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Raptors Greivis Vasquez Has Played Big Time Lately

When the Toronto Raptors acquired Greivis Vasquez from the Kings in December, he was the big name player in the deal coming back.  The point guard had led the NBA in total assists the season before, but he was coming off an ankle surgery in the summer and still wasn’t back on top of his game.  However, since the All-Star break, Vasquez has been a big time contributor to the Raptors 4-2 record averaging 13.3 points on 54.2 percent shooting, 53.8 percent from three and 3.8 assists in 23.3 minutes off the bench.

“For the last few weeks since the second half of the season, since the end of the first half I am (playing) with confidence,” Vasquez said.  “Now I am seeing the good stuff about my surgery because my ankle was not really at the level I wanted last year, so I started out slow.  Now I feel I am starting to get my legs back, I think I am good.”

Where Vasquez was solid, but inconsistent when he first arrived in Toronto, lately he has been making some big time contributions and has earned extra playing time as the off guard with Kyle Lowry and can give Lowry a bit of rest on the court by taking over the ball handling duties and allowing the Raptors starting point guard to spend time on the weak side.  This was especially evident in Thursday’s triple overtime game against the Wizards.

“Greivis did a heck of a job coming in and covering for Kyle,” said Head Coach Dwane Casey after the game.  “He took the ball and the ball handling duties away from (Lowry), letting him rest on the weak side.”

“I told myself I would have a big second half and I like to be on when the (game) is a little tight,” Vasquez said.  “It was a good fight, but I love winning and I am not really happy and not satisfied with what I did.  For me, it is more about winning.”

Vasquez scored a season high 26 points on Thursday, just short of his career high of 27 points set in 2012 against Orlando.  He is finally feeling good and finding the rhythm he had during his breakout season with the Pelicans last year.

“I finally feel like I can move at high speed and I still believe I can do so much better,” Vasquez said.  “When you are healthy and you know your body is backing you up, it is extremely helpful for me especially because I am not the quickest or the most explosive guy, so I need my savvy but also I need to be healthy and now is as healthy as I have felt.”

The Raptors are going to need a healthy Vasquez for the stretch drive to the playoffs if they are going to secure that coveted top 4 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

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“I have to get more consistency and I’ll get there,” Vasquez said.  “I did it last year – whether it was a losing team or not – you can’t take away what I have done.  I was a Western Conference Player of the Week – that was huge.  That is what keeps me motivated and confident that I can do great things.”