A subdued Jarrett Jack revealed following practice Thursday that he too is dealing with some off-court issues.
Like Turkoglu, who flew back to Turkey over the all-star break to attend to a family situation but preferred to keep his off-court business private, Jack too remained vague about the nature of his issue.
“It’s not so much basketball,” Jack said. “It’s a couple of personal things or whatever.”
Jack’s statistical line against the Memphis Grizzlies — 18 minutes, 1-for-3 shooting, three points, two assists — was nowhere near what he has produced for much of the season but he believed that had as much to do with the nature of Wednesday night’s game as his own play or his off-court situation.
Jack took exception when it was suggested he got off to a slow start on Thursday.
“I personally didn’t have a slow start,” he said. “I think moreso, it’s kind of tough when you’re playing under the net and I think that’s what happened with us in the first and third quarters.
They were able to score a lot of easy buckets inside which affected our transition offence which didn’t allow us to play at the speed we like to play.”
Head coach Jay Triano was not ready to reveal how he would fill the rather large void Bosh’s absence leaves in the roster.
“I’m not sure yet,” Triano said. “I’ve played around with a couple of ideas. We had a few different guys in there (Thursday).”
Among his options are Amir Johnson, Reggie Evans, Patrick O’Bryant and Rasho Nesterovic.
Based on his track record this year, Triano will insert the starter who least disrupts his present rotation and by that logic, the choice will likely be Nesterovic.
Both Johnson and Evans have been very strong coming off the bench and Triano has been reluctant to mess with that in the past. When DeMar DeRozan was sidelined for five games with a sprained ankle, Triano went with Sonny Weems for the majority of the starts rather than Antoine Wright because Wright had been playing so well for him coming off the bench with that first wave of subs that includes Jose Calderon and Johnson.
Hedo Turkoglu vs. Yi Jianlian
Battle of two highly touted internationals. When these teams met at the ACC on Feb. 3, Jianlian had a team-high-tying 15 points and seven rebounds in a 108-99 loss. Turkoglu was not in the lineup sitting out the second game after suffering a slight break in the orbital bone beneath his right eye. With no Chris Bosh, Turkoglu is going to have to rebound from his lacklustre return to the lineup on Wednesday and provide some offence. Turkoglu appeared to be struggling with the protective mask he had to wear against the Grizzlies. Some family concerns back home in Turkey still are weighing on his mind he admitted after the game.
We know now it takes about a week for a jinx to hit.
In that conversation, Bosh was bragging about how he’d played every game up to an NBA all-star break for the first time in years, that he felt strong and healthy, ready to finish out the season strong.
He probably won’t feel so good sitting at home in Toronto on Friday night, watching the Raptors face the New Jersey Nets and nursing a mildly sprained right ankle.
"I guess we spoke too soon and should have kept it to ourselves but I’m sure he’ll be doing the necessary things to get himself back and ready to play as soon as possible," Jack said Thursday as Bosh was off getting further tests done on an ankle injured late in Wednesday’s overtime loss to the New Jersey Nets.
So as the Raptors decided to stand pat at the NBA trade deadline and go with the 14-man roster that was fully available for the first time this season, they begin a weekend back-to-back minus their best player.
One player who may benefit from Bosh’s absence – and it’s unknown if the all-star will miss Saturday’s game at home against the Washington Wizards – is Reggie Evans, who should see his minutes extended, if only a little.
Evans still isn’t in tip-top game shape but his physical style and willingness to rebound should earn him some more time against the Nets with Bosh out.
"Again, it’s all going to be based on judging his wind and what he can give us out there," said Triano. "I thought he was pretty good again (Wednesday) night for the limited minutes; I just had a tough time finding a way to get him back in the game.
"Amir (Johnson) was outstanding and that’s how it’s going to be. I’m sure there’ll be times when Reggie’s really good and it’s tough to get Amir in the game," Triano added.
