I’m not as obsessed with accumulating ping pong balls as I was, since there is still a huge element of chance in the draft (you know, since it’s a lottery). That two-game winning streak from the weekend that had a couple of us sweating (for lottery positioning), didn’t move the Raptors from the 5th spot (5th most ping pong balls that is).

However, it did prevent the Raptors from moving a half-game out of 4th worst (Washington is sitting 2.5 games behind us, and they lost to the Raptors on Friday).

Whatever, I have a feeling the Raptors will go 2-0 in winning the number one pick in a week draft year, again. It’s fitting, especially considering a few issues Steve and Chris Denker discussed in yesterdays podcast.

Injury Report

Linas Kleiza – Out
Amir Johnson – Day to day

Channing Frye – Day to day, should play
Steve Nash – Day to day, should play

Player Report

Jose Calderon
He arguably out-plays Westbrook in a win one night, then witnesses Lawson drop a triple-double another, all the while playing a consistent brand of controlled ball that I (we?) have taken for granted as the season is drawing to an end. Such is the curse of Calderon that has me partially happy that the off-season trade with Charlotte fell through. Could you imagine a PG rotation of Jack, Bayless and Barbosa?

He will get back about as much as he gives up to Nash, but the difference is the Raptors will be playing looser than the Suns since they are still fighting for a playoff spot, and will be warn out from last nights game.

The one thing I’ve been pining for from Jose is an in-game dunk. It’ll be ugly, but I wants it.

DeMar DeRozan
To Phd Steve’s delight, he’s won the argument of who has more upside, DeRozan or Weems. Looking back, even though Sonny looked good, it was fairly obvious and shouldn’t have even been a question.

VC needs to be accounted for, even though he’s coming off a BRUTAL game against the Lakers (7-23 from the field). He’s going to be tired, and is prime to disappear at any moment. However, he gets up to play against the Raps, so I don’t want to see any alley-oop reverse dunks from an out-of-bounds-play for the game.

For DeMar to be a consistent 20pt scorer, he’s going to need to get to the line much more. These last few weeks offer the opportunity to improve his slashing game, and if need be, Arsenalist can mentor him in drawing body contact from a bunch of sweaty dudes.

James Johnson
The best part about this kid is that he saved this team millions in the would-be contract they were going to offer Weems in the off-season. Not sure where all this Weems hate is coming from since he’s done nothing to provoke me, but tell me I’m wrong about this.

Reggie Evans
A nice weekend from Reggie in limited minutes. You know how many times Beast scored more points that he grabbed rebounds this season? Twice. He’s given this team a much needed boost, and his scoring has not come at the cost of a disjointed offense. Ed Davis is sweating as Reggie has picked right up where he left off before the injury. Oh, the Raptors are 9-14 with Evans in the starting lineup; that counts for something and makes me think a 3yr/$12millie deal (or something comparable in a 3 year deal) should be offered to him.

Andrea Bargnani
Looking forward to seeing him battle Gortat tonight, mostly because I own Martin in my fantasy league, and could use another 17pt 13reb 2blk night from him.

Channing Frye is a big concern for me as he has a tendency to own the Raptors; scoring an effortless 16 points on wide open shots the last time out. He’s coming off a monster 32pt 14reb game against the Lakers last night. I suspect we will see a lot of situational match-ups between Reggie/Andrea/Amir/Ed and Lopez/Gortat/Frye. Hopefully Triano gets it right.

The Line

The gamblers have the Suns as 9 point favourites with an over/under of 211. This line may have been posted before the triple over time loss to the Lakers last night. Might be tough to win by that margin after every Suns starter (Lopez played 10, but Gortat logged 53, I consider him the main center) played at least 40 minutes last night.

Phoenix is 3 games out of a playoff spot, and can’t afford to let some fatigue cost them a game against a weaker Raptor team. Should be a good game.

  • Rapture

    Reggie has been hurt the last 2 years, he’ll get hurt again, not sure if its worth the contract when he’s sitting on the bench with a new injury

    • c_bcm

      Something to consider since we’ll already be down Linas Kleiza all next season. Do we want 2 medium contract players to be unavailable all season?

      • Statement

        32 points 14 rebounds?

        Whoa Frye > Bargnani.

        • JJ

          Bargnani had 36 and 12 in 3OT as well so what are you trying to say

          • Statement

            Okay I’ll clarify,

            I don’t actually think Frye > Bargnani I was just trying to be a jackass for my own entertainment.

            I do however think that they are players that offer a roughly similar level of production except one makes 5 million and the other makes 8 million, has had a coach fired on his behalf and was prematurely extended and babied through the duration of his career.

