Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards

It was an ugly ball game and the Raptors beat a team that’s more than 20 games under .500, but the Wizards had been playing very well of late and the victory makes it five straight for the Raps while giving Toronto its first three-game road winning streak since 2007 and its first win in Washington since 2009.

Here are some thoughts on the game…

Raptors 96, Wizards 88

- Rudy Gay rode a streaky night of shooting (made one, missed six, made five, then went 1-of-7, finished 3-of-6) and the pair combined for nine turnovers compared to only four assists, but the combo of Gay and DeRozan also combined for 48 points, 11 rebounds and six steals.

While Gay struggled through long stretches of this game (though it was nice to see him knocking down threes), DeRozan had what I thought was one of his better games this season. DeMar shot 50 per cent from the floor (9/18), attacked the basket, got to the free throw line, defended as intensely as I’ve seen him do this year and showed off an improved handle. Yes, he turned the ball over four times, but the ball handling DeRozan used to create for himself before hitting shots at the end of the first quarter and at the end of the second quarter was encouraging. He’ll have to be even better on Wednesday night against Tony Allen and the Grizzlies.

- Please, please tell me you have heard about the showdown between Matt Devlin and rapper Wale that took place during this game. As commenter PBI wrote, it “was probably one of the greatest moments in Raptor broadcast history.”

- Speaking of things I hope you’ve seen, how about Jonas Valanciunas taking Nene to school in the game’s opening minutes? Valanciunas really made his presence known and felt in the paint early in this game, finishing with seven points, eight rebounds, an assist and a block in just 20:43 of action.

- Valanciunas didn’t see the floor in the fourth quarter, but Andrea Bargnani did and actually hit a couple of big shots for the Raptors just as the Wizards were starting to make things closer than they should have been. As I’ve pointed out in games before, there were still plenty of times the Raptors lost a chance at a loose ball and a possession because Bargnani either didn’t want to get on the floor or move more than a few inches (anyone else catch Lowry’s air-punching frustrated reaction when Bargnani fumbled one of Kyle’s passes in the fourth?), but with the win in hand, fans don’t have any reason to blame Bargnani for costing the Raptors the game despite playing over 25 minutes. It’s pathetic that it has come to this, but that’s a minor victory in itself. Now the question is will Wednesday night’s game at the Air Canada Centre be Andrea’s last game as a Raptor?

- Kyle Lowry didn’t have many highlight reel worthy plays in this game and did turn the ball over four times, but he also quietly went about putting together a double-double for the Raptors at the point. Lowry finished with 11 points on only six field goal attempts to go with 10 assists, six rebounds and a steal, with his 10 dimes accounting for 50 per cent of the team’s assist total in the game. John Lucas III continued to shoot the ball well tonight and gave the the Raps 16 more solid minutes off of the bench to allow some extra rest for Lowry, but I still think the Raptors should be looking for a backup point guard at the trade deadline. Lucas won’t be able to sustain this level of efficiency for the remainder of the season, and the second unit is still lacking a true distributor.

- Gay appeared to hurt his right arm in the first half before shaking it off and staying in the game, then came up lame at one point with an apparent hamstring injury in the fourth quarter before quickly returning to the floor and finishing the game. Rudy looked fine down the stretch, but he’s logged a ton of minutes since joining the Raptors (Gay’s logged at least 37 minutes in six of eight games with Toronto and has logged 40+ minutes in five of those games), so here’s hoping that the leg issue, especially, was nothing that could bother him again later on.

- How odd is it that a team that’s still 10 games under .500 after 54 games has two five-game winning streaks under its’ belt? In addition to extending their winning streak to five and their road winning streak to three, the Raptors also improved to 6-2 with Gay in the lineup. While I’m trying to keep my word of not talking about the playoffs until the Raps legitimately get back in the race, yes, I am aware that Joe Johnson’s heroics against the Bucks tonight means Toronto has closed the gap between them and Milwaukee to five games.

Raptors Player Of the Game: DeMar DeRozan – 24 Pts, 9/18 FG, 6/7 FT, 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 4 TO in 36:38

Wizards Player Of the Game: Bradley Beal – 25 Pts, 9/19 FG, 3/6 3PT, 4/6 FT, 4 Reb, 1 Ast in 33:01

How big will tomorrow night’s game against the Grizzlies be? Rudy Gay should be as fired up as he’s ever been, Ed Davis will mark his return to Toronto, the Grizzlies (specifically Tony Allen) will come out looking to make an emphatic statement and the Raptors will be looking to win a sixth straight game for the first time in four years.

Can’t wait…

Comments (27)

  1. Don’t talk about playoffs till we’re 3 games out of a spot. We still have Philly ahead of us and Detroit is right behind us.

