Jose Calderon and the Pistons took advantage of a lazy fourth quarter effort from the Raptors, spoiling Rudy Gay’s great game and officially eliminating Toronto from post-season contention in the process.

Here are some thoughts on the game…

Pistons 108, Raptors 98

- The Raptors were up 11 points with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter and looked like they were on the cusp of blowing it open as they did on Friday night in Detroit, but a lazy end to the third (13-7 Pistons run in 2:42) carried over into another fourth quarter collapse, as the Pistons outscored Toronto 33-19 in the final frame. The most frustrating part was that the Raptors actually put together a quick 12-2 run in a two-and-a-half minute span of the fourth that saw them go from down nine to up one with 4:32 remaining, but the Pistons again responded with a 15-4 run to close out the game.

- The big storyline coming into this game was the return of Jose Calderon, who got two standing ovations from the appreciative crowd (one during the introductions and another when a video tribute was shown) and was clearly fighting back tears the second time around. Calderon finished with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go with nine assists in the Pistons’ win. Where he ends up as an unrestricted free agent this summer and how much money he earns will be very interesting to monitor.

- Rudy Gay absolutely dominated the Pistons tonight, showing off his offensive arsenal and his recently improved three-point stroke in scoring 34 points on 13-of-18 shooting from the field and an impressive 4-of-4 from deep. Gay was patient with his own offence, moved the ball when he needed to, crashed the glass and was solid defensively. If you’re keeping track, Gay is now averaging 20.6 points on 53 per cent shooting and 44.8 per cent shooting from behind the arc over his last eight games. Rudy’s not that good of a shooter, but he’s much better than what he showed for a large chunk of this season.

- DeMar DeRozan may have had a good basic stats night (15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals), but he shot the ball horribly (7-of-17), held the rock for way too long at times and had his lack of ball handling skills brutally exposed by the Pistons in the fourth quarter. For as much as DeRozan has improved his court vision and play making abilities in terms of creating for others, he still lacks the necessary ball handling ability to get to the next level as a wing player in the NBA. More than anything else (yes, even more than he needs to add a dependable three-point shot), DeMar has to come back next season with a tighter handle.

- One of the only intriguing things to watch coming into this game was the matchup of rookie big men between Jonas Valanciunas and Andre Drummond. Well it turns out it wasn’t much of a matchup after all, as Valanciunas took a lazy Drummond to school from start to finish. If you recall my draft lead up last season, the Drummond you saw tonight is the one that showed up too many times for UCONN last season and the one that scared many people away despite his obvious physical talents.

As for Valanciunas, the Raptors’ rookie continued his recent tear with 17 points, six rebounds and five blocks, three of which were on Drummond.

- Speaking of Raptors rookies, tonight had to be the first time that all three were on the floor at the same time, right?

Ross had another tough game and didn’t exactly earn any more than the 12:47 of playing time he saw, but Quincy Acy was very encouraging in his first taste of NBA action in exactly a month. Acy finished with four points, three rebounds and an assist in less than eight minutes of action as he continues to show flashes of NBA competence in the short spurts he gets on the court this season. No one is expecting Quincy to become a starter or big time contributor, but I remain convinced that he has a role as a dependable energy guy (and combo forward) off of the bench in the future.

-Kyle Lowry sparked that aforementioned 12-2 Raptors run midway through the fourth with some aggressive defence on one end and some vintage Lowry penetration on the offensive end. Unfortunately, despite a decent statistical night of nine points and seven assists, we still didn’t see that aggressive Lowry on offence as much as we all hoped for against Jose.

When it comes to point guards though, the only thing this game really reminded me of was just how bad this Raptors team needs a competent backup one heading into next year. And no, I will not accept Telfair as that guy even if he were to go off over the final eight games.

- Amir Johnson didn’t look like his usual energetic self tonight and has generally looked a step or two slower over the last week or so. I’m not going to hold it against him though, as Amir has been arguably the team’s best player and hardest worker this season while sacrificing his body almost nightly. If he is really banged up or broken down after a grueling season however, perhaps the Raptors should consider giving him some time off to finish the season. If anyone’s earned it, it’s Amir, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Acy get some extra burn over these next couple of weeks.

