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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Daily Raptor Dish - 04.01.11
'Bored' Bargnani ready to return
Andrea Bargnani returns to Raptor lineup
Asked to describe what it was like watching his teammates on television rather than playing, Bargnani skipped right past words like “difficult” or “frustrating’”and went right to “boring.”
“It’s boring, very boring,” Bargnani said.
His five days while the Raps were in Memphis, Dallas and Houston consisted of a three-hour therapy session each morning following by another three-hour therapy session each afternoon.
“Basically it was all day,” he said. “It was not fun.”
The hope now from Bargnani and all the Raptors is two-fold.
First, that he wakes up this morning and shows no ill effects of his first full workout in a week and a half. Second, that he re-locates the shooting rhythm that makes him a threat from just about anywhere on the court.
Bargnani believes there will be a little adjustment period, but nothing drastic.
The concern, if there is any such thing when the leading scorer returns to the fold, is that Bargnani’s return will result in DeRozan losing some of that aggression that made him so successful the past four games.
In the four games while Bargnani was layed up, DeRozan averaged 24.5 points a night. Prior to that he was averaging 12.7.
There’s no question Bargnani will re-assume top dog status in terms of offensive touches, but DeRozan isn’t about to alter the aggressive style he has shown of late.
“I’m going to still be aggressive and try and get to the free throw line,” DeRozan said. “It’s going to be more things the opponent has to worry about now with (Bargnani) back and it may free up more space for me.”
Figuring out how that will all play out is a much smaller problem than not having enough scoring on the floor.
Injured Raptors itching to return
It was a sight the Raptors need to see and want to see and which should provide them with a modicum of solace as they strike out on another three-game road trip.
His wonky calf covered with a black compression sleeve, Andrea Bargnani went through his paces in a quiet end of the Air Canada Centre on Monday afternoon, ready to rejoin his teammates after a three-game absence.
He can’t come back soon enough for a team ravaged with injuries and carrying the weight of 11 losses in its last 14 games to push it further down among the dregs of the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
It will now be up to Bargnani to hit the ground running in games in Chicago on Tuesday, in Cleveland on Wednesday and in Boston on Friday.
“I didn’t play for a week and a half so hopefully it’s not going to be a big deal,” he said. “Of course, I have to get back I in shape a little bit and hopefully it’ll be an easy thing.”
Whatever the team’s leading scorer can give the Raptors will be welcomed. Even though DeMar DeRozan had two breakout games with a career-best 37 points in Houston on Friday and a team-best 27 against Boston on Sunday, Toronto’s overall offence has been less than impressive in Bargnani’s absence.
The trick now is to keep DeRozan going at his current pace while also allowing Bargnani to get his typical 20 points a night.
“When Andrea comes back, we’re going to need them both to score so he (DeRozan) has got to find the in-between somewhere where he can still take the ball to the basket,” said coach Jay Triano. “I don’t think Andrea will take that away from him because Andrea is lifted a lot (out on the perimeter in Toronto’s offence).
Weems says young players, including himself, are foolish
If you’ve ever wondered about the life of injured professional basketball players start with Reggie Evans’s Twitter account – the one packed with exciting updates and helpful photos documenting his latest trip to the grocery store.
Then observe Peja Stojakovic during a Toronto Raptors’ timeout, his blazer pressed and glazed eyes locked somewhere in the middle distance.
Or ask Andrea Bargnani what it’s like to watch a game instead of play in one.
“It’s boring. It’s like, the worst thing,” said the seven-foot centre, who’s watched six of the Raptors’ previous eight games because of a calf injury.
Injuries are part of professional sports, but Toronto has been stuck with more than its fair share in recent weeks. The team kicks off a three-game road trip in Chicago on Tuesday against the Bulls, and it’s difficult to predict just who will be left standing when they wrap up in Boston versus the Celtics on Friday.
Clearly, the hobbled ones are antsy.
“This is the worst thing I’ve ever had in my life,” said Sonny Weems, who along with Evans (broken foot) and Stojakovic (swollen knee) will be grounded for the trip.
Chicago vs. Toronto
The kids are not all right. Take it from Sonny Weems, one of those kids.
Weems has been nursing back spasms since the afternoon of Dec. 17. The Toronto Raptors swingman thought it was an injury that would only keep him out of action for a few days at most.
More than two weeks later, he is still out, and he will miss the next three games as well. That will mean Weems will miss at least an even 10 games.
Weems is blaming himself a bit, as he has never really paid attention to core strength.
“Especially young players, guys around my age, we really don’t pay attention to stretching. We think it’s all just b.s.,” Weems said at the Raptors practice on Monday. “It’s very important. You see what I’ve had to go through. It’s something I will take heed to.”
Chicago vs. Toronto
While dealing with a sprained right wrist and bruised right elbow, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose had his worst scoring performance this season against the Toronto Raptors last month.
Rose's point totals have been a little more robust lately, while it's the Raptors who have been dealing with injuries.
The Bulls' leading scorer will try to help his team win its fifth straight and snap a three-game home skid to struggling Toronto on Tuesday night.
Hampered by injuries, Rose failed to score in double figures for the only time this season in a 110-93 victory at the Air Canada Centre on Dec. 15. He finished with six points and 11 assists, while Carlos Boozer had a season-high 34 points and 12 rebounds.
Rose has averaged 24.3 points in the eight games since and had a team-best 28 to help the Central Division-leading Bulls (22-10) rally for a 100-91 victory over last-place Cleveland on Saturday night. Luol Deng added 23 points, and Boozer had 20 points and 11 rebounds in Chicago's 13th win in 15 games.
"I don't care who you are, it's hard to win in the NBA," said Boozer, averaging 24.8 points and 12.0 rebounds over the last 10 games. "We're proud of ourselves for winning, but we also do want to play much better.
"We take it for what it is. We want to play a lot better moving forward, but we are winning. We know that for us to continue to win, we have to get better."
Toronto (11-22) lost for the 11th time in 14 games Sunday, 93-79 at home to Boston while playing without three of its starters.
Andrea Bargnani, who leads the Raptors with 21.2 points per game, missed his fourth straight contest with a sore left calf, Jerryd Bayless didn't play because of a sprained left ankle suffered in a 114-105 loss in Houston on Friday, and Sonny Weems missed his seventh straight game with back spasms.
Bargnani and Bayless are expected to return Tuesday, while Weems will likely be out again. Jose Calderon is questionable with a sprained ankle, coach Jay Triano said after practice Monday.
For the first time Monday, Taj Gibson revealed how much the concussion he suffered on Dec. 18 affected him.
"I had trouble counting," Gibson said following practice at the Berto Center. "I couldn't really look at light. I had trouble shooting when I came back."
And while the other symptoms have dissipated, the offensive struggles have continued for the typically steady second-year big man. After sitting out Dec. 21 against the 76ers and playing less than one minute the next night in Washington, Gibson is just 5-for-19 with two scoreless outings in his last six games.
"I'm just trying to find my rhythm," Gibson said. "The coaching staff always tells me there are other things I can do besides score. They tell me not to just focus on my shot and affect the game with defense and rebounding and blocking shots."