There were rumours of a deal that would have brought Los Angeles Lakers forward Josh Powell, one of Bosh’s best friends, to Toronto, but one Raptors source said there was "not much wood on the fire" as the deadline approached.
That seems to suit Raptors coaches and players just fine.
"Bottom line, we’ve all agreed in the locker room that this is who we like," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "We’ve figured out how to play together a little better. We have a lot of work to do. But we’re pretty happy with where we are."
"I think we have all the help we need in the locker room right now," guard Jarrett Jack added.
Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon could be your Mickey Rourke. A guy that tried his hand at something else for awhile before coming back to the mainstream.
Rourke left the movie industry to be a boxer, Moon joined the Harlem Globetrotters and Parker left American basketball for a career in Europe.
Rourke’s role in Sin City can be likened to Parker and Moon’s stints with the Toronto Raptors. His role in "The Wrestler" is kind of like Parker and Moon’s emergence as big-time role players on the Cavs. You weren’t sure they had it in them, but when they did, you were more relieved than anything.
The overtime was all Memphis as they seemingly ran one play to get the ball to Rudy Gay. The Grizzlies’ screen-and-roll play allowed Gay to work against a smaller defender in Jose Calderon as Gay scored regularly. Raptor head coach Jay Triano tried to adjust and had Antoine Wright guarding Gay but at that point Gay was in rhythm and it didn’t matter who was trying to stop him.
With his size and a high release point on his shot, the only way to stop him was to try and get the ball out of his hands, something Triano discussed with the media post-game but by then it was too late. Over in the Grizzlies locker room, they were slightly surprised that Toronto stayed with the same coverage but as one of the Memphis coaches said, “We liked the way it worked out for us.”
"Where we got it to [before the McGrady trade] I thought was realistic, but to add this onto it is a little more than I thought we could do. I never said we were after two max [players], and I didn’t know if it would add up to that, but this could now, I guess," Walsh said.
Walsh, perhaps mindful that the Toronto Raptors took exception early last season when Walsh mentioned the possible pursuit of Bosh in free agency, did not mention any of the potential 2010 free agents by name.
"I don’t know who is going to be out there. I know what the free agent list is, and as soon as we get to it, we’ll be prepared," Walsh said, "and if you don’t get ‘em this year, then maybe I won’t be here but it’ll be better for the guy coming in next."
The reason why the Raptors were willing to screw up their financial situation a little bit more was another cheap shot by Bryan Colangelo. Powell is one of Chris Bosh’s best friends around the association and Colangelo thought that bringing him across the border could make Bosh’s decision to re-sign with the franchise next summer a little bit easier. Nothing new, since one of the reasons that Raptors signed Point Guard Jarrett Jack on the last offseason is because he’s also one of Bosh’s close friends. Colangelo isn’t the only one who does it. One of the reasons that the Heat decided to stick with Quentin Richardson is because he works out with Dwayne Wade on the offseason and they became friends. Interesting to see how the GMs that are in danger of losing superstars around the league are taking unusual approaches to hold them.
For his part, Colangelo thinks the Raptors have more than the shot I give them to resign Bosh. I give them a shot in hell. The Raptors will essentially let walk one of the premier all-around forwards in basketball – this after they spent about $50 million on Hedu Turkoglu. The lesson here as always: Canada sucks.
One players that will be under the microscope the next few Bosh-less games will be Hedo Turkoglu. Niether has played to their potential the last few games. Hedo was open with the fact that his “head wasn’t in the game” against the Grizzlies. Without Bosh, he will have to play the role of team leader. He will be asked to control the tempo, take more shots and drive the net. He will need to be the Hedo Raptor fans have yet to see. The Hedo from last years playoffs. The one making $53 million.
This may also be a time for Raptor fans to think about the future. Bosh is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Teams all over the NBA cleared out capspace this afternoon in an effort to lure Bosh, Lebron, Wade or Amare. These next two games without Bosh may be what 2010/2011 looks like in Toronto. As scary as that may sound for Raptor fans. These next two games may be a sign of things to come.