landry fields forever
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 01.04.11
Raps take walk down big-loss lane
Bargnani, Johnson play through pain
But there have been some good moments for the Raptors too and the same informal poll revealed a tight race between a team-effort 102-101 win over Boston way back in November at the ACC and a completely unexpected 84-76 win over the then-cruising Dallas Mavericks on their own court just after Christmas.
Both were memorable but for different reasons.
The Boston win came against an opponent which has owned the Raptors, winning eight in a row dating back to January 2009.
The fact that the win came relatively early in the season when the Raptors weren’t already buried also separated it from some of the other bigger wins.
“The competition and it was against a team that played in the Finals last year,” said DeMar DeRozan explaining his rationale for choosing that game as win of the year. “It was just big. It was the first time in I don’t know how long that we beat Boston at home (Jan. 2007).”
But not even the Boston win had the wow factor the win over Dallas did.
The Raptors began the game without Andrea Bargnani, Reggie Evans, Sonny Weems, and Jose Calderon in the lineup. Then Linas Kleiza was ejected and Jerryd Bayless twice rolled his ankle before heading to the locker room in the fourth quarter when he went over on it again.
Yes, the Mavs were down an important cog of their own in Dirk Nowitzki, but half the Raptors that were in the lineup were playing hurt and still came out on top.
“That was a huge win,” an appreciative Bargnani said. “Dallas was the best team in the NBA at that time. I didn’t have the same emotion though because I was back here (in Toronto) on the couch.”
It’s just too bad there haven’t been more wins like it this season.
Who wants to date Raptors’ Sonny Weems?
Bargnani was sidelined on Saturday with a sore right ankle that also had him watching Monday’s practice.
Johnson sat out Friday with a sore left ankle and missed practice on Monday when it flared up again.
Both made it clear prior to Wednesday’s game that they preferred to play rather than sit and watch.
“Amir’s in pain and so is Andrea,” Raptors head coach Jay Triano said. “Both are ankle injuries but both want to play and see how they do.
“There have been nights where we have had to shut him down because we have judged that he just can’t do it anymore,” Triano said speaking specifically of Bargnani. “It’s very rare when he pulls himself out of a basketball game.”
For Triano, though, he could have been speaking about any player on his roster this season with those words, not just Bargnani.
“For the most part they just love to play the game,” Triano said. “I can’t find a guy who is looking for an excuse to get out of the lineup and I think that says a lot about who they are.”
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
Why, then, would Weems, at age 24, bother seeking a relationship via Twitter? Evans wondered aloud if Weems has grown tired of being a soloist while one of his closest friends on the team, 21-year-old DeMar DeRozan, spends quality time with a steady girlfriend.
“DeMar’s been having a girlfriend for a while — it’s probably taking a toll on Sonny,” Evans said, a mischievous smile ever in place. “He probably thinks he needs someone.”
Weems, for his part, said he typed his get-a-girlfriend message “just for fun.” And he disputed Evans’ third-wheel theory, pointing out that DeRozan’s girlfriend, Kiara, has been on the scene since DeRozan attended the University of Southern California in 2008-09. Weems referred to Kiara as “one of the fellows.”
“She hangs out with us everywhere we go. DeMar’s with us, and she’s with us,” said the 6-foot-7 Weems. “We tell her everything, just like we tell DeMar.”
Amir Johnson, another of Weems’ close friends on the squad, and a currently single one, said cruising the Internet is futile.
“Just my take: You can’t search for your partner,” said Johnson, 23. “You’ve just got to let it happen naturally. Eventually you’ll find somebody.”
Perhaps that’s true. Weems, for his part, has spent some of this week filling his Twitter page with content that could be mistaken for lovelorn dispatches.
“Just sitting here playing fight night by myself,” Weems wrote in a Wednesday-night update to his 17,000-some followers, making lower-case reference to a popular video game. “(My) boys left me here by myself.”
If it’s true it’s lonely at the top, perhaps it’s doubly so when you’re living through the dregs of a 20-win NBA season. Seemingly happy to talk about anything but basketball, Evans — who, at age 30, amounts to the club’s street-wise philosopher — took some time after a recent practice to offer his best amateur diagnosis of the condition of a teammate’s heart.
“Sonny’s just going through mixed emotions. Want a girlfriend, don’t want a girlfriend. Want that lifestyle, don’t want that lifestyle,” Evans said. “We should do a poll on Twitter, see who wants to go on a date with him. We could make a Canadian reality show, Who Wants to Date Sonny Weems?
“There’s plenty of girls out here in Toronto that can be a good candidate for him. He’s a very nice guy, good guy to be around . . . I guess he needs somebody to keep his pillow warm. I guess his other pillow must be getting cold.”
Amir Johnson’s toughness not quite enough for Raptors
Let’s say there was a foot race, the length of a basketball court, between, say, Reggie Evans, a couple months shy of his 31st birthday, and Ed Davis, the pup of 21?
Well, I’m taking Reggie because I saw it with my own eyes.
So did everyone in the practice facility on Thursday and it was the absolute highlight of a slow, slow day.
As you can imagine, there was a significant amount of trash-talking going on leading up to the sprint and to see Reggie, after he’d won rather convincingly, run around the court with his finger held aloft, letting everyone know the old guy still had it, was pretty cool.
He looked like some kind of Pensacola Usain Bolt.
And anyone who ever wondered about the spirits of these guys might have thought they were 54-20 rather than 20-54.
The unflappable Amir Johnson belched as he strolled into the Toronto Raptors’ locker room Wednesday night. “I’m [feeling] good,” he said. He knocked on wood.
Toronto’s lanky 23-year-old forward has taken his share of knocks this season, toughing out back problems and rolled ankles so predictably that his coaches and trainer have occasionally had to police his minutes.
“There have been nights we’ve had to shut him down because we are the ones who judge that he just can’t do it any more,” head coach Jay Triano said.
Johnson’s latest injury is a sprained left ankle he suffered March 9 and has nagged him since. He missed three games and played in another five, before he did not dress when the Raptors faced the Golden State Warriors last Saturday.
Yet, there he was Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre, ankle taped and playing 25 minutes in the Raptors’ 104-98 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, who were in a must-win situation to remain in contention for a playoff spot.
Johnson said he just likes to do his part, and that this is really the first time in his five-year NBA career he’s dealt with injuries.
Coaches said he’s abnormally tough.
“Other guys get a sprained ankle and they may be out two, three weeks. He was ready to come back after two or three days, even though he wasn’t 100 per cent,” assistant coach Alex English said.
“He tapes it up and says, ‘It’s just painful, I’m not going to cause any more injuries, so let me go,’” Triano said.