The Toronto Raptors are now 21-20, after making an incredible comeback after being down by 21 in the first quarter – the fifth largest comeback in franchise history. Greivis Vasquez was terrific, who came in and gave some energy to the team, while Kyle Lowry was playing down with a virus. Coach Dwane Casey threw a gamble on the floor by putting Jonas Valanciunas after having 3 sub-par quarters, but was able to put on a big quarter on the offensive board. It was a full team effort to get back into this game, and win. The Raptors also sweep the season series against the Dallas Mavericks.
The offense to start the game was awful, ending the 1st quarter down by 19, not to mention shooting an abysmal 26% from the field. The second came along, and they were much more energized running the ball down the court every chance they had, leading to a 17-4 run allowing them to get back into the game. The Raptors ended the half shooting 39% from the field, helping out with 9 assists, but turned the ball over 7 times. In came the second half, and the Raptors came out with much more energy once again, shooting the ball much better, ending off with 41% from the field. They only turned the ball over 3 times, and assisted 6 times in the 3rd as well. The fourth came, and the Raptors made some big shots, and made some big time passes. They only turned the ball over 3 times in the 4th, assisted 20 times, and pushed their percentage up to 42% at the end of the game.
The defensive start was awful as well, allowing Dallas to shoot above 60% from the field, and giving up 34 points in the first quarter. The second quarter, things changed, as they became much more active by creating turnovers, and forcing some badly missed shots. Giving up nearly 54% from the field isn’t what Dwane Casey wanted, but it’s definitely an improvement. The Raptors were also able to force them to turn the ball over 9 times after the 1st half. The defense improved in the 3rd, but still allowed them to shoot 50% sharp, also giving up 40% from the perimeter. They did not force the Mavs to turn the ball over as much in this quarter, only giving it up 3 times. The fourth quarter came, and the defense picked up, big time. The Raptors only gave up 12 points in that 4th quarter, and by the end of the game, they forced them to shoot 47% from the field, also forcing the Mavericks to turn the ball over a crazy 20 times!
Rebounding in the first half was fairly even, but the Raptors were eventually able to end off with a slight advantage on the glass; 19-17. They also had an advantage in second chance points, up 9-4. The second half was a different story, where the Raptors took over on the boards, winning the total rebounding battle 39-32.
Game Ball: DeMar DeRozan
A career-high 40 points, on an efficient 22 shots tonight. Isn’t much to say, other than give this man the All-Star reserve spot in February. He’s been struggling in the 4th quarter in the recent stretch, but tonight, he was a monster. Made big plays defensively, and dissected the Dallas defense with his attacking at the rim. 40 points, 1 steal, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 9/12 from the free-throw line,15/22 from the field, and an all-star quality 4th quarter performance.