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Post Game Report Card: Raptors beat lowly Knicks

pg_4_5The Toronto Raptors beat the New York Knicks 93-89 on Sunday Night in a game that was a lot closer than it should have been. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 27 points, while Kyle Lowry was 4 of 7 from downtown where he scored 12 of his 15 points. On the other side, Carmelo Anthony had 21 points in 24 limited minutes, while Cleanthony Early managed to take out a broadcast table, a few fans and Leo Rautins’ cellphone hustling for a loose ball late in the fourth quarter. More importantly, aside from a few bumps and bruises the Raptors came out relatively healthy out of this game and DeMarre Carroll continued his rehab playing 17 minutes off the bench.

Post Game Report Card:

Offence: B+

Good, but not great for the Raptors on offence tonight. They shot a respectable 48% from the field and 35% from downtown, but only knocked down 12 of 19 free-throws. They also got 44 points in the paint, but after starting off the game attacking the basket, the Raptors strayed away from getting the ball inside for a while until DeRozan picked up his rhythm with a few acrobatic lay-ups. The majority of the missed free-throws came from the big men as Bismack Biyombo and Jonas Valanciunas were a combined 2 of 7 from the line. Having big-men who can make free-throws is a big plus for any team, just ask the Los Angeles Clippers. However, the bigger concern is the fact that the Raptors established their post presence early and then went away from it as the game went on. The Raptors are at their best when they consistently attack and penetrate the paint throughout the game.

Defence: B+

Usually, keeping a team to under 90 points is an A+, but given that the Raptors allowed 89 points against the sixth worst offence in the league is mildly concerning, especially given that their only legitimate scorer played just half the game. As we saw last season, the Raptors got into a habit of getting lazier and lazier as the season went on and then carried that effort into the playoffs. This season should be different, given the off-season additions who play defense with pride. However, you never want to show even the slightest bit of weakness, particularly if you are looking to follow a San Antonio Spurs model of basketball as the Raptors are. It wasn’t a bad game by any means, but it could be better.

Rebounding: B

The Raptors were outrebounded 47-38 in this one. They allowed 13 offensive boards, which led to 15 second-chance points and a fourth-quarter comeback. Again, this is coming against a below-average team like Knicks who sit in the bottom-half of the league in rebounding. This came in large part due to the lack of assistance on the glass from the wings and guards. Carroll was the only player under 6’9” for the Raptors with 5 or more rebounds, which was unlike the game against the Indiana Pacers the other night. Team rebounding is a big part of closing out defensive possessions and will be key should the Raptors make an exciting playoff run.

Game Ball: DeMar DeRozan

No question about this one. DeRozan had a game-high 27 points and was key in keeping the Raptors afloat in the fourth quarter. After shaking off the rust he got into a rhythm in the second quarter, attacking the basket and effortlessly knocking down mid-range shots ending the game 12 of 17 from the field. It is true that a large part of his offence comes from inefficient isolation plays (aside from the big alley-oop), but once he gets going it opens up the whole floor allowing his teammates to get going too. He did take a couple of shots to the face and got few calls, but got into a flow and stayed there closing out the game for his team and moving past the great Vince Carter for second on the Raptors’ all-time scoring list.


 

All stats from this article are from tsn.ca/stats

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