The Toronto Raptors took advantage of a woeful Utah Jazz team to grab a much needed win, improving their record to 3-4. This game was all but over by halftime, as the Raps enjoyed a 33-8 run overlapping the first and second quarters to go into the break leading by 26. The benches emptied in the second half as the Raps stretched the margin to 38, so we were treated to extended looks at Julyan Stone, Dwight Buycks, Quincy Acy et al sporting Canadian Forces-tribute “camo” uniforms. The only scoreless Rap was Steve Novak, who missed his two 3-ball tries.
I don’t know that I can remember seeing such an inept squad as Utah. Their effort on both ends of the floor was deplorable. Kyle Lowry was 3 of 4 from long distance (before departing with a twisted ankle) because he was allowed uncontested looks. Quincy Acy hit a pair of 3-balls with Utah players nowhere near. Many rebounds were grabbed by the Raps without any contention. Centre Enes Kanter was minus-31 for the game – that’s hard to do. The only Jazz-man who looked interested was shooting guard Gordon Hayward, who’s slow of foot but still led all scorers with 24 points. He scored inside and out, and I was quite impressed with his ability to find driving lanes. Hayward, a glue-guy type, struck me as a perfect sixth man on a strong team, but he’s miscast as the #1 scoring option. On this squad, where his point guard, Jamaal Tinsley, didn’t score, he’s The Man.
Tyler Hansbrough came off the bench to play almost 28 minutes and score 23 points, more of each than any other Rap. He repeatedly got to the foul line, and drained 11 of 13 tries. For a player who’s almost never the first or second option in the half-court set, Hansbrough scores a lot. The Raps’ starting big men, Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson, enjoyed fine games also. JV scored some pretty baskets on driving hook shots, while Amir pulled down 11 boards and blocked 3 shots. DeMar DeRozan bounced back from his miserable game in Indiana to score 18 points. Rudy Gay kept the ball moving on offense (5 assists), and took quality shots to finish with 11.
The Raps travel to Houston for a Monday match against Dwight Howard, James Harden and the Rockets, then visit Memphis on Wednesday. On Friday night, the Chicago Bulls come to the ACC. A tough week beckons.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.
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