Toronto Raptors Dallas Mavericks February 27, 2010

Injury Report

Toronto
Reggie Evans – Out
Linas Kleiza – Out

Dallas
Caron Butler – Out

Player Report

Jose Calderon
Friday was a low point for Jose since taking full control of the starting unit. 0pts 7ast in 24mins; much like the rest of the team (Bargnani/Barbosa/Davis excluded) he was pretty flat. 0-3 from the field, no trips to the line. Are you serious? This only serves to strengthen our draft position, but it’s out of his character to dog it on the court. Either he’s hurt, or he’s tired. Regardless, he wont need to worry about a fast point guard who can beat him off the dribble tonight. Jason Kidd turns 38 in a month, but he’s no Steve Nash, and is more reputation than production at this point.

The Mavs are 8th in the league in defense, and while they have guys like Chandler patrolling the key, you have to give Kidd some credit for being part of a team committed to D. The guy still rebounds the ball very well, is an exceptional passer and can hit open threes. Jose needs to attack the old man, make him work in transition and not leave him open at the top of arc for the long ball. I’m smelling a comeback game, even though I’ve been calling for it all it.
Box: 10pts 11ast 5rebs

DeMar DeRozan
I liked that technical he got on Friday, love seeing my guys fired up and pissed off. It was disappointing that he only got to the line twice against a weak (I’m be generous here) Suns defense. There were all kinds of lanes that he could have taken to the rim, but the offense was disjointed, and everything seemed like it was one-and-done. Hard to get going in those circumstances, but he still managed a pretty decent showing. Still, two trips to the line, that’s pretty brutal. Looking back on his year, when he shoots at least 6 free throws, he’s scored at least 20 points (note: there were three cases where he took a great deal of shots to get past 20 though). Getting to the line = being aggressive with the ball = attacking the defense = jumpers not the main course for the evening.

He’s got Beaubois tonight in a match-up he should own. The Mavs are very reluctant to trade the kid, and while he’s nice, I don’t know that he’s good enough to justify not making moves to bring in savior  vets who make better decisions with the ball. Much like the Cavs not wanting to part with JJ Hickson when Amar’e was on the table. Rodrigue will be a pest with his speed and quick hands, but he doesn’t have the size to really bother our boy. Heres to hoping for 8 trips to the line.
Box: 20pts 4rebs

James Johnson
I’m starting to like him a lot, more than Wright. I do have one question though: how did he jump the line so quickly when Wright is as good defensively, but better on the offensive end? Also, if his starting gig holds, how much do you think it will cost Weems as a free agent this summer? Personally, I don’t care if he scores if he keeps giving us that defense on the wing; it was how I felt with Wright, but I like this kid more, must be the Iverson arm sleeve he wears.

I love Peja, wish we held on to him if for no other reason than have him sit on the bench with the pimp suit and nicely combed part in his hair. Since being traded, he’s averaging 11pts 3rebs 1ast 1stl while sticking two treys a game. Granted he gives very little on defense, so there will be plenty of opportunities for JJ to get to the rim.
Box: 7pts 7rebs 1stl 2blk

Amir Johnson
Not sure what Friday was, but I expected much more from Amir against the Suns. He’s averaging 8.6pts 5.4rebs 1ast 1.4blk, nothing to write home about especially since we were getting used to him approaching double-double’s on a regular basis. Could be time to start thinking about using his energy off the bench and giving Davis some burn as a starter, I see no downside. He’s going to need all the energy he can muster against Chandler, who’s playing for another $10mil/year contract in the summer. I’m still pretty pissed we lost out on him in the summer, and have been meaning to write a post all year on what this team would look like had that Bobcats trade gone through (Jack/Bayless, DeRozan, Diaw, Bargnani, Chandler w/ Davis, Johnson, Barbosa, Kleiza off the bench – that’s good for 45 wins with a very manageable cap situation and young player development; sigh). You know he’s going to want to avenge that pathetic 3pt 6reb performance in the loss earlier in the season.
8pts 14rebs 2blk

Andrea Bargnani
Friday against the Suns was a bizzarro night where I tweeted this. Loved Andrea’s performance, even though he only grabbed 4 boards (the team as a whole was doing a sub-par rebounding job). Nowitzki is going to be a tough check for Bargnani, since he’s a better rebounding version of himself. Still, I’m looking forward to watching this match-up since both were absent during the Raptor win earlier this season.
23pts 6rebs 1blk

The Line

The gamblers have the Mavs as 5.5 point favourites with an over/under of 207.5. I just don’t see the Raptors getting that close. If you think we will see the same thing as the win earlier in the season, you have to realize a few things:

  1. The Mavs without Nowitzki are a bunch of old guys who can’t score in the paint
  2. Ed Davis put up the best game of his rookie season with 17pts 12rebs (made up for the lost Bargnani production)
  3. The Mavs are currently on a streak of 15 wins in the their last 16 games as they gear up for the playoffs

This is going to be a totally different kind of game, and if the Raptors come out with the same energy as Friday, this game will be lost in the 2nd quarter.

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