The Cavaliers had no answers for Calderon, who scored 20 points and added a season-high 17 assists with just three turnovers.
While afterwards, Calderon credited his teammates for getting to the right spots, Triano made it clear the veteran was simply being humble.
“It’s different when you have a point guard out there running the show,” Triano said of the greatly improved attack.
“Jose makes sure everybody is in the right place all the time. Jerryd (Bayless) and Leandro (Barbosa) are more scorers, sometimes we don’t get the movement that we need (when they are playing the point). It makes a world of difference.”
It is too late for Barbosa to morph into something he is not, but young Bayless still has time to be molded into more of a traditional point guard.
The challenge for the Raptor is getting him there without taking away from his strengths, which include an instinctive ability to break down defences and score.
Bayless is aware of what he needs to work on.
“I have to be an extension of Jay out there,” Bayless said after the loss in Chicago.
“I have to do a better job of getting everybody focussed.”
Learning every day from Calderon certainly can’t hurt, but it has been a while since they were healthy enough to practice against each other and over the past five games they have not both been in the lineup except for when Bayless managed eight minutes against the Rockets on New Years Eve, before leaving due to ankle pain.
Calderon plans to play against Boston on Friday and will continue to deal with his own pain until the training staff says he is risking significant injury by suiting up. Bayless is questionable.
Rested or not, the Raptors really don’t play a lot of defense. Look for Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce to carve up the Raptors D for layups. They give up 104.6 points per game and rank dead last in the NBA in both blocks (3.6), and opponents’ field goal percentage (48.9).
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shaq take advantage of Andrea Bargnani’s “interior defense” for a quick start, either. The Raptors are really missing big man Reggie Evans, who was one of the league’s top five rebounders (12.1), before he went down on November 26 with a broken foot.
That being said, the Raps are a perfectly capable offensive team. Their 46.5 percent field goal percentage and 100.5 points per game make them one of the better shooting teams in the league. Point guard Jose Calderon runs an efficient offense, dishing 7.8 assists and committing only two turnovers per game. The Celtics can’t expect to win if they don’t show up defensively.
Bargnani is a legitimate scoring threat (21.4 points per game) and matchup nightmare at seven feet tall with a sweet three-point stroke. The good news is he’s a streaky shooter. Well, that’s also the bad news. But at least he’s not going to rebound.
Rebounding probably won’t be a big part of this game, but the Green needs to start the game in attack mode and stay that way. Toronto’s Swiss Cheese defense can’t keep up with the Celtics’ pick and rolls and dribble penetration, so there’s no reason for the C’s to settle for jump shots.
Davis has had a very promising start to his young NBA career. Already, he’s been consistent on defense – blocking shots and grabbing rebounds. He’s got a conclusive ‘swagga’ to his game for someone who is so raw.
A boasting presence on the court similar to another former Raptor – Jermaine O’neal. In fact, his baby face and confidence aren’t the only things he has in common with JO. I project Davis to be very similar to what O’neal was in his defensive prime. Some might deem that I’m pushing it with that statement, and that it’s just wishful thinking on my part; but it’s not as far-fetched as you might believe. Davis has some serious defensive awareness and shot-blocking ability. He’s young, but he’s already starting to establish an intimidating presence inside the paint.
It’s going to take time though. Let’s not forget it took Jermaine O’neal four years to show us what he can really do.
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- Gameday: Raptors vs Celtics – Jan. 7/11