What has become clear to me already is this team is just going to be frustrating to watch like past versions of the Raptors. Toronto caught one of those breaks you find in an NBA Schedule with the Bucks forced to start their third option at the point guard. It seemed the Raptors were taking advantage of that fact and played easily their best basketball of the season for the most part through three quarters. This is despite having the starters shoot for a combined 22-57(38.5%). Digging deeper the main three players on this team Gay, DeRozan and Lowry were 14-42(33.3%) from the field.
The Raptors made up for this by moving the basketball with a minor improvement with 19 assists compared to 15 the night prior. However, the major reason the Raptors could hang on for an eventual 97-90 win was rebounding. The Raptors had a 60-38 advantage on the glass and an 18-6 advantage on the offensive boards.
Taking away the numbers of it all there was just some things that stuck out like a sore thumb. Rudy Gay plays like a selfish player far too much. So much so that even with the Raptors blowing a lead in the fourth quarter Dwane Casey decided to give him the hook to perhaps send a message.Though if you listen to his post-game comments below he denies such a message being given. It didn’t go well for Casey regardless as Ross who replaced Gay immediately got beat for a couple three pointers to make it a tie game midway through the fourth.
If at the start of the pre-season I proclaimed Landry Fields would be the most consistent Raptor three games into the season it would have been laughed at. It is likely the case though after 3 games of the season. In my opinion Landry Fields has just finally been able to mentally trust his body again after his injury issues. He looks a lot like the player that played for the New York Knicks these days. Here is what Landry had to say for himself after this one.
Fields brings up the fact the Raptors were pushing the ball up the floor. It was something they did for the majority of this game and used it to great effectiveness. The Raptors were getting to the line as they got there 38 times only making 28. That has been an under the radar problem the Raptors shooting at the line has been poor and Kyle Lowry has been uncharacteristically bad. While Rudy Gay was shooting bricks from the field he was good at getting and making from the free throw line going 8-10. Actually he was active on the glass as well with a team high 15 rebounds (a career high). It all got lost in his selfish decisions on offence but in the light of day with an extra hour to sleep he did actually do a lot to help the Raptors get this win.
I am sure Dwane Casey is more than happy to be 2-1 on the season despite his team likely making his hair go grey like he was a President of the United States. Perhaps being the only job that guarantees more grey hair than coaching the Toronto Raptors.
While the Raptors have been extremely frustrating as they always seem to be at the end of the day they are 2-1 and that is what will remember down the line the wins and loses. The Raptors next play Tuesday against a Miami Heat team that is 1-2 on the season so far with loses to Brooklyn and surprise of the NBA the 3-0 Sixers. So safe to say the Heat will be a motivated group before anyone boos Chris Bosh at the ACC on Tuesday.