-The Lakers have been a terrible defensive team all season and that trend continued on Sunday morning as they gave up 108 points to the Raptors. This allowed Toronto to break a 27-game streak of losing when they allowed 100 points. Toronto was aided by a first half ejection of Dwight Howard but nonetheless it was refreshing to see certain members of the starting lineup play so well on the offensive end.

Raptors 108, Lakers 103

-1pm ET starts do not suit West Coast teams. The Lakers got off to an extremely sluggish start, making just one field goal in the first 4 minutes. This was similar to the start Houston had in Toronto, in mid-December.

-Aaron Gray’s early performance was a direct indication of the Lakers lackadaisical play. Gray blocked Dwight Howard early in the first quarter and then converted a layup plus the foul later in the frame.

-Landry Fields had a fantastic first quarter. He racked up 7 rebounds and made two mid-range jump shots. Those two shots gave him the confidence to attempt a three-pointer. If Landry wants to stay in the starting lineup, he has to shoot threes. As it stands, Jose Calderon is the only member of the starting lineup that takes and makes three-pointers. The defence collapses too quickly if Jose is the only person stretching the floor. In the third quarter, Fields make two nifty baseline cuts that resulted in dunks.

-When you consider the defence he played on Kobe Bryant, this was the best game we have seen from Landry Fields all season. Kobe couldn’t beat Fields off the dribble and every shot he took was contested.

-Alan Anderson is a crafty player and he fills the role of ‘team pest’ very well. Late in the second quarter, Anderson baited Dwight Howard into a physical altercation after a free throw, which resulted in double technicals. This was Howard’s second technical foul of the game, which meant he was subsequently ejected. Anderson has gotten into small spats numerous times this season and it often gives the Raptors an emotional boost. After never being ejected once in the first 8 years of his career, Howard has now been ejected twice in the last three weeks.

-Rough first half for DeMar DeRozan. In the first 24 minutes, he had 4 turnovers, 6 points and 0 rebounds. The biggest issue for DeMar, is that defences are keying on him because nobody else in the starting lineup is capable of creating their own shot. Help defence comes quickly to DeMar because the opposition is never worried about anything Fields, Gray, Davis or Calderon will do (with the exception of Jose jump shots). When the shot clock is winding down, DeMar is often stuck trying to bail out his team, which leads to very low percentage shots.

-Inserting Kyle Lowry and/or Alan Anderson into the starting lineup would alleviate some of that pressure from DeMar because both those players can create their own shot.

-Lowry made his presence felt in the 4th quarter with back-to-back three-pointers. The second one was a pull-up with about 21 seconds left on the shot clock. I don’t endorse this shot selection but there is something to be said for having the balls to take these shots.

-I don’t understand Dwane Casey’s fascination with randomly throwing the zone defence out there. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to when it is used and it helps the opposition get whatever matchup they want. Kobe Bryant was being blanketed by Landry Fields and then Toronto switched to zone and Kobe was able to get two straight possesions against DeMar – he promptly cashed two jump shots.

-Ed Davis had a quietly efficient afternoon. He finished with 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting to go with 8 rebounds. That might seem like a very average afternoon, but to put it in perspective, consider this: In 21 games this season, Andrea Bargnani finished with 18+ pts and 8+ rebounds just 3 times…

-Jose Calderon was looking for his jump shot all afternoon and it paid huge dividends for the Raptors in the fourth quarter as he hit two clutch jump shots to keep the Lakers at bay. Jose HAS to be looking for his shot when he starts because (as I have mentioned several times) there are very few scorers in the starting lineup. Calderon had an excellent game and he helped the starting lineup out-produce the bench – which is a rarity for this team in recent weeks.

-Amir Johnson was very effective in limited minutes this afternoon – especially in the fourth quarter. He played perfect defence on Pau Gasol late in the fourth – not biting on several up-fakes and then stuffing Gasol in a crucial defensive stand. Amir finished with 9 Pts, 8 Reb & 3 Ast in just 22 minutes.

Raptors player of the game: Landry Fields – 18 Pts, 8-11 FG, 2-4 FT, 10 Reb, 4 Stl

Lakers player of the game: Pau Gasol – 25 Pts, 10-15 FG, 5-6 FT, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

Toronto travels to Miami next for a date with the Heat on Wednesday. I actually expect Toronto to be competitive in this game. The Heat are playing very sloppy basketball of late and have been coasting through most of the regular season. Landry Fields, Alan Anderson and Terrence Ross should help the Raps contain Wade and James, while Toronto’s lack of size won’t be exposed by a Heat team that rebounds very poorly.

Comments (24)

  1. ill join the riot if primo starts, ed davis is looking more and more comfortable each and every game especially on the offensive end, hes still pretty raw in terms of his post game and jimmy but hes shown he can run the floor and seems to have pretty good hands, i hope colangelo (if hes still there) offers him a 4 year extension to start the season next year, if he can get bigger and stronger and become a steady double double guy for us our front court looks pretty promising for the future..

  2. Jose Jose Jose Jossayyyyy!!! Jossayyyyy!!! Jossayyyyy !!!!

  3. This team is so boring, can’t wait until they make some kind of roster/management move so there’s actually something to talk about.

    They win, they lose, same flaws exist, same cases of Casey randomly benching one of our best players for no apparent reason keep popping up but we just choose to overlook it all when they win. It goes on and on.

    • Yes how boring of them to beat a Lakers team that features Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight and Pau Gasol!

      Note to Casey and management: please make some trades to avoid winning against the Lakers in the future!

      • The Lakers are a piece of shit, defensive disaster of a team that everyone lights up (until further notice). That win doesn’t mean significantly more than any of their other wins, to be honest.

