You ever been to Copacabana? There’s a couple of locations in Toronto, one nicely situated in Niagara Falls right by the casino. A lot of you probably knew this, but they serve a buffet in the evening, which my party was unaware of. Perhaps if we had known it was $40 a pop it would have raised a few eyebrows. Why is it 40 bucks? Because in a Brazilian buffet, you get bombarded every 2 minutes with a guy holding a juicy slab of lamb, beef, chicken or pork meat. He’ll cut off a tasty little slice and as long as your coaster is on the green side, this will continue and it will be heaven. Once you’re about to burst, you flip that coaster over to red and either you leave or you let it digest for about half an hour an get back on the horse.

I was looking for that little green coaster by Barbosa’s spot on the bench last night. if it was there, someone on the Tank Brigade forgot to flip it back over to red, because Leandro Barbosa served us a buffet of basketball goodness and it was spectacular. The seams which he’s always probing for were available all night, and his shot seemed tight. It didn’t hurt that foul trouble for Roy Hibbert had Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Foster manning the post, who not only are ill-equipped to provide adequate rim protection, but also were distracted in fending off Raptor bigs from grabbing offensive rebounds. There were times when Barbosa was funneled properly to the baseline, but his hang time allowed to spot open guys on the corners with a completely collapsed Indiana defense.

Speaking of the that little imaginary green coaster, someone didn’t it flip it over to red with the clock winding down as Barbosa tried to sneak in for a layup. I’m at a loss for words when it comes to this world of sports ethics when there’s a major element of vengeance and machismo involve, so I decide to ping Arse on the matter and this is what he had to say:

Well done to him. They did the same in Indiana.

Sounds about right to me. What Indiana did was not only wrong but it was pompous. We’re always complaining about how we want this team to push back and be a bit tougher, and this was an example of that. You could see Barbosa clearly referencing what happened the other game. He’s not going to be your offensive leader every night due to the lack of versatility in his game, but this is the kind of guy you hate to see go, especially after a night like this. Good guy who you never hear complaining, a real professional.

This would be the space where I would rip into Andrea Bargnani’s game, but you know what? I think it was one of his better games. Right, we’re supposed to hate on Andrea when he doesn’t score and love him when he does. Volume scoring has never been my metric to evaluate a player. When Allen Iverson was traded for Chauncey Billups, Denver instantly got better and Detroit instantly got worse, because Allen Iverson was exposed for being an inefficient volume scorer, while Billups provided excellent ball distribution, efficiency and excellent defense. I know it’s early, but look at the Knicks with Carmelo Anthony so far. Not exactly setting the world on fire, as you would expect with a guy who’s considered one of the best in the league. Anthony’s main attribute is volume scoring. He doesn’t pass too well, nor does he defend adequately.

But Bargnani did a number of things well on this night. He showed good awareness defensively, he got Hibbert in foul trouble with is aggressiveness, and he grabbed a couple of offensive boards. It looks like he’s lost a bit of weight and part of me hopes he keeps it off because he looked more fluid out there. I’m a big fan of playing guys at their natural weight. Bulking up too much not only leads to injuries, but affects the length-quickness ratio which is what makes NBA players successful. Right, he needs beef so that guys can’t back him down. Honestly, how much of that do we see any more? Why post up and get bodied inside when you can’t even be touched out on the perimeter, and drive inside with a full head of steam? This is what the rule changes have done to the game, face the reality. Even if Andrea is a little lighter, he can always flop like half the league does to great effect. He’s definitely longer than Ed Davis or Amir Johnson, who sometimes can’t handle the length of true 5’s. I also think that the 30 minutes he played are a much better time allocation for him. A big with conditioning issues and who can become complacent? Lower it to 30 on a more permanent basis and see what it does for him. On top of that, you want minutes for Ed Davis and even Joey Dorsey, hell even Alabi as we’re clearly in the development phase of the season now.

Reggie Evans is back to his old tricks, and if you think he helps this team, then you are acknowledging that rebounding is very important in the game of basketball. It’s why the great Chicago Bulls teams put up with the antics of one Dennis Rodman en route to their championships. Rodman was a good defender, although undersized. His only real skill was rebounding and he is often mentioned as the 3rd cog on the wheel after Jordan and Pippen based on this talent alone. If Evans doesn’t lose half the season due to his annual foot sprain, we’re going somewhere this season. We’re playing Indiana for a playoff seed. In the words of the great Chuck Swirsky: Book it.

