Monday, November 26, 2012

Pound the Rock Stars of the Night - San Antonio Spurs 111, Toronto Raptors 106 - The 'Double O.T. Grindhouse' Edition



POUND THE ROCK STARS - On a nightly basis, no matter how good or bad the Raps play, no matter if they blow out a team or if they get blown out and no matter if they win or lose, these are the Raptors with the best 'Pound the Rock' status for the night.

FINAL SCORE:   SPURS 111, RAPTORS    SEASON RECORD: 3W-11L

POUND THE ROCK STAR #1: DEMAR DEROZAN
LINE:  29 pts (11-28), 7-8 FT, 7 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl
With another great game under his belt, DeMar DeRozan’s scoring ability should never again be in question. What did stand out was the sudden switch from lackadaisical defense early in the game to DeMar diving on the floor going for loose balls. The losing streak is having a positive effect turning the hungry Raptors into, well just that, hungry Raptors. Still not getting the benefit of several calls by the referees, DeMar fought through frustration to push the game into a 2nd overtime. DeMar played his heart out and did all he could against one of the best teams of the last few years. Can’t ask for much more than that.

POUND THE ROCK STAR #2: JONAS VALANCIUNAS
LINE:  22 pts (9-13), 4-5 FT, 7 reb, 3 ast
Jonas Valanciunas is young and like any young person, he doesn’t like to lose. It seems whatever learning curve the coaching staff, media and fans had predicted for Jonas may be shrinking due to the Raptors losing streak. Jonas’ hesitation was minimal when deciding to take open shots compared to his first few games. Any type of intimidation he should have felt facing a future Hall of Fame player like Tim Duncan simply wasn’t there. Motivated by close games slipping away, Jonas traded in his timid rookie smiles for serious scowls, monster picks and physical post up moves. A great example was a clutch defensive play on Tim Duncan. He not only caused the turnover but followed it up by running the floor, getting fouled and hitting both free throws tieing the game with 24 seconds left. Seen pumping his fists and shouting after big plays, a few losses might motivate and push this team to winning instead discouraging them.

POUND THE ROCK STAR #3: KYLE LOWRY
LINE:  20 pts (6-16), 4-4 FT, 8 reb, 4 ast
With games being lost by very small margins there is nothing more Lowry can do to get his team to win. Between bad calls and poor execution to close out games, at this point the Raptors need a little luck. Unlike the last few games Lowry came out of the gate looking for his shot instead of opting to pass. Aggressive as usual, and even hitting a huge 3 pointer in the 1st overtime, it wasn’t enough to get the win.

WHERE YOU AT, HOMIE?: ANDREA BARGNANI
LINE: 4 pts (2-19), 8 reb
Andrea’s game yesterday was the equivalent of a friend forgetting to pick you up from the airport in the middle of the night. I simply don’t know how else to put it. An important game in the schedule against an elite team needed to be treated as such. I’m no detective but it would seem that Andrea has been frustrated as of late after the missed call the NBA later admitted was a mistake by the officials. After an early steal by Andrea he was clearly bumped but no foul was called chewing on the Raptors patience. A few plays later he was called for a charging foul which should have only been a minor irritant, but it was then that the downward spiral began. Besides his terrible shooting Andrea seemed lethargic on defense and did little to help his teammates. Had it not been for Ed Davis’ 15 pts and 14 reb the Raptors may have never made it out of regulation. I would consider this a one-off type game for Andrea and expect the entire team to bounce back against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. And yes, it’s too early for #TradeBargnani to be trending.

SHOUTOUTS TO THE SPURS:
TONY PARKER
LINE: 32 pts (14-27), 6 reb, 5 ast
Tony Parker played great but was by all means beatable. The Raptors were able to stand toe to toe with Parker for the entire game, but his experience boiled over and burned the Raptors. Never losing his cool, Parker carried himself with a calm, confident and aggressive demeanor he has throughout his entire career.

Next up for the Raps: @ Houston (Tuesday)

Photo from Fox Sports

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Hip Hoop Junkies, a Toronto Raptors / NBA / Canada Basketball blog based out of Halifax. Home of the #RAPSTALK Podcast - "Hoops Talk out of Halifax"

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