One key reason why Toronto games are not often shown nationally in the States is because cable channels do not draw shares for a rating from the Raptors because they are in Canada, sources said. Unless you get NBATV, live in Canada, own NBA League Pass or live in a market where the local team is playing Toronto, it’s going to be tough to see the Raptors play on TV in the United States this season since they don’t have any nationally televised games.
DeRozan will team up with Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the team skills challenge which will pit two Eastern Conference teams against one another with the winning advancing to the final against the best of the two western Conference teams.
DeRozan initially declined the invitation but his agent twisted his arm and eventually he came around. “I changed my mind. I said I’ll try it, why not.” “I thought it would be fun,” he said of the event, which is usually exclusive for point guards but DeRozan hopes to start a new era of shooting guards entering and conquering the ball handling/passing obstacle course. “Everybody doesn’t get a chance to be a part of All-Star Weekend and the big thing for me is to go out there and have fun. I think it will be cool to go out there and represent my team as much as I can and you never know, I might mess around and win it.”
You only live once, man. Didn’t Michael Jordan try the three-point contest?” DeRozan joked Thursday. “I thought it would be fun. Everybody don’t get a chance to be a part of all-star weekend and the big part for me is just go out and have fun. “Try and be cool and just go out there and represent my team as much as I can. You never know, I might mess around and win it.”
It’s easy to get up for the ‘name teams’ but as usual guys get it backwards. It’s really hard to win those games. Play really hard against the teams you can beat and you’ll have a really nice season and then steal the occasional game when you play a team that’s in the ‘upper class’. Tough lessons to learn. Time they actually learn the lesson and do something about it. You want the third our fourth seed and home court in the first round of the Playoffs? Punch the clock, bring the lunch bucket and hard hat and compete like crazy. You do that – you’ll have success. Time to grow up a bit.
Sure, he wishes this role was bigger, but Novak knows how it works. A coach finds a group he’s comfortable with and a handful of guys at the end of the bench have to wait their turn. Twelve and 13-man rotations are not the norm in the NBA. Someone has to sit, sometimes for games at a time. “I think that’s the most difficult part about coming in and being a bench player,” Novak said. “It’s a total mental change. You have to really understand that you can’t be angry, you can’t be mad, you can’t wish bad things, so you can get in because those are all human and natural things. You’re a competitor. Of course you want to be on the floor.”
While Valanciunas has taken significant steps forward in the right direction this season, one thing that’s troubled him on more than one occasion is picking up fouls early in games. He’s still young and prone to making bad decisions on the defensive end from time to time. His average of 3.2 fouls a game is 16th-highest in the NBA. There isn’t a heck of a lot of size sitting behind him in the second unit. Hayes is an undersized center at 6’6″, while both Patterson and Tyler Hansbrough are 6’9″ power forwards who occasionally find themselves at the 5-spot. The same goes for Amir Johnson, who starts alongside Valanciunas in the frontcourt.
With DeRozan healthy, the Raptors might have a shot at winning a shootout with the Clippers, but that hasn’t been the formula for success in Toronto this season. When the Raptors win, it is most often the result of shutting down the other team’s offense and in Los Angeles that can be a tall order. The Clippers are the second highest scoring team in the NBA at 106.2 points per game. They like to run, lob, and play a fun brand of basketball. In the process the Clippers give up over 100 points per game and it will be up to Toronto to avoid getting sucked into the Clippers style of play. A quick look at the Clippers record shows they have just 4 wins and 11 losses when the fail to score 100 or more points.
With Paul out, you have a decent chance of knocking off the Clippers if you can somehow find a way to keep Griffin in check. Easier said than done. Griffin had a monster game against the Heat going off for 43 points, 15 boards and six assists. Perhaps more impressive were the nine offensive boards he pulled down, which was two more than the entire Heat team. Griffin had 30 in that earlier win over Toronto. Johnson, who has had two solid games (Denver and Utah) and two sub-par games (Portland and Sacramento) on this trip so far. Johnson won’t be the only Raptor on Griffin (he’ll get plenty of attention) but he’ll be the first and barring foul trouble the most used Toronto player on him.
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