An inconsistent effort against the defending champs put Toronto at 1-1 post-Rudy Gay trade.
Here are some thoughts on the game…
-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