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Tip In: Four games for All-Star weekend

The Raptors come up with their fourth win in yet another hard fought win against the New York Knicks. As the Raptors head into the All Star break, Kinnon Yee takes a look at DeMar DeRozan's production before and after the trade.

The resurgent Alan Anderson goes for one of his many 3s
The resurgent Alan Anderson goes for one of his many 3s

Rough. Ugly. Bogged down.

When your first quarter ends up 18-14, and you score the 14, you know things are ugly.

When the game ends with the Raptors shooting 42.5% and the Knicks shooting 35.4%, it's not a game that's going to inspire a lot of running and gunning.

When there are six technical fouls (Aaron Gray, Kyle Lowry x 2, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Raymond Felton) and your starting point guard is ejected, there's no doubt that the game was physical and frustrating.

That being said, the Raptors came out on top, 92-88, thanks in large part again to John Lucas and Alan Anderson.

And boy, did they need their bench players to perform. Both Lucas and Anderson resumed from where they were last game and continued to have the hot hands. AA shot 62.5% and made 6 of 8 3-pointers. John Lucas filled in admirably when Kyle Lowry was ejected and managed to pour in 12 points in 5 shots.

With Rudy Gay only making 4 of 21 shots and the Raptors out rebounded 52-35, the Raptors needed to get as much as they could out of their bench.

What was impressive to me was that the Raptors now faced yet another team which tried to push them around, but they just wouldn't back down. Chief architect in roughing it up with the Knicks and just about every other team since he's gotten back, has been Jonas Valanciunas. As if answering an unspoken challenge to all the questions about soft European players, Jonas has gone out of his way to be as physical as he can with some of the biggest big men in the league.

And it's appreciated.

Heck, when Valanciunas took a shot to the chest by Tyson Chandler he got back up and kept battling Chandler on the next possessions. What's nice is that the rookie's enthusiasm seems to have rubbed off on others. Aaron Gray started yelling at Chandler during the next stoppage, standing up for his teammate.

Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

You also had 10 rebounds coming from an unlikely source. Mr. Newly-Engaged, Landry Fields, managed to pull down double digit rebounds and played some tough defense on Carmelo Anthony all night.

However, the man who seemed to be the quiet contributor for most of this game was DeMar DeRozan. Shooting a serviceable 5-11 from the field, but making all 10 of his free throws, DeRozan somehow managed to score 20 points in last night's game. It hasn't been uncommon for DeRozan to be an effective contributor lately, so it got me wondering, has DeRozan been that much better since the trade?

Well, to be honest, it's gotten a lot of people wondering.

The general thought though is that while Rudy Gay hasn't been great as a Raptor, he has made DeMar DeRozan that much better of a player. So here are the stats:

DeMar DeRozan - Before Rudy Gay Traded (1 Month)
15 35.5 6.1 14.1 43.10% 0.2 1.3 15.00% 3.4 4.1 83.60% 0.5 2.7 3.1 2.7 1.7 0.8 0.3 0.7 2.2 3.3 15.7
DeMar DeRozan - After Rudy Gay Traded
7 38.4 6 14.7 40.80% 0.6 1.6 36.40% 6 6.7 89.40% 0.4 3.4 3.9 3.1 2.4 0.6 0.3 0.9 1.6 4.4 18.6

First off, DeRozan is playing three more minutes per game since the trade. Also, since the Raptors didn't hit a groove until late December, I decided to only use DeRozan's January numbers. Here's the interesting thing. DeRozan's field goal percentage has actually gone down since Gay was traded. His 3 point percentages are up, but what's impressive is that he's getting to the line more and making more of his free throws.

Most of DeRozan's other stats haven't experienced much of a change, especially when you factor in margin of error and the increased playing time. It's definitely not the jump you might have expected or thought would happen.

Extrapolating a layer further:

DeMar DeRozan - Before Rudy Gay Traded (1 Month)
Season GP MIN OffRtg DefRtg AST% AST/TO ASTRatio OREB% DREB% REB% TORatio eFG% TS%
2012-13 15 35.5 104.5 105.9 12.80% 1.64 13.5 1.60% 9.30% 5.30% 8.23 43.80% 49.60%
DeMar DeRozan - After Rudy Gay Traded
Season GP MIN OffRtg DefRtg AST% AST/TO ASTRatio OREB% DREB% REB% TORatio eFG% TS%
2012-13 7 38.4 103.9 101 14.40% 1.29 13.5 1.30% 10.80% 5.90% 10.45 42.70% 52.60%

As you can see, his defensive rating has definitely improved as has his assist percentage. As expected, his True Shooting % has gone up thanks to his free throws.

However, it's not the jump it feels like. In fact, the stats are showing that DeRozan is well within his traditional percentages since the trade. More importantly, his more frequent trips to the line seem to be helping him out more than anything else. Now, you could argue that he's getting fouled more thanks to the fact that Rudy Gay is playing beside him, but for now, DeRozan is only slightly better than he was before.

Of course, if you're the Raptors and lost a bunch of close games, a few more points is all it takes to get a 4 win streak.