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Raptors Use Strong 2nd Half to Power Past Trail Blazers, 112-106

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The new look, Lowry-less Raptors improve to 2-0 out of the All-Star break.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

As the bell of the Oscar’s called for Slammin Danny G, I tagged in at the last second to bring you this recap (shocking I know). I was at the ACC for this one so without the luxury of notes, here’s some general musings on the play of the Raps tonight by position group.

Guards

DeMar DeRozan was once again the game’s top scorer, finishing with 33 points on an efficient 9-16 from the field, and making 15 of 16 attempts at the free throw line. The Blazers were blitzing and trapping him hard whenever he was trying to penetrate or create for someone else, and he adjusted in the 2nd half getting the ball out of his hands quickly and creating more driving lanes for both Cory Joseph and Delon Wright.

Speaking of Joseph, this stretch of extended playing time in Lowry’s absence sure looks like it’s gong to do him a world of good, as he truly looks comfortable for the first time this season. The floaters and jumpers on the move are starting to drop with consistency, and he was able to drop 6 dimes as well.

Norm Powell and Delon Wright only played 12 and 15 minutes, respectively, but did a solid job contributing on both ends, and Wright produced a couple highlight reel worthy layups off of pretty euro steps on the drive.

Wings

DeMarre Carroll struggled with the shot tonight, and I’m holding out hope that one day each three pointer he takes won’t look as flat as week old Pepsi.

PJ Tucker also fought through a lot of BS from the officials while he was playing tonight, including a bogus technical foul called when jostling with Jusuf Nurkic for a rebound as Nurkic’s tooth was knocked out.

Bigs

Man, after the past two seasons is it ever sweet watching a legitimate power forward go about his business for the Raps on a nightly basis. Serge Ibaka was everywhere tonight, finishing with a line of 18 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and steals as well a block. When the game got tight late and the Blazer D keyed in on getting the ball out of DeRozan’s hands, Ibaka was there to score in the mid range and out of the post. It’s going to be a delight to watch his time in a Raptor uniform.

Jonas Valanciunas was also quite effective in 22 minutes tonight after being quiet against Boston, as he played in an Enes Kanter type of role, focusing on taking advantage of Nurkic and Meyers Leonard on the block going 7/8 from the floor. With Ibaka and one of Patterson or Tucker playing the 4 up front for defence to close games, get used to more of this from JV in the final third of the season.

Bebe Nogueira once again wasn’t useful in the first half as evidenced by his -7 in just 10 minutes, and he ceded his 2nd half playing time to Jakob Poeltl, who managed not to have any major brain farts and was actually a +5.

On a final note, Ed Davis looked real sad on the Blazer bench as he picked up a DNP. #FREEBOSSDAVIS

Raps are back at it again tomorrow night at MSG against the Knicks.