Toronto Raptors Roll Call vs Cavaliers Jan 5

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The “attack of the unlikely edition” edition:

Alabi: 3 minutes seems to be his limit. His rebounding PER if off the chain, though.

Barbosa: passion and hustle made a return tonight. Concerted effort to move with the ball, including some nice slices indeed.

Bargnani: the big puff pastry played well tonight while wearing the bottom half of Leandro’s body armour. Certainly seemed more comfortable, but winded late. Bella.

Bayless: sat in the back seat of the Jose/Jerryd mobile tonight. Well deserved rest.

Calderon: I love when he is hurt or hurting because you know for at least his first game or two back he is going to play well above his capabilities. Kind of like Hugh Hefner. 20pts, 17 assists, some absolutely beautiful setups and, for once, pinpoint shooting. Great night for him.

Davis: getting excited for him again. Yes, his fouls are an issue, but rather than mope about his performance last night, he tried to redeem himself. Love the kids quiet business like attitude and am holding out hope that the Young Foolz don’t sink their claws into him.

DeRozan: not going to dance on his corpse because he’s earned a day of reprieve. Problem is, this average game of his tonight used to be a good one for him. He has raised expectations now….can he deliver?

Dorsey: a quick in and out for him. With Andrea and Ed playing well, Joey just needs to remember where Brickbreaker is on his Blackberry.

Evans: Dupree is gone……replacement/addition for Reggie coming soon?

Johnson: spirit is a good thing and Amir is showing it in spades lately. Something has happened to Amir and DeMar and it’s good. Earlier this season no way was Amir as active as he was tonight. Satisfying to see.

Kleiza: his game tonight was like that pair of plaid socks your grandmother gives you for Christmas: ugly and unwanted.

Stojakovic: one more roster spot open..tick tick tick!!

Weems: nobody is looking forward to Sunday more than this guy. Backs are tricky, but hopefully this extended cautious time off has helped him prepare.

Wright: game changer indeed. What a way to demonstrate how to put a team on your defensive back and fight hard to come back and steal a victory. If you could type it out, it would be the ideal textbook.

Driving The Bus: Julian Wright

Under The Bus: Linas Kleiza

Game Theme:


  1. Just when you want to write them off they give you reason to watch again. And what’s messed up is you almost hope some of the injured players aren’t ready to come back. If Weems, Peja and Reggie come back, does that mean Julian Wright and Ed Davis get fewer minutes? The inconsistency and wild lineup changes is frustrating. Colangelo has to make some deals to tighten up the lineup and clarify roles

    • There’s absolutely no logical reason to give Reggie minutes over Davis. None whatsoever. And it’s pretty safe to assume we’ve already seen the last of Peja.

  2. You’re a fucking joke. It is so clear that you play favourites with roll call. How can you classify DeRozan as “ok” considering he was shit on offence and absolutely shit on D?

    What this win showed me was that even though Bargs and Calderon have their shortcomings on D, when surrounded by hustle guys like Amir and Julian, this team can compete because those two offer so much to the offence in how they attract defences and space out the floor for others. Did you see what happened when Julian came in and the perimeter D tightened up? Suddenly the bigs didn’t look so bad. Kleiza is definitely making a case for Julian to start with performances like this.

    Finally, this wouldn’t be a John_P post without it, but Bargs did lead the team in scoring, second in rebounds (top big on the boards) and second in +/- (the stupidest stat in basketball)

    • Is Bargnani a good defensive centre? No. Is DD a good defensive wing? No. But one doesn’t cancel out the other. This is what all your posts amount to:

      You: “Derozan’s bad on D,”
      Dude: “Ya. What about Bargnani though? He wasn’t that good. . .”
      You: “No no no no no no. I don’t think you understand. Derozan is bad on D.”
      Dude: “Okay, but Bargs was pretty terrible too, he. . .”
      You: “DE-RO-ZAN WAS BAD ON D!!!!!!!”

      It’s pretty ridiculous. I’m gonna give you a metaphor. Hitler was an asshole. So was Mussolini and so was the Emperor of Japan. Just because one guy was an asshole, doesn’t make the other two any less douchbags. There can be an infinite amount of assholes on this Earth. Just like the raptors can have an infinite amount of poor defenisive guys, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are all still bad defensive guys.

