Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pound the Rock Stars of the Night - Toronto Raptors 106, Brooklyn Nets 113 - The 'Brooklyn Way' Edition

posted by Mike Masaya

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:   RAPTORS 106 - NETS 113    SEASON RECORD: 14W-24L

POUND THE ROCK STAR #1: KYLE LOWRY
LINE: 21 pts (5-7), 4-5 3pt, 7-7 FT, 2 ast
It has been hinted by Kyle Lowry himself that the coaching staff strongly suggested he become more passive in his role with Raptors. With various injuries to a number of players resulting in a decent run to end December it became clear that team basketball is the team’s only real chance at making a push to the 8th spot in the East. The hashtag #ShareTheRock began to trend on Twitter as fans were happy to see the number of assists increase per game creating fast break opportunities which allowed everyone to touch the ball on offence at least once. With Lowry only playing 15 minutes I wonder if I would have preferred less points and more assists. However with the pace of last night’s game the 7 Free throws and 71% shooting percentage was key to staying in the game.

POUND THE ROCK STAR #2: AMIR JOHNSON
LINE: 15 pts (6-7),  3-6 FT, 6 reb
Whether Amir likes it or not he has gone from glue guy to a primary option. Not only because DeMar DeRozan needs more help, but because he has proved again and again he is capable of becoming a primary option. Amir’s pick and roll with Jose Calderon is as natural as ever and with his mid-range jumper now becoming increasingly reliable he has to be prepared to push himself to end January on a good note. With the Bulls, Lakers, Heat, Warriors and Hawks posing as the biggest challenges, the Raptors can hopefully get lucky against them and play their best against the very beatable 76ers, Magic and Cavaliers. Amir will need to be a force in all those games all while still keeping in mind the the new ‘Share the Rock’ philosophy which has made such a difference as of late.

POUND THE ROCK STAR #3: JOSE CALDERON
LINE:  15 pts (6-11), 3-4 3pt, 5 ast
Once again Jose Calderon is number one in the NBA when it comes to assist to turnover ratio ahead of Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker. As exciting as it is to be at the top of such a list it is equally frustrating  to know that besides Steve Nash and the Lakers, all those players are sitting in the top 8 of their respective Conference as of today. The pieces are there for Toronto its just a matter a controlling the pace of games on the road the same way they do at home. Easier said and done of course.

SHOUTOUTS TO THE Nets:
BROOK LOPEZ
LINE: 22 pts (6-12), 10-10 FT, 9 reb
It was said early on in his career that Brook Lopez would be one of the Centers in the NBA to change the new culture of Guards being the sole game changers. Even with his last two seasons which were filled with injuries Brook Lopez lived up to expectations averaging career numbers of 17 points, 79% Free Throw shooting and 7 rebounds per game. With the mainstream Miami Heat getting bullied by teams like the Utah Jazz with solid Forwards and Centers, players like Brook Lopez will wind up under the spotlight where they belong by season’s end.  


Next up for the Raps: vs Chicago (Wednesday)

Photo via The Star


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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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