            • JJ

              My bad guy!! I was just being a Troll, LOL, real talks bargnani is shit

          • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

            Both are very similar players (Bargs is bigger & more refined on offense) except Frye actually likes basketball (not reboundball) and works hard to get better on both ends on the court.

            As well, Frye did it against the Lakers (Gasol, Bynum, Odom) in LA and Barg’s did it in London against NJ (Lopez, Hump, Petro).

            Plus Frye hits game winners in the clutch while Barg’s just holds, holds, holds, holds, holds, holds, holdsholds, holds, holds, holds……

            • http://www.facebook.com/skiele Francesco Grigori Di Bene

              mmmmmm… frye plays in a western team in the playoff race, with nash, carter, brooks, hill… he’s the fifth offensive option at best… he has less defenders on him, he has better teammates, he’s not the main offensive weapon so he get better looks…. so yeah… you are so right.

        • Guest

          Bargnani would also be a much better player if he had Nash making him look good. Still, if Bargnani doesn’t learn how to exploit his fram more often on offence then Frye will become a better player because he shoots as well and is much quicker and more active without the ball and on the glass.

          Frye SHOULD NOT be a better player than Bargs.

        • voy

          frye > than bargs in what exactly cuz its certainly not in basketball. Maybe you meant > bargs in woodcarving or jewelry making.

          • JoePanini

            Frye took 13 threes, out of 23 shots. Gortats stat line was much better.

        • Nilanka15

          LOL, don’t worry dude, I understood the sarcasm in the post 😉

        • tonious35

          Give Bargnani a Nash on his team, he’s gauranteed to score 28 PPG with 49% FG….that is called the Nash effect.

          • pran

            because bargnani’s so mobile right? The guys bread and butter is standing behind the 3 point line and:

            1)Jacking up a shot (less now though)
            2) pumping faking and driving and pull up for the long 2
            3)pump faking and drawing the foul

            and my personal favorite
            4)pump fake and then drive to the net uncontrollably, and hope to god no ones trying to draw the charge b/c if they are they’ll get the call.

            Sooner or later everyones going to catch on and unless pasta boy develops some post moves its going to be arrivederci NBA, A presto euroleague……..

            • RapthoseLeafs

              This is what I hate – when people make generalizations, and do little to no research.

              Bargnani’s 3 pt shooting attempts, represent 19 % of his shots.

              Kevin Durant (top point guy) – 26%
              Dirk – 15%
              Kevin Love – 21 %
              A. Jamison – 30 %
              Channing Frye (since it’s Phoenix tonite) – 53 %

              [ “Sooner or later everyones going to catch on …” ]

              As for the pump fake ….. it works.

              People keep trotting out the fact that Bargnani has had 5 years to get his shit together, yet they seem to dismiss this fact when it comes to his pump fakes. That’s typical pollster type thinking – find the stats that fit the “desired” results.

              Never-the-less, opponents have had 5 years to figure him out. As far as I’m concerned (and this is where I lack the stat), Andrea seems to be creating more fouls now – from the pump fake – than ever before.

              He definitely looks uncoordinated when he tries it – and that might be the secret. At times, I cringe when I see the move. It looks stupid (and spastic), yet I’m amassed by the suckers who fall for it – including a number of experienced players. One only has to recognize the look on coaches when they see their player falls for the move.

              As for those long 2’s, he does seem to be taking more this year. I think the Statophile posts have illustrated this at some point. Certainly, cutting down on them will make him more effective & efficient. That’s part of the process (of learning the game) – no matter how some believe 5 years is like a wall when it comes to understanding the game.

              • Theswirsky

                pretty sure Liston’s posts showed that Bargnani took less three, but took more long twos instead.

                Channing Frye = Bargnani.

                Frye is a better shooter and actually puts in an effort. Bargnani has much more potential but doesn’t put in effort when the ball isn’t in his hands. In the end I’d call it a draw.

                Difference?…. pay cheque.

      • scully

        I’m pretty sure Evans will be available for the vet minimum. He won’t get anymore than that. The guy couldn’t even get off the bench 2 years ago on a playoff team cause he couldn’t guard anyone and was a liability on offense. Nothing has changed. Jeez, Toronto is one of the worst teams in the NBA and even the Raps have two PFs who are better than Evans and one of them is a rookie.

      • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

        If there is a season which all signs currently point to there being a lockout.

    • Sam Holako

      I do agree that the injury situation makes me nervous, but unless the brain trust can replace his grit/rebounding/energy with a comparable player, the options are limited. Neither Amir no Ed have shown me the same intangibles Reggie does.

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

      Sign Reggie for the minumum or let him walk (S&T?) to a team willing to pay him more as his recent injury history is very troubling.

      He could remain healthy or not- it’s a gamble but with Amir & Ed manning the PF spot Reggie would most likely have to be content as a back up’s back up in the TDot.

