Game 2 Spotlight – Demar Derozan

Demar Game 2

DeMar was fine, but, please, ENOUGH with he “carried the team.” Source:

What an f-in win. The Raptors just clawed for this one. The narrative is DeMar DeRozan had a bounce-back game, lifting Toronto to the Game 2 victory off 30 points. It’s difficult not to improve on a 3-13 shooting night, so I guess “bounce back” is an appropriate term. But let’s put the spotlight on DeRozan to see just how well he played in TO’s must-win. Here’s your DeMar DeRozan play-by-play.

1st quarter

11:40 – Joe Johnson blows by DeRozan, who lazily reaches around to swipe at the ball. Johnson scores in the paint. Nice start.

11:00 – DeRozan drives on Livingston into a see of black in the paint, chucks up a wild runner that only draws backboard. 0-1 FG.

10:08 – DeRozan makes an excellent pass to Lowry for an open baseline three pointer.

9:10 – DeRozan loses track of Johnson in the corner, and over-helps on a drive. Johnson takes the pass, goes by DeRozan who is off-balance, then gets screened by Garnett, and Johnson scores again in the paint.

7:25 – DeRozan gets a pass from Lowry in transition and decisively drives to the hole on Joe Johnson for the layup. Fantastic move. 1-2 FG.

6:54 – DeRozan cuts along the baseline, gets a pass just inside the three point line, takes one dribble and hoists a contested 19 footer over the 6’7 Shaun Livingston with 11 on the shot clock. It goes. Jack Armstrong kindly calls it a “difficult shot”. 2-3 FG.

5:00 – DeRozan fights hard to push Johnson out of the paint, forcing him to pass out of the post, eventually resulting in a tough three point attempt from Deron Williams. Good D, DeMar.

4:14 – DeRozan travels, hoping to get by Joe Johnson on a secondary fast break. I like the aggressive mindset.

2:00 – DeRozan loses Johnson cutting along the baseline. After Johnson passes him, DeRozan pokes the ball away from behind. Ball bounces to Mason Plumlee who gets fouled while shooting. No blame goes to DeRozan here. Johnson is good. It happens.

2nd quarter

11:13 – DeRozan dribbles a lot at the top of the key, bricks a semi-contested 18 footer. Not one pass on the possession. Bad! 2-4 FG.

10:37 – DeRozan has to shoot a 26 foot three with the shot clock at three. 2-5 FG. Can’t blame him.

10:09 – Off a sick block by Amir Johnson, the Raptors try to head out on a fast break, but the Nets do a great job getting back. DeRozan doesn’t recognize that his team doesn’t have numbers, though. He catches on the right wing, drives left, gets cut off by Alan Anderson, and forces a one-footed-fading-right-handed shot while falling to his left. Way off. 2-6 FG.

8:43 – Great defence by DeRozan on Pierce, contesting a three pointer. Ensuing possession, DeRozan makes a slick move to his left by Pierce and gets fouled. He makes both free throws. 2-6 FG, 2-2 FT.

8:11 – DeRozan jacks his worst shot of the night – running towards the three point line he catches the ball at full speed, and puts up a contested 21 foot two with 11 on the shot clock. Naturally it goes in. Just awful. 3-7 FG. I love Jack Armstrong, but he calls this a “great set play”, where DeRozan uses a double screen to free himself. This is a horrible set play that Dwane Casey loves running. It kills me.

6:51 – DeRozan makes a free throw off a Nets defensive three seconds violation. 3-3 FT.

5:40 – DeRozan is isolated on the left baseline against Johnson with no Nets shot blockers in the middle. Here, DeMar has to try to take advantage of his quickness in quasi-open space. Johnson keeps DeMar in front of him on the drive, though, forcing DD to kill his dribble. Rather than pass out, DeRozan shimmies with his back to the basket and throws up a wild fadeaway. Air ball. By a foot. 3-8 FG.

3:33 – DeRozan forces Joe Johnson to pass out off a drive to Deron Williams for an open three. DeMar stares at the rim, failing to box out Johnson, who grabs the offensive rebound. DeMar has played acceptable defence this half, where for the most part his check hasn’t gotten a chance to exploit him. But you gotta put a body on Johnson here.

2:58 – DeRozan catches from three feet behind the three point line with less than five seconds on the shot clock. He drives to his left, gets cut off, pump fakes, and makes an impossible jumper. Good for him. 4-9 FG.

3rd quarter

11:45 – DeRozan takes a pass off that same “great set play” Armstrong was referring to in the first half. He jumps immediately in the hopes of taking an awful two point jumper, but decides to pass off in mid-air. The pass is stolen. To pass or to shoot wasn’t the critical decision here. It was the jumping with the intention to shoot that was terrible.

11:33 – DeRozan makes a gorgeous spin-move by Pierce in transition. Unfortunately it results in off-balance one-footer again, albeit one in control from inside the paint. He misses the 10-footer, but it’s an acceptable miss. 4-10 FG.

11:05 – excellent ball denial by DeRozan to prevent Pierce from catching the ball in space, leading to a bad shot at the end of the shot clock from Johnson.

