November 18, 2012 by bronasvalanciunas
Thoughts on the Game:
-The Raptors came out hard in the first quarter. Lithuanian Heritage Day and especially the Bronas bobbleheads in the crowd seemed to give the team an extra edge. The likes of Bargnani and DeRozan stuck to making good decisions on offence and the buckets were falling as a result. Meanwhile, Calderon made the good decision to shave before the game to decrease his playing weight and make his chin more aerodynamic, a savvy veteran move.
-With such a good first quarter, the Raptors were bound to get sloppy in the second, but managed to hold a comfortable lead into the halftime break. Even Dominic McGuire posted a few points, despite the daunting handicap of being Dominic McGuire. He had arguably his best game of the season, which isn’t saying much of anything. Still beats Landry Fields at small forward though.
-The halftime show was fun to watch, even if they only showed it on television for about 10 seconds. I assume the fans will be talking about that Lithuanian Dance number for years.
-In the third quarter was when things began to fall apart. The Raptors displayed sloppy defence mixed with poor shot choices all throughout the third. As a result, the Magic got back into it and remarkably had a lead going into the final quarter. All this despite having to rely heavily on Big Baby Davis and E’Twaun Moore, the latter of which can’t possibly be a real name.
-Then in the fourth, Jose took control of the game. He recorded 10 assists in the fourth for 18 overall (with only 2 turnovers), dominated Jameer Nelson in the point guard matchup, and led the Raptors to an 11-point win. Fun fact: The rest of the team only had 4 assists in total, so it’s a good thing Orlando’s defence never thought about adjusting to Calderon’s passing or anything..
-DeMar was good throughout the game, both in terms of decision-making and execution. Conventional wisdom would suggest that he would take it easy after getting a big contract, but he’s been carrying the team in the opening weeks of the season, which is great because there’s a lot of dead weight. Presumably half the team just spends their workouts lying around in the gym for DeRozan to dead lift.
-Andrea was mediocre at best. His first quarter showed so much promise but he was inconsistent at best after that. Some tenacious D for his standards, but he simply doesn’t create any offence on his own. We have no hope of making the playoffs if he can’t raise his game. But man, can he sell that Primo Pasta. If this basketball thing doesn’t work out for him, there’s always acting to fall back on.
-Amir Johnson and Linas Kleiza came off the bench and gently helped nudge the Raptors towards the finish line with some choice treys and emphatic dunks. When Amir Johnson can make a three, you know things are going your way. The rest of the bench was, frankly, useless. Terrence Ross, in particular, is offering absolutely nothing right now.
-John Lucas III offered his usual attributes. Lots of speedy dribbling, not much passing, poor shooting, and a single steal which I’m sure was important somehow. Probably spent most of the game checking Twitter. Exactly what you want from a backup point guard.
-Jonas Valanciunas made some good plays on the glass and dished out some goofy smiles for the cameras. He desperately needs to work on his free throw shooting, 2 for 6 isn’t nearly good enough. Maybe JL3 can help him out as part of their ongoing bromance.
-The Raptors’ free throw shooting as a whole was pretty woeful tonight, checking in at 14-23. Whatever. We beat an absolutely dire Orlando Magic team at home and I’m now convinced we’re playoff bound.
Final Thought: The Raptors won’t beat many teams by playing the way they did this afternoon, but at least they got a win at home. Victory baby!!!!!!