  • JJ

    The suns are coming off a 3OT game, nearly everyone logged excess minutes, but I’d keep my eye out for >>>>> Aaron Brooks<<<<<<
    This guy didn't play much last night and ultra quick PG have been raptor killers throughout the season, especially those that can shoot the 3.
    Oh and I found it hilarious that my prediction against the Nuggets was precise, jus sayin'

  • whattt


    • hotfuzz


    • Bryan

      The capslock key is to the left of your keyboard.

      • Shee


    • Jackie Moon

      LOUD NOISES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nilanka15

    Sam, it’s funny you mention the prospect of Calderon dunking, I’ve been thinking the same thing. He seems to dunk fairly effortlessly (both 1 foot, or 2 foot take-offs) during the occasional pregame warmup. I’m surprised we don’t see it in games.

    • Sam Holako

      We saw it that one time, and he gets enough open looks at the rim to at least attempt it. I’m just looking for different types of entertainment from this lot with the season winding down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=632775895 Eugene Earnshaw

    Reggie for 12 million over 3 years? No thank you. Not with his injury history. Bear in mind, too, this was his contract year, so he made sure he was in really good shape all year. I don’t think he skips the candy so much once he has a 3-year guaranteed deal.

    I’d be happy with a 2 year deal for 6 mill, maybe. Maybe.

    Honestly, though, if we let him walk, we have more money to throw at one good player. Ideally a SF, but I don’t know there are any SF’s I’d pay 10 million dollars on the market. But I’d rather give a lot of money to someone who will be a real upgrade, than spending our cap space on role players.

    • Rapture

      wait, kleiza isn’t a good enough SF?

    • Mediumcore

      There are only so many genuinely tough guys that are also beasts on the boards out there that you can surround Andrea with. As long as he is on the roster you’ll need to off set the softness and lack of rebounding with someone like Reggie. I like Amir and Ed’s all around game more, but they’re not “tough guys”.

      • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

        Amir stood up to Perkins who is no fake tough guy in OKC. Amir is no sucka.

        Now Ed may not be a Madman like Evans but he hasn’t backed down from anyone as far as I can tell from watching him play this season.

        Andrea aka Mr Whipple (don’t squeeze the Charmine toilet paper commercial fame) is the equivalent of a indifferent basketball wimp and Reggie, JJ aka Mr Karate, Kleiza nor Amir can not hide or cover up that fact. Barg’s needs to man up on the court.

        Ron Artest would kick Barg’s ass in the lockerroom if he was on this team.

        • Mediumcore

          Not saying Amir is a wimp, but he’s not a tough guy. He may have stood up to Perkins…though he walked away right after the shove…but he doesn’t instigate any of the shoving himself. Reggie on the other hand does. He takes cheap shots on guys, talks crap to guys like D. Howard, Stoudamire, KG etc. That is what I meant by tough guy.

    • RapthoseLeafs

      Isn’t there some relief regarding Kleiza’s contract – Raptors are allowed some type of injury exemption. Heard something about this when he went under the knife. Any updates on this, or clarification.

  • LittleMikey

    the best thing the team could do would be to just feed Demar, get him a 40 point game or something, get the league to notice this guy so we can deal him before he bolts which is inevitable, (unless the new cba has a franchise tag or something)

    • Nilanka15

      The truth of the matter is, there is no loyalty in professional sports anymore. With the exception of Kobe and perhaps Wade, it’ll be very rare to see a player play for one team throughout their entire career. There isn’t a universal hate for Toronto among players.

      As long as we start winning, players will stay.

      • Jackie Moon

        So true. How many players now stick with their initial teams their entire career. Look at Utah, who is supposed to be a stable team. Dero was moved, Boozer has left, even Karl Malone. Every team has players leave or want to be moved. Its nothing personal to the city or fans.
        I’m not loyal to the same strippers all the time, even to the ones that love me long time. Its just business.

        • Nilanka15

          I forgot to add Duncan to the list or lifers. But still, it’s rare.

          • Statement

            Did you know:

            That Andrea Bargnani eats penne pasta as his pregame meal?

            It’s nutritious and delicious!

          • Statement

            Did you know:

            That Demar Derozan’s first car purchase was an Escalade, and NOT a ford vehicle?

            The more you know..!

            • Miller

              Wouldn’t blame him. Ford is an acronym: Fix Or Repair Daily.

              Crappy vehicles nowadays..

        • Jon

          Lol don’t worry, I’m sure the strippers aren’t loyal to you either.

  • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

    Hopefully the Rap’s will take advantage of the Suns triple OT game against LA last night and run at them non stop the whole game. This is a very winnable game in Phoenix if the Rap’s play all 4Qs hard & smart.

