Memories of Al Jefferson’s game-tying three-pointer resurfaced when Ryan Anderson bounced home a game-tying three pointer with 8 seconds left in regulation. However, Toronto showed great poise by not allowing that to affect their effort in OT. Learning how to win close games will be crucial for this team as they mature.

Raptors 104, Hornets 97

-I vehemently disagree with the decision to leave Jose Calderon as the starter now that Kyle Lowry has returned. As I discussed here, Lowry has a much higher ceiling than Calderon but hasn’t been afforded the opportunity to reach that ceiling. The point that I clearly didn’t stress enough in that article is that it’s incredibly irresponsible to try and base any sort of argument off the 8 games that Jose has started – yet certain pundits continue to do it. Calderon had the benefit of playing against inferior competition and had the benefit of playing without Andrea Bargnani. Jose has improved his defensive tactics and principles this season, but Toronto’s improved defence over the last two weeks is mainly a result of not having a comatose Bargnani floating around. Anyone who thinks Jose is a superior defender to Kyle, needs to take an extended vacation in the Raptors’ video archives. It’s also too small of a sample to judge Lowry. Of course the offence will be smoother with Jose when he’s played with many of these players for 4-5 years. Lowry has played with them for 4-5 weeks! It will take time to learn the habits of your new teammates and discover where they like the ball.

-As Joe talked about in his game thread, it was interesting to see how Lowry and Calderon responded to having this internal competition taken to a new level tonight…

-Greivis Vasquez blew past Calderon three times in the first quarter and all three times it led to scores for New Orleans. He blew by Calderon again for an easy layup in the second quarter. Late in the second quarter Vasquez breezed by Jose for an assist to Lopez + the foul. Vasquez continued to get whatever he wanted on the pick and roll in the third quarter. When Jose checked in for Lowry late in the fourth quarter Vasquez torched him again for a simple dish to Davis – another 3-point play. Vasquez then dropped a floater on the next possession with Calderon nowhere in sight. This is Jose’s Achilles heel – he will never have the foot speed to defend NBA point guards.

-Lowry came into the game with great energy. He moved the ball quickly on offence and was very active on the glass and looking for steals. It appears he responded positively to the added competition from Calderon. There were times earlier this season when Lowry wasn’t as aggressive on offence as he could be. Tonight, it was great to see him drop his shoulder on many occasions and seek out contact. It was a complete effort by Kyle and I didn’t see him make one play that could be described as selfish (perhaps with the exception of his shot late in the fourth). He finished with 17 Pts, 8 Ast, 3 Reb & 2 Blk in 28 minutes off the bench.

-I was beyond shocked to see Lowry exit the game with 4 minutes left in the fourth and an 8-point lead…

-The difference between these two players was summed up when Lowry returned and had the ability to stay in front of Vasquez on the Hornets’ second last possession of regulation – something Calderon failed to do all night. Lowry’s air tight one-on-one defence forced a missed layup. In overtime, Lowry forced Anthony Davis (who is a foot taller) to take a contested fade-away.

-One of the big improvements Toronto has made over the last couple weeks is increasing their off-the-ball movement on offence. The team would be wise to continue running this style of offence, as it leads to easy buckets and gets the team into a good rhythm.

-The off-the-ball screens seem to benefit DeMar DeRozan more than any other player. He sometimes struggles to get free or create shots for himself but he is a tremendous finisher and giving him easy catches makes it a lot easier for him to finish. A few easy buckets in the first half put DeMar in his comfort zone and paid dividends in the fourth quarter and overtime as he made some clutch, difficult shots to put Toronto over the top. His attempted game-winner at the end of regulation left something to be desired as DD settled for a mid-range fade-away. Is there anyone out there that still thinks DeMar’s contract was a bad idea? I’m almost ready to say it was a bargain.

-Pulling Mickael Pietrus instantly after Austin Rivers blew past him for a layup, was a great demonstration of accountability from coach Dwane Casey. Pietrus learned nothing however, as he allowed Rivers to cruise right past him at the start of the third quarter.

