Game Recap: Clint Eastwood Edition (RAPTORS 105, Wolves 86)

Don’t worry, no Invisible Obama here.

The Good – Andrei Kirilenko

This was exactly the type of performance we hope to see from AK47.  The energetic Russian was all over the floor, putting together a vintage across-the-board stat line of 17 points (on 6-7 shooting) 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 1 steal.

The Bad – Guard Play

Things were looking okay for the road team when J.J. Barea came in and continued his excellent play from Friday’s opener.  In just 8 minutes of action, Barea had 9 points and an assist and the score was 34-35 in Toronto’s favor when Barea was inadvertantly kicked in the head (and mildly concussed) by teammate Dante Cunningham.  From that point forward, without J.J., Toronto outscored us 70-52.

With Barea in the doctor’s office, the Wolves had some of the worst guard play seen since the Flynn Era. (Which, I suppose, wasn’t that long ago. Still…) Brandon Roy had 2 points and 5 turnovers at halftime.  He’d finish the game with 4 points and 0 assists.  In the 1st Half, when playing aggressively, Roy seemed to have no ability to get past a defender and forcing it only made things worse.  Luke Ridnour hit a few jumpers, but was often careless with the ball and mostly unable to create quality shot opportunities for his ‘mates.  This game reminded of the pre-Rubio days when possessions would end with Mike Beasley relied upon for dribble jumpers when nobody else could do anything to get a defender off balance.  Luke had 4 turnovers to go along with his 5 assists.  Alexey Shved looks nervous.  His 3 turnovers could’ve been 4 or 5 had some careless passes not been fumbled by would-be intercepting Raptors.  To his credit, he made a few things happen late in the game–too late to make a difference in the outcome.

The Ugly – Tomorrow Night’s Matchup

With J.J. joining Ricky on the shelf (he won’t clear league-mandated concussion tests within 24 hours, I don’t think) the backcourt woes will be a huge problem against one of the league’s best.  Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are big, strong and ridiculously talented guards.  Let’s hope Pek does a Jim Peterson impression and abuses Brook Lopez on the low block to compensate.  That might be our only chance…

A couple bullets:

* When I wrote about Alan Anderson this morning, I wasn’t expecting that he’d make a big impact on the game.  But he did, scoring 18 points in 31 minutes of action.  The Minneapolis native plays the kind of defense you’d expect from a Tom Izzo-coached player.

* Derrick Williams was so-so, tonight.  He rebounded okay, with 8 total in 26 minutes.  But 9 points isn’t enough, especially on a night when the team needed an impact player on offense.

Let’s wish J.J. a speedy recovery.  We might need it.

Season Record: 1-1

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Game Recap: Clint Eastwood Edition (RAPTORS 105, Wolves 86)

  1. Dave A.

    The team wasn’t ready to play. Poor boxing out. Not strong with the ball. Credit Raptors for their hustle and aggressiveness. Adelman is a players’ coach. He quietly watched things not develop and closed early — but will expect far more effort in Monday’s game.

    • Toronto played very hard–and aggressively with their hands going for strips and steals. They were called for more fouls than the Wolves (24 to 17) but the aggressiveness was effective against weak guard play. They turned us over and converted transition baskets. Ugly game. Tomorrow might be worse, unless Shved or Roy figures something out.

  2. Dave A.

    No time to change “coaches”. Vote for President Obama on Tuesday. Eight years is needed to clean up that mess.

  3. Anonymous

    Its crazy to think that we are semi reliant on JJ. Last year he was a turnover or stupid forced dribble drive shot waiting to happen. I wonder what has changed? He looks more like the player from Dallas we had hoped we signed.

    • The whole “being semi-reliant on JJ” thing makes me really nervous, but you’re right – he’s the best we’ve got right now. I didn’t expect Shved to come out looking so nervous – he was so composed during the Olympics and the preseason, I thought he was cool as a cucumber all the time. He needs to get with it soon (HAIRCUT!) or else we’ll *really* miss Barea.

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