        I’d rather focus on Casey correcting the same mistakes he makes every game instead of letting the result of a particular game dictate my opinion.

        • You’re a piece of shit. And you’re also an idiot for watching Raptor games, then reading blogs, then commenting about how bored you are with this team.

        • There’s no doubt that this Lakers team is a disaster right now but keep in mind that prior to this win, the Raptors have last 8 of the last 9 games against the Lakers. Psychologically, this is a huge win for the Raptors, especially considering the players they were facing. For me, that’s the biggest positive to take away from this game, the sense of belief and confidence that the young guys like DeRozan, Ed Davis and T.Ross will take away from this game.

    • I have to agree about Casey’s game management. I was at a game earlier in the season (close to remembrance day). The rap’s outplayed the opponent in the first quarter and had an absolute huge lead. Casey benches the starting line up and keeps them off for most of the 2nd quarter, the lead evaporates, he does not put them back in until it is too late. A better coach would of taken the back up players off as soon as it looked like the game was getting out of hand. The excuse made by the reporters was, the Raptors would be going on a long road trip so Casey was trying to give them some rest.

      My point, when you have a game you can win, win the game, and worry about resting your players in garbage games that get away from you. Bad player management for a coach who has been coaching in the league for sometime.

      • Absolutely agree with your suggested solution about going all in with your best players in a game you are in a position to win.

        It’s just hard to tell whether Casey made those poor decisions because he was afraid of backlash from certain players and from upper management or whether those decisions were all his choice and he was just oblivious to other alternatives.

    • You sound like a hockey fan.

  4. PBI your a bit of a wild card, but i agree taking Val and Ed D completely out of the 4th quarters when their having solid games and are not in foul trouble is arbitrary. If casey’s argument is experience, then why is terrence ross playing half of each 4th quarter?

    -side note on ross; i dont want to see ross traded because his ceiling hard to gauge and i think he will be good. But sometimes he literally sits on the wing with legs not bent and hands flat against his sides. I realize in sets and life, less can be more. ‘you can run up and down the field and not even score’ but it looks pretty terrible and its often. Especially when Fields is making great off ball and weakside cuts

  5. “The biggest issue for DeMar, is that defences are keying on him because nobody else in the starting lineup is capable of creating their own shot”
    What the hell are you talking about? DD cannot create shots for himself or others. That is why he will never be a 20 ppg score in this league, Ross will be a better player than him in the next couple of years. He is better shooter, better foot speed, defender, rebounder and among other things. DD will never be a complete SG because of his lack of passing , rebounding, and shooting ability.

    • Thank god someone else noticed. I agree 100%… Derozan settles for jump shots after teams start putting on a little pressure. Derozan defense is questionable at best… Like Hollinger said… No one scores and emptier 20 this guy

    • Pretty sure we’ve seen DD create shots for himself both out of the post and from the perimeter this year. Not sure which games you’ve been watching this season but he’s averaging a career-high 17.8 ppg. 52% of his baskets were assisted, which is a career-LOW for Demar, meaning he is creating his own shot more than ever this season. Considering he’s also averaging career-highs this season in PER, REB%, AST-TO ratio and he’s only in his 4th season at 23 years old, I’d say your statement that he will “never be a 20ppg scorer” is probably a little premature.

      I agree Ross projects as a better player because of the things you mentioned (hey, he was a higher draft pick) but you’re discounting the fact that DD would benefit on both ends of the floor from a move to SF

    • While I mostly agree with you, I don’t think you can complain about DeRozan’s rebounding this year — he’s 5th among shooting guards. But, yeah, DD is a poor, inefficient shooter, laterally slow, with poor basketball IQ. He’s a hard worker and I love how much he loves the team, but just wasn’t born with the A+, elite DNA.

      • When he is the only option on the floor that drives or tries to create (not all the time but often), it’s pretty easy to shut him down with a double team. Compound that weakness with the fact that he is constantly getting hammered inside and not getting any calls and it quickly becomes obvious why he is settling for jumpers.
        When you have Calderon handing him the ball with 6 or less left on the clock, and not getting to the line with tons of contact, it really is quite amazing that he is averaging as high a a ppg as he is.

  6. Phew! Almost blew another one!

  7. if barny starts over davis its only because BC will be telling casey too do it in wich case mlse if they have any basketball knowledge at all should fire BC . since he always has a primo and pasta hard on for barny . i wish casey was like tom thibodeau , if you don’t play D or give 100 percent effort there’s the bench ! but he cant with BC in his ear and his shit 1st rd 7 foot SG

  8. Not a bad game against a better team. No question this is a guard team right now as the front court threats are minimal. Fields shoots great from 5 feet out and in to the rim. The rest is an adventure.

    Lowry had a decent game as did Jose. I agree he has to look for his shot more than he does. If he’s dropping 20 points and gets 10 assists or so he is right around the premium for top guards in the NBA. I can live with less points and more assists but the current version of the front line just doesn’t have any pure scorers up front. I wouldn’t be afraid to move Lowry to the 2. He wouldn’t have to create as much for others and play what he does best- run and gun. This would allow them to get more Lucas into the game and cut back on DD or TR which ever is not hitting at the time.

    Solid game for the Raps despite some heavy officiating right at the beginning as they tried to take the biggies off the floor for TO.

  9. “This was similar to the start Houston had in Toronto, in mid-December.”

    Because when I think about cities on the West Coast, I think about HOUSTON.

  10. Raptors played really well, hatts off to Calderon!. While Lakers are already beginning to show hard proof that they really are as bad as their record says LOL

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