Raptors End Gruelling 6-Game Road Trip on High Note in Weekly Rap Up
It was an up-and-down road trip, which ultimately ended on a high note as the Toronto Raptors are set to head home on a winning note.
Facing some of the best competition out West, we got to see the Raptors at their best, but at some points, we witnessed the Raps at their absolute worst. And once all the dust settled, the Toronto club ended their trip away from home with a 3-3 record as they are now set to return to the Air Canada Centre to take on the Washington Wizards, who may be without their All-Star point guard John Wall.
Despite the difficult early season schedule, the Raptors are sitting pretty at 5-3 and minus a few sloppy quarters and a disaster under Denver’s high altitude conditions after a lengthy road trip, the Raps have looked really quite impressive. While Kyle Lowry has been struggling early on with his shot, he has had zero issues with facilitating the basketball and involving others in the offence. The three-point shot is still a work in progress for the entire team and they do not necessarily have the shooters to consistently drill jumpers from long range, but inside the arc, the Raptors have been shooting close to 56% as a team and 46.5% overall.
Yes, the sample size is small, but through eight games, the Raptors have ten players averaging over seven points per game and in general have shown potential on both ends of the court as a unit. Currently, the Raptors are in the top-10 in the league in both points and fewest opponents points allowed per game. They are second in the league in SRS, fourth in offensive rating, eighth in defensive rating, and 12th in place, which is a huge improvement from a more methodical and slow Toronto Raptors offence last season. The Raptors have more youth coming off the bench and it is very visible with their effective and quick style of basketball.
We were moving the ball really well,” Norman Powell said after the team win against the Utah Jazz. “We had a lot more flow and pace to our offense. We kept them guessing and guys were able to knock down open looks.”
More importantly, DeMar DeRozan is looking as good as ever again, while consistently making an effort to dish and move the basketball, and shooting at an efficient clip. The three-point shot may never come for DeRozan, but if he continues being aggressive and tries to get others involved more, the Raptors will most definitely survive.
“He did a really good job of getting to the free throw line, attacking the defense, being physical, initiating contact, getting them on the pump fake,” Casey said of his star shooting guard’s 37-point performance against the Jazz.
DeRozan will now try to bring this same aggressive style of play back home as the Raptors hope to continue their winning ways.
“I feel like I was just making lots of mental mistakes and I was determined to pick it up,” he said. “My teammates just kept pounding it in my head that I had it going and I just had to keep it going. It definitely felt good.”
The Raptors start their short three-game home stand today against the Wizards.