Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
The Raptors earned their first win of the season by defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday evening. It wasn’t a perfect performance but it was a start...
You could see the smiles on their faces and sense the relief around the building. The same guys who competed against the Pacers and Nets but ultimately came up short earned their first win of the young season.
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points apiece. We discussed DeRozan’s contract extension earlier in the week but it’s worth noting his increased level of play so far. He still has a tendency to settle for contested jump shots now and again and his man-to-man defence is a work in progress. However, focusing solely on those aspects of his game wouldn’t be fair, as he has repeatedly displayed a willingness to get to the line and has done a much better job at reading passing lanes.
Alan Anderson dropped 18 points off the bench and easily had his best game of the season. Coach Casey has rewarded Anderson with a solid helping of minutes in each game and last night was no different. Landry Fields didn’t hurt the team but he didn’t necessarily make the team that much better when he was on the floor. The pressure is slowly mounting on him and if Anderson continues his strong play than Fields’ starting spot could be in jeopardy.
Andrea Bargnani had a night to forget and only ended up playing 24 minutes. He also didn’t see the floor during the 4th quarter. Yes, you read that correctly and you don’t need to get your eyes checked. This was probably a one time thing but if it happens again things could get interesting. Watch this space.
The T’wolves were without the services of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. They would also end up losing JJ Barea midway through the 2nd quarter. The guys who were on the court turned the ball over 24 times and didn’t make life easy for themselves. Andrei Kirilenko led the way but his teammates didn’t do much to help him out.
Five out of six Raptors HQ writers picked Kyle Lowry as the team’s MVP for this upcoming season. It might be the only thing we get right all year. Lowry set the tone with his tenacious play and infectious attitude. There were moments when the game looked to be slipping out of the Dinos hands and those were the moments when Lowry demanded the ball. Toronto has really taken a liking to him and I’m sure we’re all going to see a few more Lowry jerseys around town.
The team has the day off before playing the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow and the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
- Terrence Ross was the first player off the bench after his DNPCD on Saturday. He scored his first basket in the fourth quarter.
- Lowry and DeRozan have great chemistry together. They seem to be working well as a tandem and it would be interesting to see where they might rank in terms of Eastern Conference guard tandems.
- It wouldn’t be a Raptors game if there weren’t grievances about the referees. They made a couple of contentious decisions and duly faced the wrath of the crowd.
- One of the loudest cheers of the night was when a free throw was hit in garbage time. It was the 100th point. It may be a new season but some things never change
- The two-point guard lineup didn’t see the court in crunch time.
- There was a moment early in the second quarter where JJ Barea posted up Jose Calderon and hit a tough shot and got the foul. We are all witnesses.
- Jonas Valanciunas has now gone up against Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez and Nikola Pekovic. Welcome to the NBA.