    Btw- it’s time to shut Amir “The Warrior” Johnson down before he gets really injured while trying to play through his minor injuries instead of having Jay ride him trying to save his job by eeking out some late season wins ie fool’s gold- give Ed all of Amir’s minutes with Reggie backing him up. As well I would like to see Bayless aka Bosa Light start the final 12 games at pg as the season ends as we already know what Jose aka The Spanish X Ray brings to the table.

  • omar

    sam re: sonny and demar upside argument of days long past. I quote kenny smith ” a coach can’t give you confidence but they sure can take it away” sonny has given up the fight. The italian mafia has prevailed just as they always have since they took controll under BC. Silvestri’s nepotism comment is valid but what do you call it when he hires only italians in positions of authority below him? sprinkle in a couple token black faces whose job is dependent on not making waves ex. alex english etc. This is common knowledge among the players in the league who are 90% or so black. Hedo’s comment that there is something wrong with the raptors management and everyone knows it strikes home! pajia’s comment that they are building the team around jose and andrea also strikes home. He wanted nothing to do with that losing proposition. The sad part about this situation is that TO is as a city one of the most desirable places to work among all NBA players and rightly so because of it’s beauty and diversity! BC’s euro-centric 5 yr reign is at its core racist and a failure! It expires on july 1, 2011. BC is not TO and TO is not BC! At least that is my belief tho time will tell! peace

    • voy

      omar, congratulations on convincing the RR to obtain proof of passing grade 6 before allowing propsective members to post on their site.

      • omar

        diversion the last refuse of cowards!

    • Bendit

      How disappointing. You could have gone all the way and called Alex English an Uncle Tom. That “peace” salutation at the end smells a bit funny after that rant.

      • omar

        no not calling alex an uncle tom at all. I am black and I know what an uncle tom is you obviously do not! neither alex nor any other black face under BC is in a position to speak up to the regime and remain employed. Just ask sam!

        • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

          So true I agree with you omar as Alex is a very well respected basketball man around the League- the main reason why BC keeps him around in my mind.

          Sam most likely defied BC by benching, being tough on Bargnani subsequently he got wacked at 8-9 yet Jay finishes up at 25-40 and gets a contract while BC still had to pay Sam over 2 years.

          Hedo spoke on the funny business in the Rap’s front office.

          Peja revealed some more ie Bargs/Jose.

          It’s true that Italian neopotism (nothing against Italians) is seemingly reaking throughout the Raptors organization since BC took over as both Pres & GM.

          I mean Andrea aka King Barg’s does as he pleases and even has his own personal GM in Gheradini while Sonny (lost his job due to injury?) loses his job to someone that hadn’t even played a game in the TDot but BC had to justify his trading away Miami’s draft pick (CB S&T) thus JJ is a starter by default- another BC image spin in action.

          • omar

            thank you! and for the record I have nothing against Italians or euro-players at all!! I detest injustice and bias particularly in team sports. I also detest what BC has done to the reputation of TO and canada among nba players and fans in american cities! further I like andrea as a player and believe he is a valuble piece of the team going forward but needs to held to the same standards as the other team members. jose needs to go!

        • Bendit

          Oh “I am black so I can say it/or I have special insight” defense!

          I wrote in response to your comment “…sprinkle in a couple token black faces whose job is dependent on not making waves ex. alex english etc”

          That is as close to calling someone who is black and working for a boss who is white an “Uncle Tom”. What insight do you have that is the reason BC retains AE or Alvin Williams and previously Masai Ujiri as token black faces. I think as Masai, AE could find another job if he felt hard done by in any way. You insult these men more than anyone else. You may also have to refresh your understanding or meaning of that term. Let me help…


          And btw being black is no particular antidote for having a unique insight into racially insensitive remarks….especially on a sports blog.

    • pran

      it was time to take out the eurotrash a year ago….but don’t hold your breath under this management…….

  • RapsM

    I wonder how many fans are hoping suns win to keep Canada’s hope (AKA Steve Nash) of making the playoffs alive, while at the same time helping Raps lottery chances. Tanking disgusts me.

    • Statement

      Did you know:

      That tanking disgusts Tank Abbott!

      The more you know…!

    • Nilanka15

      So short-sighted. The raps can win the rest of their games and it won’t help the franchise at all in the long run. Next year, when looking back at this year, nobody will care if we won 20 games or 30 games….we sucked regardless. The only difference with 30 games is that we cost ourselves a chance at a higher pick.

  • Statement

    Did you know,

    That Julian Wright played basketball?

    The more you know…!

    • slaw

      I thought he just waved towels and hugged guys before the game. Who knew he actually played?

  • whattt