      What you seem to say is that weak perimeter D coupled with weak interior D cannot coexist. Therefore, Bargnani and DD cannot coexist in their current forms. This means that one should be traded. Now look at the NBA over the last decade. If the Raps goal is to eventually win a championship, than we should try to emulate them. Every team without the most dominant player ever (Shaqs designation by some, in case some people were unfamiliar) than each team has featured a guard who gets their own shot and scores 20+ points, and even he had Kobe in his younger years. Dirk, and even Dwight Howard have not won championships despite having amazing supporting casts. This seems to point that even around legit franchise bigs, it’s still incredibly hard to win a championship. And guess what they are both constantly looking for? Guards who can get their own shot. It’s the reason Orlando passed on Hedo for Carter. It seems that every team that wins the championship this decade has this scoring guard, as well as good to best of all time (Timmy D, Garnett, Shaq, Big Ben) defensive bigs in the paint. So I’m getting that you’re saying they can’t coexist, and the facts point to Bargnani needing to go if we ever want to contend. Now I don’t agree with this, but just stating facts that you seem to imply.

      Bargnani needs to improve his defense tremendously if he will ever be part of a really good team, or we need a guy who is all defense to cover his ass in the paint. Good defensive bigs and systems can cover up the poor defense of a guard (i.e Suns with Nash) but it doesn’t work so well the other way around. It’s hard to provide help for a guy who is already deep in the paint, and when two bigs need to focus on one guy in the paint, you get out rebounded a lot. Bargnani and DD both have had good to great games to average games to terrible games. But don’t just try and shit on DD every chance you get, because than you’re no worse than that guy you had the 200 rap-a-thon with a few games back about who was worse, Bargnani or the young guns. Fact is, neither is all that good.

        • Bargs has been in the league for 4+ years, this is Derozan’s second.

          Bargs second year was absolutely horrific.

          • Actually aside from DeRozan’s athleticism, Bargnani has had more basketball talent than DeRozan since about age 16. DeRozan is an athlete, that’s it. He pretty much sucks at everything else.

      • What does that have to do with last nights game? Did he play bad D last night? When did I ever say he didn’thave toimprove his D. Also you’re wrong, because if the perimeter D is better then the bigs are left on an island always trying to help, which was the case last night. Last night Bargnani played good D, great O and Demar didn’t. Demar was deemed to have an “ok” game, despite playing awful on both ends. Meanwhile yesterday, when Bargs was the leading scorer, and didn’t play as well on D, he was slaughtered in the roll call. What is so difficult to comprehend? That is exactly what my post is reffering to. So your analogies, and your post for that matter, are irrelevant. Finally, since you seem so inetersted in my posts, I defend Bargnani because on this site, if he doesn’t score the most points and defend all 5 positions its all his fault. He has his faults, but he is far from being the problem on this team. Others need to share the criticism on D as well.

      • Also to suggest that Demar is anywhere near a “franchise” guard is more then a little premature. The surrounding cast for Dirk is great, so long as he is in the lineup. When he is not, they lack his creativity and ability to spread the floor for others. The roles all of a sudden have to adjust and people are playing beyond their means, as was the case in the loss to the Raps. BC understands this, which is why he targeted Chandler and Barnes in the offseason. Anwyays I still think we should hold on to both because this is a rebuild year and at the end of the season, with a TPE, expiring contracts, and top 10 pick, we can assess who stays and who goes. I think next season can potentially be a very good season if we are able to maximize all those situations.

        • Please count on 1 or 2 hands how many good defenders there are in the L… The fact is THERE AREN’T THAT MANY!!! The rules of today’s game sans hand checking, 3 in the key, zone all make for bad individual defensive habits… With the illegal defense rules of the past, guys could roam, like Mike J on D, as long as there was a hard double or stayed within shouting distance of their man…

          The way the game is played today, players only concentrate on offense, and dare by rule, the lesser talented find a way onto the floor by selling out on D, drawing charges around the circle and the like…

          Truth be told, DeRozan will look the most stupid on D, save #7 because he’s playing against some of the most athletics freaks on earth with rules that favour the offensive player–it’s not many young wings that come in the L with shut down ability…

          I’ve never seen Julian Wright that much before this season, but this is like is 3rd or 4th year in the L

          • The wing is probably the toughest position to guard at the pro level, but there’s a happy median between completely sucking on defense, and being a shutdown defender. This happy median is where DeRozan needs to get to for him to help this team.

