- Any worries about the health of Amir Johnson have been at least temporarily put to rest. He came out ready to work, shooting 7-15 for 16 points, adding 10 rebounds, and, why not, four blocks.
- The bench unit of Greivis Vasquez, James Johnson, Tyler Hansbrough (the first man off the bench, surprisingly), Patrick Patterson and Lou Williams got some extended play together. The B squad was able to mix it up and run with the Hawks. Vasquez led the Raps' scorers off the bench with 12 points.
- Jonas Valanciunas had a quiet shooting night (only 4-5, plus 9-10 FTs), but he grabbed 8 rebounds and muscled his way around. He even hit a 20-footer.
- The Raptors had 26 assists against only nine turnovers. A positive stat for which Dwane Casey is very appreciative.
- Raptors fans were on it all night. Huge cheers throughout the game, chants of "Let's Go Raptors" and, my favourite new thing, a chorus of LOOOUUUUUUU every time Williams let loose with the ball.
Some negative things to note:
- DeRozan had a strange game. He shot 4-16 and despite some fancy dribbling, didn't appear to get too many easy shots. Still managed 15 points, along with an eye-opening 11 rebounds, and a career-high six steals. Go figure.
- Similarly, Kyle Lowry had 10 assists and 0 turnovers, which is great, but shot 3-11 from the field (including 0-3 from three).
- Philosophical aside: what does it say about the Raptors when their two most talented offensive players can have mediocre shooting games and yet still win fairly convincingly?
- For the Hawks, it should be mentioned (because I put it in the lede) that Mike Scott came ready to sell some damn paper. He threw up 20 points on 8-11 shooting (4-6 from three) and was generally, along with the smooth Kyle Korver, a terror up and down the court. Their 4th quarter assault was stopped by the Raps, but look out for the Hawks once Al Horford, the team's most talented player, gets his groove back.
It's just one game, but things already appear to look pretty good for the Raptors. What did you guys think?