Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pound the Rock Stars of the Night - Toronto Raptors 114 , Milwaukee Bucks 122 - The 'Staying Alive' 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 114 - BUCKS 122    SEASON RECORD: 23W-37L

POUND THE ROCK STAR #1: AMIR JOHNSON
LINE: 19 pts (9-11), 1-2 FT, 9 reb
From the first tip right up until about three minutes left in overtime Amir Johnson was the motor keeping the Raptors going, taking high percentage shots and making things difficult for the Bucks with his defense. Andrea Bargnani and Landry Fields were a great help to Amir’s cause early on with their size and active hands creating points off of turnovers.  Amir had 9 points by halftime but went scoreless in a poor 3rd quarter by the Raptors before scoring 10 in the fourth. Even though Amir Johnson fouled out he was a key factor in trying to keep the Raptors playoff hopes alive.


POUND THE ROCK STAR #2: ALAN ANDERSON
LINE: 21 pts (8-20), 4-5 FT
None of Alan Anderson’s points were as important as his dunk to tie the game at 104 with 1.6 seconds left in the 4th quarter sending the game into overtime. Anderson’s role in keeping the Raptors in the game with 21 points in 29 minutes of playing time was invaluable especially with Rudy Gay out with back spasms. Averaging 24 minutes and 11 points this season its good to know he can elevate his game when Toronto is short handed and he is getting more touches. Should this be the end of the Toronto’s playoff chances, Raptors management should feel good knowing a player like Anderson is capable of performing well under pressure when his number is called. No doubt a topic of conversations with trade rumours likely to resurface at the end of the season.

POUND THE ROCK STAR #3: JOHN LUCAS III
LINE: 16 pts (6-9), 4-5 3pts
With less than 20 minutes of playing time John Lucas was able score 16 points on 66% shooting and 80% from 3 point range. DeMar Derozan was clearly no slouch with 18 points and 9 assists of his own and my only concern is that it was done with a little under 48 minutes on 6-21 shooting. There was no doubt a monkey wrench thrown into the Raptors new system with the temporary loss of Rudy Gay and more pressure will understandably fall back onto Derozan. This is why John Lucas III will remain coach Casey’s favorite go to bench player by staying ready to play at full speed the way the coaching staff and fans know he can when the team needs him the most, like he did tonight.

SHOUTOUTS TO THE Bucks:
ERSAN ILYASOVA
LINE: 29 pts (12-21), 5-5 FT, 11 reb, 2 stl
Ersan Ilyasova has averaged 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds this season and improved to 15 points and 7.5 rebounds in the month of February helping keep the Bucks playoff hopes alive. No doubt asked to fill the void left by Andrew Bogut, Ersan Ilyasova welcomes contact under the rim with his 6’10 235 pound frame and balances it with a decent mid range jumper should his defenders ever question his ability.  His tip in of a missed shot with seconds left in the 4th quarter giving the Bucks a 104-102 lead is another example of his endless hustle and determination. Extra points go out to him after clocking in nearly 40 minutes in an uptempo game which can often be a challenge for big men.

Next up for the Raps: @ Golden State (Monday)

Photo via Fox Sports

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Welcome to Hip Hoop Junkies, your blogging portal to the NBA world from a Canadian perspective. We'll tell you about the Toronto Raptors, we'll tell you about Jay Triano, we'll keep you up to date on Steve Nash, hell, we'll even talk about Todd MacCulloch's pinball career. This is where the Canadian flavour of the NBA is highlighted.

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