  3. Before this game DeRozan was ranked 32nd among SG’s in PER. His stats have not improved from last year in almost any category. As bad as his PER is the sad thing is that his offense is better than his defense. All in all, he is a God-awful basketball player. The eye test says the same thing: he can’t shoot, dribble or defend. To be -16 in a game like this takes scrub quality. What is it that people see in him? I want to believe in him because he’s our player however I see nothing in him to give me hope for the future.

    • I agree. He forces his game too much and does the same moves too many times. Also, he does not do anything but score. No rebounds, assists, steals etc. from him. If you want to be an all star you have to have a more complete game.

    • .
      Demar is only 21. And still very raw for the bigger league. Way too soon to give up on. Defenses are paying more attention, and he needs to learn how to cope. Fact is, a lot of this team – young as they are – are trying out new roles.

      • I would agree that its too early to give up on Demar but to classify this game as “ok” today is just ridiculous.

        • No one really killed us except for Jamison, who plays PF/SF, so not quite sure how DD played terrible defense. Most Gibson scored early but was disappeared later. Eyenga had a hot shooting night. Also I’d say DD played pretty well. Look at last nights game and tonight. The refs don’t seem to wanna give the little bastard a call, no matter what. But he still took it to the rack instead of settling for jumpshots, which is something that’s really good to see in a young player. He took over in the fourth (even though they pretty much let him shot every shot) and had more offensive rebounds than Bargnani. You’re hating on DD as much as some of those other hate on Bargnani. That’s the problem that I find with our sports fans. . .everyones either worshiping one fucker and shitting on the other guys, or vice versa (i.e young onez lovers vs. Barney lovers). No middle ground. Just fanatics on either side of the line. Bargs and DD both had decent games, but JuJu won the game for us, hands down. People shouldn’t respect the opinions of others who obviously can’t see both sides of the argument, because than all you are is a raging fanatic.

          • DD did not have a decent game, and for you to suggest he did is making you look like a fanatic. Also, replying to all my posts specifically, may also be considered fanatic. Along with targeting Bargs for everything thats wrong with the Raps. Also why is a young player forcing his offence at the expense of the team a good thing? He was forcing badt shots and trying to drive into double teams, but that was good to see?

          • Also I wasn’t turning this into a Demar vs Andrea debate, I was merely responding to the roll call which was poor to say the least. However if a comparison is what you want then I am happy to acoomodate your request.


            Pts – 25
            Reb – 8
            A- 3
            FG – 10/20


            Pts – 13
            FG – 6/15

            So for you to say that both players played “decent” would suggest your bias towards Demar. How can you honestly look at those lines and say that both players were “decent” when its clear one was far superior then the other? Also how does one get a -16 in a 15 point win? So before you come on here and say “People shouldn’t respect the opinions of others who obviously can’t see both sides of the argument, because than all you are is a raging fanatic” maybe you should look in the mirror pal.

            • Pretty sure I’ve agreed with you before about Bargnani, I just happen to be critical of every player on the roster who doesn’t give their full effort every night. Bargnani and DD having the most talent, they should be the most critizied. You really don’t know what a fanatic is, and I’ve never seen you critize Bargs, while I’ve done both. Besides haven’t you repeatedly claimed that + and – is pointless, which I agree with. I only respond to your posts because you’re just as bad as the Bargnani haters. I’ve said it a million times, every player has negatives and positives, and seeeing you shit on this site (which you’re always on) and shit on everyone who isn’t Bargnani is getting old.

              Not saying DD is a franchise guard, just showing facts that can’t be argued with, that every great team has a guard who can create and defensive bigs. Bargs will never be a great defender, whereas DD has a chance to be at least a good scorer. Simple as that.

