Dec 13, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez (21), forward Patrick Patterson (54) and guard Terrence Ross (31) stand on the court against the Philadelphia 76ers at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors won 108-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Raps 108 - Philadelphia 76ers 100 - No tank (and no trade) just yet

The Toronto Raptors needed a win in the worst way, and they got one. Despite repeatedly allowing the Philadelphia 76ers to get back in a game when they should have been buried, the Raps managed to keep Philly at bay. The Raps came out like a house on fire, piling up 36 first-quarter points, 12 by the suddenly confident Terrence Ross. It was a pleasure seeing him receive alley-oop passes from DeMar DeRozan, who didn’t ignore his scoring responsibilities. DD is highly efficient on offense, and on this night needed only 19 shots to score 27 points. Nine trips to the free throw line didn’t hurt.

Dec 13, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) shoots the ball in front of Philadelphia 76ers at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors won 108-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The second quarter saw the Raps offense stagnate, and they needed 4+ minutes to score a basket. Philly wiped out the Raps’ healthy margin, but in an odd pattern repeated all game, tied without ever leading. We had our first look at the New Kids On The Block (minus Chuck Hayes), and they didn’t look out of place. In particular, those who believe Greivis Vasquez can replace Kyle Lowry as our starting point guard weren’t disappointed. He scored 12 points, including 2 of 3 from distance, and dished out 2 assists. However, recording a minus-19 for the game is sobering. Kyle struggled with his shot all night, but contributed with some dandy passes leading to 11 assists against 1 turnover. The ever-savvy Amir Johnson benefited from Kyle’s dishes, needing only 11 shots to score 19 points.

For the 76ers, rookie Tony Wroten discovered his touch from 3-point land, burying 5 of 8. He and the sidelined Michael Carter-Williams give Philly fans hope. Spencer Hawes did not go off from outside, fortunately, and was outrebounded by Jonas Valanciunas, who was on his way to a double-double. Hawes did block JV 3 times, and added one other.

The second half was a saw-off, with both teams scoring 52 points. The win was comfortably in hand until late in Q4 when the Raps went frosty again, not scoring for 3+ minutes while Philly clawed back within a basket. TRoss buried a 3, his last of 24 points, and Lowry’s pair of free throws cemented the decision.

Coach Dwane Casey was clearly bent on giving the newest Raps a serious look, meaning that Novak, Fields, Buycks and Stone never got on the floor. The future of these worthies (along with Austin Daye,who didn’t dress), is murky.

The Raps grabbed an awkward victory in a state of near-turmoil. The Lowry trade rumours continue to swirl, and integrating four new players while replacing Rudy Gay with TRoss is a formidable task. There was even a picket line at the Air Canada Centre, as a number of Teamster-union workers walked off the job. Flying to Chicago for a game tonight against the Bulls might be a positive. We’ll take a look at that match later today.

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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Tags: DeMar DeRozan Dwane Casey Philadelphia 76ers Toronto Raptors

  • AM

    Best looking game of the season to me. Even though, as you mentioned, it got sloppy at times, I loved the ball movement and how as a result of that contributions from all around. Nice swings around the perimeter, penetration and feeding the bigs, and a result of that was the higher efficiency. Lots of improvement needed but it looked good so far.

    Having two point guards who look to pass but can score/shoot as well is fun to watch. Although Lowry struggled with his shot, as you mentioned, his assist numbers speak to how he played in that he wasn’t forcing his offence.

    I haven’t seen Patterson play much before, but I was impressed with how he moves for his size, especially his power and quickness when gathering himself after a rebound. Is that his regular style of play?

    I’m feeling more excited to watch this group play if they keep up the team oriented style of play (which there is really no reason not to).

    Anxious to see what happens with Lowry though (if it does happen, who might go with him, who/what might come in return).

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi AM:
      I agree that there was a lot to like about this game, despite the wobbles. It was gutsy of Dwane Casey to give the new guys an immediate and lengthy look; he could have copped out and played the regular scrubs. Chuck Hayes may be helpful, assuming he’s cleared to play.
      Your point about two capable point guards is key, and yet another reason why I don’t want Kyle Lowry on the next bus out of town.
      As to Patterson: yes, what you saw is more or less his game. He’s a slightly undersized 4, whom I’d like to see bulk up if he’s going to be kept around. Think James Johnson without the attitude.
      Good team ball is a pleasure to watch; let’s hope you see more of it tonight.
      Thanks for commenting.