Washington Wizards v Toronto Raptors

After a career-best 5 blocked shots on Monday, Jonas Valanciunas came back with a career-best 24 points on Wednesday, while leading Toronto past Washington. 

Here are some thoughts on the game:

Toronto 88, Washington 78

-Player development is a poor substitute for playoff basketball, but that’s pretty much all Raptors fans have left to cheer for. On Wednesday night, Jonas Valanciunas gave reason for much optimism. He handled Emeka Okafor, Kevin Seraphin and Nene with ease and physically dominated the entire Wizards team. The wide array of offensive moves from JV already has me excited about what type of season he can have after an offseason to get stronger. His seven-foot frame looks like it could handle at least 20 more pounds of muscle.

-The variety in Valanciunas’ offence and his aggressive style led to a career-high 24 points, keyed by 16-of-18 free throws. He worked with his back to the basket, facing up off the dribble, off the pick-and-roll and was effective shooting his mid-range. He also put in good work on the defensive glass (10 rebounds), leading directly to 6 free throws. The most important aspect of Jonas’ job was also on display against the Wizards – protecting the paint. He was only credited with two blocks, but he had a big hand in holding Washington to 32.5% from the field.

-I really think JV is onto something when he says “I was not talking to the officials, not complaining about calls, maybe that helped me.” There is at least one Raptor that should really pay heed to these words.

-After a tremendous game against Detroit, Rudy Gay appeared to be battling injuries. I would suspect his back was bothering him because Gay appeared very stiff, couldn’t beat anyone off the dribble and had trouble getting down in his defensive stance. It’s admirable that he continues to play through his injuries, but I wouldn’t be opposed to him being shut down for the season. Rudy really struggled to score (2-8 FG, 2-4 FT) but he still hit the glass for 8 rebounds and picked up a couple steals. After the game, Dwane Casey said Gay was limited to 24 minutes due to a twisted ankle.

-Kyle Lowry continues to play an extremely unselfish brand of basketball – almost to a fault (2-8 FG, 13 Ast, 2 TO). He seems to believe that he must take a Rajon Rondo-esque number of shots for his team to find their offensive rhythm – and part of me agrees with him. Kyle can score relatively easily for a point guard but he can do so many other things that he may be best served in a Kidd or Rondo type role.

-The Wizards were unable to guard DeMar DeRozan. John Wall couldn’t handle DeMar in the post, Ariza couldn’t stay with him around screens and Garrett Temple didn’t stand a chance in general. DD finished with a game-high 25 points on 11-21 shooting, including two jumpers that iced the game with about 3 minutes left in the fourth. He didn’t contribute much apart from his scoring (1 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl & 1 Blk) – a typical criticism for DeRozan. However, it’s worth noting that he is averaging career-highs this season in rebounds and assists per game.

-Quincy Acy came into the game, immediately picked up two fouls, blew a defensive rotation which left Cartier Martin wide open for three, failed to close out on AJ Price on a 2-on-4 fastbreak resulting in a three and then left Martin open for one more trey bomb. I like that Dwane Casey kept Acy in the game after these correctable mistakes. Quincy could be a valuable member of the bench next season, so it’s absolutely worth letting him play through his mistakes (as we’ve discussed with JV and Ross). Acy showed a little touch with a bank shot in the post and a 20-foot jump shot in the first half.

-Speaking of potentially useful bench pieces, Landry Fields got the nod late in the fourth quarter as Toronto sealed the victory. He picked up 3 rebounds in 17 minutes and as many people have noted, the ball moves faster when Landry is on the court.

Raptors player of the game: Jonas Valanciunas – 24 Pts, 4/7 FG, 16/18 FT, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl 2 Blk, 3 TO in 41 mins

Wizards player of the game: Emeka Okafor – 17 Pts, 8/16 FG, 1/2 FT, 8 reb, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 3 TO in 34 mins

Comments (13)

  1. When is raptor blog radio back?

    • I don’t think there will be any podcasts until the offseason. Oliver pretty much summed up the purpose of the remaining 8 or so games left and Drew is probably busy over at the Getting Blanked blog now that baseball season started.

    • Joseph said in an earlier post that they will have another one up some time this week.

    • Apologies for the lack of podcasts the last two weeks. The three of us have been away/sick/busy. We will definitely have one early next week (likely Monday)

  2. Kyle, Definitely to a fault.

    Come on, at one point he was at the top of the key, the closest man guarding him was playing 8 feet off of him and wasn’t even looking at Kyle. If that isn’t the point where something inside your head screams “Shoot the three!!!” Kyle, then something in you is broken. You’ve obviously let the wrong guy get into your head.

    Start shooting your open shots! Who the heck are you deferring to? Rudy? DeMar? You shoot a much higher percentage then them, especially Gay.

  3. How about Devlin and Jack. Can we get new blood next season calling the game?

    At one point, Jack is running his mouth trying to justify a ref’s call, they are showing the replay where JV got a BS three in the key call against him. Jack starts counting, 1…2…3… and spouting off on how it was the right call, totally missing that JV clearly stepped out of the key on the 2 count.

    OK, maybe all three refs missed it. The ref who was BSing the call against JV should be embarrassed though. But not as embarrassed as Jack should be for getting it wrong in his crap commentary during the game, and then during the replay as well.

  4. Shut Gay and Amir down for the last 8 games..give Ross and Acy the additional minutes and see how they do..play DD at the small and Ross at the Shooting guard position..Hopefully Acy can be a player like Jerome Williams who gave us lots of energy when he came off the bench

    • Totally agree. I don’t know why he haven’t gotten to see more of Acy this year. In the few minutes he’s gotten he’s looked like a real solid hustle guy.

    • I’d agree with this. Amir’s next injury should be his last for the season.

  5. Sorry, I meant Leo Routins. Not Jack. However, they should bury Jack’s old bones as well.

    By the way, I’d rather hear any kind of perspective on the game from the announcers than any of their own personal shit.

  6. Jack Armstrong is by far the best thing about Rap’s casts. Way better than Leo who is knowledgeable but predictable. Jack says a lot of off the wall stuff which is usually entertaining especially during a sub par game. He keeps it light and god knows, if you are a raps fan, you need levitiy in large doses.

    JV should have played a lot more earlier on

  7. anyone else happy to see fields out there rather then Anderson? hes overpaid and for some reason cant shoot a lick, but man is he smart and makes everyones game easier

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