- We saw the best of Kyle Lowry in that first half. Three spot-up threes, at least a dozen crucial help rotations, a set of back-to-back steals that led to an alley-oop and a three, along with a handful of sweet drive-and-kicks. Granted, he had a minus defender on him, but Lowry completely took over, and it’s fun to watch him operate.
- Liked what I saw from Norman Powell. Hounded McCollum through screens, stayed attached to the hip around pick-and-rolls, got a deflection that led to a stop, and hid well on offense. Sneaky length with that 6-11 wingspan. That’s all he needs to be right now.
- Didn’t like the inconsistent whistle. You can’t call Jonas and Bismack for ticky tack bullshit, then allow Ed Davis to clobber dudes at the rim. Don’t get me wrong – the Raptors got some calls too – but it makes it incredibly infuriating when you don’t know where the line is for physical play.
- As it turns out, the line for physical play eventually settled somewhere between Bad Boy Pistons and Knicks-Heat. DeRozan, Lowry, Joseph drove into the lane, got hacked, and nary a call was made.
- Notorious Raptor killer Gerald Henderson can chill.
- Really liked the way Jonas Valanciunas bounced back after early foul trouble. He meshed well with Patrick Patterson in the second unit lineup and was an absolute terror in the paint during the second quarter. It helps that Lillard was constantly behind on the pick-and-rolls, which freed Lowry to set up Valanciunas for finishes on the roll.
- T.J. Ross’s confidence is at an all-time high, and it’s given the second unit an excellent go-to option. He’s not getting too much separation of curls but he still so deadly with the jumper right now. He’s even willing to step inside the line against hard closeouts to drain the pull-up long two, and with the way he’s shooting it, I have no qualms.
- The Raptors snapped a 10-year doubt in Portland. Andrea Bargnani hit the game-winner off a kickout from T.J. Ford, and I was listening to that game on the radio because it was way past my bedtime. I regret nothing.
- Huge minutes from DeMar DeRozan to battle through the shit whistle. He somehow didn’t pick up a tech, and toughed it out with an efficient 29 points. Really love his tenacity this season. He used to get so discouraged when he didn’t get the calls. Now he just keeps going innnnn.
- Didn’t like Meyers Leonard for a) hitting Biyombo with that brutal elbow, then b) complaining about it. At least he eventually shook Biyombo’s hand. That was a bit of class that Portland fans didn’t show when they booed Biyombo as he took a few seconds to collect his scattered brain. Real classy.