An inconsistent effort against the defending champs put Toronto at 1-1 post-Rudy Gay trade.

Here are some thoughts on the game…

Miami 100, Toronto 85

-I said after the Clippers game that those were the easiest 19 points DeMar DeRozan had scored all season. On Sunday against Miami, things seemed to be coming just as easily, with DeRozan’s 14 made free throws serving as a career-high. There’s no question that Rudy Gay’s presence has made life easier for DD (as he says himself). DeMar had several isolation opportunities against Ray Allen in the first quarter – something he never would have had before the trade because the best wing players were always defending him and double teams came much more frequently. In the first half, Rudy and DeMar combined for 36 points, 13 free throws, five rebounds and three assists.

-The rumours of a Pau Gasol for Bargnani trade are intriguing, but I really would be opposed to including DeRozan in such a trade so quickly after the Gay acquisition. Give this roster a chance to show what it can do. DeMar and Rudy seem to be gelling very nicely and I think at this moment in time replacing DD with Terrence Ross and/or Alan Anderson would cripple Toronto’s wing depth. The addition of Gasol would also hinder the development of Jonas Valanciunas. Is two years of Gasol worth giving up DeMar? I’m not convinced this trade makes Toronto better today, but I am certainly convinced that it makes them worse in the future.

-Rudy Gay followed up his stellar debut off the bench on Friday by dropping 29 points against the best one-on-one defender in the NBA on Sunday. And these were not easy shots…

Fade-away mid-range over LeBron, two-dribble pull-up from mid-range, three-pointer, left-handed finger-roll from a post-up, spin-move leading to layup and 1, driving left-handed layup past Shane Battier, driving layup over Mario Chalmers, free throws after driving past Dwyane Wade, two dribble floater, two free throws after beating LeBron off the bounce, two dribble mid-range fade-away, put-back layup, driving dunk.

-The play of the game for Gay however, came on defence. Late in the second quarter, Gay blocked a LeBron James floater with his LEFT hand. Then minutes later he played 5+ seconds of fantastic isolation defence on LeBron leading to a contested fadeaway airball.

-Bottom line is Gay and DeRozan give Toronto their best wing combination since the days of Carter and McGrady.

-Amir Johnson has developed some very nice interior passing skills. He dropped three beautiful passes to Aaron Gray in the first quarter. Foul trouble limited Amir’s playing time but he still managed to post five steals and two blocks in 31 minutes.

-Aaron Gray had a tough time defending Chris Bosh. Amir Johnson’s foul trouble didn’t help the cause and I couldn’t help but wonder why Jonas Valanciunas didn’t see any minutes until he entered for the first time with two minutes left in the third quarter. JV has better foot speed than Gray and in my opinion, would have been a better help-defender and a better matchup for Bosh. I get the feeling that Bryan Colangelo wants to squeeze every last win out of this year’s roster, but when that comes at the expense of developing young players, I have an issue with it. Despite the recent improvements with the Gay trade, the development of JV is crucial to this team and shouldn’t be neglected.

-Alan Anderson‘s role has changed with the addition of Rudy Gay, but Anderson hasn’t changed his game. He continues to have a quick trigger on his jump-shot and that isn’t going to earn him minutes in the future.

-Speaking of quick triggers, John Lucas did nothing today to convince me that he is capable of running a second unit. Lucas played 7:57 in the third quarter and Toronto shot 21% from the field in that frame. Lucas finished the game 1-of-6 from the field with just one assist in 17 total minutes of action.

-Kyle Lowry had a rough game. He committed five turnovers compared to just three assists and was in foul trouble early. However, I liked that Kyle continued to try getting Rudy and DeMar the ball before looking for his own shot.

-The ball movement that we saw in Rudy Gay’s first game was prevalent again against Miami. There wasn’t one player in the starting lineup who stopped the ball and everyone was looking to make the extra pass. It was encouraging to see the same ball movement and defence that was there against the Clippers carry over to Sunday against Miami, regardless of the end result.

Raptors Player Of the Game: Rudy Gay – 29 Pts, 11/23 FG, 1/5 3PT, 6/7 FT, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 TO in 41:43

Heat Player Of the Game: LeBron James – 30 Pts, 10/16 FG, 1/2 3PT, 9/12 FT, 8 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 TO in 39:44

Comments (41)

  1. The depth we had at the point has been transferred to the wing. Solve one problem, create another. When your 2 PG’s combine for 4 dimes you’re gonna have a bad time.