Raptors Player Of the Game: Rudy Gay – 34 Pts, 13/18 FG, 4/4 3PT, 4/4 FT, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 1 TO in 40:16

Pistons Player Of the Game: Greg Monroe – 24 Pts, 10/18 FG, 4/4 FT, 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk in 37:54

Comments (28)

  1. And with the number four pick in the draft OKC picks…

    • My biggest fear/recurring nightmare…

      • If the Raptors don’t get into the top 3, the #4 pick is the next best scenario. I’d love to see the management totally embarrassed by having to give away that high of a pick. Anything that dumps on these morons is a plus for me.

        Really, why do we care if OKC gets a high pick or not? It’s not like the Raptors are going to be competing with them for anything in the near future.

    • @DEKERF – and OKC can have him…take a look at the prospects, garbage! Lowry is better then anyone they would have chosen fourth or at any spot!

      • I don’t really understand people harping too much on “weak drafts”… Nearly every draft produces great pros. Even the weak Bargnani draft class has produced All-Stars and solid NBAers. The prospects at the top of this class are no different, and anything but “garbage.” I do understand that if there’s any year to forfeit a pick, it might be this one, but I also think we wouldn’t be in the worst spot if we somehow lucked into a top 3 pick this year, too. Does anyone really think, given the history of this franchise and the attitude of ownership, that we will actually blow up and rebuild to gain better position for the much stronger draft class of next year? Most signs point to no… so if we’re able to improve and get young talent this year to give up a lower lottery pick to OKC next year, I’m okay with that.

        As for Lowry being better than the top picks in the draft… I can’t agree. I’d go forward with Marcus Smart (top 2-5 pick) or Trey Burke (likely top 10 pick) at the reigns over Lowry in a second.

        • @Teddy Graham – The players are garbage and just like Bargnani’s draft year this draft is lucky to see 4-6 decent players out of 30 first round picks – those are bad odds. Lets use draft year 2006 as an example (since you brought it up). These all-stars you speak of I assume must be Aldridge, Rondo and Roy…the solid NBA’ers you speak us, I assume must be Bargs, Gay, Lowry and Redick. So good players then a obvious drop off in talent for the other 24 that were drafted. When it is mention that a draft could be “weak” it is meant that more so that there are smaller numbers of talented players available and or that the talent level is not high as compared to other drafts. Also, (and 2006 can prove this), when the top tier of 5-7 players are chosen (and where they fall who knows), there most likely will be a drop off talent with the others, making them wasted picks. In others words, it is a roll of the dice with more so then usual…that is what is meant be weak draft. I’m not dumb to think they aren’t any good players. So as much as the Raps could (highly doubtful) land the Rondo’s and Aldridges of this draft or on a less level the Gays and Bragnani’s, they will most likely end up with the likes of (from the 2006 draft): Sene, Carney, Douby, O’Bryant, Ager, Freeland to only name a few.

          I guess it is easy for you to sit behind your keyboard and slag on that the Raps, that they should have not traded for Lowry and could have had one of these kids in this draft like Smart and Trey Burke or Noel possibly Mohammed, sure! However last summer coming off another “rebuild” year, having the signs show that Casey was a great coach who coached defense and got the best of his players. We were a team that could get a NBA ready player under 25, with promise, with room to grow, that has shown he can play and hang up big numbers in this league and with a manageable contract – and all we had to do was give away our pick (protected) to have the chance to have this player on our team – so they did it – OF COARSE THEY DID. It was a smart move last summer and you were right there with this move – don’t lie! With our two rookies, hopefull improvement from players like Davis/DD and Amir, signed Anderson (who showed promise in that short season before)…Lowry was what we needed to make us a .500 team and that was gonna be a shot at the play-offs and with the Bucks a .500 team holding onto that 8th spot, they were right. It was still a good move.

          I am glad that it is this draft the protect pick goes to – because I rather have Lowry then a high risk chance at landing a player that may be a serviceable player in 3-4 years. I don’t want to see another Mo-Pete or Joey Graham drafted for this team, this year – we don’t need those players and that what this draft is full of at best case. We need players that can contribute today or preferably a player that can take over this team as a leader as an all-star starting next season to mix in with what we already have. Next season Lowry (in his contract year) will be better then Smart and that’s the Raps goal next year – play-off…not player development.

