The “best they will ever play this season” edition.
Banks – never let it be said that he mopes on the sidelines. Up and active, supporting his teammates, completely in the flow of the game. Shame he never gets to show that while, you know, wearing a uniform that is full of game sweat.
Bargnani – not often will it be said that his desire defensively far outweighed his passion offensively. On a night when his first points didn’t hit the stat sheet until about 3 minutes left in the first half, he forced us to accept something out of the ordinary: Bargs On The Boards. 15 rebounds that came courtesy of a game that saw him in the paint more often than you have all year.
Belinelli – with Hedo hugging porcelain, Marco saw some time and actually (surprisingly?) went so far as to benefit the Raptors as opposed to the opposition. Played well on both ends of the floor, had a nice little offensive sequence that was good-Kapono like, and was on the receiving end of applause from what must have been a totally shocked home crowd.
Bosh – a mediocre double double with 18pts and 12 rebounds. Another high turnover performance (5) and he literally fumbled this game away for the Raptors in the fourth, going 1 for 2 on critical free throws and bobbling a rebound off of 2 missed Carmelo free throws out of bounds, leading to a game tying shot by Chauncey. Possibly a 5 point swing right there.
Calderon – starting in a game where many thought Jay would have him coming off the bench, it’s safe to say he faltered like a Toyota going downhill. Just not an impressive game on either end of the floor. He looked like he was playing a pick up game in Madrid.
DeRozan – coming off the bench….finally. Did it suit him? Tough to say. People will look to his output and say yes, but we’ve seen these flashes from the rookie before. Give me 3 or 4 games of consistency and I’ll say yes. He was downright impressive offensively tonight with a nice run in both halves.
Evans – unlike his frame, he was insignificant.
Jack – didn’t show up in the stat sheet, but he brought his team something it had been missing: life. From being a talker on the floor, to being knocked to the court, to diving into the third row after a loose ball, he raised the bar for those around them and helped bring out what may have been the game of the year that this team has played as a unit.
Johnson – typical night. 10 rebounds, making himself a nuisance, streaking across the floor like a fat kid after cake.
Nesterovic – a kid tied to a post in the desert with no friends and no toys plays in games more often than Rasho.
O’Bryant – wearing the Don Johnson collection tonight. He looked suited up and ready to hit Studio 69, but first he had to get reservations at Leisure Suit Larry’s BBQ Pit.
Turkoglu- word on the street is he actually watched his Pizza Pizza commercial and it has caused his system to shut down.
Weems – he gets the start and quickly Hedo’s and commits 2 fouls in the first 6 minutes. Then, unlike Hedo, he uses that time to get pissed at himself and comes back in and absolutely makes everybody who said he should start look like the second coming of Jerry West. His 3rd quarter was astounding, he hustle all game was mesmerizing, and his defence on Billups was something that will be studied by all teams from the West.
Wright – also starting and also having a solid 3rd. This is a good thing because he started the game colder than a mouse on an iceberg. He was throwing up balls that Bob Uecker would have been happy to call. Still, he played better than average D, kept his head in the game despite the early suckage, and kept the Raptors in a game against one of the best in the east. A good night, turned ankle and all.
Driving The Bus: Sonny Weems
Under The Bus: Chris Bosh
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