Raptors rally for win over Magic
Dwane Casey was once viewed as one dimensional, a defensive zealot whose claim to fame was being able to devise the strategies that brought other teams’ offensive stars to their knees.
It was something Casey orchestrated brilliantly as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks in 2010 11 when the Mavs won the National Basketball Association championship.
With Casey getting the credit for maneuvering the Xs and Os on defence, the Mavericks were able to throw a wet blanket over such offensive stars as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade en route to the title.
It was one of the reasons why the following season Casey was hired as the new head coach in Toronto. Cheap Jerseys china He was brought in to try to instill a sense of defensive pride on a squad that didn’t defend the basket, coming off a dismal 22 win season in which they allowed 105.4 points per outing.
Since he took over, the Raptors have been one of the NBA’s more tenacious defensive units, and it has been no different during Toronto’s storybook start to this season.
But a new element has been introduced this season a diverse offensive attack and it has helped propel the Raptors to dizzying heights.
The offence was slow to the boil on Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre, but it was there when it counted most in the fourth quarter when the Raptors rallied from 11 points down to record a 104 100 victory over the Orlando Magic.
And while the result was what Casey was looking for, playing solid, two way basketball for just one quarter did not rest well with the coach.
“Where we want to go as a team we can’t be playing like that,” he said afterward. “I mean, Orlando outplayed us for three quarters. I liked the resolve of our team and the second unit came in and did what they were supposed to do and really competed.”
For Toronto, it was their fifth win in a row and improved their record to 7 1 on the year.
Patrick Patterson led the fourth quarter second unit blitz for Toronto, nailing a three point shot from the corner that knotted the score at 83 83 with just under 10 minutes left to play. Another Patterson three with about 6:30 left moved Toronto in front 90 88.
The Raptors were clinging to a 101 100 margin when Tobias Harris came up short for Orlando on a 10 foot jumper, and when Toronto grabbed the rebound, the Magic were forced to foul Patterson. With 11.8 seconds on the clock, Patterson only made one of two to give Toronto a two point cushion.
And when Harris missed again on an open jumper from 10 feet, the Raptors grabbed the rebound and held on for the tough win.
Point guard Kyle Lowry would lead Toronto with 19 ponts and seven assists.
James Johnson was also a monster off the bench for Toronto, grabbing a team high 10 rebounds in just under 22 minutes of play, adding two assists, one steal and one blocked shot in the win.
“He was huge, he was really huge,” Casey said of forward. “I thought he came in and gave us a disposition, a presence defensively.”
Things will only get tougher, with the Chicago Bulls, who are neck and neck for Toronto for the early bragging rights atop the Eastern Conference standing, coming to town for a showdown on Thursday.
The Raptors came into the Orlando game with the NBA’s top offence, averaging 107.4 points with six players scoring in double figures.
DeMar DeRozan led the way, averaging 22.7 points, good for 11th place on the NBA scoring chart.
When you have been holding your opponents to an average of just 95.9 points that is a pretty good ratio for success, which for the most part the Raptors have enjoyed.
“It’s a really good balance,” Casey was mentioning before the game about the mix of high octane offence and stingy defence. “I think our guys have grown offensively. nfl-jerseys-discount I think Demar DeRozan’s developed himself into one of the top offensive players in the league, rightfully so. Kyle [Lowry] has brought an up tempo mentality to our team and everybody’s improved their offensive skills over the last two years.
“With that and then just creating some offence off our defence and it really has been a big plus for us.”
These are certainly good times for the Raptors, who continued a seven game homestand Tuesday night against the Magic, a team they had already dismantled once this year, 108 95, Toronto’s second game of the season back on Nov. 1.
Toronto entered the contest leading the Eastern Conference after their first seven games for the first time in franchise history. For the Raptors, that represents 20 seasons.
The Raptors were seeking a fifth straight win but Orlando displayed early on that they were not going to be as easily messed with.
It was the Magic who displayed considerably more zip in their stride from the opening tip, connecting on 53.3 per cent of their shots over the course of the first half where they gained a 60 51 foothold.
The Raptors were wearing their alternative camouflage jerseys in honour of the war veterans on Remembrance Day, units that featured short sleeves that some of the players complained felt restraining on their bulging biceps.
The argument could also be made that the clingy garments might have been cutting off oxygen to the brain as the Raptors were one step behind the opportunistic Magic throughout the opening half.