The Toronto Raptors were without Kyle Lowry once again, however managed to withstand the return of Andrea Bargnani and the New York Knicks as they came victorious against the league’s worst team. 106-89 was the final score in this one, putting the Raps at 42-28 and back into the third spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Raps simply handled the Knicks as they should have. We got to see a little bit of Bruno Caboclo as well, which is always fun. This one was pretty much sealed by halftime, however the result really should be taken with a grain of salt as this is the worst team in the league. I suppose we should just get to the report card.
When you have a balanced offensive attack headed by your best offensive player, it often leads to winning basketball. The ball movement was better than it has been during the free-fall, and the Raps simply took advantage of the abysmal Knicks.
DeMar DeRozan continues to heat up and finished with a cool 23 points. Jonas Valanciunas also continued to prove he deserves touches, finishing with 17 points that looked effortless. And finally, a special shout out to Tyler Hansbrough for scoring 18 points in 17 minutes.
Again, it’s the Knicks. This shouldn’t mark a defensive turnaround for the Raps, but they did enough to contain the threats. Lance Thomas (who?) finished with 24 points, and fan favorite Andrea Bargnani dropped 16 however that was about it for the Knicks.
On an unrelated note, just how amazing would it be if the Knicks re-signed Bargnani to a long-term deal this offseason after the late surge he’s been on?
Rebounding – A
Valanciunas continues to improve as a rebounder, as he really has bolstered his positioning on the defensive end. He finished with 10 boards, and the Raps had the edge 44-38.
Game Ball – DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan appears to be entering playoff mode, and is forcing less shots while buckling down on defense. He finished with a fantastic statline of 23-7-5 on 53% shooting.