Jan 4, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Toronto Raptors center center Lucas Nogueira (92) reacts against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Raptors 125-109. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

BeBe and the Raptors put on a pre-season clinic in Detroit to save us from the colossal disappointment that was the Toronto Blue Jays game tonight. With the gut-wrenching spectacle of postseason baseball behind us – it’s time to focus on gettin’ buckets!

Toronto 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Detroit

D. Carroll 26 MIN | 1-8 FG | 1-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +12 +/-Yikes. Carroll’s boundless energy was the only positive in his game tonight as he continues to shake off the rest from a lengthy absence. His close-out defence on the perimeter was appreciated – and the 26 minutes was a good sign of endurance, but his shot was off in a major way. He knocked down just one of his eight field goals (at least it was a three?) and never made it to the line. If the Raptors want to take another step this season – Carroll is going to have to find his touch on the offensive side of the ball.

P. Siakam 25 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-3 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 7 PTS | +1 +/-Another productive outing for the big man, and the 25 minutes were another indicator of Casey’s confidence in his rookie. Siakam battled for boards, showed off his length, and finished well at the rim. His confidence on offense will take a long time to match his confidence on defense, but the skills are there for a long, productive season.

J. Valanciunas 28 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 3FG | 5-6 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +5 +/-JV continues to baffle. His line looks decent, with the exception of his field goal percentage (25%), but there’s an energy lacking. Despite the 12 rebounds, he seemed to get bullied when he attacked on offense, and fell quickly out of any scoring plans once Lowry and DeRozan started cooking. He played off the ball well, and set some beautiful screens for his guards, but until JV becomes more assertive with the ball in his hands, he’ll continue to frustrate fans.

K. Lowry 29 MIN | 8-17 FG | 5-8 3FG | 6-6 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 27 PTS | +11 +/-Despite the Blue Jays failing to reach third base once all afternoon – Kyle Lowry had no problem racking up the triples. He looked in all-star form with five buckets from beyond the arc, and was pulling up, attacking, and passing at will. Him and DeRozan combined for 19 points…in the first quarter, and continued to trade shots. He was perfect from the line, and even got into it with Stanley Johnson. Lowry is more than ready.

D. DeRozan 24 MIN | 10-18 FG | 1-3 3FG | 5-7 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 26 PTS | +11 +/-DeMar started off sluggish. He settled for a few long jumpers in the first before watching Lowry go to work and thinking “Hey! I know how to do that!”. So he did. DeRozan attacked the rim, taking on multiple defenders, and knocking down any open looks he had. He was still just 1-3 from three point land, but at this point in his career its unlikely that part of his game is going to take off. That’s fine as long as he’s getting to the line, knocking down his free throws, and playing with that All-Star attitude.

P. Patterson 20 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +3 +/-A disappointing performance for Pat-Pat in a good spot. His energy was awesome (because it always is) but his shot looks broken in the makeover. He was just 1-5 tonight, but did knock down a three. If even one of him or Carroll can provide that tenacious energy while ALSO scoring, this Raptors lineup becomes that much deeper. Until then, we’re left with what-ifs.

L. Nogueira 18 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +11 +/-OH BEBE. If any of you watched this game, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when I say the Pistons announcers basically thought Noguiera was a basketball god descended from the heavens. At one point, one of the broadcasters exclaimed “ONE THING I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THESE RAPTORS WAS THAT NO-GARRA-KID BOY HES LONG BOY HE CAN PLAY” and if that doesn’t tell you about his game then I don’t know what else can. Read his line – he was fantastic and the backup center spot is all but his.

J. Poeltl 5 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +2 +/-Not much too see here – the Ninja Poeltl played just five minutes, and showed a decent touch at the rim on his two buckets, but really, five minutes is five minutes. He’ll get some more run eventually, but it looks like he’s lost ground on Noguiera.

C. Joseph 24 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-1 3FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +7 +/-Joseph’s excellent preseason continues. He captained the ship when Lowry sat, and worked well when they were together. He still eats up a lot of clock trying to facilitate the offense, but there’s few better back up point guards in the league at this point, and he’s only getting better.

F. VanVleet 15 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -9 +/-Yikes. Freddy had a shot to really solidify that 15th roster spot tonight with his 15 minutes…and did literally nothing with it (okay he got a steal). He looked timid tonight after his recent explosion, and had trouble creating his own shots when the other reserves were out. The final spot is still likely his, but tonight was a wasted opportunity.

