Toronto Raptors – Stephen Curry Needs to Win More Than Individual Duels

Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan

It looks like Stephen Curry is improving by the minute, enough for him to win an exciting scoring duel between him and DeMar DeRozan, but he also needs the Golden State Warriors to keep up with him, something his teammates can’t consistently do, as seen by their 104-98 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

The Warriors are losing to the good teams and beating the bad on this Eastern road trip, and the same thing happened in Toronto. Curry went off for 34 points, having a very big game for a second consecutive time, but while it was enough to edge out DeRozan who was on a similar scoring spree, it didn’t rub off on Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala, who continue to suffer from either inconsistency or simply not playing well enough for some time.

On the Raptors side DeRozan led the way scoring 32 points, and some good defense all around, good passing to make up for his misses from Kyle Lowry and generally just about every player chipping in without outshining DeRozan kept them in the lead by a nose over the Bulls in the battle for third in the East.

But it wasn’t all good from Curry, who turned the ball over six times, including twice himself in the final two minutes with bad passes. Turnovers were a bit problem for the Warriors early in the season, and it seems that once again not having a ball handler to put next to Curry in closing minutes, having the star trying to do a bit too much on his own, is costing the Warriors in close games against capable teams, despise Curry’s remarkable offensive talents being put on display nightly.

DeRozan wasn’t spectacular from beyond the arc like Curry, but he barely missed on 10-of-16 from the field, and adding 11-of-12 from the line. Kyle Lowry was going through an awful game (3-of-13 from the field) but he did have 8 assists to help out, while Landry Fields and Amir Johnson did a good job, especially on defense, to help out the struggling Jonas Valanciunas, who was less of an issue for his own team to hide this time – the Raptors were losing by only two points during his minutes.

One difference was the quality of the backup point guard. Steve Blake still isn’t providing what the Warriors have been trying to find, while the Raptors got another good game from Greivis Vasquez, scoring 12 points in 23 minutes, keeping the Raptors very quick when he’s on the floor, and also allowing a lot of small ball and using him almost as a point forward at times.

The worst on the Warriors was Klay Thompson with 4-of-15 from the field. In games like these, when he doesn’t hit his outside shots, there’s nothing left for him to contribute. Andre Iguodala continues to disappoint offensively, finishing with only 4 points, hardly even trying to make a play that isn’t a shot from the outside. He looked different – more confident, more commanding, earlier in the season. Now he almost makes it look like the Warriors have two players (Iggy and Bogut) that aren’t involved offensively.

So while the Warriors struggle keeping their standing in the very tough West, this was another win by the Raptors to show they are more than just a team making the most of a very weak conference.

This season began in tanking mode, but one trade of Rudy Gay made this team completely different. It put the spotlight on Lowry and DeRozan, turning out to be guards who can carry a team on their backs and into the playoffs, doing an excellent job of hiding all of their problems and relative lack of talent.

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