          Trey Burke will be as a good as Travis Best, that’s not what we need. Marcus Smart could be a player (at his best case scenario) similar to the game of James Harden but w/o the athleticism. So last summer if I said to you, hey, we can either have Lowry this year and a chance at the play-off or don’t make the trade and Maybe… MAYBE get a chance at Trey Burke or Marcus Smart next draft (and remember its last summer, Smart is a freshman that you have never seen play at the NCAA level)…your telling me you say, don’t trade that pick for Lowry and hang on for another bad year for the shot at those two guys – come bro! give your head shake. A player that could help the Raps is Zeller, but still you will a Valancuinous rookie type year with him. I am not saying Smart wouldn’t be good, but you can’t waste a year on the chance of 1 possible player in the coming draft – if there were 5 “Smart’s” available plus a load of talented players , then different story but not in this draft – so weak draft with garbage players as far as the Raps are concerned…IMO

          • I think you misinterpreted what I was saying a little bit. First of all, I’m not saying you’re dumb — I just get perplexed when people scoff at a seemingly bad draft like teams at the top of the lottery don’t still have a great chance of picking up a great player. Yes, the odds you referred to in a weak draft (6/30 will be “decent players”) do not look very good overall, but when you’re in the top 3 as the Raps would be assured, those odds are much better (and yes, I do realize there are still guys like Bargnani who get taken highly and fizzle out, but that’s the minority, not the majority). You talk about this draft with certainty as if it’s a given that most of the players will be “garbage”… I just don’t know how you can be so sure. While many say this class is weak, they still say it has depth. Not every draft needs potential superstars. Depth/role players are just fine too (although not in the position Toronto would be picking from).

            Secondly, I’m not saying the Raps shouldn’t have pulled the Lowry trade at the time they did. (I have been a long-time Raptor fan and I don’t know why you assumed I like to “slag on them from behind my keyboard.” I support them but don’t simply agree with every decision they make.) I supported the Lowry trade when it happened, but that was with the assumption that the team would improve enough to justify the trade — hopefully end up in the late lottery so as to not give away a top 5 (or even top 10) pick to OKC, show significant improvement from the season before and more promise for the future, and maybe for Lowry to prove that he was worth even a late lottery selection. I love Kyle”s attitude and play when he’s got it going but this season, he’s not proving he’s a feasible point guard of the future (he shows flashes, but needs to do it consistently), the team hasn’t shown marked improvement, AND we will be giving up what is turning out to be a likely top 5-10 pick. So now, in the position we’re in, with a murky future, essentially being capped out with little flexibility and a chance to maybe redeem a bad season with a top 3 talent (despite arguments that this is a weak draft, I’ll take a top 3 pick in any draft, any day), I say why not hope for that chance? And my point in regards to Burke and Smart is, *today*, I’d rather move forward with them as my PG of the future than Lowry. I don’t really care about “shooting for the playoffs next year” (unless we’re making drastic improvements to the roster, which I don’t think anyone realistically expects) because our ceiling currently appears to be a first round playoff team/7-8 seed in the East… and if I were drafting, I wouldn’t really care about what the situation was with my team when I traded for a guard like Lowry one year earlier — right now, there would be better long-term options via the draft than Kyle.

  2. Is there no way we can make a pitch for Calderon in the summer?

    • @HERROH
      Why would they do that? Typical for Raps (Calderon supporter) fans – One decent game and they want to give him the keys to the city. Did you forget the slag of a game he had on Friday against the Raps or that his team has won 7 games ONLY since JC’s arrival!…..and that’s why they don’t sign him!
      Calderon’s best roll would be a uber back up on a contending team – he is like Derek Fisher, he can really help, but he is not a #1 guy. I personally believe Lowry isn’t the guy either – but that doesn’t at all mean we need Jose back!

      • @younjames
        You’re an idiot. You’re saying he’d be an uber back up on a contending team, and you compared him to Derek Fisher. I’m sorry, why wouldn’t we want him back? Since you’re so smart, why don’t you give me the name of a better back up point guard for this team next year? The reason why Calderon won’t sign with us is because he wants to be a starter, he wants a nice contract, and wants to play on a young team with promise moving forward. He has that in Detroit. Once again, you’re an idiot.