D. Crawford 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +5 +/-Same deal as VanVleet – Crawford did nothing with his limited run, and that’s fine. Nine minutes is only nine minutes, and at the very least, he was a +5, unlike VanVleet (-9) – still would have liked to see more aggression from him,

N. Powell 18 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -4 +/-Stormin’ Norman was more of a light breeze tonight. The 18 minutes were still nice to see, and his athleticism is borderline shocking sometimes. If he can find any semblance of consistency with the ball in his hands, the minutes will fall into his lap. His three assists showed a better understanding of the offense, and the excitement should be high for Powell for the upcoming season.

Dwane Casey
Casey distributed minutes well tonight, and his trust in Nogueira to have a big game was probably his best decision of the night. He was engaged, managed his starter’s time on the court, but still pushed them to play hard. His energy and professionalism was evident in Lowry and DeRozan’s play especially, and helped calm down Kyle when he got into it with Stanley Johnson.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The emergence of BeBe. Did he shock the world with his line? No, but I implore each and every one of you to get your hands on the minutes he had tonight and you will salivate with the potential. The Pistons broadcast team said it the best “HE’S JUST SO LONG” And he is! This doesn’t confirm his back up role, but it’s the closest thing to it.
  2. Kyle Lowry ready to GET.IT.DONE. His little scuffle with Stanley Johnson was evident that Lowry is ready to pick up where he left off…which is also unfortunately concerning. The “out of gas” cliche is more applicable to number 7 than almost anyone in the NBA – here’s hoping Casey can manage his minutes and still win games.
  3. BUCKETS FROM DEEP. Fine, there were only nine, but the Raps shot 42% from beyond the arc, (mainly thanks to Lowry) but the shots were well selected, and often resulted from beautiful ball movement around the perimeter.
  4. Boards baby. The Pistons are no joke when it comes to rebounding, and while Andre Drummond still got his (13), Toronto out-rebounded Detroit by ten on the night, and thats encouraging given their field goal percentage.
  5. Making the most of your chances. The Raps had 21 points (TWENTY ONE!) off of turnovers tonight compared to the Pistons five. They pushed the ball down the court, and showed the hustle of a team thats been here before.
  • Plenty of Wing Span

    “Despite the Blue Jays failing to reach third base once all afternoon – Kyle Lowry had no problem racking up the triples.”

    That was cold….very cold of you, but it’s the truth

    • bizzy

      The team just ran out of juice. Cleveland figured out how to pitch them and they refused to adapt. Joey and russ were missing pitches all series. It looks like both of them are on the deep decline. This team is going to look very different next year and I’m fine with that. I’m just hoping there’s a way we can somehow keep edwin but I doubt it. We need speed and players that can hit for average, not yolo sluggers that don’t do anything if there not hitting the long ball.

  • Mike$

    Bebe played really well tonight, hit the boards better than normal. Looks like he secured his as a starter for the first bit of the season anyway. Pascal looked shaky to me at some points. He turned over the ball with a few poor screens and bailed out the pistons offence with late fouls. That said those are just seconds out of a solid performance where he showcased what he can do especially defensivly. He’ll be a great energy guy and will have a place in the NBA being able to guard multiple, but he has much more upside than that. He really has a good IQ which is impressive for a guy so new to the game.

    • Ak

      Now let’s hope Siakam develops his 3pt range and becomes a unicorn.
      What do you think of Norman at the point Mikey? Does he have goods to be a James Harden type player on offense?

      • Mike$

        I don’t think Powell will ever really be a point guard. He might be able to run the point for a few minutes a game as a SG but thats different. No way he has James Harden type potential on offence either, he just doesn’t have the vision.

        He could be really good offensively, but Harden is one of the best offensive players in the NBA and don’t think thats a realistic ceiling for most people.

        • bizzy

          Norm’s clearly trying to do too much and it’s showing. He needs to let the game come too him like he was doing last year and not force the issue.

      • bizzy

        Siakam looks like an absolute stud. Loved bismack but I think sully, bebe and pascal will pay us dividends at the 4 and 5 spot.

    • Wild-ling #1

      Bebe had a good game. Not sure it was a game for the ages, as implied above. But he did get the minutes … and he played at the “4”, with JV`! THAT was interesting …! 🙂

      • Dunkenstein

        Our very own ” Twin Towers “…. I’ve been a critic of Bebe. Hope he proves me wrong.

        I still think Poeltl will ultimately overtake him in the rotation.

