Just think about where the Toronto Raptors would be today if they had Rudy Gay closing those close games that account for far too many of their losses. It’s unbelievable what having a closer is doing for this team. Despite the terrible defense, Dwane Casey‘s questionable rotations, the Raps still closed out the game. After closing out the Denver Nuggets, that’s two game winners against high quality teams for ‘that guy’. Unbelievable.
While I’ve bashed John Lucas III in the past, you have to give credit where it’s due and he kept the Raps alive in the fourth with his three-point en-slaughter, ending with 14 points. Once Lucas is hot, he is very effective, and the need for a higher quality back-up is suddenly diminishing. Alan Anderson also was solid in the fourth. He didn’t force his offence, took high quality shots, and played solid defense. Bottom line is if Anderson can stick to his role, he’s a good option off the bench.
Let’s get to the report card:
Can’t complain at all here. Lucas, Gay, Anderson, were solid, and leading scorer DeMar DeRozan had quite the game as well, along with probably the best dunk of his career.
Kyle Lowry is finally looking more like Kyle Lowry, as he’s attacking. He finished with a double double of 11-10, and expect this kind of production more consistently going forward.
The D was quite awful tonight. I understand that Denver is a high octane offensive team, however there has to be some adjustments. Ty Lawson is extremely tough to stop, but he absolutely carved up the Raps tonight. If he hit that last shot, I would get into the horrible defense a little more but I want this to be positive.
The Raps got outrebounded 45-38, however came up with some huge rebounds, particularly offensive, down the stretch. Jonas Valanciunas has really been playing well, and he finished with 8 boards. DeRozan also tore down 8, and his rebounding improvement is really noticeable.
Game Ball- Rudy Gay
No argument. You hit the game winner, you get the game ball.
Credit to Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports for the photo