-Alan Anderson has no fear of taking big shots. He was 1-6 from downtown before nailing a big three-pointer in the fourth quarter. He also had some tremendous defensive stands. His steal leading to a layup at the end of the second quarter was a momentum changing play. Anderson’s hustle to track down an offensive rebound late in the fourth quarter was huge too. He did a tremendous job guarding Ryan Anderson and the Hornets did themselves a disservice by not switching that matchup. Alan’s final line of 16 Pts, 3 Ast, 3 Stl & 2 Reb belied how well he played. He is a “Dwane Casey” type of player and his role will only expand if he continues to play this way.

-Worth noting that Terrence Ross had what would have been one of the best posters of the season on Jason Smith in the second quarter, but Amir Johnson was called for an offensive foul. Ross had another attempted poster in the second quarter that was almost equally vicious. I didn’t realize (when he was drafted) how smooth and explosive his dunks were – the comparison that keeps resurfacing is Vince Carter.

-Ed Davis still doesn’t have the best form on his jump shot but he believes in it. He bricked a jump shot early in the first quarter but that didn’t deter him from looking for his shot later – he cashed a jumper minutes after his first miss. Davis finished the first quarter with 9 points and some very aggressive takes.

-Amir Johnson had a massive offensive rebound late in the fourth quarter to steal momentum back for Toronto. He quietly had a very impactful game as he centered the small-ball unit that Toronto used for much of the 2nd half and overtime – finishing the game with 12 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Blk & 2 Ast in 38 minutes.

-Raptors went 1-12 from three-point range in the first half and 15-18 from the free throw line. This aggressiveness carried through to the second half as Toronto finished with 25 FT’s and 5 three-pointers. The point guard competition was likely a factor in the fantastic ball security Toronto showed in the first half – 2 turnovers. They finished the game with just 7 turnovers, compared to 16 for the Hornets.

Raptors player of the game: DeMar DeRozan – 30 Pts, 9-22 FG, 11-13 FT, 6 Reb, 3 Stl, 0 TO in 49 mins

Hornets Pelicans player of the game: Greivis Vasquez – 20 Pts, 7-15 FG, 6-6 FT, 14 Ast, 9 Reb, 6 TO in 42 mins

-Toronto heads to the Amway Center in Orlando tomorrow night for a date with the Magic. The Raps defeated Orlando 93-90 at home on December 21st to cap their 5-game winning streak. Both teams played tonight so tired legs should not be a factor (with the exception of DD, who was the only player to top 40 minutes). Arron Afflalo got the better of DeRozan in their last matchup so that battle will be key. After their trip to Orlando, Toronto will play their next 6 games at home, where they are 7-5 this season…

Comments (75)

  1. I think Lowry gave us a clear advantage with the bench.
    Don’t fret too much over PG situation. Its win-win. And I haven’t heard one reader say Jose was the better defender.

    • Jose is a bench pg lowry should be starting just because he got injured doesn’t mean he should lose the starting role

      • Why so definite that Lowry should start. Intangibles or not, you can’t dispute the results with Jose starting.
        When the team had a meeting, although I wasn’t there, leaks suggested that two players were singled out. Bargnani and your guy Lowry.
        In less than 10 games his teammates felt a need to address him. And from what I gather it was similar in PHX and HOU.

        Lowry might turn into a good PG, but right now he hasn’t shown me that he can run an offence. You can argue, that for the long term good of the team, Lowry should start, but your basing that on hope that he developes into that leader, not on anything he has shown so far this year.

        Stating Jose is a bench PG makes me wonder if you follow the Raptors. He has repeatedly won the starting PG position.

        • It would be interesting that he was called out in Phoenix considering he never played for the Suns. They must have really hated him when he was on Memphis if they were going to address him at all. I can understand the enjoyment of the fantasy ride Calderon took the team on as he beat the likes of Dallas, Cleveland, Orlando, Detroit and Houston. He is a good PG but he hasn’t done anything with Toronto and even though some think he is better than Lowry, its time to move on.

          Its hard to break a losing mentality when you keep your losers around. Calderon was on the team when they made the playoffs but it wasn’t because of him. He had a great offence in front of him and he just had to get others the ball. He’s a 31 year old PG thats not going to turn into Steve Nash. Just accept the change and move on. It needs to happen.

        • You are correct!

        • IF JOSE IS YOUR CHOICE FOR A STARTING POINT GUARD YOU SHOULD KEEP PLAYING HOCKEY NO WAY YOU ARE A BALLER!