      • Mike$

        No not a game for the ages but he did exactly what was needed. Have to remember that even though he’s first center off the bench, he’s still behind sully at the 5 rotation. The defence, rebounding and screening were all there which is what is needed from a “3rd string” center. Bebe has always been inconsistent though so im not real excited and won’t be until he can string together a stretch of games.

        • leftovercrack

          Bebe played at a high level for several years in the quality Spanish league and won defensive player of the year there when he was 20 or 21, I forget his exact age. I never fully understood why people always talked about him in Bruno-like terms of how far away he was. He looked pretty good a few times with the Raptors last season too

  • Ak

    29 mpg for Kyle is the one stat I want to see at the end of every regular season game. If Casey can’t manage that, win total records are irrelevant.

    • Sinbad

      But will he adhere to it? It would be amazing if so, I strongly doubt he would.

      • Dunkenstein

        Even 31-32 mpg would help him be stronger for the post season.

        • Sinbad

          Agreed. It would help. But with Lowry giving that interview to David Aldridge about getting the 1 seed, and Casey saying that his and DeMar’s minutes won’t change much from last year, managing their minutes doesn’t seem like a priority.

      • Wild-ling #1

        But the best players in the NBA (surprise!) play the most minutes. All the top 50 play at least 32 minutes or more – including guys older than Kyle (like Pau Gasol, Dwane Wade, LeBron James, Joe Johnson, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony …).

        So sure, I’d like to see Kyle’s minutes pulled back a bit – but expecting Casey to play Kyle or DeMar under 30 mpg seems unreasonable to me.

        • Mike$

          Big difference between 32 minutes and 36-38 though They add up. While playing 30 mpg seems unreasonable, 33-34 should be pretty doable

          • Wild-ling #1

            Yup – sounds good. A day off here and there (especially in the spring) might be nice, too. But with significant injuries to other starters, it can get tough.

            And the coaches work with training and medical staff to monitor player’s health and conditioning. It’s fun to discuss this stuff. But we can go too far (and so be too critical) in second-guessing things like this – especially from afar and on limited information. 🙂

        • Ak

          I would definitely sacrifice home court advantage and 5-8 wins if it means giving bigger roles for Corey Joseph, Norman and Terrence Jones. It will force them develop their skillset and give the team more options come playoff time. Overusing a 1-2 isolation duo to rack up them wins seems unpractical to me. Kyle Lowry is most likely with us for the next 5-6 years and I would much rather he ages like Tim Duncan than Kobe Bryant.
          Of course it is unrealistic to think it will happen. If anything Dwayne Casey showed a completely different approach.

  • DC

    It’s not “fine” that DeRozan doesn’t improve his 3-point shooting. If Lowry could do it, why not DeMar?
    Three attempts are too few to judge, btw.

    • Sinbad

      Good catch. We rag on players to improve aspects of their respective games all the time. I’m not a fan of the low bar of expectations set for DeRozan’s distance shooting either, but it is what it is.

      • Wild-ling #1

        🙂

        DeMar averaged 1.8 3-pt attempts /36 mins last season. 3 attempts in 24 mins is actually a good thing :). (Let alone 26 points (on 18 shots) in 24 mins – nice! 🙂

        • Tragic Mugatu

          Even the 1 for 3 (.333) part is only like half a percent off from his 3pt% last year (.338), so if that one-ish extra 3pt attempt per game is replacing one of his non-foul-drawing 2point shots, that’s a slight efficiency uptick

          • Dunkenstein

            The 1 for 3 from three means nothing. Way too small as a sample. Hitting the treys are important but just as important would be for DD to crank up his game at the other end of the floor.

            • Tragic Mugatu

              Yeah obviously the sample size is way too small to mean anything, we’re just humouring the author’s premise that it’s a reflection of where he’s at.

              The defense would be just as key if not more, true, but for a mid-career wing player a slight uptick in distance shooting% just seems more doable than than a major leap as a defender. At least one or the other will need to happen for that contract to look good though.

      • Tragic Mugatu

        I can get on board with the “unlikely to take off” part — shooting is one of the most variable stats in the NBA from one year to the next, so I can’t blame the writer for not assuming another jump from Demar in that area after he leapt 5.4% last year.

        But I’m with you two in disagreeing with the “fine” part. There’s just such a difference between a player who isn’t an off-ball threat vs a player who is– just look at what a factor outside shooting has been in Lowry’s rise and in MCW’s fall. Derozan has gone about as far as a wing can go without being a good defender, distributor, or 3pt shooter. To take the next step he needs to improve one of them, and the shooting seems like the most fixable.

