Off the top, a thanks to Arsenalist and RapsFan for having my back with such short notice. Family issues are always stressful, but it was made easier knowing my duties here at RR were covered by the best in the biz. Thanks guys.
The “comeback kids” edition.
Banks – ball.
Bargnani – have to think he was off his game due to lingering injuries. He may have used up his last “gimme” pass for a while, though. He did have a big block in the fourth, but shot only 1 of 9 and only 3 rebounds. No return of the Italian shootout tonight….Bargs showed up with a water pistol that dripped like an 80-year old man after 8 cups of tea.
Belinelli – speaking of gunslingers, my man Marco was playing a game of russian roulette. 0-fer from the field, no trips to the line, but a heck of a slide into third base in the 2nd quarter.
Bosh – Everybody wondered how Lee would come out after being snubbed. Bosh didn’t have to wonder too long because he felt the breeze of Lee blowing by him at will in the first half. Bosh did turn it on, but he took an incredible 24 shots, hitting just 10. The Knicks were throwing what seemed like a small union at him with every pass he received and he continued to demonstrate his inability to pass out of it. Needs work, much like his D on guys bigger than him.
Calderon – workmanlike game. Nothing too flashy (although that headfake baseline drive was purty) and he probably took 2 too many shots, but he created (7 assists) and did a good job talking on D.
DeRozan – I’m convinced he isn’t hurt, he’s just out hunting for a new hat.
Evans – ball. taker.
Jack – I’m beginning to think he licks Amir’s glass after he drinks his orange juice. Jack has been playing with more passion and has made that disinterested look a thing of the past. I’ve been impressed by his play in the second halves of games and more often than not he is providing a spark. Tonight he provided an oddity: he won the game by taking an offensive foul. Big risk, fantastic reward.
Johnson – Mr. Bobblearms had 3 quarters to forget (or he was playing to his natural ability, if you will). He picked up 3 fouls in his first 7 minutes of action and once again took away the energy he provides by having to take a seat. Somehow, though, the 4th quarter became Amiracle and he played like Reggie Evans had stabbed Amir in the ‘nads with a fork. He was keeping plays alive by tapping balls out, he defended without committing silly touch fouls and he showed again that he can be a factor in a Raptors win, as long as he can stay on the floor.
Nesterovic – only Rashy can play a minute, commit a turnover, draw a foul, and also commit a foul that he argued for what seemed like a minute. I bet he drives a Toyota.
O’Bryant – speaking of recalls, I seem to recall when POB had promise.
Turkoglu- his best game as a Raptor followed by the best postgame interview done in Raptors history. During the game, he came out with the same high energy we’ve been seeing lately, looking like he was covering the court like spiderweb. He then went into the locker room at halftime, drank some concoction that was left in DeMar’s locker and came out in the third like he should be the one in the dunk-in. 3 slam dunks, a smile that has earned him the nickname LL Cool Hedo, and the return of the scoring touch that we paid dearly for. Follow that up with the miracle of leaving Jack Armstrong speechless in an interview and Hedo could run for mayor in this town.
Weems – speaking of stepping up in the second half, Sonny showed that he can continue to put pressure on our non-Rookie AllStar. He was more active without the ball than DeMar has ever been (save for that stretch in December) and he worked well on both ends of the floor. Nice game that will keep people talking. Okay, murmuring.
Wright – man, one critical article on RR and the guy decides to strut like Ric Flair. A perfect 3 for 3 from 3, some fantastic defence, talked a little smack to the courtsides at the Mecca and is probably picking up the cheque at Gray’s Papaya for the flight back. People say this team has found a groove, but Antoine has found it and is doing the spin and the splits. Fantastic.
Driving The Bus: Hedo Turkoglu
Under The Bus: Marco Belinelli
Game Theme:Follow @raptorsrepublic