Kyle Lowry sat this game out and boy was he missed. The Mavericks raced to an early lead with Darren Collison and OJ Mayo driving into the paint at will. OJ Mayo in particular has started the season on fire and his first quarter was more of the same. A player who was criticized for not being able to read defences properly in his Memphis days was more often than not making the right decision. There were some moments when he forced contested jump shots. The only problem was that those contested jump shots were going in.
OJ Mayo vs DeMar DeRozan was always going to be the matchup that would determine the course of this game. Both had good games and there were times when you could only sit back and admire the effort that DeRozan was giving on the court. Most of us still aren’t fully convinced that he’s earned his new contract. If he keeps playing like this than we’ll all be forced to eat crow.
The Raptors were abused on the boards and there were bundles of second chance opportunities for the Mavericks big men to feast on. The Raptors struggled to create chances offensively and one got the feeling that they were working very hard to take average shots. Nights like this really put the influence and impact of Kyle Lowry in perspective. Ball movement was practically non-existent and there were too many instances of a player trying to go one-on-one against his man.
Dwane Casey’s rotation has been one of the themes that we have tried to cover in detail in the last few games. Amir Johnson hasn’t figured much lately and it was beginning to look like he was the 4th big man in the rotation. He duly responded with 18 points and 11 important rebounds though last night. Full credit to Amir as he came to play and often looked like the only Dino capable of grabbing a rebound. Casey used his full bench and controversially gave Quincy Acy and Dominic McGuire some burn when the team was in the midst of their failed comeback attempt.
After the game, a member of the traveling media asked Casey if he was thinking about shaking up the starting lineup and rotation.
"We may have to do that. We'll talk about it as a staff."
- Landry Fields watch: Our 20 million dollar man is 5/24 on the season and has a total of 12 points to show for it. Yes, he starts games, but Casey doesn’t seem to trust him to finish them. There was a moment in the third quarter where the Dinos had a 3 on 1 and Calderon passed the ball to a running Fields. He fumbled the ball, turned it over, and Vince Carter slammed an alley-oop at the other end. That sequence just about sums up the time he’s spent with the Raptors.
- OJ Mayo’s right-left crossover in the first quarter was impressive. Would you rather have OJ Mayo or DeMar DeRozan on this team?
- Dallas were playing without Shawn Marion, the artist formerly known as Elton Brand and Dirk Nowitzki. They were pushing the pace last night and attacked the Raptors on the fast break whenever possible. It will be interesting to see if they can incorporate their returning players into their fast-paced offence.
- Once again, Vince Carter tries to play basketball when he comes up against his favourite old club. He’ll go back to being a shadow of himself for the next little while and wake up when the Raptors host the Mavs on December 14.
- Jonas Valanciunas was the topic of much debate in the game thread/rapid recap. He is going to have nights like this and growing pains are expected for a young center. Would you rather throw him in the deep end against NBA-caliber starting centers or bring him off the bench?
- It wouldn’t be a Raptors game without refereeing controversies.
- There was a moment in the third where Matt Devlin literally said "too much big D."
- Relax everyone, we have the same record as the Los Angeles Lakers.