What a week! The Toronto Raptors managed to get some sort of redemption with a big win this afternoon against the Los Angeles Lakers. After starting out the New Year strong, the Raptors week resulted in heartbreak after heartbreak. It seems like we took two steps forwards only to take three back. This sort of week made me feel like it was the beginning of the season all over again with the Raptors continually failing to execute when in the lead against good competition. The NBA apologizing for a missed call on a critical play in the waning seconds of the game doesn’t help our record either.
With that being said the Raptors who were once only 3.5 games out of the 8th playoff spot have dropped three games and are now 6.5 games out.
The Raptors snapped a four game losing streak, and are trying to claw their way back into contention for that final spot currently occupied by the Boston Celtics.
Let’s check out the Weekly Rap:
Team Grade: C
The Raptors had a tough week and this grade could’ve been lower, however the way they pulled together as a team against the Los Angeles Lakers saved them a bit. Losses to the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers with exception to the Brooklyn game all could’ve been wins. Dropping winnable games when you’re sitting that close out of the 8th spot hurts, and that’s why the Raptors as a team get a C for this week.
Player Report Card
Jose Calderon: C+
Calderon looked phenomenal in the Raptors win against the Lakers. Last season he dropped a career high 30 points against the Lake show so there must be something about facing his fellow Olympic teammate Pau Gasol that get’s him fired up. He was nearly invisible in previous matchups this week being supplanted by the resurgence from back-court teammate Kyle Lowry.
Kyle Lowry: B+
Last week the question surrounding Kyle Lowry was, what happened to our point guard of the future? This week, Lowry was the reason why the Raptors were competing in any of those games in the first place. Scoring 21pts against the Nets, dropping 26 on the Bulls and getting a cool double-double in Philly, Lowry has had himself a pretty good week (minus the losing part). Back-to back threes against the Lakers helped seal the deal in this afternoon’s game where he played smartly in 17mins.
DeMar DeRozan: D+
A D+ grade for DeMar DeRozan only seems fitting. After coming out aggressive for most of the season DeRozan has only gone to the line a combined 8 times in the past four games while averaging 11ppg. He’s also been logging 34.3mins/game in this stretch as well. He may need a little bench therapy to get his fire started.
Terrence Ross: C
Up and down week for the rookie. Some games he becomes invisible merely floating around the perimeter on offence. Or some games he explodes with a barrage of 3pt shots or a series that get you screaming “T-ROSS!!!” At the TV. Inconsistent minutes, combined with inconsistent play leads to a C grade.
Landry Fields: B
Now you see me, now you don’t. That’s how its been with Landry Fields this week. Dwane Casey has used him appropriately, except for that time he was subbed in and Jrue Holiday blew by him for the bucket. Following a 40min game where grabbed 11 boards, Fields played a combined 32minutes between 2 overtime games before stepping it up against the Lakers. From what we did see from Fields this week was worth the B, its good to see him gaining confidence in his jumpshot.
Alan Anderson: B
Alan Anderson put on another career game this week against the Bulls dropping 27 points off the bench. Casey seems to trust him being the first wing off the bench, and the first scoring option off the bench. With the current lack of bodies the shots are there for his taking, his veteran presence is welcomed on the court. His great patience in late-clock situations does not go unnoticed.
Quincy Acy: B+
My man! Quincy Acy has hustled his way into the Raptors rotation with the injury bug still plaguing the team. His help defence is excellent, showing great awareness by drawing four charges against the Bulls. People need to stop comparing him to Reggie Evans just because of his height and beard; he is nowhere near that level when it comes to boxing out.
Aaron Gray: C+
Used sparingly in the Nets game to slow down Brook Lopez early, and was playing great minutes against the Lakers with making Dwight Howard extremely uncomfortable. Why the referees always hate on Gray beats me, but you gotta love the guy for just being a professional night in and night out.
Amir Johnson: B-
Production may have cooled down for Amir Johnson this week but his effort never fails. He played a ton of minutes against the likes of Lopez, Joakim Noah and Gasol this week. Skill wise he was outmatched in every contest, but he still provided that effort that we love so much.
Ed Davis: B+
Literally the definition of Pound the Rock. Ed Davis moving to the starting lineup has been nothing short of beautiful. He’s shown the will to improve by hitting the mid-range jump-shot, but he also doesn’t do much outside of his comfort level. He always crashes the glass, and looks to dunk the ball on every possession possible. When he gets going early, the Raptors tend to forget about him late in the game. Aside from being defused by Carlos Boozer and friends, Ed Davis has been nothing short of solid.
Photo Cred: (AP Photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS,Nathan Denette)