His running mate for the night, Ed Davis, he’s not bad either eh? What a pleasant surprise. Highly touted coming out of high school with an NBA pedigree, his draft stock plummeted as a lack of a true point guard on North Carolina affected his offensive game. Then he overcomes a fairly major injury and no training camp to become a nightly double-double threat with offensive potential. Maybe Colangelo should draft only defensive players in the draft from now on, because the Raptors seem to be great at developing offensive skills, to a fault. I’m liking the play where Jose drives under the rim and shovels it to Ed Davis for a dunk. People complain about Jose not getting “real” assists, well it’s hard when you don’t have people rolling to the rim, and Ed Davis does just that.

This was an impressive win, make no mistake, if only because Indiana is in the thick of a playoff race and should be playing with much more urgency. It’s kind of sad at the same time because anyone who watched the game would tell you that the Raptors are just as talented as the Pacers, if not more. As long as this team doesn’t win too many more games and nets itself a little stud in the draft, if the Pacers make the playoffs next year, you can bet the Raptors will be right there.

  • WhatWhat

    I wish that we could cryogenically freeze Barbosa and then have him thawed out when we’re good again.

    • Hoosay

      Same with Reggie… its too bad we are wasting efforts from role players in their prime while we are going through a youth movement. These guys would be great contributers on a contending team.

      • OzRapFan

        and thats why they should have been traded pre deadline, great role players but redundant on this team.

  • Johnn19

    Based on team results Bargnani is the team MVP, as the Raps have won 17 games when he contributed and played and only 1 when he did not play.
    Last night at only 1/13 and a season low 8 points, he contribted on defense, rebounded (on the few occasions Reggie and Ed were not in position) and finished the game a team high plus 15, with Barbosa with 29 points next at plus 11.
    Bargnani contributes just by being on the floor, and needing to be defended by the defense, due to his scoring, leaving room for DeRozan, Barbosa et al to attack and score score.

    • Theswirsky

      well using that argument technically Reggie should be the team MVP since the Raps have their best winning% with him playing.

      Or Derozan, as all 18 wins Derozan has played in.

      Amir Johnson has only not played in 1 win… same as Bargnani.

      +/- is starting to sound like a stat that can be used again…. as I said in the other thread, becareful with that one… it doesn’t exactly bode well for the skirt.

      • cesco

        In fact , the +/- stats per minute played (NBA.com) shows that there are 5 skirts currently playing for the Raps that are worse than Andrea , they are Evans , Weems ,Davis , Bayless and De Rozan . May be it is time the Raps join the ladies league , eh .

        • Theswirsky

          well that goes to show you then. Andrea is the 6th worse player on a bad team! I don’t know how one can complain about other people saying he should be traded or that he is overrated! Evidence is right there!.

    • KuH

      So I didn’t see the game, just the game summary. In just 2 minutes of replay, I saw three horrendous AB sequences: no hunger, no defense, and no desire to rebound.

      1A) Look at 1:02 of the clip (8:37 left in the 2nd): Indiana #56 gets a pass near the 3 point line on the right side with a clear path to the basket, and only AB in position to step sideways and block him. What does he do? He steps away from the basket, towards his man, leaving the path completely clear.

      1B) Moving ahead #56 goes in for the basket, other Raptors are rushing back for rebounds. Somehow, AB manages to end up further from the basket, with the man he was guarding now closer to the basket and having position on him for the rebound if it comes.

      1C) After the basket, we have two Raptors running up the court, two taking care of the inbound pass, and AB literally walking up the court.

      2) At 1:18 of the clip (0:23 left in the second): AB gets an inbound pass, and does a nice little shovel pass back to James Johnston at the sideline, who goes in for a dunk. Good, right? Look closer. After he gives the pass, he has an OPEN path into the key for a rebound. Instead, he moves AWAY from the basket, so that if Johnston were to miss, there are 4 Pacers, and no Raptors (other than the shooter) in a position to grab a rebound.

      3) Now at 1:30 of the clip (7:34 left in the third): Granger has clearly beat his defender just inside the 3-point line, and is starting to penetrate right down the middle for a basket. AB is in position to step over and shut down the seam. AB’s man is moving away from the basket in the middle, and is clearly no threat for the moment. Instead of stepping in, AB lazily follows his man away from the basket, while watching Granger blow by for the basket.

      There may be a good player in there, but we aren’t getting effort or passion out of him. I wish Colangelo would make one of those trades that he keeps on turning down for AB.

      • RapthoseLeafs

        .
        Maybe you should watch the game before analyzing it.
        .

        • KuH

          So you’re admitting those three AB moments were horrendous … but as someone who watched the game you are saying those were an exception?

          Or are you saying you can ignore facts because they were presented by someone who didn’t watch the game?

