Observations From Toronto Raptors Locker Room

Here are some observations, notes and quotes from the Toronto Raptors locker room after the team beat the Boston Celtics 116-109:

  • Jonas Valanciunas was rocking a Mike Tyson shirt.
  • DeMar DeRozan: “Honestly, I don’t worry about nothing anymore. My confidence is that high. I feel like I can do anything once I’m on the court. I’m not trying to put any limitations on my game when I’m out there on the court.”
  • Bruno Caboclo was showing teammates a video of Leandro Barbosa crossing over an opponent. Terrence Ross couldn’t get enough of the video clip.
  • DeRozan gave Valanciunas some friendly ribbing over his beard.
  • Dwane Casey wasn’t ornery, but he wasn’t happy with the defensive effort from his team. I expect the team to go through a bunch of defensive drills during practice this weekend.
  • Kyle Lowry still has a sign that his son made for him last season hanging in his locker.
  • Greivis Vasquez on the Air Canada Centre: “This is the best atmosphere in the entire NBA.”

Game Notes: Raptors 116 – Celtics 109

Here are some at-the-buzzer observations and analysis from The Gondola about the Raptors’ third preseason game of the year:

  • I thought it was interesting that Boston’s first points were a three-pointer by Brandon Bass and Toronto’s first points were a long two by Amir Johnson.
  • DeRozan oozing confidence. Hit a three-pointer early in first quarter from just to the left of the tip of the arc and nailed another tough three early in the second half. Avery Bradley is noted for being a strong defender but he had problems slowing DeRozan down throughout the game. Even a larger Evan Turner had his share of issues. DeRozan finished with 18 points with relative ease.
  • Boston started game 3-10 from the field and finished the first quarter shooting 42% (8-19) from the field. Throw in five turnovers and it’s the kind of defensive effort which had to make Dwane Casey smile after he blasted his team’s effort on the defensive end against the Sacramento Kings.
  • Raptors went on a 11-5 run when they went small with DeMar DeRozan, Lou Williams and Kyle Lowry at the end of the first quarter. The scoring spark was expected, but a pleasant surprise was seeing how that trio shared and moved the ball among themselves as well as with Patrick Patterson and Tyler Hansbrough.
  • Things fell apart in the second quarter as Toronto allowed Boston to shoot 5-7 from the field to start the quarter. This helped Boston steal the lead back at 37-36. Things didn’t get get better before the half ended as Boston went 12-19 from the field in the second quarter. Avery Bradley was one of the main benefactors for a lethargic defensive effort from Toronto as he went off for 17 points in the second quarter. Ouch.
  • Jonas Valanciunas had six rebounds in his first 10 minutes of playing time. He finished with nine boards in 22 minutes.
  • Kyle Lowry picked up his fifth foul early in the third quarter. Weird considering Lowry rarely found himself in foul trouble. Perhaps he was pressing too much against Boston’s relatively inexperienced point guards.
  • Greivis Vasquez grabbed the opportunity and score 13 points in his first 15 minutes of burn. He finished the game with 13 points in 19 minutes.
  • Terrence Ross has bulked up this season which will help him defend larger wing players. However, James Johnson is an even better option on the defensive end at this point. Casey has a lot more options now than he had against the Nets last year in the playoffs.
  • I loved Kyle Lowry picking Kelly Olynyk’s pocket in the fourth quarter. Despite having five fouls, Lowry went after the steal and it resulted in two easy points for the Raptors. It also gave the team a much-needed bump in energy.
  • Toronto put the clamps on Boston defensively in the fourth quarter. After allowing 93 points through the first three quarters, Toronto held Boston to six points through the first seven minutes of the quarter (a 26-6 run). Boston only scored 16 points in the fourth quarter.