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Old 02-07-2011, 12:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Arrow Armstrong: Five thoughts on the Raps


1. AMIR JOHNSON: Johnson is putting up consistent double-doubles right now and his confidence is rising. He's been very effective and much improved this year when healthy and out of foul trouble. He plays hard and his overall offensive game is blossoming. His work-ethic is sound and his approach and willingness to pay the price is showing now. A good story in a frustrating year.

2. HOME SWEET HOME: Eight of the next 10 games are at home. That's far from a guarantee that the Raptors will win a bunch of them but as the schedule starts to tilt back in the favour, this would be nice time for them to settle down, have productive practices, get healthy and win some games.

3. LEANDRO BARBOSA: Barbosa should be back this week. He was playing his best before he got hurt and I'm looking forward to seeing his creativity at the back end of the Show Clock bailing his team out as the clock expires. He's the best on the team at that and it's been pretty obvious that without him, the consistency of the offense goes down dramatically.

4. LINAS KLEIZA: Kleiza is out for 9-12 months with micro-fracture surgery; a tough blow for the organization. The club gave him a sizable 4-year deal this past summer and now this. He was quite inconsistent this season after a great summer at the Worlds and excellent pre-season. He's a worker and he'll really need to bust his tail to hop on the 'moving train' when he's ready to play next season. The organization definitely has to plan for the possibility that he might be out for a year and cover themselves and be in the market for more help at the three spot.

5. BAND: I worked the ODU at George Mason NCAA game on television on Saturday and it was a wonderful atmosphere; 10,000 fans in a sold out building. The best factor - and I love it every time I work these games - is the fact that George Mason has an incredible band of about 60 kids and the joint is rocking. I would love to have a night in Toronto where we put a band in the ACC and I guarantee you the place would have an even better atmosphere than the piped in music. No NBA teams do this, they don't want to give up the money on the seats being utilized by the band, but in my opinion it's less fun. Go to an NCAA game and I think you'll agree with me.
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