          • Ihatehaters

            No, I believe he’s saying you can’t pretend to analyze a player’s performance by cherry-picking certain plays, especially when you didn’t watch the game (so cannot compare them to his overall performance in that game).

    • RapthoseLeafs

      .
      John19,
      While I like your enthusiasm (as opposed to those who call themselves fans and look for anything to reinforce why they are that way), some caution could be used here.

      Tough to describe an MVP on this team, considering our record. On Offense, I do believe AB is our best option – usage % BS aside. Without taking into account all the factors to maintaining a consistent point production, people will continue to extrapolate a small number (for a player), add a per 36 flair to it, and voila – we have a Star in the making.

      That being said, I`d prefer our Offensive punch be a Andrea-Demar combo. I had enough of the Bosh centric performance, and hope we never get that focused on one player again.

      While not as much as I`d like to see from Andrea, this game illustrated to me (and it seems Jay), that while Bargs was on the floor, Raptors played better.
      .

  • Jorginho

    In Brazil you get the same amount of meat for 8 dollars.
    Just saying.

  • Paps

    Do they still call him Psycho T? Or does Devlin not know that.

  • Paps

    Also Leo has really stepped up the propaganda. It’s sounds at times there as good as the Lakers.

  • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!

    This was not an impressive win as Indy has been free falling for the past couple of weeks & is injury plagued. It was a good win as any Raptor win is this year but it wasn’t impressive in the least.

    Reggie’s 12 rebounds per game are more important to winning than Barg’s 22 ppg in the overall team scheme- I’m I the only one who recognizes this? Barg’s has to go. Keep Reggie around to mentor Amir/Ed when he’s not injured (lol) and get a big using Jose/Barg’s/Bosa/CB TPE as trade bait.

    • Cleves

      Not being stink, but reggie is illiterate haha,id find it hard to see him being a great teacher, but i guess he would be a good player to look up to or build a frame from as a player.

  • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!

    Btw- Ed, Dorsey, Amir, Jose & Bayless all have more double doubles than Bargs who has 2 to date and 1 didn’t happened until ot (NJ London).

    This is basketball not reboundball give me my 20 plus shots and let the ruough-necks (Ed, Joey, Amir, Reggie) rebound for me (Andrea voice).

    • Moniker

      You forgot to mention how you want BC, Triano etc fired in your posting.

  • hateslosing

    Well, I’m happy with the way everyone played last night. We had a bench guy step up and take control of the offense and we got to see Reggie Evans have another good game. I think Andrea has taken a slight step forward on defense, you see him doing the Vlade Divac flop every so often now when other teams try to post him up which is a good step forward. Now he just needs to start stepping over on drives and he might stop being such a burden defensively. I hope he says in Toronto his off season to work out with the coaching staff rather than going back to Italy. It would be great if they spent the summer having him practice rotating in different help situations. If he can get either his help D and/or his Rebounding down he will look like an all star (of course we’ve been saying that for three years,but hey optimism never hurts). Also, I agree about him losing some weight, he’s gotten slower this season and it’s probably because he’s been trying to bulk up so he can guard in the post. I’d like to see him lose a couple pounds and pick up the speed a bit.

    • cesco

      If I am not mistaken , the Europeans championships which qualifies teams for the London Olympics is taking place this year in Lithuania and Andrea as well as Beli and Gallo are going to go to try to get Italy to qualify . If I am not mistaken , the top four at the European qualify automatically and the next three will be going to the pre-olympic qualifier same as Canada probably.

  • Milesboyer

    Here’s a question – would Reggie Evans and Leandro Barbosa be more valuable to the Heat than Chris Bosh? I believe so, the reason being that they are specialists and good NBA teams need specialists to go with stars. Unfortunately the Raptors have no stars and therefore they are a lower (lowest) tier team but they definitely have some nice pieces that could compliment a star player. So ease up on the wins (even thought it was just one) and lets hope for some luck in the draft.

    • Statement

      Leandro Barbosa – no, he is a ball dominator, they already have lebitch and bitch wade

      Reggie – yes, because he generates a million extra possessions.

      • mountio

        Would Reggie be helpful to the Heat, for sure. But, more valuable than Bosh? Not in a million years.
        I love how this site attaches to role players and overvalues them. The NBA is a league of stars. The teams with the most stars are the best teams. Plain and simple.
        Are role players important to complement stars? For sure. Could the Heat use Reggie straight up? For sure.
        But lets not kid ourselves .. I think bosh is totally overvalued and overpaid, but hes WAY WAY WAY more valuable to any team than Reggie …

        • Statement

          mountio,

          you are right about that. I misinterpreted the question as “who would be more likely to benefit the Heat..fullstop” I didn’t notice the Bosh part.