And if there was a trophy handed out at the end of the night, it would have resulted in an upset. Demar Derozan outplayed his fellow all-star by a significant portion. Scoring 32 points on 10/16 FG and 11/12 FT, along with 4 rebounds, 6 assists–Derozan led the Raptors to a 104-98 victory over the 6th place in the West, Golden State Warriors. While his counterpart, Curry had his usual offensive output, albeit at a far less efficient rate, 34 points on 13/27 FG, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 turnovers.
Derozan reached the 30 point plateau for a 3rd consecutive game, but remained humble in his post-game comments, deflecting the attention from himself onto the team.
“Man, I don’t know, I just go out there and play to be honest. Just try to go out there and play to win,” Derozan said. “I understand every game that we go out there and play, how important it is. Everybody in this locker room wants to make the playoffs so, I’m just going out there doing whatever I can.”
He also praised teammate Kyle Lowry as being the reason for his high offensive output.
“We just ride off him man, he’s a hell of a player,” Demar said. “He’s the reason why I’m getting 30 points. He gives me the ball and it forces me to score sometimes.”
Demar also acknowledged the importance of this win over one of the upper tier teams in the league.
“It was a big win, big win against a great western conference team. Especially the way we lost at their place, being up 25+ whatever it was. And the way that we lost it was definitely tough. We understood that coming in tonight, so it was definitely a big win.” Derozan said.
Coach Dwane Casey broke down one of Demar’s best games of the season, post-game.
“He was efficient. I thought he did a good job, his 6 assists–which is big. They were double teaming him, trying to get the ball out of his hands, he did a good job of finding people. And it’s just another step in his growth. Got to the free throw line which is huge. And didn’t settle for jump shots where he had an opportunity to drive to the bucket.” Casey said.
As a team the Raptors collectively held the Warriors–who average 103.4 points per game on the season–under 100 points on 42% shooting. And have now won 4 of their last 5, and 7 of their last 9–in all but 1 victory holding their opponents to below 100 points.
Like he did in the triple-OT game against the Wizards, coach Dwane Casey once again went with the 4-5 tandem of supporting actors: Patrick Patterson (12 pts, 5 rebs) and Amir Johnson (9 pts, 9 rebs, 5 asts) down the stretch. While unsuccessful in closing out the game on Thursday, with both bigs fouling out, the energy, hustle, and versatility provided by Patterson and Johnson, on both offense and defense, proved pivital today. Several sequences on offense in the 4th saw either of the two be able to get to the basket untouched for an easy field goal against the Warriors interior defense (minus Jermaine O’Neal, who was unable to make the trip to Toronto due to passport issues).
The coach compared it to the Chicago Bulls’ defense, “Somebody asked before the game about Chicago; and that’s what you have to do, ” Casey said. “is have two really good athletes up there at the point of the screen. And that helps a lot with Patrick [Patterson] and Amir [Johnson]. Even though it hurt us on the boards a little bit, but it took the 3 ball out a little bit–not completely. ”
The Raptors’ smaller interior didn’t come without consequences however, as the Warriors offensively out-rebounded them 16-9–including a few crucial offensive rebounds down the stretch in the 4th.
The Toronto Raptors (33-26) will now have 4 full days to rest and recover before heading into the final quarter of the 82 game season. Former Raptor Rudy Gay returns to Toronto, with his new squad the Sacramento Kings on Friday, in what should be an interesting encounter based on potential Raptors’ fans reactions alone.
“I just told the guys, don’t get into the vacation mindset,” Casey said about the 4-day break in between games. “If I had my druthers I’d rather not have it.”
Derozan felt a little differently saying, “A lot of us need it. [And he plans to] Just chill with my daughter and watch cartoons.”