The “taking a punch like Snooki and giving it right back” edition.
Banks – could have been on a team fighting for a ring this season. Instead, he spent his first game post-deadline sitting on the sidelines stylin’ like Pauly D.
Bargnani – I’m not worried yet, but concern is starting to creep in. That fire seems to be gone the last few games and it’s noticeable. Obviously he was one of the players we were expecting to step up tonight and, even though he played well, he didn’t grab the headlines. Actually, he wasn’t even in the top 3.
Belinelli – speaking of 3s, there are 3 things I could live without seeing on my television ever again: 1) anything on TLC relating to surgery, 2) The Hills and 3) Marco Belinelli playing anything more than garbage time. I was in virtual heaven the other night when he never made it off the bench. Tonight he made it in before Weems and I had the rage of 100 Hedo haters taking over. What did I get as a thank you? 0-for-1 in 9minutes of ball that reminded me that multiple slaps to my forehead leave a mark.
Bosh – remained in Toronto where he probably spent the night telling Hadi that, yes, sleeveless t-shirts and baggy pants look as ridiculous on him as they do on every guido living in the northeast. Or just off of St. Clair.
Calderon – the starring role of backup in what may have been the smoothest game of the year played by our two-headed PG monster. The turnovers were worrisome as was his confused look every time he brought it up the court and looked for an Avatar character to pass to only to be greeted with a stand-in extra. He therefore looked for his own shot and the result was 2 3’s and a 6-8 shooting night.
DeRozan – second game in a row with a take-no-prisoners attitude on the offensive end of the court. Unfortunately he still seems to BE the prisoner defensively. Great attacking drives to start the game and he was burned a few times in the third which really seemed to bother him, resulting in a concerted effort every trip down the floor. Like a lot of his teammates, his touch from the line was off but hard to knock him given what he gave us from the field.
Evans – he broke into double digits in playing time tonight. Good move by Jay to bring him in late 1st so that he got a little rest to start the second. His offensive game continues to lack mass appeal, kind of like Tiger’s apology, and his 3 boards were hard fought against a young Nets front line. As I type this you have to think he is in the locker room breathing into a paper bag and seeing Looney Tune characters dancing around his head. It’ll get easier.
Jack – he was the guy I was concerned about. No best friend, coming off a poor game, how would he react? Well, how about 18 and 10? No Mr. Somber face tonight and he played the role of floor general to a T. If he and Jose can string together 2 or 3 games like this in the first round, we could surprise someone.
Johnson – well, he led in the +/- category. Of course that has as much weight as me leading in trips to the ATM at the Brass Rail only because I need more money for beer as opposed to having to replenish funds due to a bevy of trips to the VIP. Anyhooo….2 offensive and one defensive possession absolutely had me nodding my head in approval tonight. Seeing him and Evans on the floor together made you drool thinking of what might be if Amir sticks around next year.
Nesterovic – know when you come home after a long night of partying, it’s 4am and you just NEED to eat something? You rummage through your cupboards but come up empty. Then, in your stupor, you yank open the freezer door and there, looking like it has an aura around it, is one last pizza pop? You thrust that puppy into the microwave and, seconds later, you wolf it down and let out the most satisfied groan ever. Well, every Raptors fan was drunk tonight and Rasho was that pizza pop. After sitting unwanted for weeks, he got the call to start in place of Bosh and started the game with 4pts and 3 assts in 5 minutes. He was hitting shots from all spots, he was finding people in a way Bosh never could, and he earned himself the post game interview after going off for 16 and 7.
O’Bryant – right now he is sitting in Baddabing living out another installment of his Patrick Ewing wannabe lifestyle.
Turkoglu- another of the guys that you know Raptors Nation was looking at to pick up the slack brought on by the absence of Bosh. Started off as expected: like a Pinto stuck in mud. Then, as all of Twitter hung him out to dry, he clawed his way back with some deep threes, some nice looks and finds. Ended up shooting 5/11 with 6 assists and 6 rebounds. A fantastic night? Hardly, but one that was a welcome sight for sore eyes.
Weems – he probably felt like he just found out his girl was cheating on him with Yi when he saw Marco get the call before him. While watching Marco take his minutes, he must have punched himself a bit too hard because when Jay called his name, Sonny proceeded to soil the bed. If Reggie had 5 minutes of fury the other night, well Sonny had 5 minutes of fuzzy tonight.
Wright – perhaps that shot to the noggin in the last game had some carry over. Played fine defensively but took the night off when it came to shooting the ball. No trips to the line, went 1 for 4, and looked overmatched most of the night. Think along the lines of, say, Arsenal going up against Rangers in a friendly. That type of over matched.
Driving The Bus:
Hedo Turkoglu Rasho Nesterovic
Under The Bus: Sonny Weems