        • @Sly/Doug Smith

          The joke is you think Calderon is better then Derrick Fisher – hahahahaha. You say he is not a uber back up, then you say you would like for him to play with Heat or OKC …do you think he would start on OKC…sorry dip shit, I know your out to attack but really I have to end the conversation here, you stupidity is not worth talking too….And, after such stupid remarks your obviously the idiot!

          • Ok it is obvious that you can’t comprehend anything you read. When did I say Calderon was better than Derek Fisher? I’m laughing at you because you talked up Calderon by comparing him to Derek Fisher and saying he’s a great backup, yet you wouldn’t want him playing for the raptors. You make no sense, you think you know everything, and you can’t spell. What a joke you are. You’re (notice how it’s spelled) a disgrace to this blog.

  3. wouldn’t suprise me if miami went after calderon in the off season .

    • Good for him if it happens, although he seems better directing a play, so might not work. OKC is better for him.

    • I would love to see Calderon play for the Heat or OKC or a contending team, he deserves it. That being said, Calderon is a loyal guy, and I see him signing with Detroit.

  4. I was at this game yesterday. When Jose was announced the crowd went nuts, Aaron Gray looked at him with a smirk and gave him a thumbs down. It was pretty funny. Something has got to give with Casey. What is not mentioned in this recap is that after the raptors went on a 12-2 run to make it a two point game, they had three straight possessions to tie and they ran the same play every time passing it to DD on the baseline. No one went inside, everyone settled for jumpers and BAM game over. Poor decisions time and again.

  5. Raptors need more Acy, gives quality minutes and a ton of energy off the bench. Seems like he tries to make the most out of opportunity he’s given, and that shows in the few minutes we see from him here and there.

  6. Casey = Horrible Coach, Bryan Colangelo = Horrible GM, Bargnani…..fuck you.

  7. @Teddy Graham – well unfortunately (like it or not) the Raps are not playing for the future, with the Rudy Gay trade and Lowry trade last summer they playing for the now. yes, you can argue they were bad trades that didn’t get us to the play-off’s – but a pick of 3-10 (which it most likely will be) is not what the Raps want for next year, they want to groom Ross and Val and see more improvement in DD and add to the talent with existing talent of today not a promise for tomorrow….that’s the reality!
    IMO – I’m not sour on those trades – I am sour on the fact that when they made the Gay trade, we could see the wholes they left and didn’t do anything at trade deadline to fill those holes adequately to help our chances this year at a play-off run – we were right there at one point and a solid big man off the bench and a solid back up PG would have gotten us there, I believe.
    I am also upset at the coaching and play off Ross! These things killed us this year. I agree I would like to see Lowry play better, but he is going into a contract year, so I think he will be better next year. He will be better then any player they would have drafted this year.. If they did keep this years pick – IMO, I believe they would have traded it anyways!
    Keep in mind when a player (Noels) still could go 1st or 2nd after only playing a half season as a freshman in the NCAA, then tearing his ACL – he is either one of the best players to ever play the game (the likes of Kobe, Jordan or Lebron) or its a weak draft….you decide!

  8. @Dekerf – I have the skills ability to type that long message t in about 5 mins – it should take you about 90 seconds to read it… maybe not. So if you would like the “dummy down” version well the you better ask your mommy to help read and figure it out if its too much for you, I will continue to leave messages and speak with the talent and skills I have developed as an adult to have a adult conversation – it’s really not as hard as you make it out to be! BUT, great for you for trying though, TIMMY!

    • Good news everyone! Youngjames has the ‘skills ability’. I’m clearly no match for you. Enjoy your reign over the Raptorblog comments section!!

  9. @cb – I don’t agree with what you said to Sly/Doug Smith – he should continue to keep posting!…it’s always valuable when we are able to see how actually stupid some people can be through these posts. Sly/Doug Smith never ever leaves anything worth of clever insight or knowledge…..but maybe if he keeps trying – he might some day be able to keep up

    • Keep up? Bahahahahahaha

    • CB’s reply was towards you idiot. Your posts are terrible. You’re dumb and you have too much time on your hands.

      Is Doug Smith supposed to be an insult? If so, I really don’t get it. I’m going to call you YOUNGARAUJO from now on because your posts are a waste of space and you suck.

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