In a game where the Raptors seemed to lead by 20 points for most of the game, how do you think Julian Wright feels to be the only player with a negative +/- rating?
So after the long awaited debut of Ed Davis, you have to like what you saw. Davis scored 11 points on 5-7 shooting, and grabbed 6 boards, but what you had to like best is what you saw on defense. True to his reputation, Davis showed why many feel his defense is the best part of his game. He was given credit for 2 blocks, but he altered at least 3 times as many.
I’ve always said that y the time a player reaches the NBA team defense should be mostly instinctual, and in his debut Davis showed that. He knew where to be most of the time and when to rotate. When paired with Amir Johnson, the Raptors actually had a very good defensive front line for the first time this season. It was a wonder to see those two work together in the paint and I look forward to seeing more of that this year.
Speaking of Amir, although he didn’t put up great stats, that’s deceiving because he changed the game on the defensive end in a game where the Raptors pretty much did anything they wanted on the offensive end. His block about 5 seconds into the game set the tone for the Raptors, as did DeMar DeRozan’s subsequent drive to the hoop for 2 of his game high 20 points.
The Raptor players must have loved this game because several were able to break out of slumps. Along with DeRozan, Weems and Bargnani shot well after struggling at least the last couple of games. All three were aggressive on offensive, obviously realizing that Andre Blatche may be a worse help defender than Bargnani is.
Showing why I’ve been saying all along that he was the right PG to start for this young team, Calderon got the offense going, throwing a couple of ally-oops, and shooting an efficient 5-7 from the field. Of course, it was his backup that many will remember from this game.
When the Raptors traded for Jerryd Bayless, I didn’t expect much. I thought it was a good trade because it was a worthwhile gamble, but from what I’ve seen from Bayless in his 4 games with the Raptors is that he’s finally playing on a team that suits his skills. His play against the Wizards was excellent. He played good defense, passed the ball well, was his customary aggressive self, driving to the hoop, and even shot well from long range.
And was it just me, or was that one of the quickest head fakes and crossovers in a while. The headfake looked like it was double speed. The reaction of the bench was priceless, as well.
I’m not ready to dub Bayless as the PG heir apparent. He’s still shown a tendency to ignore his teammates (although not against Washington), which is why I’m not convinced he’s going to become a true enough PG to be a legit starter in the league, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen. He didn’t have a great defensive reputation coming to Toronto, but I have to say I have no idea where that came from. He may get overpowered by bigger PGs, something he hasn’t faced yet with Toronto, but he’s the best defensive rotational PG the Raptors have had in years. And his `never-say-die’ attitude is nice to see and will probably cause him to continue to get regular minutes.
The Raptors have lot of games against mediocre to bad teams over the next couple of weeks, and it’s possible that the team could end up as the 8th team in the East before Christmas. But before people start making playoff ticket reservations, January most likely will bring the team back to reality. Of course, Toronto seems to play up or down to their opponent’s level, so that makes it very difficult to predict how the team is going to do. They could lose a bunch of games they shouldn’t and then go into a city like Dallas and win. Who really knows. I guess that’s why they play the games.
So apparently Allen Iverson is broke and selling a bunch of his stuff on eBay. The guy probably made well over $100 million in salary and off the court earnings over his NBA career, yet he’s now trying to make ends meet and trying to earn a Top Rated Seller seal by selling off his NBA memories one at a time. I can’t say I’m surprised.
Two stories relayed to me by an insider. The first is when Matt Geiger bought Iverson’s house in Philadelphia. Geiger found a couple of cars parked in the garage and a GARBAGE BAG full of money in a closet. Geiger phoned Iverson and told him he’d left them behind. Iverson hadn’t realized it, but still told Geiger to keep them.
Another story is when Iverson and a couple of his friends went to pick up someone from the airport. When they couldn’t find where they parked their car, they simply abandoned it and bought another one.
What’s the old saying? More money than sense?
One common regret among Raptor fans seems to be passing on Roy Hibbert in the 2008 draft, instead giving the pick to Indiana in exchange for Jermaine O’Neal. I’ve often defended the deal, and I think far too much is being made of the fact that they could have had Hibbert since they also could have had Alexis Ajinca, and 17th picks are often such a crap shoot. Still, I was mightily intrigued to see the video below of Hibbert’s new training regimen.
Interestingly, Hibbert also apparently was diagnosed with something called athlete-induced asthma. For the first time, he is able to run and breath at the same time, which is probably why he’s near the top of the Most Improved list.
Proving that any team can beat any other team on any given night, the worst team in the league, the Clippers, beat the best team in the league, the Spurs, 90-85. Blake Griffin played a Blake Griffin-type game, scoring 31 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, dishing out 4 assists, getting 2 steals and even blocking a shot. Griffin is certainly trying to get as much distance between himself and John Wall in the Rookie of the Year race, and with games like each did tonight, that’s certainly happening.