  2. I am a casey fan but i cannot support his idiotic decision to start calderon over lowry. Lowry better be starting again within a week. Calderon was the starting pg when they beat 5 shitty teams in a row. So what? Any observer of basketball can see lowry is more talented than calderon on o and d. This team NEEDS lowry’s shot creating ability and defence. Simply put, he is the best player on this team by big margin.

  3. Calderon is definitely on his way out and the playing time is good to showcase him/ up his value. In the meantime, Lowry comes off the bench hungry until Calderon is traded.

  4. Solid win despite the fact they almost blew it. I was worried that the momentum had shifted in favour of the home team in overtime but the Raptors managed to pull it off. Some thoughts:

    - DeRozan has really developed his game of late and is starting to justify that new contract he received. He was aggressive from the start and while his shot wasn’t falling he kept attacking the rim.

    - I was surprised by how well Lowry did coming off his injury. I was mostly impressed by how little he forced offensively, everything seemed to just come to him naturally. Good thing that he came up big because Jose was having an off day on both ends of the court tonight.

    - With regards to that Terrence Ross dunk, assuming we’re talking about the same one where on Smith, the offensive foul was rightfully called on Amir Johnson who was holding smith and not allowing him to rotate over. Still, that was a nasty dunk!

    • Ah I didn’t see that correctly. Thought the foul was called on Ross for leading with his forearm

  5. You know what I like? How into it the Raptors bench always is. I don’t know if it’s a meaningless moral victory, but the guys on this roster really pull for each other. That’s a fairly significant positive when you’re 10-20 and there’s some competition for starting spots. In contrast, everyone appeared to be wearing seatbelts on NO bench.

  6. Nice win even though like you said, substituting Calderon into the game to close it out when the “bench” was pretty much on their way to sealing the game almost cost us the victory.

    I’ve already blabbed about this on Real GM because I just had to get it out somewhere so I apologize if any of you double dip and have to read my annoying whining more then once, but I was absolutely disgusted by Jack’s comments during the game about Lowry.

    Did Jack really have to verbally pat Lowry on the head after every good play he made as if he’s some malcontent scrub incapable of playing well within a system? What was with constantly insinuating that he is selfish by referring to everything he did as “unselfish” tonight? I’m so sick of this organization demonizing their best players, yet, I know we’ll never hear similar subliminal criticism of Bargnani/Calderon.

    The fact that we even have to use those words (selfish/unselfish) to describe Lowry’s game as if having the balls to take big shots in certain situations when the rest of your team is full of incompetent one on one players makes me sick. We’re now applauding because a really strong part of Lowry’s game ie his ability to create for himself is now being stifled in able to fit into some so called system that Casey apparently runs. He played the same as he always does to close out the game and we needed every play he made to pull that game out.

    Rant over.

    • Amen brother. I really think lowry took all those shots at the end of those games and played “hero ball” was because he saw what was around him. Derozan? Hes a bench scorer on a good team. Bargnani? Enough said. Lowry knows he is the best player on the team and I dont fault him for that. Its sickening how much hate he gets here and on raps republic.

    • I understand what you’re getting at but I do think there’s some truth to the commentators comments about his “selfish” play. However, I don’t think Lowry is a selfish player, I think it was more of a case of a new player trying to adjust to a new team and ending up doing too much. If you look at today’s game, he let the game come to him, didn’t really look to attack every single time he touched the ball and finished with a solid stat line of 17 points (off 5-of-7 shooting), 8 assists and most importantly 0 turnovers.

      Like I’ve said before, having two point guards of the quality of Lowry and Calderon will only be beneficial to this team. Dwayne Casey just needs to figure out the best way to get the most out of both of them.

      Also, I know it’s just the Hornets, but I really do think this Raptors team is good enough to fight for a play-off spot.

    • Yeah. I hear your rant. My only offer of consolation is that I think pretty much anyone who knows something about bball understands that Lowry is the best player on our team by a significant margin. I have no doubt that in a week he’ll be starting again.

      What pissed me off about the whole situation was that we held Lowry accountable for all the right reasons, but have never done that with Bargs. Lowry was benched coming back from injury to try and make him trust his teammates more, on O (by getting more players involved) and o D by trusting rotations and not just charging after the ball. Fair enough. But when Bargs is taking turrrible shots and refusing to rotate at all on D, while allowing a revolving door of opposing players to fly in for the offensive rebound, he get to play ‘come hell or high water’. F*ck that pisses me off.

