Thursday, 3 January 2013

Different Directions

And the run continues.  After blowing out the Magic over the weekend the Raptors blew out a lethargic Blazers bunch last night at the ACC.  Sure the Blazers were playing a back to back after beating the Knicks behind Liliard’s heroics at MSG on Tuesday, but the game was another positive sign for the Raptors. 
                The ball moved yet again.  Calderon and Lowry handed out 22 assists.  A far more astounding stat from the pair was the limited scoring and shot attempts.  Lowry is a scoring talent who can be a bit selfish at times, the me first mentality.  When things were stalling through the first 23 games this trait was on display, perhaps it was frustration due a blogged down offense cornered around the plodding/bricking Bargnani.  Ball movement has become infectious and Lowry seems to have bought in.  The entire roster has. 
                Young talent has also been on display.  Terrence Ross was on fire last night dropping threes while scoring a career high 26 points.  Over the last half dozen games Ross has shown the potential that led to his being picked #8 in the last NBA Draft.  He is fearless, never shies away from the shot or moment.  When his shot is on these are great qualities.  As well the highlight reel dunks seem to coming every game.  Ed Davis has stepped up in the absence of Bargnani.  Easy Ed is quick off the floor for rebounds and put backs.  After an injury and bench ridden first few seasons it is nice to see Davis take advantage of his opportunity.  He seems to have bona fide interior skills.  It will be interesting to see how his career shakes out.   The Raptors need to see more of this from Ed before deciding on whether to extend him or not. 
                The veterans have also finally produced.  Anderson has been a solid intangible guy and a great shooter at times.  Fields is back from the wrist injury and contributing.  Johnson has made himself into a solid big man.  Valunciunas is out but showed potential. 
                These good times for the Raptors come with Andrea Bargnani out with injury.  The offense looks better and the ball is moving.  Will it last?  Probably not but after a horrendous start led by the stagnant Bargnani these last few weeks have been a delight.  It will be very interesting to see what happens with Andrea for the rest of the year.  I have a feeling the fans and players might mutiny if he is giving heavy minutes or propped up to be the franchise player once and if he does return. 
                The closest thing the Raptors have to a franchise player is Demar Derozean.  His extension at the beginning seemed to be a head scratcher but so far he seems to be worth it.  He has been efficient and quietly leads the team in output most nights.  Impressive. 
                Colangelo still needs the axe. 

                The Celtics on the other hand have been poor.  Underwhelming they don’t look playoff worthy.  I caught the end of last night’s game versus Memphis.  Rajon Rondo, a predicted MVP candidate, is up to his usual mercurial ill advised ballin.  The two late fourth quarter threes were awful.  Rondo has regressed yet again and does not seem to want to be a leader.  The guy will not take over games like he should given the age of Pierce and Garnett.  Green and Terry for the most part have been disappointing.  Bradely did return last night but he needs time.  As Tommy Heinson said “the pieces on this team don’t fit yet.”  It’s time to panic in Beantown!  I think a major shakeup trade is needed.  They need a big besides Garnett.  Danny Ainge needs to get to work. 

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