Well that was something. The Raptors were good, bad and at times ugly in New Orleans. At the end of it all there was a returning Kyle Lowry making a rather loud statement in OT to lead the Raptors to a win they tried to give away down the stretch. It marks the first OT win for the Raptors and as I noted on Twitter the loser will now be forced to be called the Pelicans this year. Raptors got down 17-7 early in this one and failed terrible down the stretch. But Kyle Lowry is crowned your ANTI-HERO and saves the day complete with black compression shirt for his shoulder. Oh and DeMar DeRozan had a great night to and hit more threes than Terrence Ross. He had 30 to lead the charge with 5 players in double figures none named Jose Calderon. Raptors take it in overtime 104-97 for their first road win vs. a Western Conference team this year and just their third overall on the season. Here are some takeaways from the night:
Lowry 1 Calderon 0: You know I am going here so why not get it out of the way. Jose Calderon for all the wonderful things people will say does his best work when his challenger for his playing time is out. Lowry returns and he has 2 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in over 30 minutes of floor time. Dwane Casey trying to play Switzerland by playing both late in this game worked tonight but won’t long term.
Lowry will drive you nuts and an ill advised shot that was blocked late was an excellent example of what people don’t like about him. Like it or don’t like it you better learn to love it. Kyle Lowry isn’t going to change anymore than Jose Calderon is going to make the NBA’s All Defensive Team. Lowry had 17 points and 8 assists and saved some of his best play for overtime.
Terrence Ross Isn’t As Good As His Hype, Still Least we Didn’t Draft Austin Rivers: I am growing tired of all this Terrence Ross over hype. His best play of the night was a dunk that didn’t count. It is not that he sucks or is a bust. I think he has talent but he is far from being the player some Raptor fans are trying to make him out to be. That said if the Raptors hadn’t taken Ross there was a lot of buzz they might have taken Austin Rivers. Thank God that didn’t happen. He was terrible tonight and has struggled in his rookie year with the Hornets. Maybe Doc Rivers was smart to make it clear he never wanted to coach his son. The way he has entered the NBA would make the Rivers household quite the mess if Doc was coaching him.
Rivers did out play Ross on this night with 11 points but it took him 41 minutes to get that much. He also had a terrible turnover late in the game. Ross was awful 1-8 and 0-6 from three point line. He is doing a decent job on defence but shot like that and hit the bench son. Landry Fields deserves some minutes on nights like this. Ross didn’t have it at all on offence.
29 Minutes of Good D: Raptors defense had their moments. It was a good second and third quarter along with the OT from a defensive perspective. The first 6 minutes of the first and the last 6 of the fourth were forgettable. Ok so that is 40 minutes of good play out of 52. Kyle Lowry was never the problem about the defensive side of things. He only helps to improve the Raptors in this perspective. It is that Andrea guy that is the issue. Without him the Raptors are 6-3 and last season the team’s defensive resurrection under Casey came with Bargnani only playing 31 games.
They made a solid point on broadcast about when Andrea returns. He may have to go back in the starting line-up with Jonas out. Had that not been the case no one would argue he deserved to be on the bench. In fact maybe he still does. Ed Davis continues to prove he deserves to start with 13 points and 5 rebounds going 6-12 from the field.
Is it the Hair? Amir Johnson continues to rock the claw hair cut and his play has been solid with it. It was a solid performance with 12 points and 8 rebounds off the bench for Amir Johnson. He lead the team in +/- with a + 18 on the night. Amir Johnson just continues to be the same guy he always has been. He even hooked up with Lowry for a nice play. Amir can have chemistry with anyone he just does a good job setting picks and rolling to the basket. He makes it easy for whoever his point guard is. He probably is banged up with injures we don’t even know he has but he never stops going. Funny loving off the floor and a true gritty performer on it is what Amir Johnson is.
That is about all the thoughts I have. Raptors win but likely exit this game with more questions than answers with Kyle Lowry’s return to the line-up. Also some under the radar play from Alan Anderson and Aaron Gray in this one. Both solid guys that never demand attention but on some nights deserve it. Anderson does this on more nights than Gray obviously. Will we get any answers in Orlando tomorrow? I highly doubt it. Raptors are trying to massage this point guard situation and on this night they did and escaped with a win. Don’t expect that to last over the long haul. Hornets are a six win team and a better team would have stole the Raptors lunch money and left them with a loss.