10:50 – DeRozan dribbles a thousand times, then miraculously finds Lowry for an open three off an out-of-control drive. Good, but lucky pass.

10:20 – DeRozan has a three pointer blocked by Livingston. While complaining for a foul Livingston scores in transition. DeMar was indeed fouled on the shot, but you can’t stop playing. 4-11 FG.

8:44 – DeRozan stands behind the three point line, while his check Livingston waits for him to get the pass. DeRozan gets the ball with 10 on the shot clock, aimlessly dribbles and misses a 20 foot jumper by a foot. Another air ball. 4-12 FG.

Anyone realize that more than half the game has gone by and DeRozan has put up two good shots out of 12 t at this point?

8:07 – DeRozan gets the ball around half court, looks at no one, drives into the Nets help defence and is fortunate to have the blocked shot go out of bounds. 4-13 FG.

7:07 – Johnson posts up DeRozan and DeMar is forced to hold Johnson in the paint to prevent the basket. The double team should have come. DeRozan gives his team the stink-eye for not providing help.

6:12 – DeRozan helps on a drive into the paint where Jonas Valanciunas was the help man. The Nets driver passes to Johnson for a wide open corner three. DeMar was only 20 feet away from his man for that.

4:55 – DeRozan catches on the right wing, uses a great Patrick Patterson screen, darts into the paint, does a swift Euro-step and finishes over Mason Plumlee. Well done! 5-14 FG.

4:17 – Joe Johnson gets by DeRozan in the post for an easy layup.

3:16 – Joe Johnson makes DeRozan look silly, putting him through a series of moves all over the court, getting him to bite on an upfake, and dropping in a beautiful floater in the paint. Appreciate the effort, but DeRozan got schooled. That’s 12 in the quarter for Johnson. The Nets have made DeRozan the defender to exploit.

3:00 – DeRozan uses a high screen to get into the paint, Mason Plumlee takes a poor angle on the help, he gets to the rim, just misses the reverse layup, which Amir Johnson puts back for the dunk. The defence had to help which left Johnson clear for the follow, so the miss was comparable to an assist. Still, 5-15 FG.

2:22 – DeRozan makes another nice move by Plumlee, but can’t finish at the basket. I like what I’m seeing these last two plays, but he’s gotta finish. 5-16 FG.

4th quarter

11:14 – Alan Anderson makes a contested three over DeRozan, prompting Armstrong to say, “They have really worked on DeMar DeRozan tonight.”

10:38 – Greivis Vasquez drives, Anderson decides to leave DeRozan and cover no one. DeRozan takes the feed  from Vasquez, drives, and unleashes holy fury on the rim with a vicious one-handed slam. DeMar snarls. I am pumped. Raptors trail by 1. 6-17 FG.

10:20 – Ensuing Nets possession, Anderson blows by DeRozan, forcing the Raptors to help and commit a shooting foul on Plumlee. DeMar’s dunk was glorious, but the mistake on the other end is equally costly. (Except it isn’t when Plumlee doesn’t make either free throw, but you know what I mean.)

9:58 – DeRozan takes his now-patented terrible one-footed-fadeaway over Shaun Livingston’s outstretched arm. He misses. 6-18 FG.

9:35 – DeMar does not call a switch on a screen on Vasquez’s man (Livingston, pick set by DeRozan’s man – Anderson). Livingston gets a pass going to the basket and dunks. DeMar then demonstratively points at Vasquez. I despite that body language, especially when it was DeRozan who should have switched on the pick.

9:04 – Anderson blows by DeRozan again, and DeMar fouls him going to the basket, prompting Matt Devlin and Armstrong to re-emphasize “they are going right at DeRozan”.

8:27 – DeRozan drives from the left elbow and gets stripped by Anderson for the turnover, leading to a fast break bucket for the Nets.

8:03 – DeRozan takes another horrible shot from the elbow and gets bailed out by a questionable foul call. He makes 1 of 2. 4-5 FT.

7:53 – After Toronto grabs the offensive rebound on DeMar’s missed free throw, DeRozan dribbles, dribbles, dribbles, does nothing, then Kirilenko inexplicably fouls him after DeRozan kills his dribble. DeMar makes both, 6-7 FT.

7:30 – DeRozan takes an illegal/uncalled high screen from Vasquez and puts up yet another tough jumper, this time with a bit of space. He makes it, and Anderson fouls him. What on earth are the Nets doing fouling a jumpshooter the last three possessions? 7-19 FG. Free throw is missed, 6-8 FT. Raps grab the offensive rebound, and DeRozan commits a charging foul going to the basket. DeMar subs out with his 5th foul, Raptors up 77-76.

While DeRozan is out Lowry – the team’s unquestioned leader and MVP – assumes control, taking charges, forcing turnovers, scoring, and properly initiating the offence.  DeRozan re-enters the game with 3:45 left, the game now tied at 83.

2:55 – 85-85. DeRozan is pushed out of the paint by Johnson, forcing him to catch behind the three point line at the elbow. DeMar dribbles to the top of the key, gets a screen so Pierce switches on him. More dribbling, then DeMar does a nice job elevating from 19 feet, drilling the clutch jumper. Not the best shot, but not the worst. He wasn’t off-balance, he had space to work with, and had a defender who wasn’t going to bother the shot quite as much as Johnson or Livingston. 8-20 FG. 87-85 TOR.