    • To be fair, there was some subliminal criticism of Bargnani during the a game(s) within that 5-game winning streak. I believe Jack Armstrong blatantly said that something like (and I’m paraphrasing), “who said a team needs a STRETCH-FOUR to be successful?!” and the way he said it on the air was probably more of a direct hit than the minor shots veiled under compliments that he was making at Lowry during last night’s game.

      Make no mistake about it, Bargnani gets bashed. But, honestly, who cares about the bashing?! After seven years of unfulfilled promise and special treatment by the GM, I think most people just want to see Bargnani and his corny PRIMO commercials GONE for good.

  7. Calderon “had the benefit of not playing with Andrea Bargnani.”

    Hahaha! That made me spit out my coffee lol.

  8. > Is there anyone out there that still thinks DeMar’s contract was a bad idea?

    Waves.

    As Nate Silver said on a Grantland podcast recently, you don’t spend big money on mid-tier players. It’s the $7-10 million contracts that kill teams. His game really hasn’t improved very much. 0.308 from three.15.1 PER. Mediocre defense. It’s not his fault Colangelo threw too much money at him, but that contract will not help the Raptors.

    • Did u read the state line. Also a player can have a huge impact on the game without putting up big numbers so DD was a great contract

      • State line? Did you get autocorrected from stat line? I don’t know what that means.

        I quite like DeRozan. My issue is with the contract, which, as I said, is Colangelo’s fault, not DD’s. But I do not think DeRozan has gotten much better nor do I see much in the way of intangibles. Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but what story they do tell is not great for DeMar — not terrible, but not great, either.

        Anyhow, I hope he keeps getting better. He seems like a good guy and I think he is a good piece of the puzzle.

    • Oh give me a f*cking break.

    • The contract is not always the story – i.e., not all mid-tier contracts are bad. Is KL’s contract bad just cuz he’s paid ~$6 mil per?

      Yes, mid tier contracts to mediocre players are dangerous, but credit to Demar – he actually has really improved in areas other than scoring. He’s still a bad 3pt shooter, but 30% is much better than it was, he’s now a better rebounder, and he’s got a new post game that we’ve never seen before. He’s still a bad defender, though.

      Point is, 10M is not a bad price tag for what he brings. The really bad mid-tier contracts on this team are Klieza and Fields.

    • You’re not alone with that Noah. I still think he’s overpaid as well.

    • Anyone who thinks Demar hasn’t improved his game, also hasn’t been watching the last few years. His ability to stay with his man off-the-ball on defense has gotten MUCH better, he also picks up AT LEAST 2-3 steals every night. This is in addition to his improved ball handling, ability to get to the rim/hit free throws and his post-up game on smaller defenders. Other than his 3pt and clutch/end-of-game shooting, there are few areas of his game where he HASN’T improved.

      Man some of you ‘fans’ need to give your head a shake. Yes this team is still bad, but picking on Demar and his contract is pretty ridiculous considering he’s been our most consistent player and plays almost the entire game, every game. If this kid ever finds the ability to hit a clutch shot, he will be up there with the best in the league.

      • NOBODY in here has said that DeMar has not improved.

        Will he ever improve enough to justify paying him $10M a season? I say no, but we have yet to see that.

        • Uhh the post I responded to said exactly that. ‘His game hasn’t really improved much’, but thanks for comin’ out.

          • “…hasn’t really improved much.”

            Meaning he HAS improved, but not by much.

            Thanks for comin’ out.

        • You should also take a look at some of the other $10M contracts around the league if you think Demar’s contract isn’t justified. I wouldn’t call it a bargain, but it’s justified.

          • Ok, here’s some that make relatively the same as DeMar. There’s also probably plenty more…Jrue Holliday, Thaddeus Young, Joakim Noah, Rajon Rondo, Nicolas Batum, DeAndre Jordan, Tony Parker, Serge Ibaka, Ty Lawson, Ryan Anderson.

            Compare ANY of these guys to DeMar, and his contract looks bad.

        • Oh, and the kid is still only 23. Find something else to complain about and f*ck off

          • Wow. Not only did you pick n choose the best contracts, you also picked guys that play on better teams with better players than Toronto.

