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Three things left as the Raptors beat the Grizzlies


The Memphis Grizzlies don’t let you play pretty and they make you play hard and I’m pretty sure Dwane was quite satisfied with how the lads acquitted themselves last night.

It was a pretty much a professional win and showed them that they could do it ‘cause it’d been a lot of days between victories.

And there was this:

Keep firing away

Despite a couple of bad shooting nights from Luis Scola (3-for-11) and Patrick Patterson (2-for-8) Dwane made a specific point after the game that they need to keep taking them, if only to keep defences honest.

And there was a prime example in the third quarter.

Lowry had the ball on the left side, with Valanciunas in the post and Scola at the top. For all “feed the big man” proponents out there, Lowry had to move it to a wide open Scola because the guy guarding him (Randolph on a switch) simply left him and was within a step of Valanciunas and would have double-teamed him so quickly there’s a 90 per cent chance it would have been a turnover.

I know Scola didn’t make that one but two trips later the guy guarding him wasn’t giving him any space and that left JV with one guy to worry about on the block, which is exactly what the Raptor want.

Scola’s shooting a career-best 40 per cent from three and Patterson’s at 35; I still like them taking open looks more than I’d like JV trying to work out of a big-big double-team.

An added bonus

The 14 points and four assists were nice and needed (along with an obligatory crash to the floor after finishing a layup) and Cory Joseph was his usual solid self defensively.

But the two three-pointers he made were huge.

The first came off a nice pass out of traffic by DeRozan, the second came off a nice drive and kick by Lowry and teams are going to shade off Joseph continually when DeRozan and Lowry start operating on the wing.

Joseph made ‘em pay last night – the second three-pointer was the dagger that put Toronto up 10 with about a minute left – and if he gets that shot to fall, it makes him all the more dangerous and will allow Casey to play basically without a small forward down the stretch.

The finishing group of Lowry, Joseph and DeRozan is solid, put Carroll out there when he’s back with one of the bigs and that’s pretty good.

But it’s going to come down to Joseph making his open jumpers and that’s the next step in his evolution. Last night, he did because two of his other three buckets were 17-footers.

Okay, we all know that Terrence Ross fouling Vince Carter hoisting up a desperation 45-footer with less than two seconds left in the first half was beyond ridiculous. Not tremendously costly, as it turned out, but silly and the kind of mental lapses you cannot have.

It wasn’t the only one.

Equally silly was Kyle Lowry fouling the same Vince Carter 90 feet from the basket with about 2 1/2 minutes left in a six-point game with Memphis already shooting bonus free throws.

That one wasn’t ultimately costly either, Carter split the foul shots and Memphis never got closer than five but, still …

Lowry’s penchant for hanging around the basket after a Raptors miss has become far less frequent this year, which is very good, but there are times to gamble and times not to gamble.

Last night was one of those times not to gamble and that he got away with it doesn’t mean it was smart.

More? I’ve got a bit but also have a flight to catch so gotta make it quick.

Hadn’t heard this super-group in a long time until this weekend:

This is a bit of a troubling story for those of us with long memories and some history because if there are two things that go together, it’s the Blue Jays and Dunedin and the thought of the baseball team leaving is hard to fathom.

Now, it’s been a long time since I was there and I know things have changed – do they still call it “Delightfully Different Dunedin?” – but it’s as much a part of the team’s history as anything and it’d be a shame if they had to leave it.

I’ve heard that Eddie’s is no longer an outstanding little dive bar where you could get a bucket of beer really cheap and play trivia or Pop-a-shot.

I doubt you can go next door and buy a box of worms to use as bait when you killed time fishing off the pier across the street.

I bet the St. Patrick’s Day parade isn’t quite the same as it was when a reporter might find himself on the aforementioned Eddie’s float.

And I can be quite sure the rather dumpy but inexpensive Inn On The Bay is not quite the same like it was the year I got the room with the Murphy Bed and was totally confused for a minute or two.

No, Dunedin surely isn’t the same but I bet it’s still cool and maybe a bit quirky; I can’t imagine getting to spring training ever again but I still don’t like change and hope they find a way to stay.

Kind of cool and symmetric that was the Grizzlies and Vince in the arena last night, 17 years to the day from the afternoon of the first game ever.

All it did – and we talked about this post-game at some length – was underscore that not only am I old but how the hell he got to be 39 is crazy.

I just wish someone could have thrown him a lob off a backscreen for a dunk but I guess Dave Joeger doesn’t quite have the same flair for the dramatic as Butch Carter did.

But holy smokes! Seventeen years? That’s nuts.

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