On how Toronto was built:
In June they drafted Ed Davis with the 13th pick of the Draft and acquired the rights to Salomon Alibi.
In July they signed RFA Linas Kleiza after Denver refuse to match their offer sheet.
Then they traded a 2nd round pick to Houston for David Andersen.
Then in November they traded Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks and David Andersen to New Orleans for Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic. The 3 players involved in the trade for the Raptors, had little impact in the game against the Kings on the 1st of November. They combined for 7 pts, 5 rebs and 6 assists in 38 minutes.
The Kings won the Nov. 1st game 111-108. Here’s what I had to say back then.
“Bargnani takes half of his shots from outside 10ft and might be more accurate away from the rim. Reggie Evans at 6-8 is an unbelievable rebounder, averaging 15 per game thru the first 2 games, but can't score a point to save his soul even when averaging 4.5 offensive rebounds per game.”
“Toronto’s backcourt is strong with DeRozan, Jack, Calderon, and Barbosa”
Bargnani ended up with 28pts on 4 of 4 from inside 10 ft. and 6 of 12 on long 2’s and 3’s. Reggie Evans finished with 19 rebounds, with 10 on the offensive boards but only 6 pts. DeRozan finished with 24 pts on 7-14 shooting and 10-14 from the FT Line. Calderon had 13pts/ 5asts / 2rebs while Jack only had 2pts / 5asts / 3rebs. And, Barbosa had 2pts & 3 rebounds; he and Jack went 2-11 from the field. Kleiza scored 18pts with 2 rebs at the starting SF position, while the reserves combined for 19pts.
For the Kings, Dalembert finished with 14 boards with 6 on the offensive glass and 4 pts to offset the rebounding of Evans. But, the Kings were outrebounded 42-40 and 17-16 on the offensive glass. With DeMarcus coming off the bench and scoring 16pts on 6-10 shooting, the Kings reserves were able to score 44 pts and win the game.
Raptors forward Reggie Evans suffered a broken right foot in the third quarter of the Nov. 26th game against Boston and has yet to return. In place of Evans, Amir Johnson a 6-9 PF, who played 4 years with Detroit right out of high school, has been starting. He’s averaging 9pts and 6 rebs in 24 minutes. Kleiza is starting at SF and averages 12 pts / 5 rebs on 44% shooting in 26 mpg. Bargnani starts a center and is their leading scorer, with 21 pts / 5.7 rebs on .467 from the field and .356 from 3pt range. DeRozan is the starting SG, averaging 14.4 pts / 3.4 rebs on .467 shooting field but shots only .091 from 3pt range. Caldron is the starting PG, averaging 10pts / 7.9 assist on .475 field and .449 from 3pt range.
Barbosa, Davis and Wright are the primary reserves, but Dorsey will see about 9-12 minutes. Bayless has seen action in about 18 games, but has been out with a injured ankle since Jan. 4th. No info on his return. Peja has seen action in only 2 games with Toronto and none since Nov. 26th.
Currently, Toronto allows the highest number of Made baskets at the rim and teams shoot 60% inside 10ft against the Raptors. The Raptors are the worst 3pt shooting team in the league, but the Kings aren’t exceedingly better although they seem to be improving with Cisco & Omri both shooting over 41% from 3pt range. The Raptors are a surprisingly good rebounding team, considering their lack of height on the front line. And, they on average outscore the Kings at the Rim on more attempts and outscore us inside 10ft with a higher shooting percentage. And, they shot at a better FG% on mid and long range jumpers.
They play at a slightly higher pace then the Kings do, but allow around 3 more points per game (104.6-101.3). There defensive rebounding rate is almost identical to the Kings. But, they are the 2nd to last in shot blocking while the Kings are the 10th best. They also have the 4th worst turnover rate.
The Raptors currently have a record of 12-24 and a home record of 7-10. But, they are 3-7 in their last 10 games and 3-9 against the West for the season. They did beat Dallas on the road after Dirk was injured, and they have beaten OKC and Houston in Toronto. But most of their wins have come against Detroit, Washington, and Cleveland.
With Tyreke listed as questionable after injuring his ankle against Denver, I think the Kings are going to have to push the tempo to get some easy baskets. And, when they have to go into the half-court game, their probably have to run the ball thru DeMarcus both inside and from the high post. Beno has had some good games with Tyreke out, both in scoring and in creating assists. We probably need him to do that again.
With Thompson following Bargnani away from the basket, DeMarcus should be able to use his size to dominate Johnson on the glass. Whether he’s able to do that just might determine the outcome of the game. I still have hopes that Tyreke feels well enough to play by game time, but if not it will be interesting to see if Taylor is as athletic as we’ve heard and if he can defend DeRozan. I had the Raptors on my lists of teams we will sweep this season, and I see no reason to change my mind. It’s a 10 am PST game, so set your VCR’s if you’re planning to sleep late, because I don’t think you’re going to want to miss this one. GO KINGS!!