Johnson has been playing well despite battling a right foot injury, though he couldn’t help the Raptors avoid blowing a 20-point lead Sunday. Leading scorer DeMar DeRozan, averaging a career-best 17.9 points, said Johnson’s play should inspire the team. “There’s no excuse when you’re out there on the floor, because (Johnson) walks in here, he can’t walk, but I guarantee you Amir will be here and help us pick it up next game,” DeRozan said.
It seems that the firing of Avery Johnson has done the trick for the time being as the Nets have won eight of nine and are currently the hottest team in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn, who has also won six on the trot, is getting the job done on the defensive end as they held the visiting Indiana Pacers to 11 fourth-quarter points in Sunday’s 97-86 victory and are holding teams to 86.8 points over their last four games. The Nets are also getting great production from their bench as they are averaging 39.8 points per game during their winning streak, which was up from 27.7 before that.
The Raptors won’t know until after Tuesday’s shootaround just how healthy Calderon and Johnson are. Both got banged up in Sunday’s loss to Milwaukee. . . . Toronto has never won in Brooklyn. Yes, it’s only been one game, but they have never won in Brooklyn.
They’re 6-4 over last 10 and 10-4 over the last month, not a one with Andrea Bargnani on the court. Other than that, it comes down to fundamentals. In the last 10 games, they’re tops in the NBA in assists (with the reliable Jose Calderon back at the controls), giving up only 92 points a game, fourth in the league, and playing excellent perimeter defense (30.4 percent) also fourth in the league over that stretch.
I fully understand that young players and assets have to be moved to acquire proven talent in their prime, and I would be willing to stomach parting with players like Terrence Ross and Ed Davis for the right talent, but Rudy Gay is not that talent.
Memphis would like to acquire point guard Jose Calderon, rookie wing Terrence Ross and a big man from the team. Rookie Jonas Valanciunas’ name has come up, according to the report, and that would mean Toronto would need to part with two future building blocks and a guard in Calderon who, while not indispensable with Kyle Lowry on the roster, is valuable.
A day after a frustrating loss to the Bucks, Drew, Oliver and I got together to discuss what went wrong, Kyle Lowry’s puzzling play at the point, the sparkling combination of Amir Johnson and Ed Davis and what to expect from the Raptors this week, including their meeting with Steve Nash and the Lakers on Sunday.
That is not to suggest he’s a selfish player, just that his skillset or the part that sets him apart from most others on this team, is his ability to create and score primarily for himself. Lowry is a willing passer. He’ll do whatever it takes to get his team an edge, but more often than not, his best weapon is himself and lately he has been leaving that bullet in the revolver.
According to an early morning tweet by ESPN’s Chris Palmer, Toronto Raptor Terrence Ross is expected to enter the 2013 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. His competition includes 2007 Slam Dunk Contest winner Gerald Green (Indiana Pacers), Paul George (Indiana Pacers) and Alonzo Gee (Cleveland Cavaliers).