    DD is loving life with Gay on the floor. I can’t remember the last time i saw him deal with a double team. Besides the duo in Miami, is there a better 1-2 punch in the east with DD and Gay!?!?!

  2. LOL, Bargs didn’t cost us a win. Yay!

    You know, I didn’t notice the refs for most of the game, but when I saw that they gave the wiz 27 free throws vs 20 for the raps, I guess it was same ol, same ol bs again.

    Nobody gives a shit about whale, drake, or anything devlin has to say that isn’t game related. And by that I mean the game being played, not some syracuse ancient bs.

    Kyle, good job. JLIII, I’m fine with you as the backup PG.

    AA needs to pass more. Fields, what happened to you? Need ja back bud.

    This is why I wanted Beal and was so pissed at AA, Casey, Cleveland and GS at the end of last season. They collectively cost us Bradley Beal. Yes, we got Ross, but how long will it be before he is getting 25 per game?

    Gay? Pass more, shoot less, and play less. Save yourself for the playoffs. Beat the Heat!

    • whos AA? alex anthopolous? and if it took that many things to cost the raps beal, then it was further out of reach then you want to believe

    • I like how you called Wale (WAH-lay) a whale, lmfao. Also Beal is averagring 13.5 ppg.

    • Beal would’ve been nice at the time, but grabbing him Toronto would not have had the guts to go out and get Gay or Lowry (most likely). That would’ve SUCKED. Everything happens for a reason!

  3. I can’t sleep, all I can think about is Matt Devlin and Wale going back and forth.

    Still can’t put my finger on what has triggered this run outside of a couple of huge late game shots by Gay, DeRozan seems to be the only one whose play is actually standing out, Gay (even with the two game winners) is somehow shooting even worse than he did with Memphis albeit contributing across the board and Lowry still looks neutered as we saw with his turnovers tonight where he was just trying to force passes yet the team is grinding out the end of games instead of falling apart.

    Outside of the obvious (the team having more talent post trade), is it because everyone’s roles are now more clearly defined (No more PG controversy BS/sticking with Bargnani on the bench at least so far) that is leading to some of this success?

    Whatever it is, the next two games this week will continue to answer more questions about this team, really looking forward to tomorrow night’s game for the reasons Joseph outlined.

    • @PBI

      I think the biggest reason for the streak has been DeMar being able to create better shots for himself post-trade.

      Calderon is an efficient player, but I’ve been wondering if we wouldn’t have been better off using Lowry more even when JC was here. Feom a visual perspective (I haven’t compared the stats) Lowry is a faaar better defender. There have been multiple times since the trade where I’ve seen the opposing team on a fast break and Lowry run back and either steal the ball back, or contest the shot without fouling.

      Rudy’s shooting habits are concerning me quite a bit. I have no problem with him taking threes when he’s wide open. Otherwise, if he’s got someone on him, go to the damn basket! No doubt he’s also directly made the team better, but his shooting % needs to go up. I’ve been impressed by his all-around game though.

      It seems that, from a statistical perspective at least, Amir has been hurt the most by this trade. JC made him an option on offence where Lowry seems to not. I’d like to see the ball thrown to him more often when he’s in the paint as he’s around 70% on those shots.

  4. As good as this post gay trade momentum is, it’d suck if he got injured cause Casey is playing him so much. IMO he shouldn’t be playing more than 35 a game.

  5. Can’t believe there was no time for Fields tonight. At least see what he’s got. It had to be better than Anderson. He’s not going to be taking shots he shouldn’t be taking.

    Gay is a real chucker. Good thing he contributes elsewhere. Not big on his ball-stopping ways but it seems to be working.

    I didn’t notice Lowry’s air punching on Bargnani’s sole turnover of the game. Did he also do the five times Gay turned the ball over? Or when he was cacking it up four times himself? At least Bargnani tied Lowry in steals, so he made up for his turnover.

    You know, I understand the pent-up frustration with Bargnani, but your harping on him reminds me of a wife (or husband) who snaps at an innocuous statement just because of the history they have with their spouse. In other words, it’s all in their minds. Get on him when he deserves it, to be sure, but don’t go overboard with criticism or backhanded compliments when it’s not warranted.

  6. Lmaooo…Let’s all just be happy for Wales’ sake that it was Leo with Matt calling the game tonight and not Jack Armstrong who would have went Brooklyn on his ass. SMH come on Devlin, everybody knows you never call a rapper local. Someone get this dude an 8mile dvd plz? Hahahahahaha I no longer know him as Matt Devlin, I ever see him walking the streets of Toronto he’s 8mile Devlin. Almost booboo’d on myself it was so funny. Him trying to stay composed while getting confronted was priceless!!

