With the goal of becoming a more consistent basketball team in mind -— something every Raptors fan should already have on their wish list to Santa -— active hands were the single biggest accomplishment in Friday’s win over the hapless New Jersey Nets.
Sure the win was nice — and necessary — but in terms of identifying something the Raptors can take away with them, the pickings are slim — and not because a lot didn’t go right for the home team.
It’s more a case of the visitors not bringing anything. It goes without saying that no team from the current Association will ever make it easier for the Raptors to win than the Nets did Friday.
Hence active hands and the season-high 27 deflections they produced are the one thing Jay Triano would like to see his team learn from the game.
"My mistake is, when I miss maybe the first one, after that I think like, `Oh, my God, I missed the shot,'" he states matter-of-factly. "And that is not good, you know? For all the game, I am thinking about that."
So the backup Raptors swingman, having taken more than his fair share of jumpers during and after practice Saturday, was planning to retire to his abode and think about something else.
After all, why kill yourself when thinking is what got you in the precarious situation in the first place.
"I spoke with the coach and assistant coaches, they tell me just to go on the court and do your job. I am a shooter, so I have to shoot," he said. "I work a lot on my shot every day. I think it's mental, you know. I hope that tomorrow … I start again something new."
"We will put this one in our memory bank, but every game is different, " said Paul, who has seven consecutive double-doubles since returning to lineup after missing eight games with a sprained left ankle. "Now we have Toronto, a team that spaces the court, and the last time they were here, they shot the lights out. So we have try and get them back on their home court."
Meanwhile, the Hornets are coming off a big win over the Nuggets in New Orleans on Friday, when Chris Paul went off for 30, 19 and 9. The Hornets are just 2-10 on the road this season, 0-4 against Eastern Conference hosts. A win today would get them back to .500 with a 13-13 record. Hornets and Raps last met on November 4th, with Toronto using a 34-14 third quarter to blow the game open and cruise to a W. Video analysis of that here.
Jay Triano relied on Wright far more than his “success” with Dallas warranted and Wright rewarded Triano by shooting a career low 33.6% from the field. Wright making an offensive play could almost be equated with a turnover.
However, the Raptors could probably live with Wright’s less than helpful offensive game if he was providing the defense everyone had anticipated. Sadly, he has not.
Wright’s blocks and steals have dropped to his rookie year numbers and his normally poor rebounding hasn’t improved. Wright’s defense has not been good enough to keep him on the floor.
In the past four games, Wright has played a total of 10 minutes of garbage time in the loss to Orlando. And that was on the second night of a back-to-back.
I'm breaking my own team-success-trumps-everything rule on this one because the quality of the opposition, where the Lakers were in the championship pecking order at the time and any other factor you might suggest to dismiss this feat are all pretty much nullified when we're talking about someone's scoring 81 points in a single game.
The Raptors splurged on Hedo Turkoglu ($52.8 million) and almost completely remodeled in hopes of enticing Chris Bosh to re-sign long term this summer. The Hawks traded for Jamal Crawford, demonstrating to free agent-to-be Joe Johnson they’re not satisfied winning a single playoff series. The Hornets confirmed to Chris Paul they were serious about winning by assuming Emeka Okofor’s six-year, $60 million obligation
Detroit Pistons — Three games this week, but two of those happen to be against the Toronto Raptors who are struggling to keep anyone from scoring 100-plus points per game against. The status of the two Detroit wings — Ben Gordon and Richard Hamilton — is still up in the air. If neither play, Will Bynum should be picked up and started. I would also look at Ben Wallace and Jonas Jerebko on the wires. Wallace is a nice add for boards and defensive stats, while Jerebko can score, grab rebounds and pick a few steals. The Raptors are allowing 109.8 points per game over their last five. It's a nice week to be a Piston.
I think the question I've been asked more than anything else about last night's game is why Antoine Wright had not played, particularly in the fourth when Sonny Weems fouled out. We heard from Jay Triano in practice today that Wright did not play last night because he didn't have to. He actually missed shootaround yesterday morning before the game against the Nets because he was sick. In the fourth quarter, Triano checked with an assistant to see if Wright was feeling good enough to go and they decided to let him sit and rest it out in an effort to get him healthy. There doesn't appear to be any other reason why he was a DNP-CD.
It started as an innocent call to the Fan 590. A guy called in complaining about the coverage the Toronto Raptors get on the Fan590. The caller alleged that everything the Toronto Maple Leafs do is over-hyped and nothing the Toronto Raptors do is every hyped. His point was that the Leafs play of late has the media in a buzz, while no one talks about the Raptors except in a negative tone. Taking the call was Eric Smith and Jack Armstrong. Part of Smith’s response was that, on a no name basis, there are those in the Toronto Sports Media who aren’t as big of fans of the Toronto teams as others.
For those who might have lost track, the Heat holds the rights to Toronto's first-round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, provided it is not a lottery selection. In other words, as long as the Raptors are in the playoffs, the Heat gets to double down in the first round. Yet after witnessing the Raptors on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena, it is difficult to envision anything but a return to the lottery by Toronto. The stipulations of last February's trade of Shawn Marion to Toronto for Jermaine O'Neal state the Heat gets the Raptors' first-round pick the first year Toronto fails to make the playoffs between 2010 and 2014. If it is not conveyed by then, the Heat would get Toronto's unprotected first-round pick in 2015.
I realize we’re a bit late today but I’ve got to tell you, dragging your sorry butt out of bed closer to 8 a.m. than 6 a.m. is highly recommended every now and then.
Have yourselves a nice day. Get all your shopping done early.
After you read this, that is:
DeMar DeRozan deserves a chance to show that he can and will win the 2010 NBA Dunk Contest
After avenging an embarrassing loss in last spring's playoffs, Paul and the New Orleans Hornets look to avoid being swept in their season series with the Toronto Raptors on Sunday afternoon.
Toronto used a 27-4 run in the third quarter to take control in a 107-90 win at New Orleans on Nov. 6. The Hornets trailed 83-65 at the end of the third quarter, suffering one of their worst losses of the season despite getting 21 points and 18 assists from Paul.
The embarrassment felt after a playoff loss to Denver drove the two-time All-Star point guard to have one of his best games of the season Friday night. He posted 30 points, a season-high 19 assists and added nine rebounds in a 98-92 victory over the Nuggets.