            Also, if you think all those guys are better than DD then I won`t even bother arguing with you. That`s actually such a ridiculous statement. Go compare some of the stats of those guys to DD, then factor in that they play on better teams with other better players around them, and they`re all older. Ryan Anderson, REALLY LOL

          • The only thing ridiculous is you. I did EXACTLY what you said, which was: “You should also take a look at some of the other $10M contracts around the league if you think Demar’s contract isn’t justified.”

            Which is what I did, and not even that list is good enough. Go figure.

            Good choice Duke, because you clearly have run out of excuses for DeMar.

        • And he has improved a lot since his rookie year. He was never supposed to be a Durant or Lebron, and anyone who thinks players become great overnight are delusional. Even compared to last season, his game has improved significantly.

          • The point of my original post was about the value of his contract. And the point of Nate Silver’s comment was that, due to the salary cap, value in the NBA is from rookie contracts and max players. Sure, a team can handle one or two inflated contracts. But BC keeps handing out mid-range deals for middling players. That kills a team.

            As for DD improving … sure he is, but not a lot. Take a look at his advanced stats; the gains are pretty incremental:
            http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/d/derozde01.html

          • Noah, I’ve said that in the past as well.

            It appears that not many people here pay attention to a players advanced stats, only their PPG which says NOTHING about how good a player is.

          • Other than Parker & Rondo, there are no players on that list that are substantially better than Demar. Some are marginally better, some comparable and a couple that aren`t. Making your argument about his contract being bad completely irrelevant.

            And if you think all those players are better than Demar, you`re a moron. Put down whatever you`re smoking!

          • Actually, I’d take any of the guys on that list I made over DeMar right now.

            There’s a reason why just about every reputable NBA expert said it was a bad contract. Because it is, plain and simple. The comparisons between DeMar and those players is not irrelavent at all. It shows $10M that was better spent on players that aren’t one dimensional like DD is.

            If you think DeMar is better than those guys just because he scores more PPG, you’re a moron.

          • Considering he has comparable (and some better) numbers all around, not just ppg, how the fuck does that make him one-dimensional? If he’s picking up 5 rebounds a game, 1-2 steals, a few assists. 45% shot (not including 3s) and gets to the line more than most of those guys. Do you even know the definition of one-dimensional?

            I’d love to hear you give some of these mysterious intangibles that make Anderson, Young, Batum, etc. such better players than Demar. Are they carrying their teams to a great record? No. Do they have better all around numbers than DD? No. Are they hitting game-winning shots in the clutch? No.

            Face it, you’re just a hater and a delusional moron.

          • Also real funny how you mention guys like DeAndre Jordan and Ibaka, who play with Chris Paul, Griffin, Durant, West brook, etc. Im not saying either of them are good players, but your comparisons are out of whack. Put Jordan or Ibaka on the Raptors in place of Derozan. You think this team would have a much better record?

            And excuse me if you, a raptoblog reader, would take all those guys over DD. Didn’t know you had such highly respected opinions In . And most of the skeptic

          • That should say ‘I’m not saying they aren’t good players’ btw^^^

            And it cut my comment short. Should read: most of the skeptics that bitched about DD’s contract earlier this year have either shut up or changed their opinion. If he keeps up his current play, and continues to improve, yes the kid earned his contract. End of story

          • The delusional moron is you. Looking at per game stats shows very little as to what a player does that impacts a game, or his team.

            Duke, why don’t you lookup what “advanced stats” are, then get back to me. Clearly you have never heard of them and have no idea what they are.

          • Per game stats show very little as to how a player impacts the game? Are you f*ckin retarded?

            And I know what advances stats are, jackass. But I don’t have the time to go through and compare every player in your argument. Im an above-average NBA fan who watches most games unless its 2 bad teams. I know enough to know that you can’t back up your argument.

          • Just outta curiosity, does BP stand for buttplug? Cuz it just sounds like you have your head so far up your ass when it comes to Derozan.

          • “But I don’t have the time to go through and compare every player in your argument.”

            Why, of course not! Because then if you DID see the stats, you’d agree with me on how bad DeMar looks compared to them.

            “I know enough to know that you can’t back up your argument.”

            Where have you been? I provided 10 players that back up my argument. So, then just go based off of “knowledge” instead of actual fact.

            Brilliant plan Duke, just brilliant.

          • You named 10 players but that’s not backing up your argument.