    • Yeah, my favourite part was Devlin trying to stay composed while Wale was in his face, and he actually did a pretty good job of it. The awkward “there he is right there” line will never get old.

  7. Can we get a Suge Knight appearance on the next broadcast?

  8. By the way, just a random observation that I had and wanted to share for a while. The Raps truly became a highlight team. Over their 8 games in Feb (correct me if I’m wrong), they were in the Top5 of the daily Top10s for 7 times:

    Feb 19 – Wash: JV #3
    (bonus) – Ross is champ
    Feb 12 – Denver: #4 Ross, #2 Gay, #1 DD over Mozgov
    Feb 10 – NO: #2 Gay
    Feb 8 – Indy: #1 Gay + Amir
    Feb 1 – LAC: #2 Ross

    And also JV had block of the night in one of those games.
    More and more fun to watch these guys. Hope they get some hype in the league as well.

  9. Starting to get sick of anderson trying to avrg his 12 ppg .. He has saved us here and there but hence why we got rudy to take shots . 1-9 is horrible and should of been taken out . Ross played 3 min and didnt take a shot compared to andersons 23 min . Ill say it agian . Play defence and swing the ball anderson . He shouldnof been out for ross or even fields . Derozen played awsome and looks motivated right now to win

  10. Kyle punched the air in frustration over Bargs’ fumbling of his pass? That was pretty quick observation. Now after Lowry turns the ball over several times do you observe how he reacts to that? Why not? All this crap on Bargs is way over the top.
    As for Devlin it’s good that he is expanding his horizons in the never ending journey to find relevancy. In my day this dog would have been called all bark and no bite. Plus he can’t call a game. No. Matt hosts a game.

    • wether you like him as a broadcaster is totally your opinion,

      but not only is he going to defend raps players from hecklers, (matt didnt know rudy and wale were friends) but its a canadian rapper whos a huge fan of a canadian team, also you ask a million people, 100% will say they know drake, and probably less then 50% will know wale (hell im 22 and have never ever ever heard of wale, fan of all music too) so how did Matt know that people were going to tell wale on twitter something that is basically 100% true? if anything wale talked more trash then matt and did nothing after trying to act tough, so hes the one with all bark no bite

  11. A less than impressive win here against the Wizards but I’ll take it. Shout out to Joe for posting extra stories ; it really helps people who don’t get to see all the parts to the game. I’d like to send a shout out to your Court Cuts people as well; nothing better after watching the Raps win than seeing the Bucks lose in an overtime thriller.

  12. For everyone harping on Gay about shooting so much… what do you think Casey’s telling him to do? He’s got the green light to shoot as much as he can, it’s part of the reason he’s on the floor so much. Now, if Fields can start pushing it back to the level he was at in NYC (totally reasonable) then he can eat into AA’s time and probably some of Gay’s. Hopefully.
    Nice to see JV play some better minutes in this game, still looking for him to play a stronger start to finish game (but, he’s still only 19).
    Hopefully Bargs will be playing his last game soon… not necessarily because of all the history, or even the backloaded contract. Because he gave up on this team when he blabbed to the Italian media. The second you give up on the guys you play with, you don’t deserve to play.

    • Gay can continue to shoot high-volume and be offensively aggressive while also improving his decision making with the ball. “Green light” and “poor shot selection” do not need to go hand-in-hand. A couple times in a row he was iso’d against Okafor (!) on the perimeter and he didn’t even drive the ball – he launched a 3 and a long 2 and missed them both. Take it to the hole, man!

      Even at his current low percentage, though, he seems to have such a positive impact on the game.

  13. If Bargs does not get traded, i am not opposed to the idea of him coming off the bench and providing a different dynamic for the club. Its definitely interesting. He will have to get used to warming up fast.

  14. Colangelo will not trade Bargnani unless what he gets back will immediately improve the team, as Bargnani off the bench will be usefull, in the objective of competing for the playoffs this year, which is where they are now as a team.
    He played the entire 4th qtr vs the Wiz as Casey was happy with his play and he will only play better in his new role off the bench as he adjusts to the new offensive game with Gay and DeRozan being the # 1 and 2 options on offense and Lowry/Lucas learns how to find him in the flow.

  15. I’m starting to wonder if this team has happened to win a few ugly games recently (Pacers, Knicks, Wizards), or if this is their new identity?

    I love the grit. JV is awesome – ever notice how quickly his man gets pissed b/c of how physical he plays? I don’t mind Lowry playing mad, even though he needs to avoid T’s. As much as I dislike Alan “One-on-One” Anderson’s shot selection, he plays tough and, like Jonas, really seems to get under the other guy’s skin.

    I’ll take ugly wins with players like this over the last 12 years of soft Vince/Bosh/Bargs teams.

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