          • DeRozan took it to the rack because he cannot hit a jump shot for his life, not because that’s what he wanted to do…also save for a few minutes in the fourth he was a complete bust and should not have seen the floor in the fourth if we had anyone else.You would say DD played pretty well? I’m not in the habit of slamming him or any other Raptor but he did not play pretty well. He forces himself into drives where he has to throw up a prayer, cannot dribble better than my 9 year old niece, cannot shoot a jump shot for his life, cannot make a pass, and plays horrible defense but somehow he’s ok and is worth the investment. Let’s face it if he’s not the worst SG in the league he’s right in the thick of the pack. He has one thing…he’s athletic…so is Joey Graham, and Weems is more athletic, as are many guys. I do not believe he is worth anywhere near the praise he gets here, but he’s ok on this Raps squad because we do not have many better right now.

            • Uh, not sure if Joey Graham ever scored 37 points, followed by 27. I wasn’t sold on DD, and I’m still not, but he was obviously getting fouled numerous times, or at least it looked that way and the refs would have made calls for most guys in the league, let alone the superstar calls Kobe and the like get. He was fouled, his shot really isn’t that bad (just inconsistent, and who’s consistent on the raptors anyway?) and he took the ball to the hoop a lot. It’s frustrating to not get calls, but to keep going like that takes heart. He is a terrible defender, probably second worst behind Kleiza and third on about every time Bargnani takes his horse tranquilizer, which is about 50% of the time. Joey Graham was also a highly touted late teens pick. There’s a reason Derozan was 9th overall, and I think his offense is looking alright. Too bad what we need the most is defense.

              • Sek99
                I am not actually comparing him to Graham whos dead from the neck up, but rather making a point about athletes.
                I just do not see the talent he should have as a SG…i.e. a shot!, a dribble drive!, an ability to find the open man when the lanes close!, some form of defense!
                I agree with the refs…the NBA has the worst refs in pro sports and that will not change. They also will not give him consistent calls when they know he is driving into the middle to force contact rather than to score when he’s out of control, and looks like he had no chance of scoring.

                • I couldn’t agree more, why is it we’re pumping a SG who can’t shoot, dribble, pass or play any D? I’m still willing to let him learn, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath that he can actually put it together.

  4. Julian Wright has to get more PT. I don’t know what else a guy has to do to see the floor. I don’t care if it was Cleveland hustle on defense works againist anybody.

    • There’s too much offense, and not nearly enough defense with Kleiza in the starting lineup. And with all that offense, confusion rears its ugly head, as neither Bargnani, DeRozan, Kleiza and Calderon can figure out when to shoot and when to defer.

      Replacing Kleiza with Wright seems like an obvious move, and something the Republic has been suggesting for eons. It provides more of an established hierarchy on offense, and provides us with a solid defender on the wing, which might help DeMar look much less like a stiff. Maybe…just maybe, Triano has finally smartened up.

      Having said all that, Cleveland is by far the shittiest team in the league. Being up 15 at home, against an injury-raveled bottom-dweller, and getting completely blown out, is an utter fail. As Raptor fans, we should take everything that happened last night with a grain of salt. After all, it’ll be hard to duplicate anything from last night’s game against Boston on Friday.

  5. The Cavs could be the worst team in the league.

    Except for Jamison their front line is pathetic.

    Raptors took advantage of that tonight in spades.

    Johnson is clearly playing hurt.

    Right now it looks like he is playing at about 75% at best of his normal athleticism.

    His biggest weakness on defense was exposed again tonight. He is terrible at guarding on the perimeter.

    Jamison totally torched him.

    • .
      [ “Right now it looks like he is playing at about 75% at best of his normal athleticism.” ]

      I think you’re being very generous at 75. There were some camera shots of him, where Amir looked in pretty bad pain. No reason why he can’t rest for a few. His turn now.


    Sobering numbers for those voting to run the offense through DeMar. He’s just lucky to be a Raptor because he wouldn’t be getting this kind of opportunity anywhere else.

    Handing him a starting job on day one wasn’t enough? FFS he’s currently leading the team in minutes played… how about we let him actually earn something for once?

  7. AltRap, you are really an idiot. Did you just write :”I love when Calderon is hurt or hurting”? I wish we traded Jose and Andrea so some people can really enjoy playground basketball. It is really masochistic to remove the most talented players from the team instead of surrounding them with complimentary players.

