landry fields forever
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 04.02.11
Kleiza a costly loss for Raptors
Raptors tipoff: T-Wolves coming to town
On teams with depth, Kleiza would be a good piece.
On a team as thin as the Raptors, Kleiza put up numbers but someone invariably has to post numbers, much like Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan have done.
But the numbers that will forever be attached to Kleiza are the four years and $20 million, a painful proposition to stomach now that Kleiza has been shelved for as long one calendar year.
Microfracture surgery is a risky business with players being able rebound, witness Amare Stoudemire in New York, while others have struggled, witness Portland’s hard-luck big man in Greg Oden.
No one knows how Kleiza will respond when he next shows his face on the court.
But we now know that the Raptors over-paid to sign him.
The small forward position in Raptorland is not unlike the point position and centre spot, areas that have never quite been addressed.
Toronto thought it had found its long-coveted small forward in Hedo Turkoglu, but we all know how that went.
Kleiza never pouted like Turkoglu, but he never lived up to his contract.
The bottom line is that the Raptors should never have offered it in the first place.
Barbosa hoping to return against Timberwolves
T’Wolves at Raptors
TSN/Fan 590; 7 p.m.
Worth watching to see which of these two soft big men decides to step up by bringing a rebounding edge to tonight’s tip, an area that will go a long way in deciding a winner. Neither team is any good, in part because neither team has shown any ability to defend. And that’s why this matchup pitting European centres looms so large. Milicic has now gone eight games in a row without reaching double digits in rebounds. In Wednesday’s loss to Memphis, Milicic had as many rebounds (2) and points (3) as he had turnovers (5), which is pretty hard to accomplish.
When Kevin Love and Michael Beasley are scoring in the paint, the T’Wolves are somewhat competitive. Keeping guys in front of them and denying penetration have been season-long issues with the Raptors, who got blown out in Minny last Saturday. Jonny Flynn made his first start of the season at the point while filling in for Luke Ridnour (family matter) on Wednesday, when Minny lacked ball movement. Whomever nets the nod tonight, it’s incumbent to feed Love as often as possible.
DID YOU KNOW
Tonight’s game is Minny’s third in six nights, including its second tip against Toronto ... T’Wolves have lost 17 of their past 18 away games, their only win produced in Cleveland on Boxing Day ... Love leads the NBA in double-doubles with 43, including a streak of 34 straight ... Prior to last Saturday’s win, Minny had dropped 12 in a row to the Raptors. The T’Wolves haven’t won in Toronto since Jan. 21 2004..
Injuries leave Raptors coach scrambling yet again
At least for now, he’s the Brazilian Blur in name and reputation only.
But Leandro Barbosa is hoping to return to action for the first time since Jan. 14 when he hurt his right hamstring in a home loss to the Pistons.
Given the fragile state with these Raptors, a lot more will be known prior to Friday night’s visit by Minnesota, but Barbosa did take part in practice on Thursday.
“I’m a little winded,’’ Barbosa said long after most of his teammates had departed. “But it feels good to be back.”
With Jerryd Bayless (knee) questionable, Barbosa’s ability to back up starter Jose Calderon at the point and provide any spark off the bench would be welcome.
Even if he isn’t in 100% game shape, which is understandable given his extended period of inactivity, Barbosa’s presence will at least provide a scoring option that hasn’t existed recently on a Raptors team short on scorers.
“We’ll monitor his minutes,’’ head coach Jay Triano said of Barbosa. “A lot will be based on feel (as it relates to the game’s flow) and how he’ll respond (on Friday).
“If he comes in and is sore, we could be in for a lot of trouble.”That statement has basically has characterized the Raptors.
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
Linas Kleiza, who had tried to fight through knee pain for the first half of the season, will be lost for up to a year after having microfracture surgery on his right knee Wednesday in Colorado.
The latest blow comes as the Raptors try to put the brakes on a 13-game losing streak that has ruined any hopes for the season.
It’s left coach Jay Triano with few options other than riding out the storm with a team of young players in unfamiliar roles.
He’s seen DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani struggle at times as the focal points of the team’s offence, but with such a limited roster, the coach has had few options.
He’s tried playing Jose Calderon and Jerryd Bayless together in the backcourt, tweaked the front court rotation of Bargnani, Ed Davis and Amir Johnson based on who’s playing best any specific night, and has juggled a wing rotation of DeRozan, Sonny Weems and Julian Wright. But there’s been no way out of the quagmire the team finds itself in.
What Triano’s trying to do is find incremental improvement from his players, things that might not be noticeable to casual fans but give the coach an idea of what he’s working with.
Knee injury ends Raptors forward Kleiza’s season
You know me and “must wins.” Don’t believe in them because it only makes the next one a “must, must win” and the one after that a “must, must, must win” and I don’t have enough energy to type 13 “musts.”
That said …
Tonight’s pretty big.
If for no other reason than to show these guys that their work does bring with it some reward, it’s pretty imperative they get the Timberwolves tonight.
It’s a bad team that’s horrible on the road with suspect talent and there’s the whole payback thing from last weekend.
I will say this: The game last Saturday was far more about what Toronto didn’t do (make shots) than anything Minnesota did and there’s nothing to suggest the Raptors will shoot 34 per cent from the field again.
But if they do, I may take tomorrow off from here.
Raptors Game Day
In what amounts to another stiff uppercut to the chin of the staggering NBA team, the Raptors said the Lithuania forward underwent microfracture surgery in Vail, Colo., on Wednesday to repair cartilage damage to his right knee.