            Your original point was that ALL those guys make Demar’s contract look bad, meaning you think they’re all far better players. So if you made the argument, you should be backing it up with stats. And I’m telling you that you won’t be able to back up your argument. Why should I waste my time going through the numbers because of a ridiculous statement that you made. Come on stats boy, prove that all these guys are better than Derozan.

          • And yes, any idiot who says per game stats show very little about how a player impacts a game.. is not worth arguing with.

          • Good idea Duke, because I’m not really sure what you’re still “arguing” about anyways. You’re trying to throw more personal attacks on me than any actual argument.

            I gave you comparable players, but you refuse to look at the stats to compare, and yet you still think you’re right.

            *sigh* Oh well, you can think what you want.

    • His game hasn’t improved very much?? As you said, he’s shooting 31% from three and just two years ago he was shooting 9%. That’s significant improvement. He’s also sporting a 13% DRR which is much higher than his previous career best of 10%. His career-high ast/TO ratio is an indication of better ball-handling. I would argue he is more locked in on defence and is making passes than he ever has before.

      PER is very affected by team play so it’s not fair to judge him solely based on that number

      • DD’s 3point shooting:
        2009 – 0.250
        2010 – 0.096
        2011 – 0.261
        2011 – 0.308

        Clearly his 2nd year was an aberration (a historically bad aberration, but an aberration). 0.250 vs. 0.308? An improvement, but hardly overwhelming. His TS% and eFG% are still down from his first and second years. Not to mention that his DRat remains 6 points worse than his ORat.

        I like DD, but so far he still looks like a pretty average starter to me (in scoring/48min, DD ranks 14th) — better than average rebounder, but less than average at defense, assists, 3pts. And under the CBA, two half-players do not add up to one star. Anyhow, the season is still less than 1/3 done, so there is still time to grow.

        • He only attempted 16 three pointers in that first season (making 4) so that’s the aberration or anomaly or whatever you want to call it. 9% to 26% to 31% looks like steady improvement to me

          • 0.502
            0.469
            0.435
            0.458

            That’s DD’s eFG% over his career. I don’t see steady improvement (his usage has been about the same since his 2nd season).

            Anyhow, I agree that he’s improving. I’m just arguing that it is not overwhelming and he is not going to start pulling in an above average WS/dollar any time soon. But, as I said, that’s more BC’s fault than DeRozan’s.

  9. Should have won this game in the fourth. Lowry is a good player but jacking up that 3 in regulation that got blocked killed us. Anyone else remember how many close game we lost with Lowry at the helm?

    We have no right to call any other teams shitty when the raptors were once sitting at 4-19. Say what you want about Calderon but he won us the games that were winnable and built a new found confidence with this team by sharing the ball first… And scoring second. He did more with less so Oliver stop your hating we still won the game.

    • Don’t want to disagree with your statement until I know what ‘he did more with less so Oliver stop your hating we still won the game’ comment means.

      • Bargnani and Lowry are supposed to be the 2 best players/top point producers on the team. We are supposed to be a better team with those 2 in the line up. To undercut everything Jose did because we faced “inferior” competition and saying that he benefited by being undermanned is a little petty. Give credit where credit is due.

  10. Ok in theory I can agree. They are supposed to be the 2 best players/top point producers – I like how you say producers and not scorers – but they aren’t. With Bargnani going out, less actually turned into more. No Bargnani meant more Ed Davis and Amir and Valanciunis (before broken hand). Calderon had the benefit of getting offensive players that keep the ball moving. Bargs is someone who gets the ball, stops the offence and then makes a ridiculous drive to the bucket while making a charging foul, or jacking up a 3 that has about a 30% chance of going in. Bargs doesn’t ‘produce’ points at all because he can barely score, can’t pass for a big man, and definitely can’t rebound as a big man either. .`. he makes the players around him worse. This is something Lowry had to deal with because as a new man coming to the team, he’s told that Barney is a big part of the offence and that he needs to get ball to Barney because thats what they are both paid for. But when Barney sucks, they both look bad.

    Now we can’t undercut everything Jose has done because some of his play has been lights out and at times he can appear to be clutch, but to say that he did more with less IMO is an incorrect statement. He got the benefit of Bargnani getting injured so every other player on the team could step up and play well – Anderson (PS who the fuck is this guy), Ross, Davis, Johnson, and even Pietris at times. … Jesus what a rant, sorry for making it so long.

    • Yea bargnani stinks… Let blame him for global warming too

      Out of all those players you just listed … Who can actually be considered a starter in this league other than maybe Davis?

      We just won 6 out of 7 with a bunch of benchwarmers. Jose did more with less… I stand by my statement

      • Can we? I don’t know if that would work though because I’m freezing my ass off today.

        However, the argument of ‘who would be a starter in this league on a different team’ is irrelevant because all of those players are on the RAPTORS. And if you are going that route, Calderon would fall into that category of ‘who can be a starter in this league’. There is a reason why they are constantly trying to replace him. Valanciunus is the teams future C and Ross can be a starter one day, but hey, hes a rookie right now. I didn’t even mention DDR either. Notice how he is playing better without Barney there as well?

        Stand by your statement all you want. I think you’re missing the big picture. Small sample sizes of 6 out of 7 against bad teams isn’t the big picture.

        • Your missing the argument buddy . You keep taking a out the rest of the team and barney… I’m talking about our 2 PGs. Lowery and Calderon play with the same players. Calderon wins.. Lowry doesn’t . Calderon consistently wins back the starting PG position… Lowry loses them. Lowry lost it in Houston and now Toronto. Think about it.

          I do see the big picture Kyle Lowry= Mike James and raps in the lottery

          • Oh dear. Getting injured and losing your starting spot in a convenient time for the team to win games is a magic act. We can forget about Barney if you’d like. Calderon didn’t win any starting job. A player getting hurt (which I’ll admit happens too often to Lowry) is not winning a job. Its getting it handed to you in a can’t lose situation. If team kept on losing its because ‘team is bad anyways, bad start, never gonna get out, watch them tank.’ Team did well though and for some reason you’re chalking it all up to Calderon instead of the weak schedule and the better play of the teammates stepping in for LOWRY and that other guys absense.

            I respect the die hard Calderon fans because he has done good things and has been around for a while, but why are you letting him fool you?

          • There is no such thing as a weak schedule for the raptors… We are among the “weak” and we are not pre ordained to win over anybody…. Instead of blaming injuries, bad teammates, schedule… Give me something positive that’ Lowry has done to contribute to a win. Look at the stats … Lowry only has 2 maybe 3 wins as a starter. Calderon plays within his ability and is a true quarterback of a team by getting others involved.

          • Hey dude it won’t let me reply lower and I dont’ know why…sorry.

            To continue the discussion, you’re tying my hands. If I can’t use injuries or bad teammates or the schedule – which are the same reasons Calderon has done well, with the difference being the timing – in the small sample size, Calderon looks better than Lowry thus far.

            I won’t say weak schedule anymore, but games the team is expected to win. Because of the bad start they are expected to be in that lower tier of teams when they are capable of being better. Its just a learning process. Double and triple overtime games against Western Conference teams at home that resulted in losses were tough to take, but they were right there with those teams it just didn’t go their way. That is why I’d put them in a category where they have games they are expected to win. Washington, Charlotte and New Orleans don’t have that going for them. Toronto would be expected to beat those 3 teams while none of those 3 would be expected to beat TO… IMO of course.

            Wel’ll see how things play out as the next few games go on. I’d like them to win any way they can, but Calderon is doing this with smoke and mirrors, not the skill he had a few years ago.

  11. “Is there anyone out there that still thinks DeMar’s contract was a bad idea? I’m almost ready to say it was a bargain.”

    I still do. If anything, the contract isn’t as bad as we all thought. But it’s still not a good contract for what he gives you. Also, far from a bargain, IMO.

    • I was saying the same thing about AB’s contract about 10 games in last season. Clearly I was wrong.

      DD’s contract was horrible for what he had provided to the team prior to it’s signing.

      However, DD has really worked on his game and found his niche this season. I not believe that he will earn it in the future. He has also shown the drive to continue getting better every game. I just don’t see that with Bargs. Wasted talent there. So sad, too bad.

  12. I wonder how Ross’s ceiling is? All I know is that I really like watching him play.

  13. I really love Jose, but Lowry is much better. If Lowry stayed healthy and had the opportunity to play against the weaker opponents we’ve seen recently, and the advantage of NOT having underperforming Primo Bargnani on the floor with him wasting space, we would’ve seen it and there would be no issue. I love Jose, but regardless of who “starts”, a healthy Lowry should be getting way more minutes going forward.

  14. Oliver,

    Calderon is a top assist man. He is a better faciltator than Lowry, period. That is just the simple truth.

    That is to take nothing away from Lowry, he is a good player, but Jose is elite when it comes to assists.

    • Yes he is. Top 5 even. But that doesn’t compensate for his D.

      He really needs to be one of the best second unit point guards in the league for some team. I’d like that team to be the Raptors. But I’d insist on him sticking to his backup role.

    • It’s not an issue of facilitating. It’s an issue of building a good team. Calderon bring a lot to the table on offense … and he takes a lot away, too (especially, but not only, on defense).

      Take a look at the top assist guys in the league. Many of them are among the league’s best players. But a lot of them are not.
      http://bit.ly/VbnjTu

      Calderon is 4th, but Lowry is 13th (still not bad). But of the top 13, Calderon’s PER is 7th and Lowry’s is 4th. Lowry’s WS/48 is 3rd and Calderon’s is 6th.

      Personally, I’ll take the guy who can play better defense.

  15. Wow, so many comments. The PG controversies always get our fans riled up.

    If Jose is being showcased, then can someone tell me what teams are supposed to be interested in him? If not, then he should immediately go back to being the backup PG.

    I just don’t buy the trade talk. There is no team that would want him and his $12M salary right now. He will finish the year here and then someone will give him a $15 to $18M salary for 3 more years. This is his worth right now. He is clearly one of the top dozen or better starters in the league on O, but when combined with his middle of the pack for backups on D, he clearly can NOT be a starting PG in the league. Maybe you could argue it a few years ago, but now with the glut of quality PGs in the league, you just can’t anymore.

    Lowry needs to be given the chance to grow with the future core of the team. If there are clearly personality conflicts after a few more months go by, then reconsider your options. For now, he needs to be given that chance. I would much rather sacrifice some current ‘running the team’ skill in exchange for his vastly superior defensive ability and willingness to take it to the rim from time to time. Anything he learns or develops with the team on top of this, well, that is just gravy that will earn him a higher extension, and give us all more entertainment value in the future.

    Do not trade AA. Give him a 2 year extension instead. He may not be a starter quality guy going forward for this team, or any other considering his age, but he is definitely a glue guy who knows the game and has shown a willingness to do whatever it takes to help get a win. As I’ve been saying all of last year and this one :)

    • > There is no team that would want him and his $12M salary right now.

      Expiring salaries are worth much more when few teams are below the salary cap. But at the end of this season, 15 teams will be below the salary cap. That gives teams looking to shed salary a lot of options for trades. So, yes, I agree, there is probably not a lot of demand of Jose’s expiring contract this year.

      • Crazy idea and I’ve done NO research to back this up but Miami would take him. He’s an upgrade over Chalmers (at fascilitating) and his lacking defence would be picked up by others on the team. But like I said, I’ve done no research and don’t know if that would fit.

        • Very possible. Although I personally would be loathed to do anything to help Miami win more.

          Maybe we could trade Bargnani to them? ;-)

        • I actually just got back from 2 weeks in Miami last night, and the Heat writers and fans seem perfectly content with the PG combo of Chalmers and Cole. In fact they seem incredibly high on Norris Cole’s growth going forward. Also don’t forget that both Wade and Lebron are playmakers at the 2 & 3. I can’t see Calderon ending up there unless they have injury issues. From reading the papers there daily, the Heat don’t seem to be looking for anything except a proven depth bigman, Bosh’s frailty seems to scare many there. Maybe Dallas with Fisher now retiring? I personally like Darren Collison, but the organization doesn’t seem sold on him to run the show there.

  16. Oliver Macklem, I can’t beleive you’re bashing players in this post. So you’re saying that Jose doesn’t deserve to start, even after this team has finally started to play well and string some wins together? Blaming Bargnani for Calderon’s recent success is just wrong…. Jose deserves a ton of credit for his recent play. I don’t see Dwayne Casey’s name anywhere in your blog. Why aren’t you calling him out for not starting Lowry? Lowry has a higher ceiling than Calderon, no question. Lowry will eventually be the starter for this team, relax. The team is winning, Lowry just came back from an injury, and Calderon is playing some of the best basketball of his career. I can’t beleive you have the nerve to continuously talk bad about Calderon, one of the classiest/respected players in the league. Give your head a shake.

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