    • Shouldn’t we read entire sentences before jumping to conclusions? The 2nd (omitted) half to your quote suggests that Calderon plays really well when coming off an injury…and THAT is why AltRaps loves when he’s hurt.

  8. I liked what I saw from Wright tonight. If he consistently plays like this then it will be hard for Weems to playing time when he is back. If he plays like this all the time then even Kleiza should worry

  9. When Andrea first got in the league I thought he needed 3 things before he’d be great. An extra 15-20 lbs of muscle, a bit of facial hair and an unreasonably hot girlfriend.

    I love it when the guy goes into god mode.

  10. John_P, totally agree with you on this one.
    Have no idea what AltRaps is talking about. Derozan need to learn how to shoot a pull up jumper, he must have tried to dribble/run through the cavs 10 times, none of the attempts turned into anything good. Got roasted on defense all night. I guess breakaway dunks are really important to AltRaps.
    Now, to the good. Wright was awesome tonight and he and Barns work very well together. He gets the the ball to our best scorer when he needs, not when he has run out of one on one options like our other wing players.
    Wright needs more minutes and his effort level brings an intensity to everyone. Maybe cause they know he can guard almost anyone and that leaves the rest of the guys to swarm and get in the lanes to disrupt the flow of the other teams offense.
    Good come from behind win tonight

    • Yeah it was looking bad early on in this game, especially watching Kleiza and Demar at both ends of the floor. You can’t have both of them, along with Jose, guarding the perimeter because none of them are defensively inclined and when the first line of defence is penetrated that easily, everything else breaks down. Julian does seem to inspire the team similar to Reggie and my hope is that he can consistently bring an effort like that. I also appreciated the fact that he wasn’t a total liability on offence and was able to penetrate and distribute to his teammates. He isn’t a selfish player, passes the ball and plays hard D. As long as he can continue that I then he is exactly what this team needs.

  11. Have I just entered bizarro world? No one calling for Bargnani’s head? No one saying he should be traded? No one saying he should come off the bench? Someone even mentioning that if we actually had a couple guys on the floor who can hustle then Bargnani’s defense isn’t the worst in the league? I don’t know what to do. Maybe sleep.

  12. So did we just prove that most of us are better coaches than Triano? I mean, people have been calling to give JuJu more playing time since Orlando, but Triano is too rapped up in trying to get our heralded free agent to look like hes worth something. Kleiza is horrible. The guy needs to score to be effective, and we already have loads of guys who need to score to be effective. Julian should start. Simple. He has one of the highest IQ’s on the team, best defender on the team and was ripping the ball out of peoples hand tonight. Triano needs to learn that balance doesn’t appear on the stat sheet, but it’s an absolute necessity to win. Offense and defense. The guy was on pace for a triple double by halftime (I think 9 points, 5 boards, 4 assists or something like that) and is and effective wing player OFF the ball which Kleiza isn’t with his awful 29% from downtown and basically the fact that the guy is playing European handball out there, three bounces and the other team gets the ball. DD also needs to work on his off ball game as well, but that’s something that isn’t exactly natural to most young players.

    I still think we should give Weems a chance, so Peja, Kleiza, Barbosa and Reggie (this one hurts) need to go by the deadline. I don’t want the fucking 9th pick again, and the Bucks look like they’re shaping up for the playoffs. And even if we do make the playoffs, our young guys will have tons of confidence and actually develop in a tighter rotation. Our guys are showing tons of heart, from Bayless to Amir to DD tonight not settling even though he didn’t get the calls tonight or last night.

    Cleveland dropped 38 in the first quarter. They have the 2nd worst offense in the league. We make every team look like the 2005 suns when we play. Until we learn to get stops, it won’t matter how many points DD and Bargs throw down. We’ll never go anywhere.

    • This is why we need Julian in the lineup. Kleiza’s offence is streaky at best and defence is consistently terrible.

  13. We knew when DeMar was drafted he was near the least NBA ready guy taken in the first round. I think his game is coming along at, at least, an acceptable rate. He leap years ahead of where he was one calender year ago, and quite a bit better than 50 days ago.

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