing who we have in the floor, talked about how we competed.

That’s important to me, to the organization going forward. It’s going to help us once we get our program on the right spot. We want to continue this culture of playing hard, competing and putting yourself in position to win. What we have to do is execute … executing down the stretch. The game within the game (double dribble, holding call even though he was out of bounds). All the young guys need to learn how to play in those situations.”

“DeRozan. His major challenge this summer is going to be getting in the weight room, getting bigger, getting stronger. (Looking at Kobe and LeBron) looking at how big and strong those guys are and keeping the athleticism.”

“Good for psyche? No question. We don’t want to be satisfied with close, but with the growth that we’re making against the top teams (without top scorers), my hat is off to the guys who competed. The guys took up the slack.”