  2. So is the honeymoon over?

    • They lost to the Heat in a similar fashion last year (hang close until the game gets into the mid-80s, Heat get annoyed and score 15 straight points), so I don’t think this is indicative of much. That’s just how the best team in the league plays.

  3. We really needed Anderson off the floor. His jacking of shots was just hurting us. I do enjoy Gay’s shot selection usually goes to the paint for an easy two. I agree with post Oliver…the team is so exciting and you made the connection I seemed to have forgotten. Tmac and Carter days were so much fun to watch. Bargnani could work if he wanted to play 3rd role and just provide that extra shooter that we needed so much today. I hope Colangelo makes a trade sooner than later. I want this team to start doing well consistently.

  4. Man that Heat defence was intense. I thought the Raptors moved the ball around pretty well in the halfcourt, but no matter who’s hands the ball landed in there was a red shirt covering him.

    Anderson needs to either stop shooting or get benched. I really hope Fields is back next game, cause he is clearly the better option as the backup 3/4.

    Ross showed today why he isn’t ready for a more significant role yet. He has a bright future, but he should’ve deferred those 4th quarter shots to DD and Rudy.

    Amir’s passing was fantastic!

    I actually thought we could’ve used Bargnani today. For all his faults, he diverts attention away from DD and will do the same with Rudy. Once he gets back he should be kept on a short leash, but just another body to backup Amir is going to help. For the record, after today’s showing by AA, I would’ve preferred to see Bargnani on the floor.

  5. Bargnani and DeRozan for Gasol is a TERRIBLE trade.

    I’m so sick of teams helping the Lakers with ridiculous trades – let them burn for once!

    • “The addition of Gasol would also hinder the development of Jonas Valanciunas.”
      The addition of Gasol and substraction of Bargnani would be the best thing happened to a young rookie centre, you joker!

      • Yah I may have jumped the gun on that statement. The practice time they would get together might be more valuable than the playing time lost. I’m still not in favour of the trade tho

  6. I’m fine with moving Bargnani provided the move addressed areas of need to improve the team today/now. Bargnani is a decent player skill wise, he has not worked out but shown glimpses of potential. His time is worn out in Toronto but we definitely should not do a fire sale, other teams don’t do the Raptors any favour on deals. So we should not give Bargnani away for nothing, he is still under contract. Keep him till we can max his trade value then move him if he is not part of the solution.

    We definitely need to address the PG position, we definitely need to get rid of a wing player as well (nice if we can dump Fields in a trade – bad contract + Bargnani).

    I also agree, if a better experienced coach is available and interested in coming to Toronto we need to bring in a better coach.

    • Fields is paid more than he’s worth, yes, but who is going to back up the 3 if he’s gone. Since he’s been back he’s played extremely efficient basketball, granted not the sort that shows up on the boxscore. But he rebounds well and converts easy buckets when they come to him. Unless we receive back a replacement for him, Fields shouldn’t be moved.

  7. What I wish Dwane Casey would say to Alan Anderson:

    “Alan, you’re not and never will be a go-to option on this team. Unless you have an open lane towards the rim, you are not allowed to shoot. Your role is to play defence, rebound and continue moving the ball when it lands in your hands. If you don’t play within that role your ass is getting benched. Kapish?”

  8. Is klezia hurt or just inactive now?

  9. Kyle Lowry had a rough game? Gee other than those first four games as a Raptors when has he not had a rough game? Soon will be talking about Kyle Lowry’s start to the season like we’re talking about Bargnani’s stretch last season. I would love to understand how, why and what you and all the other kool-aid drinkers see in Lowry that makes you see “elite talent” in him because I sure don’t. Maybe it’s just because I’m older and have been watching , playing and coaching Bball longer

    • In what country and language have you been watching, playing and coaching Bball longer…and longer than who? And also, who is Soon?

      • But I hope that you’re agree with the disappointing Lowry after his injuries… Yesterday he was awful, we need quite more from him if the other option is Lucas.

    • Ok, let me explain since you are clearly a calderon fanboy. Lowry IS a more complete and better basketball player than calderon, its that simple. Having said that, he had a bad game yesterday like all players do and needs to be given more time to return to the form he started the year with. I have faith that he will eventually and he could be hurt at the moment which is affecting his play. Once he starts playing his game, he will impress and put up numbers calderon could never do.

