TORONTO - DeMar DeRozan hopes to expand his skill set on the court this season.
DeRozan reached a career-high 11 rebounds and added six steals to go along with 15 points for his fourth career double-double on Wednesday to help the Toronto Raptors to an opening night 109-102 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
"That's my job. I'm trying not to be just a scorer," said DeRozan, who went 4 of 16 from the field. "Got to understand when we're not making shots, not just myself, we all got to figure out other ways to impact the game in a big way. That was what I was trying to do."
DeRozan also went 7-for-10 from the free-throw line, including a memorable sequence late in the fourth quarter.
After missing back-to-back free throws with 33 seconds remaining, DeRozan grabbed his own rebound and drew another foul. He then hit both shots to give Toronto a 107-101 lead.
"It won't happen again, won't happen again," DeRozan promised of the back-to-back late misses. "Luckily I got the rebound."
According to Raptors coach Dwane Casey, contributing anyway possible is something that is often talked about.
"DeMar didn't have a great shooting night, but he found another way to contribute, which was on the boards, which was big time," said Casey. "That's what we preach all the time, your shots may not be falling, but you got to find another way to contribute to a win and he did that."
Casey said his team's ability to adapt to a poor shooting night shows the growth of his team.
"There's other ways to win other than looking at the shooting stats," he said. "A lot of times a young team will look at that and start panicking and play even worse offence.
"We didn't. We allowed the game to come to us and continue to compete, continue to play even though our shots weren't falling."
Guard Kyle Lowry, who went just 3-of-11 from the field to finish with 11 points, added that it was a team win.
"We're a team, we're a complete team," he said. "Me and DeMar, we didn't play as well offensively, but we did other things to try and help the team win.
"Greivis (Vasquez) played well, big fella (Jonas Valanciunas) played well, Amir (Johnson) played well — everyone filled in and filled in a role."
On a night when the starters struggled from the field, Vasquez went 5-of-11 for 12 points off the bench while Patrick Patterson went 4-of-9 for 10 points.
"They're coming, it's not there yet, guys are still trying to find their way," said Casey of his bench chemistry. "There's going to be nights that Lou Williams is going to be huge, there's going to be nights where James Johnson is going to be huge.
"There's going to be nights where it's Greivis' night — that's just the way our roster is built right now."