The 26-year-old, who signed a four-year, $18.8-million (U.S.) deal with the Raptors last July, could be on the sidelines for up to a year, according to the NBA club.
“Personally I just feel bad,” Andrea Bargnani, the Raptors centre and leading scorer, said of the news. “He’s a really good friend of mine so out nine to 10 months is terrible.”
Tempering the bad news somewhat was word that guard Leandro Barbosa, who has missed the past 11 games with a hamstring injury, is expected to return to the lineup for the game Friday.
The status of guard Jerryd Bayless remains in question.
Bayless was absent from practice Thursday, having his right knee checked out. He sprained the knee in the third quarter during a loss Wednesday in Atlanta against the Hawks.
Appearances may deceive with Bargnani
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES AT TORONTO Raptors
7 p.m., Air Canada Centre
TV: TSN Radio: Fan 590
11-37 Record 13-37
2-22 Away Home 8-15
102.8 (9th) Points per game 99.0 (15th)
108.4 (30th) Points allowed per game 105.0 (25th)
+2.4 (7th) Rebound differential -1.0 (23rd)
21.4 Kevin Love Points Andrea Bargnani 20.9
15.5 Kevin Love Rebounds Reggie Evans 12.1
5.7 Luke Ridnour Assists Jose Calderon 8.5
Statistics do not include Thursday's games
Who's hot? Michael Beasley, the player nobody would take from Miami, is averaging 20.3 points per game on 47% shooting this year. Whoops, league.
Who's not? Kevin Love had a paltry double-double by his standards, 10 points and 10 rebounds, against Memphis on Wednesday. Slacker.
Who's hot? In his last six outings, Jose Calderon has collected 59 assists compared with just 14 turnovers.
Who's not? Since coming back from a back injury last week, Sonny Weems is shooting just 21-for-57 (37%) from the floor.
Surgery knocks out Raptors' Kleiza
When he is hitting his shots, Triano can live with Bargnani's shortcomings. When he is not, everything looks uglier. Bargnani's minutes have been cut ever so slightly over the last three games as he has shot 12-for-51 (24%) from the floor, with misses on each of his nine three-pointers.
Instead, Ed Davis and Amir Johnson have played more together. They, inevitably, help the Raptors more defensively than Bargnani does.
"I wouldn't say it's benching. We're trying to [teach] everybody," Triano said, careful not to prod his leading scorer in public. "I've taken other guys out as well. I wouldn't say that I'm necessarily picking on one guy here. If we're not accountable at the defensive end, guys are going to take a seat. We're not winning games anyway, so let's do it the right way."
Whether Bargnani can improve his defence and rebounding is uncertain, and the better part of five seasons suggests any improvement will be very incremental. But up until this recent stretch, Bargnani was proving to be a capable first offensive option.
In December, for example, he averaged 21.9 points in 10 games, shooting 50% from the floor and averaging a respectable -- for him -- 6.5 rebounds per game.
Those numbers have fallen off. Why?
"He's taking shots that sometimes are quick because he's trying to get rid of it before the defence comes," Triano said. "We've been talking to him about staying patient. You don't have to make it happen. You don't have to force it. We'll find a way to get you the basketball. He's a good scorer, and it's not like he's all of a sudden become a bad scorer overnight.
"A lot of the time he's the guy that will have guys that are sitting in his lap, guys that are leaning on him. So when he does get that breath of fresh air, a little bit of an open space, it feels like he's got to make something happen."
Wolves-Toronto game preview
Plenty was expected from Kleiza after he was named to the all-tournament team at the world championship in Turkey last summer. But he was unable to claim the starting small forward spot with a firm grip, sharing time with Sonny Weems. Kleiza started in 23 of his 39 appearances.
His busy summer with the Lithuanian national team was a frequently given reason for Kleiza's poor year. Tendinitis in both of Kleiza's Achilles' tendons dogged the forward.
"He's a scorer. He's a guy who can rebound and score, but he had no bounce when he was hurt," Raptors head coach Jay Triano said. "Just no bounce at all. If you don't have bounce in the NBA, you're going to be in trouble. Guys are going to exploit you."
Preview: The Raptors proved to be just what the Wolves needed on Saturday when Minnesota ended a six-game losing streak with a 103-87 victory over Toronto at Target Center. Can they be the tonic to clean the palate of the Wolves' stinker vs. Memphis on Wednesday? The Raptors are looking to end their 13-game losing streak.
Players to watch: Wolves PG Jonny Flynn will make his second straight start in place of Luke Ridnour, who is away from the team dealing with a family matter. Flynn has played season-high minutes in consecutive games. He had 10 points and a season-high eight assists vs. Toronto on Saturday. F Kevin Love looks to extend his double-double streak to 35 games. Toronto C Andrea Bargnani and F Ed Davis each had 15 points against the Wolves last weekend.
Numbers: Saturday's victory was the first for the Wolves vs. Toronto in seven years. The Wolves are just 2-22 on the road this season and 4-46 dating back to last season. Minnesota is 9-3 when holding opponents under 100 points and has held 19 consecutive opponents under 50 percent shooting; the 33.7 percentage posted by the Raptors on Saturday was the lowest allowed by the Wolves this season.
Injury report: Wolves PG Luke Ridnour (family matter) is out. Raptors G Jerryd Bayless left Wednesday's game at Atlanta because of a sprained right knee and is listed as day-to-day; G Leandro Barbosa (right hamstring) has missed 11 straight games, F Linas Kleiza (right knee) has missed seven straight, and both are listed as day-to-day; F Reggie Evans (fractured right foot) is out.