The Hawks managed to thrash the Raptors from the second quarter forward. What was harder to watch was a 33 year old shooting guard with back issues completely school our wing players. Kinnon Yee looks at how T-mac bit into our hometown heroes.
Tracy McGrady scored 15 points on 5/7 shooting. That's more points and more efficiency than DeMar DeRozan or Jerryd Bayless, and is in fact, more points than any single Raptors player scored.
Tracy McGrady went to the free throw line four times and made all four of his shots, which was more than any individual Raptor except for Gary Forbes.
Tracy McGrady had one blocked shot which is as much as the entire Raptors team. (Thanks Ed Davis!)
Tracy McGrady comes off the bench in Atlanta much as he did in Detroit. He's lost a lot of his game since his days as a raptor, but still has the ability to make teams pay if they under estimate him. He still has size and shooting ability. He can draw on his experience. On the Hawks, he's now becoming a leader for their second unit.
Tracy McGrady turns 33 in May.
When I look back at last night's game, there was plenty to talk about as the Raptors played sloppy and uninspired. They didn't even have their widely regarded defense as Atlanta seemed to score without any kind of resistance. Sure, the Raptors threw a couple looks at a zone defense, but they just couldn't close the gap that had developed in the second quarter.
What we're left with is a lot more check marks as far as what we know about this Raptors team. Jerryd Bayless may be on track, but he's showing he's a better shooting guard than anything else on this team. Aaron Gray is a serviceable big man who has trouble finding consistent minutes even on a team that is fielding injuries.
And while some people may say it's unfair, DeMar DeRozan's complete inability to take control of this team just speaks volumes. If you were just looking at last night as a sample, the Raptors are better off offering a contract to McGrady to tutor the next generation of shooting guard because DeRozan is just that ineffectual.
I'd like to think that players like DeRozan and Ed Davis are making cases for being another option for the Raptors.
Trouble is, they aren't. On other teams where injuries have allowed other players to shine, on the Raptors, those same players have simply shown their own faded colours.
And that's a concern.
Going into tonight's game against the Celtics, the Raptors threaten to showcase more of the same. With the Raptors now going for a smaller lineup against their opponents, it should help negate some of Rajon Rondo's qualities as the Celtics point guard. However, if the Raptors hope to get a win, I believe they're going to have to concentrate on the following:
1) Forget about last night - The Hawks are young, athletic, and able to play a multitude of styles thanks to their versatility. The Raptors were going to have their hands full even with all hands on deck. The Celtics are coming off a back to back just like the Raptors are, and if the Raptors look tired, the Celtics will take that as a weakness and pounce all over them.
2) Bayless vs Rondo - First time the Raptors played the Celtics, it was Calderon vs Rondo and it didn't go so well. Let's see if Jerryd Bayless along with Leandro Barbosa can at least attempt to divert Rondo if he's well enough to play. The rest of the Celtics have been relying heavily on Rondo this year to create for them. By shutting him down, the Raptors may have a snowball's chance in Toronto.
3) Don't fall into the Celtic's pace - We'll keep emphasizing it throughout the year, but we need to see good defense on a nightly basis even without Bargnani. Allowing the Hawks to score 100 was not a good sign. Allowing the Celtics to score 96 in their previous encounter wasn't a good sign either.
The Raptors have to slow down their opponent's offense while maintaining their own flow. I'm sure Dwane Casey will continue to establish this for the rest of the year. But it's something we have to see maintained even without a complete roster.