Game No. 53: Raptors 99, Wizards 92

Nene, Trevor Booker, Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche were all out of the lineup for the Wizards tonight, so they were easy pickings for most NBA teams. The Raptors are not most NBA teams, so they had to fend off a late charge where the Wizards got within three points with a little over a minute to go in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the Wizards won the battle of who could care less and basically guaranteed they’ll have more lottery ping-pong balls than the Raptors.

1. The Raptors have been outrebounded by their opponents every season since the 2001-02 season. That means that, before this season, the Raptors have been given up more rebounds than they have grabbed for nine straight seasons. The Raptors outrebounded the Wizards 43-31 tonight and now have an advantage of 35 rebounds over their opponents over the course of the season. Aaron Gray is only fourth on the team in total rebounds, but he grabbed eight boards in just 16 minutes tonight and he’s the runaway team leader with 12.5 rebounds per 36 minutes. If he’s willing to re-sign for a few years at around the same $2.5 million he’s making this season, I have no problem with “The White Panther” as the Raptors’ backup center for the near future.

2. Jose Calderon held his own against John Wall once again tonight. In seven head-to-head matchups, Jose Calderon has averaged 11.9 points, 9.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 turnovers and shot 53.8 percent form the field. Meanwhile, John Wall has averaged 16.4 points, 7.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 3 turnovers and shot 42.5 percent from the field. I’m not sure what that says about Calderon or Wall, I’m just presenting the info.

3. Solid all-around game by Andrea Bargnani, although I would have expected nothing less against such a low-rent opposing frontcourt. You’ll see his full line at the bottom of this post, but the free throw attempts, assists and steals were all nice to see from him.

4. It’s too soon to tell if Jan Vesely is going to be a good basketball player, but I’m increasingly questioning the wisdom of drafting players that raw with a pick as high as sixth overall. I know Bismack Biyombo was taken right after him and he’s already shown indications of being a future stud with his rebounding and shot-blocking, but Biyombo’s defensive abilities were clear coming into his rookie season so his performance isn’t completely surprising. With Vesely, we knew he was long, he could run the floor, he was athletic and he could dunk. None of those attributes are necessarily indicative that a prospect is going to turn into a legitimate NBA player. By the time we know one way or another, Vesely will have probably played three seasons and earned $10 million.

5. You know what? The camo uniforms have grown on me. They’re distinctive, they’re for a good cause, and it seems like the Raptors enjoy wearing them. Mind you, the uniforms could be floral print and I’m certain Ben Uzoh and Alan Anderson wouldn’t complain. Also, can we just have Linas Kleiza wear the camo uniform very game from now on? He really does look badass in that getup.

6. I don’t have anything else worthwhile to say about this contest, so here’s your play of the game. It’s Ben Uzoh with a steal leading to a breakaway dunk.

Raptors Player of the Game: Andrea Bargnani — 30 Min, 18 Pts, 6-15 FG, 6-6 FT, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

Wizards Player of the Game: Chris Singleton — 34 Min, 15 Pts, 5-8 FG, 4-4 3Pt, 1-2 FT, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

Comments (12)

  1. why would gray sign for 2.5 million?
    He’s playing next to lesser (IMO) players making twice as much.
    As much as the Raps and fans think he had to sigh here…he was given other oportunities but perhaps liked the idea pf playing more and getting more starts here this year.
    Betting my life he is in demand this summer and for a helluvalot more than 2.5.
    Jesus…you are dreaming.

    • You must be referring to Amir Johnson, who is making $5.5 million to Gray’s $2.5 million. Amir is not a lesser player than Aaron Gray in any part of the game, aside from rebounding. Amir’s a better athlete, better defender, better scorer and has much, much better hands.

    • He probably signed in Toronto because they offered the most money. But more than 2.5Mil? I like Gray, but he’s career backup and still a backup on most teams. Why would anyone pay “a helluvalot more” than 2.5 Mil? That’s insane.

      • Everything you said is nothing more than guesswork.

        Above, Scottt was right when I was referring to Amir. But Amir is simply not better at everything. Amir cannot play center…so to say he is better is nuts.
        Gray can play better at the position he is designed for better than most.
        Look…he is a old school center. He makes others better around him. He rebounds.
        Once again…the fans of the Raps don’t know this cuase they haven’t seen Gray.
        I have.
        Here he is under the restrictions of Casey’s system.
        But he will shine with plays set up inside/out.
        He shines when you have a team that makes outside shot consistantly…not run hot or cold as this team does.

        Without Gray…this team has NOBODY to control the inside.
        Amir!
        Puleeeze….this guy comes and goes and has no business under the basket. He is a forward…no center.

        • I’m a big proponent of re-signing Gray, and think he’s been a bright spot this year, but apart from the fact that Amir is not a center, I don’t understand your gripe with him. He IS more talented than Gray. Gray is a big body who works hard, but has mediocre hands and very little touch around the basket.

      • Agree on all counts

        • Meaning that I really like Gray and I would see him as a keeper.

          More then 2.5M-3M is a stretch though, teams would likely spend that money on athleticism.

  2. 18 points on 15 shots, that’s an elite offensive player out there, folks!

  3. Camo unis are for a “good cause”? What exactly is the Canadian military doing right now that is bringing good to anybody in the world?

    I think it’s a disgrace that MLSE is trying to shove their political views down their fans throats. But I guess that’s neither here nor there on a basketball blog…

    • I’m no military flag waver, but what political views exactly are you talking about? The Raptors are supporting the military personnel, not anything the military is specifically doing.

    • Hold on there, their support is for the men and women who consider combat as their “9-5″ while we do ours in cubicles. Regardless of what one thinks of the reasons for our military being wherever, lets respect, appreciate and acknowledge that they do something most of us couldn’t even handle TRAINING for.

      The raps unis are simply the organization’s way of saying “We see the dangers and labours and stresses of the work our forces do and we would like to recognize them in our way with cammo uniforms.”

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