      • The point guard position isn’t about putting up numbers it’s about making your team’s offense work. Sure Lowry has the potential for flair and a few highlights but so does Andrea Bargnani. We all know how everyone now feels about Andrea. So sure lets all hope that Lowry gets back to playing the way he did when he first got to TO but his track record so far isn’t all that impressive and to insist that he has “elite talent” is plain ludicrous when “elite talent means Lebron, Durant, Rose, Paul, etc.

      • Ok idiot. You are comparing apples to oranges here. There are things Calderon does extremely well, like running an offence, passing the ball, being a good teammate and a leader. Lowry is a pitbull and a good defender/rebounder. They both shoot the ball well. It depends what you are looking for in a player I guess. Calderon is a class act. Lowry? He has to prove himself.

        • It’s not what I’m looking for in a player it’s what I’m looking for in a POINT GUARD!!! and who is talking about Calderon he’s not a Raptor anymore. For Lowry to make me a believer he needs to learn how to play like a point guard!! not an undersized shooting guard! I just haven’t seen anything from him that makes me understand why all you Lowry fan boys love him so much! Because he sure as hell doesn’t have elite talent.

  10. They played pretty well for 3.5 quarters, then the Heat took care of business. I was surprised by how dialed-in the Heat were – the Big 3 don’t always look that interested when they play the Raptors.

    Also, if Gay and DD continue to play as they are, I think Lowry’s role will shift a bit. There’s more balance now in terms of ball movement and initiating offense.

    • I think the Heat were intrigued by the new-look Raptors, like a child with a new toy that provides a brief distraction from the drudgery of their day-to-day life.

    • It’s not long ago we gave them a scare and annoyed them by taking them to overtime. Also beating the Raptors meant Spoelstra and co. get to coach at the all-star game instead of the Knicks staff.

  11. Raptors need a PG who can run an offense, not just pass to DeRozan/Gay and watch, and turn the ball over to the other team, 3 ast-5to’s for Lowry.
    They also need a PF option when Amir is not scoring.
    Time for BC to make some more additions/changes. Not sure JV is ready to start yet, and need to see if AB can contribute.

    • Maybe we should see if that Calderon kid in Detroit is available. I hear he’s got a great asst/to ratio. A little slow on D, tho’, apparently…

    • Wow, lowry gets ripped apart for having one bad game when calderon had plenty over the last 5 years. I dont know what it is with you calderon fanboys that makes you so oblivious to calderon’s flaws. Lowry is a better and more complete basketball player. Just deal with it. Geez.

      • Being aware of Lowry’s flaws and lack of elite talent doesn’t mean not being aware of Calderon’s flaws

    • As a team, one of their greatest deficiencies continues to be their defense. They’re in the top 1/3 of the league by certain offensive metrics, and in the bottom 1/3 defensively. PG assist numbers are really the least of their concerns, aren’t they?

      • When your PG turns the ball over and it leads to easy fastbreak baskets it’s hard to be a good defensive team

  12. It will be tough to playfully mock Joseph for being so wrong about Drummond (compared to Val) if Casey won’t even play Val as he returns from his injury.

    Another fun game for the most part until the Heat turned it on, enjoying this new look Raptors squad as they continue to distract us from how bad we are and how bleak the future looks.

    • Why are you watching then? You’re an idiot.

      • That doesn’t even make sense.

        Just because I’m legitimately excited about watching the team again in the short term because of this trade doesn’t override the fact that we’re in the midst of a season that is already lost or the fact that this team is still unlikely to be a playoff team (next year and beyond) unless more moves are made.

        Go fuck yourself.

      • why the hostility…..?
        First off PBI has been a long time reader of this blog. You don’t necessarily have to agree with everything that is written by the blog writers or readers. You also don’t have to be a twat about it.

        It’s like Tim W. The guy/girl takes alot of heat and sometimes says things that not everyone agrees with, but you know what I respect the fact that he makes his points in a respectful manner.

  13. Anyone think they are giving Grey so much time (relative to JV) to up his trade value? Lakers need some backup in the post if Gasol is going to go, no? Howard doesn’t seem so robust these days….

    Not advocating, just analyzing.

  14. With Calderon as their starting PG the Raps weren’t going anywheres anyways so why is everyone still crying about it. I would of liked to keep him as a backup PG but he was already bad at D and with age he wasn’t going to suddenly improve. Rather than rip into Lowry who actually does perform on D why don’t we just say it. Lowry wasn’t the guy was gonna turn this franchise around; so people who expected him to be are angry.

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