One thing has not changed. Raptors fans still boo Vince Carter. Aside from that nothing much was similar to what we have seen from the Raptors this season. The Raptors dominated from behind the three point line 12-36 while Mavs were 0-13 snapping their consecutive games with a three streak in which they passed the Raptors the former record holder for that bizarre stat. They had not had a game without a three since 1999.
Rather that a re-cap let’s take a look at some key points.
Bench Production: The Raptors bench with a few more options came to play tonight. They had 53 points as group with Linas Klezia with 20 and Terrence Ross with 18. How many nights is that happening with Kliezia? Few is the correct answer. In case of Terrence Ross everyone’s new favorite Raptor except for me. Sill regardless of that you are seeing bursts of good play from Ross. Will see if it continues in terms of Ross.
D Was The Key: The Raptors defense with no Bargnani and it should be noted no Kyle Lowry either was a lot better and perhaps it’s best performance of the season. The Raptors bombing away will steal the headlines but how they follow up this defensive performance is what will be important moving forward. Houston will be a significant challenge on Sunday. If this D can deal with them maybe the light has finally come on or maybe we figured out what was holding it back?
No Mayo: Raptors did a nice job containing O.J Mayo who has been a big part of the Mavericks being able to tread water without Dirk Nowitzki. Mayo was just 2-8 and had just 10 points on the night. He like the rest of his team could not buy a three going 0-4.
Closing the Deal: Dwane Casey rolled with what was working in the fourth and it worked. Imagine that as the Raptors out scored the Mavs 26-17 in the final quarter. This team had a team down and they didn’t let them back up the kicked them while they were down. This is something that was a relief to see and will see if that continues. It is a start anyway.
Warning Signs: Not all was good. Jonas continues to struggle and Ed Davis who had been on fire of late was also fairly quiet. 6 points all by Davis and 14 rebounds combined for the Raptors starting tandem at PF/C. Nothing to write home about at all.
Other nice things were ball movement and everyone active and engaged on defense. I am not sure this is something the Raptors can keep up but on this night after losing 6 in a row the fact the Raptors finally get a win and move their record to 5-19 with a 21 point win 95-74. The concern is did the Raptors get all their bad luck returned with good fortune in one night.