2:17 – Again DeMar is forced to catch behind the three point line. Johnson sticks with him. DeRozan drives right, takes a difficult jumper from the free throw line, and nails it.


Listen – it wasn’t a lucky shot. It takes balls and confidence to step into a series-altering jumper. He deserves a lot of credit for that. But it’s a low percentage look, at a time where your point guard could create something much better. This should not be the quality of shot you hope for with the game on the line. 9-21 FG. 89-85 TOR.

1:55 – DeRozan gets caught ball watching with his man on the weak side. He gets switched onto Deron Williams, who blows by him (is “blow by” a theme here?) and misses a wide open jumper that would have gotten the Nets within two. (The Nets got the offensive rebound, Garnett was fouled, and he made 2. 89-87 TOR.)

1:34 – DeRozan dribbles around a lot for the millionth time behind the three point line, jumps in the hopes of forcing another terrible shot, but is forced to pass to prevent having his shot blocked. Fortunately the team’s best player - LOWRY - is there, makes a brilliant drive to the hoop, and puts Toronto up four again.

1:20 – Landry Fields, who didn’t play in Game 1, is covering Johnson since DeMar can’t. Fields forces a turnover off an entry pass into Johnson in the post.

0:42 – Now 92-90, DeRozan dribbles a lot, drives, has the ball deflected off his leg for his sixth turnover.

0:20 – after Paul Pierce misses a wide open three to take the lead, DeRozan is fouled. He makes both free throws to put Toronto up 4. Toronto eventually wins.


To summarize:

-DeRozan took 14 bad and seven good field goal attempts. 2:1 Bad:Good ratio is BAD.

-DeRozan made two massive jumpers to clinch game. Bad shot or not, he deserves praise for wanting the ball in his hands at this juncture, and making the shots.

-Defensively DeRozan was torched. There was no other glaring defensive liability. Hey media – this counts against the argument that he carried the team


After the contest DeRozan said that he didn’t speak with any of his friends around the league after his Game 1 debacle, preferring to watch the game alone multiple times, presumably taking his own notes. He also described himself as a “student of the game”. I challenge that assertion.

Students ask questions of others. They don’t learn everything on their own. Apparently DeRozan thinks he can solve playoff basketball by himself with nary a game of post season experience. DeRozan’s poor shot selection does not bode well for the Raptors in this series. Run those final two daggers that put Toronto up four with less than two minutes to go and this team loses three of the next five games.

What bugged me the most during DeRozan’s post game press conference was the repeated insistence that his team looks to him to score at the end of the game, one time elaborating, “to win us the game.” DeMar is not as important to the Raptors as any other superstar on an Eastern Conference contender is to their respective team (Paul George/Indiana, LeBron James/Miami, Joakim Noah/Chicago, John Wall/Washington, Paul Pierce/Joe Johnson/Deron Williams/Brooklyn). He’s not even their best player. Toronto should look to Lowry more the DeRozan to create at the end of the game. Further, the Raptors best offence features a big dosage of pick and roll that does not involve DeRozan. Obviously DeMar is critical for Toronto’s success – he is their best scorer and can create his own shot – But he should not be “the (only) guy” when it comes to crunch time,.

DeRozan also said that he missed a lot of easy shots. I counted seven out 21 attempts that could be considered “good” shots, two of which being layups around the rim, which I’m guessing he’s not including under his definition of “shots” (as in jumpshots). I have no idea which “bad” shots he took he’d consider easy. It’s annoying that a player in the NBA’s third or fourth tier of talent hasn’t had it drilled in him that 19 foot contested fadeaways aren’t “good” bloody shots.

I just wish one of the assembled media asked him about Brooklyn going at him on defence, and how much he hurt the Raptors on that end.

Heading into Game 3 the prospects are mostly encouraging for Toronto – despite DeRozan getting killed defensively, the team D was solid, forcing 44% from the field and 29% from the three point line. The toughness is there too. Valanciunas, Johnson and Patterson are matching Brooklyn physically, and have outplayed Garnett and Plumlee the first two games. But DeRozan has to get better shots, stop turning the ball over, and help his team a little on defence in order for Toronto to win at the Barclays Centre.

  1. Mikey B says:

    When Derozen picked up foul number 5 I was a happy camper. : )

    I really hope the off season brings a bold move.

    Trade Demar resign Lowry.

  2. Mike S. says:

    Great post. Completely agree with this analysis. While you can’t deny the late game heroics, the rest of DD’s game was lacking. I wouldn’t, however, say that we should trade Demar. I think he can be a solid third option for our O.

    Slowing down the machine that is Joe Johnson will be key. While I am cringing as I am typing this, I think we’ll need to give Landry some more playing time. Yikes.

    Also, we need to keep hitting JV down low throughout the game. We always go to him in the first quarter and then ignore him by the end of the game. I’d like to see of the chucking up long, fade-away twos early in the shot clock and more plays for the big man late in the game.

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