      • Noelle

        You “rag on” 1 player “all the time”, to the point of sickness

        • Sinbad

          False, but nice try. I’ve been commenting for years and have ragged on various Raptors to strengthen aspects of their game, as do most posters on RR. What’s with your fascination of stalking my posts? Are you looking to pick a fight? Lay off.

          • Noelle

            lol, that “False” is akin to Trump’s “wrong” in trying to deny what’s available on video.

            Well, since you deny it so victimly let’s see about that extreme DeMar and Casey (sometimes backhanded through “system”, but still casey centric) centric ragging that I speak of:

            – The Raps played 12 players last night, and this is a thread about that preseason win. In just 24 minutes, DeMar scored 26 pts on 10/18, 3 Rbs, 2 ASTs, 2 STLs. The only comments you have in this thread are to jump through a crack in the door to lend your support and ammo to a backhanded slap at Casey and time management, and to jump through another cracked door to rag on DFeMar’s 3 pt shooting prowess. Un effing real, and just the latest in why I replied to you as I did.

            I don’t what how long you’ve been posting here has anything to do with the subject, but I decided to do a bit of analysis of your posts. I did not look at every one of the 123 posts, in these comments, spanning just over 2 years, but I got as far as your first 38 of those posts, and 26/38 ragged on DeMar or Casey, and not 1 ragged on anybody else, except for including Lowry lumped in with DeMar ragging a few times. Over the last couple of months, 21/30 posts have been DeMar and/or Casey centric, and let’s just say not favourable, and yet again not another player has been “ragged on” as you claim to spread “love” around. All reason to expect that similar results would be found if looking at the posts in between, all of which supports my post that you so vehemently deny, while playing the victim. Boo effing hoo.

            Though a few of your insightful basketball comments I ran across were gems for you to share:
            – “I wouldn’t want Vasquez gone…….” in full blown support for keeping GV. Masai who you usually question to fill in the blanks between DeMar/Casey bashing, got Powell and Clippers 2017 first rounder for the guy you wanted to keep. That’s why Masai gets paid $5M/yr to manage the team, and you’re here sharing your bball genius.
            – I also love your flip flopping insight on Kyle too. Sometime over a year ago you posted: “I don’t understand how people didn’t see Lowry’s regression coming. He’s been a thoroughly average player his entire career.” But you saw that regression coming unlike all the blind people here, right? lmfao Of course now you’ve forgotten about that regression that only you saw while he was on his way to an All-NBA team and team USA, and now speak of him playing at an MVP level. C’mon, amuse us some more with whose next on your insightful regression
            meter.

            Since this was fun, in an annoy the whiney little….. way, I figured I might as well have a peak at your forum posts, because viewing them has lead to my above opinion as well. I can’t be bothered to put together stats again, but it doesn’t take much to see that many of your posts are again salivating at any opportunity to rag on DeMar and Casey. Pretty much every article you dig up to share with others is to support your DeMar/Casey ragging, are often of the “wtf, who cares?” variety, but it’s the obsession that’s disturbing, getting boring, and worth commenting on.

            So I don’t think I stalk you, but I don’t like your obsessive offerings, and am not going to lay off because you don’t like me poking at you.

    • ramed nazored

      24 minutes, 18 shots, 26 points but yet you’re still not satisfied.

  • Joelkorrie Mueller

    Post rotation looks set. Val sully patterson bebe. Fifth post siakum. Maybe some stints in d league like powell last year.
    Wings derozen Carroll ross powell
    Pg lowry Joseph. That’s 10 deep plus you have 2 other guys in wright and siakum as 11th and 12th man who I feel could move into the rotation.
    Hopefully Casey looks at the long game here. Deep team. Use the depth. I kinda like sully and bebe as backups and Val patterson as starters.
    Sully and the combo of bebe/siakum could lessen the loss of bismack.

  • RaptorFanM

    Raptors better find more balanced and reliable scoring from a few other guys besides Lowry and DeRozan who can get cold (see playoff performance). JV was red hot in last year’s playoffs but has looked shaky, uncertain, tentative and downright like his old inconsistent self. Ross, Patterson — can these guys be reliable scorers? I hope so but not holding my breath. Carroll — I dunno, were his best days in Atlanta? If we can get guys playing to their ceiling /potential on a more consistent basis, and with the addition of Sullinger — this could be a damn good team — but the proof is in the pudding & inconsistent play won’t cut it.