In a week that saw the Toronto Raptors get off to a rather discouraging start, the week turned out to be a lot better for TO, as they finished it off by winning two in a row. While blowing their first game in the 4th quarter to the Boston Celtics, the Toronto Raptors came out with a statement in the next two (Indiana Pacers/New Orleans Hornets), making sure no leads were going to be blown in the final twelve minutes. It was indeed an entertaining week to say the least, as fans are finally realizing just how successful, the “Rudy Gay Era” could turn out to be.
Team Record: 2-1
Team Grade: B+
Blowing a lead against the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter was definitely a tough pill to swallow, but the Raptors were able to rebound with two impressive wins against the Indiana Pacers and the New Orleans Hornets. They were able to put the demons behind them in terms of closing out games, as they proved to themselves, as well as others, that they could do so, whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Player Report Card
Rudy Gay: A+
While being acquired in exchange for fan favorites Jose Calderon and Ed Davis, Rudy Gay did not fail to showcase the caliber of player the Toronto Raptors were receiving from this deal. He had an impressive week showcasing his fluent scoring ability (scoring no less than 20ppg all week), and even “wowed” some fans with some highlight reel dunks. Oh yeah, he also hit a game winner in overtime to defeat the Indiana Pacers.
Kyle Lowry: B+
There’s no longer a point guard controversy in Toronto, and that seems to have relaxed Kyle Lowry just a bit. Since taking over the starting job again, Lowry has almost looked like his usual self, averaging 11 points and 8 assists last week.
Andrea Bargnani: B-
Il Mago is back, and looking better than ever! Since coming back from injury, Andrea Bargnani has now taken on a bench role, and has looked pretty darn good. He hasn’t received the starter minutes he’s been used to getting before, but the Raptors’ obviously want to ease him back from injury. He’s averaged 13.5 points (60% from the field), in two games last week.
DeMar DeRozann: C+
Not the best week for DeRozan offensively (especially shooting wise), but that could have something to do with Rudy Gay stealing the show in Toronto. Although the pressure has been somewhat off him offensively, DeRozan hasn’t necessarily demonstrated his full offensive capability. Nonetheless, DeMar is still DeMar, and will most likely bounce back this week.
John Lucas: C+
Now that John Lucas is the primary backup point guard in Toronto, his game needs to be better. Although his scoring has come easy in limited minutes, he needs to sustain solid ball movement among the offense, when entering the game for Kyle Lowry.
Alan Anderson: C-
There’s a lot of depth on the wing when it comes to the Toronto Raptors team, and there’s simply no room for poor play if you want to sustain a position in the rotation. Although Anderson’s play has been stellar all year, he’s been absolutely abysmal as of late, including this past week. Hey, at least his defense has been alright.
Amir Johnson: A+
Hustle, heart, and solid play, Amir Johnson continues to be the glue guy on this Raptors team, and has proven that once again this past week. Hustling on just about every possession, Amir Johnson has been the best Raptor in my eyes this past week. He looked poised on the defensive end, and has been making the right play on both ends of the floor. He also showcased his inner Rudy Gay, as he came up clutch on Friday night, sending the Raptors to overtime, just as the buzzer-sound.
Terrence Ross: C+
Not much to say about Terrence Ross this week in terms of his on-court production, thanks enlarge part to his lack of playing time. However, he was selected to this weekend’s “Sprite Slam Dunk Contest”, so he deserves some praise for that.
Jonas Valanciunas: B+
Many would’ve expected a little bit of rust from Jonas Valanciunas when returning from injury this week, but that was not the case at all. Playing a big role in the win against the Indiana Pacers, Valanciunas earned the right to start the following game against New Orleans. He made Raptors’ fans remember just what they were missing, during his absence (averaged 12.5 ppg, 11.5rpg, and 2 bpg in both victories), and looked great throughout the pace of the game.