Game notes

1. “My parties looking like the Raptors’ win streaks. 10, 11 in a row.” GOAT broadcaster Drake stops by the booth to, as he always does, speak eloquently on behalf of the city.

2. Cory Joseph operating in HORNs absolutely murdered the Pistons. By my count, the play produced seven scores in eight possessions (the one miss had Joseph miss a layup, then Valanciunas missed a tip). The Pistons just could not handle Joseph’s drives and passes off the play.

3. It also helps that the Raptors would occasionally run a variation of HORNs where they staggered the high screens with the roll man up top, and the shooter at the elbow. It’s a beautiful wrinkle because Biyombo almost always rubs the defender off Joseph, so it either forces switches, or one of the pop/roll is available on the help.

4. I thought Dwane Casey was going to skin Valanciunas for not boxing out against Andre Drummond. Smart move to essentially swap JV and Biyombo’s places in the rotation for the first half. Biyombo (the league’s 4th best defensive rebounder) only let Drummond have one offensive rebound the rest of the way.

5. Stanley Johnson is going to be a monster in this league. All he needs is to get that jumpshot down pat and he’s good. Super physical on defense, passes the ball well, and his in-between/finishing game is really strong.

6. DeMar DeRozan was not happy with the whistle and started taking some silly shots in the first half, but the third quarter (10 points) really helped the Raptors pull away when the starting unit was struggling.

7. Speaking of the starting unit, it was shit yet again. I understand keeping the rotations as is since they’re on a roll, but I cannot wait until DeMarre Carroll returns. The spacing is absolutely atrocious, there’s not a lot of speed on the floor, and any success they have is purely borne out of Lowry and DeRozan’s individual brilliance.

8. Didn’t like that a) Kyle Lowry played nearly 40 minutes and b) that Lowry was holding his wrist at multiple points in the game in which he was 4-15 from the floor. Try to see the big picture. Give the man some rest.

9. When do we recognize Brandon Jennings as a certified Raptor killer? He’s up there with Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker, and oddly enough, D.J. Augustin.

10.

Not at all scared of the Pistons as a potential playoff opponent. Raptors have enough pieces to slow the Drummond pick-and-roll, and they have no secondary scoring. Scoring against them won’t be easy, but I think the Pistons would have even more trouble against the Raptors. I’d pick the Raps in 5.

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