Thursday, December 18, 2014

Calderon ‘assists’ in Raptors’ win

TORONTO—Jose Calderon helped the Toronto Raptors a key win—by getting Andrea Bargnani involved in the game early.
Calderon had 18 assists in Toronto’s 97-86 victory over the Orlando Magic yesterday while adding nine points of his own.

“I thought Andrea was playing with some bounce and passion,” noted Raptors’ head coach Dwane Casey. “Jose got him going and got him involved early.
“Jose is a leader,” Casey added. “I cannot say how much I respect his game, his leadership, his heart.”
Both Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan were hot early in the game as Toronto opened up a 10-point lead after one quarter.
DeRozan had 11 of his 20 points in the opening quarter. Bargnani added nine in the opening 12 minutes and finished with 17 points.
He also had five rebounds, two blocked shots, and two steals for the game.
“It’s important. We need to get those guys rolling and sometimes you have to give them easy shots at the beginning to get them comfortable and feeling confident,” noted Calderon.
“Andrea is struggling with his shots as we all know [but] today he came out aggressive from the beginning.”
Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn was not so impressed with the Raptors’ fast start.
“We have to be ready,” he stressed. “We have to understand what coverage we are in at the start of the game, stay focused and stay in it, and do it every single time.
“As soon as the introductions, we have to be ready to start and that’s our approach,” Vaughn added.
Despite the fast start and an eight-point lead at the half, the Raptors trailed by two points entering the fourth quarter but pulled away to the victory.
The Raptors (3-7) had a big contribution from their bench, with Amir Johnson and Linas Kleiza scoring 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Orlando (3-6) led by two points entering the fourth quarter after outscoring Toronto 28-18 in the third.
Toronto then stormed back on consecutive three-pointers by Kleiza and Johnson to take a 79-74 lead with 7:25 to play.
Johnson admitted three-pointers aren’t his speciality.
“The one thing about the shot is I didn’t hesitate, I just caught the ball,” he noted. “All summer I was working on that shot.
“As long as I catch it and shoot, it has a chance to go in.”
Elsewhere in the NBA, New York beat Indiana 88-76, Brooklyn downed Sacramento 99-90, Philadelphia upended Cleveland 86-79, and Oklahoma City bounced Golden State 119-109.
Detroit dumped Boston 103-83, Portland beat Chicago 102-94, and the L.A. Lakers topped Houston 119-108.

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