The Raptors have started their real first test of the season two games in. with nine of their next twelve games on the road each road win count, especially so early in the season. This many road games at the beginning of the season will make or break most teams playoff hopes but the Raptors proved last night (as well as the season opener) that they’re a different team from last year.
The team got rid of some older players in the offseason. Players who although were beloved like Amir Johnson, became more of a Liability due to being unable to stay healthy. Some of the players who haven’t returned this season are gone due to core change of the team. Dwayne Casey has always been known as being a great defensive coach but the last few seasons in Toronto have made some question that once sure held believe.
Those who questioned him were silenced over the off-season as the raptors went out and signed DeMarre Carroll, Luis Scola, and Bismark Biyombo. The Former being the biggest signing in the off season for the Raptors because they finally solved their Small Forward problem after Terrence Ross proved again last year that he is not starter Material.
It was a good thing they went out and signed those players last year. Without their defensive contribution the 1st half of last night’s game would have been a lot worse. The Raptors struggled while shooting in the first half but was saved by great defensive Performances and the backcourts ability to get to the charity line. Lowry and DeRozan for the game combined to go 20-24 from the free throw line but went a combined 8-25 shooting.
Thankfully in the second half the team woke up. Terrence Ross came off the bench and gave the Raps 21 points while Carroll was his normal self, stretching the floor going 4-7 from deep. It finally seems the raptors have found the right spot for Ross. Takes some of the pressure of him and allows him to see how the other team is playing before he gets on the court and gives him time to adjust. Alongside Luis Scola, Corey Joseph, Patrick Peterson and Bismark Biyombo the raptors look to have a strong bench this year with a mixture of youth and veterans, defense and offense. It will be needed over the next few games as well as deep into the season. Toronto Plays the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday back at the ACC before heading out to Dallas for a real match up.
Toronto Raptors – 113
Boston Celtics - 103