The Good, On the Fence, and The Ugly


Article Written by Rodrigo Albizurez (@rodzyalbizurez)

Hey Raptors fans! These are my takeaways from what I liked, kind of liked, and didn’t like from the Raptors within the past 5 game stretch against the Lakers, Jazz, Kings, Knicks and the Pelicans (Nov 4th-Nov 12th).

The Good

King of Spice – The spice master was back at it again this past week with some lights out performances. The Raptors were able to go 4-1 during this stretch and Siakam averaged 20ppg, 4.3rbds, and he shot a whopping 72.4% from the field, which is huge for a guy who knew he could put up these stats consistently. He has quickly proven to every other critic that his stats and effort are here to stay. He’s been able to run the offence as a 4 and he’s also been able to take the ball up on a fast break and make a play for himself or for another player. Overall, he’s been real solid on the court and he’s leaving defenders with a mouthful of spicy dust particles each and every time he runs the fast break or hits them with a spin move.

Ma Fuzzy - Serge Ibaka had a monster week. Not only did he shred the Lakers’ defence by shooting 18-20 from the field, but he also put the notion of Javale Mcgee being an elite defender to bed. Ibaka scored a career high 34 points Sunday night and he was not done yet. He managed to put up another stellar performance against the Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back, which is hard for anyone to do. The next 3 games, he was able to stay consistent with his rebounding and ppg, which is the only thing you ask of the chef. As long as he keeps cooking up these performances, he can keep feeding his teammates suspect dishes, because it seems to be working. Now, if Serge goes on one of his signature slumps, then his gitch is going to get stuck on the fence real quick!

On The Fence

The Holstered Sniper, CJ Miles - I know what you’re thinking - “Man CJ’s gitch has been stuck on the fence all year! Pick a side already!” If this is your thought process, you’re not wrong, but I won’t give up on the shooter from Texas. Miles has had a terrible year offensively and if you think otherwise then you’re as blind as a bat. He hasn’t been able to catch some offensive rhythm all year which is making him look like James Wright on the dance floor. Most of you don’t know who James is, but I can guarantee you his dancing is noteworthy and not in a good way. Like CJ, he does try though. There’s one major difference between CJ and James - CJ is a proven shooter and he’s bound to break out of this slump. Now, James on the other hand, he’s stuck with two left feet but he will always have his salsa dancing partner Rudy Albizurez to guide him to the salsa promise land.

CJ is going to break out of this slump, which I can guarantee that - if his latest injury isn’t to serious. Just wait until the mid-season when he’s shooting 47% from 3, it will be magical and timely. For now, Miles will remain on the fence, but looks for him to swing onto the good side in the near future.

Not So Steddy Freddy – Let’s get one thing straight - I love what Vanvleet brings to the Raptors night in and night out. But during this stretch of games, his performances were a little shaky. We usually see Fred take charge of the bench unit by running the sets to perfection and making timely buckets when he finds a match-up he likes. But this past stretch was different. The Raptors’ bench struggled to find rhythm and a lot of it had to do with Fred struggling on the floor. Usually, he’s blowing by defenders like the Tasmanian Devil and finishing layups, finding an open shooter on the wing or a cutter, but these past 4 games he wasn’t doing that. He was either putting up a tough layup or turning the ball over, trying to make an amazing play instead of the smart play.  He’s on the fence because we all know he is better and he will turn things around quickly. Don’t expect him to be on the fence for much longer.

The Ugly

The Deep Ball – The Raptors have been struggling with the 3 ball since the 2nd week of the season and this certain stretch was no different. They are getting good looks but aren’t able to knock down the open 3 balls for some strange reason. They have a bunch of capable shooters, but for some reason they just aren’t falling right now. Most of the shots are great looks but then you have CJ Miles who’s already 0/2 from 3, chucking up a deep ball just to find some rhythm. Those are the shots you want to limit especially if your team can’t find a way to sink them at the moment. Eventually, the 3 pointers should go down because unlike last year, they have the proper militia out there to do work. For now, they are going to stay on the ugly side until they can prove that they’re the long distance shooting team they are capable of being. Usually long distance relationships don’t work, but in the NBA they are a must.

The Suits - The fans at the Scotiabank have been awful as of late and Monday’s game proved that to a tee. The arena might be sold out but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the right fans in the stands. The enthusiasm from the crowd has been lack-luster and you can blame that on the people who just sit down and text away instead of paying and cheering for the Raptors. These people are there just for show and that’s absolutely pathetic. The ACC was one of the best arenas in the NBA at one point, but if this trend carries on, it’ll be like playing in Library for opposing teams.

These are strictly my opinions and if you have any comments or inquires then hit the comment button or mention me on twitter (@rodzyalbizurez)!

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