The “holy crap, it’s really really back!” edition:
Barbosa: the blur was far from it, but he was creating for his teammates. Rarely standing still with the ball he was looking to make things happen, which is why he could be the one player you don’t want to see sitting out games this year. We’ll need what we can get out of him.
Bargnani: it would be an easy out to rip him for not getting the “required” rebound numbers his coach has challenged him with, but you have to admit that the vegetarian pasta is looking a lot meatier. Talking on defence (and it actually getting caught on camera!), following his shots, getting his hand on loose balls, etc…all things we saw tonight and in the fake pre-season and something we have rarely seen in his years here. Impressive.
Bayless: it’s as if he and Jose decided to switch roles just to see how the other lives. Coming in you had to worry that Irving and Sessions would throw Jose around like a gingerbread man, but it was Bayless who seemed to show the frustration of getting a BlackBerry Playbook for Christmas and not an iPad2.
Butler: Rasual got the starting nod ahead of James Johnson and, to be honest, he did as much with his time in the spotlight as Kris Humphries did. You just gotta hope that Hump has some great video to show for it. Butler was never even close to being a factor and short of James just being a naturally better fit with the second unit, Rasual should be back coming off the bench the rest of the season.
Calderon: not entirely shocking in that Jose always seems to play above himself (read: he actually exerts effort on the defensive end) when playing in big games. This being the first game of the season and the first real trial of who should be the starting PG, Jose flourishes against someone who is already in ROY talk by posting a double double (15/11).
Davis: Thompson made Ed look foolish early on, absolutely undressing Davis any chance he had. Pregame we asked RR followers who would lead the team in rebounding in this game and the straw poll had Davis the winner. Certainly didn’t start off that way, but Davis turned it around, hunkered down, and made TT work for everything he got. Offensively he was as perfect as Katy Perry in a bikini, going 7-for-7 and rocking the red headband.
DeRozan: remember as a kid you always seemed to open the smaller crappier gifts first? Socks, underwear, pet rocks, the new release from Menudo…..then, magically, as you hit your final few, it turned into Colecovision, a Three’s Company calendar, and a Michael Jordan rookie card. Well, that was DeMar’s season debut. To say he sucked rocks in the first half would be kind. No doubt that the coaches laid into the poor bastard at the half, because he sat for an extended period in the second and came back like he had been told if he led the team in scoring he’d get first dibs at landing the team charter.
A. Johnson: remember a few years ago when management would try and convince us that Toronto had a new Twin Towers? Well, under the radar, we might actually have it now in the Johnson’s. Together on the floor tonight they were prettier than some of the sister acts I’ve seen at the Zanzibar over the years. You get past one and, bam, another was waiting for you to break your heart. Amir threw double 13s and, for one game, absolutely wiped out the bad taste he left in some peoples mouth last season (okay, mine), but still he was out performed by….
J.Johnson: ……who came off the bench and LeBron’d the Cleveland crowd. He absolutely just made you go “whaaa??? whoooo???” as a Raptors fan and literally had Cavs fans buying programs to find out who the guy was with the funny hair. As the game wore on, others took over the spotlight, but a solid line of 5pts, 5asts, 6rebs, 3blks and 2stls doesn’t show justice to the effort he put forth to jumpstart his team.
Magloire: I’ll give you this: he has shown up in the best shape he has been in for years. After that, I got nothing. Sure, great story that he is the first Canadian to play for us, but Khloe got married before Kim, so firsts mean nothing. Surely there is someone out there that can save us from a season of watching this guy lumber up and down the court only to be lauded post game for being born here and nothing else. Waste of a roster spot.
Driving the bus: James Johnson
Under the bus: Rasual Butler
Theme of the Game: