The “can’t say this team didn’t have fight in them” edition.
Banks – you have to think Marcus is an un-sung hero on this squad. I’m sure his defensive abilities keep Jose and Jarrett on their toes in practice. Still, he’s a pretty expensive practice dummy.
Bargnani – had a very good game most of the night, but his defensive ability down the stretch in the fourth was nothing short of astonishing. He blocked more stuff than China. It was a thing of beauty and he (along with all his supporters here) have every right to stand up and flick their chin at the doubters. He and Jarrett, with a pinch of Hedo, pushed the Raptors over the top tonight.
Belinelli – in the continuation of Jay’s channelling of Sam Mitchell’s ability to keep his own players guessing as to playing time, Marco remained on the bench. You’re right, I am indeed happier than a pig in slop.
Bosh – anybody catch that ring? He could blind a giant with that thing. Hopefully back Wednesday. If not, Rasho and Reggie may need dual jet packs to get up and down the court.
Calderon – helped his team to a fantastic first half outing offensively. Defensively, of course, he resembled one of those player cut-outs they use in the skills competition. I was surprised to see him playing his usual minutes down the stretch (alongside Jack) given he didn’t seem to be doing much, but it did seem like the Wizards didn’t want to leave him. That alone opened the lane up a bit for Dr. Jack to do his thing.
DeRozan – fair warning: I’m a little torn. Here you have a guy that, again, came out with a workmanlike attitude. It didn’t translate into much tonight and he was on the receiving end of some stern looks from his coaches, so you hope he knows that as well as he has worked, he needs to do more. Why am I torn? I truly hate to say it, but if you haven’t put much into this victory, your coaches have said as much, then you probably shouldn’t be dancing with Sonny like you have dropped 40. I admit, a petty thing to say, but warranted.
Evans – every time Reggie shoots the ball from the field a butterfly dies. Heck, every time he shoots a free throw, it’s life or death for a budgie somewhere in the world. Every time he goes for a rebound, though, elephants in Africa cower. He’s a one trick pony and that’s fine in moderation. 14 minutes of heart an hustle. Call him Amir Sr.
Jack – he’s diving for loose balls, he’s cutting through the heart of the defence, he’s getting to the foul line, he’s once again hitting circus shots……he’s unstoppable when he has that drive in his heart. He willed this team to a win tonight by taking what the defence gave him and, when not there, making sure he facilitated the best option. With the captain in street clothes, Jarrett assumed the role and secured a much needed W.
Johnson – well it was a Saturday night at the ACC so somebody had to pretend to be a Maple Leaf and disappoint his fans. He had a mediocre game that could have led to a loss. Some careless turnovers, he seemed to be outhustled all night, and his tick-tack fouls returned in earnest. He was due for an off night and luckily other stepped in.
Nesterovic – you knew he was probably stressing about matching his effort from last night. He actually did fine shooting the ball, but Washington just wouldn’t let him crash (and I use that term lightly) the boards. Of course, with the way the Raps were shooting early, not many shots needed to be rebounded. Mark my words, Rasho will be a more valuable asset in the playoffs than Marco Belinelli.
O’Bryant – DNP – Too busy with wedding plans and planning the honeymoon in Minnesota.
Turkoglu- did you hear that creaking sound? That was from millions of Raptors fans knees as they stood up and applauded an above average effort tonight. Hate to continue to harp on the 4th, but that was were the magic happened. Hedo had a huge rebound to give the Raptors a reset and it basically ended up clinching the game. Beyond that, he hit some nice shots, hustled defensively (well, moved is probably a better description) and had us worried with an ill-advised 3pointer that bounced off the front iron and could have led to a Wizards comeback. Still, compared to what he has given us lately, it was playoff-esque.
Weems – not a pretty game but, like Andrea, he put up a brick wall defensively when he was on the court in the fourth. I’m hoping that alone will keep him ahead of Marco in the rotation, but Sonny needs to take advantage of the situation.
Wright – homeslice brought the goods tonight. 7 of 10, 4 boards, 19 points. The first half for him was a thing of beauty as he was playing inspired. Lockdown defence and a falling shot is a forwards dream and, for a great part of this game, he was sleeping with a smile on his face. He was deservedly T’d up for taunting which at the time could have cost us dearly, but given the ability to have hindsight, we’ll take it.
Driving The Bus: Jarrett Jack
Under The Bus: DeMar DeRozan
Tags: Amir Johnson, andrea bargnani, Antoine Wright, basketball, Chris Bosh, Demar DeRozan, Hedo Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack, jose calderon, marco belinelli, Marcus Banks, NBA, patrick o'bryant, Rasho Nesterovic, Reggie Evans, Sonny Weems, toronto raptors