Sports Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas steps out and steps up in win over Pistons

16:37  11 october  2017
16:37  11 october  2017 Source:   Toronto Star

Valanciunas has 18 points to lift Raptors past Pistons in preseason

  Valanciunas has 18 points to lift Raptors past Pistons in preseason When Jonas Valanciunas lined up for a three-point shot Tuesday night, Detroit’s Andre Drummond made no move to come out to guard him. Valanciunas missed on the three-point point attempt, but got the better of Drummond a couple of minutes later, muscling past the Pistons centre for a basket on a solid night for the Lithuanian.

Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 11 rebvounds against Detroit, although he missed both his including an 18-point, 11-rebound gem in Toronto’s 116-94 over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday at the Air “(He) went out there and played great defence, got a couple shots up ,” DeMar DeRozan said.

Raptors 110, Pistons 100 – Box :: Reaction. Ha, that turned out to be a lot of fun. Jennings was also finding his path to the rim unobstructed as he wasn’t being hedged, and when he got into the paint, Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson were found retreating rather than stepping up to close out


Dwane Casey has been effusive in his praise of Jonas Valanciunas since the day the Raptors began pre-season workouts, lauding the veteran centre for his court awareness, his dedication to improved footwork and a summer conditioning program that has the seven-foot Lithuanian in outstanding shape.

Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 11 rebvounds against Detroit, although he missed both his three-point attempts. © Rene Johnston Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 11 rebvounds against Detroit, although he missed both his three-point attempts.

Valanciunas has repaid his coach for the compliments with a handful of excellent outings, including an 18-point, 11-rebound gem in Toronto’s 116-94 over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre.

How many questions have the Toronto Raptors answered in the pre-season?

  How many questions have the Toronto Raptors answered in the pre-season? Not a lot of new information has emerged from the handful of practice games but the Raptors appear to be working in the right directionFive pre-season games and a bunch of practices haven’t yielded a lot of information, but a few things have emerged.

There are a lot of Raptors fans who think Jonas Valanciunas is redundant. On the assumption of Ibaka’s resigning, I’m going to take the next logical step , which is to trade Jonas Valanciunas . The old saw “Never trade big for small” is out the window in the modern NBA; teams want shooters.

- Dwane Casey on Jonas Valanciunas ’ injury “Next guy steps up . Game Highlights: Raptors @ Lakers - November 20, 2015. Watch highlights from Toronto's 102-91 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

Operating almost entirely as an active roller to the basket and mid-range shooter/facilitator rather than a stodgy post-up player, Valanciunas has found a niche in an ever-expanding Toronto offence.

“I think he’s doing a great job, this is the best I’ve seen Jonas play,” Casey said of the sixth-year centre. “Not only numbers but awareness, alertness, his ball-handling. He has done an excellent job of reading and that’s what we’re doing a little bit different — a lot of read and react, very few (play) calls — and he’s done an excellent job of adjusting and handling the basketball when he’s at the top.”

Valanciunas, who played 22 minutes and attempted a couple of good-look, wide-open three-pointers, was part of what is likely to be Toronto’s regular rotation once the season begins. And it was a was highly effective group Tuesday.

Raptors’ three-point conversion a work in progress

  Raptors’ three-point conversion a work in progress C.J. Miles kind of chuckled when it was suggested that one three-point field-goal attempt per minute — the Toronto Raptors’ fire-’em-up rate in Chicago on Friday night — might not have felt like too many given the team’s easy victory.“Yeah,” he said, “because they’re good shots.”Once again taking a desire to be active in firing long-distance shots to the extreme, the Raptors went 19-for-48 from beyond the arc in a 125-104 win over the Bulls to close out the exhibition schedule.

Valanciunas shot over 50% on post-ups last season and almost 80% from the free throw line. Instead, the Raptors are ‘icing’ or ‘blueing’ in pick and roll defense, forcing everything towards the sideline and the baseline, and leaving the big man a step or two behind to pick up any penetration

Despite the Raptors getting the win over the Miami Heat 101-84, Jonas Valanciunas had a game to forget. Jonas Valanciunas scored 32 points in a win over the Pistons . Fantasy Impact: With DeMar out indefinitely, his teammates have had to step up their game on both ends of the court and

Norm Powell started with Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and Valanciunas with a second unit of C.J. Miles, Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet, Jakob Poeltl and a surprise showing from rookie OG Anunoby.

Anunoby, who is recovering from knee surgery in January, played 20 minutes and didn’t look out of place for a raw rookie. He had a couple of nice assists in the first half and was able to keep up to the pace all night.

There may still be tweaks to who plays alongside whom but that gang of 10 looked tremendous at times, piling up 30 assists on 41 made baskets and making 13 of 37 three-point attempts. Most important, they moved the ball extremely well at times, a pivotal part of Toronto’s emerging game.

Miles finished with 19 points, Ibaka had 14 and DeMar DeRozan 13 to anchor a well-balanced offence.

Casey conceded Tuesday morning that the backup role to Valanciunas was unsettled and might remain that way for a while. Poeltl and Lucas Nogueira have been both good and bad through four pre-season games and there are other factors in play as well.

Toronto Raptors sign budding two-way force Norman Powell to four-year extension

  Toronto Raptors sign budding two-way force Norman Powell to four-year extension Powell is arguably Toronto’s best young player and will play a major role this season, either as the starting small forward or as the sixth man . Powell helped swing a couple of playoff series for the team over the past two seasons despite being the 46th player selected overall in the 2015 NBA draft. The San Diego native is one of the club’s best two-way players and attackers.In the 42 games he started in his first two seasons, Powell averaged 12.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists, shooting 43 per cent from three-point range in 28.1 minutes per game. As a reserve (83 games), he averaged 4.7 points in 11.

The Raptors need Jonas Valanciunas but not all the time.

The Raptors won like the Raptors are currently built to win . Short a heroic DeRozan outing, someone needed to step up , and Valanciunas did so decisively. What To Make Out Of Jonas Valanciunas ’ Fifth Season.

“I’ve got to do a good job of communicating to which one we’re going to use through a stretch,” he said. “It could be up and down, both guys have to stay ready to back up. Also, too, you’ve got to throw Serge (Ibaka) in the mix as a backup five when other teams go really small.

“It’s going to be a fluid situation and no disrespect to Lucas or Yak, both of them just have to stay ready.”

It was Poeltl who got the first call off the bench as Toronto went to 2-2 in a pre-season that ends Friday in Chicago, playing 24 minutes with 12 points and six rebounds while Nogueira only got mop-up duty in the dying minutes.

Detroit, playing for the second straight pre-season night for some odd reason, never went to a small lineup that would have given Casey a chance to use Ibaka as a centre.

Ibaka finished with 14 points including four three-pointers, playing solely as one of Toronto’s forwards.

Raptors look to add some surprises on offense .
There will be many possessions for the Raptors in every game this season that will catch Dwane Casey by surprise because something entirely unscripted will transpire and the coach won’t know what’s coming. And that will be just fine with Casey; it’s all part of the grand plan to unlock a more free-flowing offence that opponents won’t be able to anticipate.“(If) I don’t know where the ball is going, damn sure the defence is not going to know where it’s going,” Casey said Tuesday before the Raptors played the Detroit Pistons in Toronto’s lone home pre-season game.

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