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Daily Raptor Dish - 08.02.11
Evans returns to Raptors practice
Raptors give Johnson another 10-day deal
It was hard to tell who was more excited to see Reggie Evans back on the court Monday, his head coach, his teammates, or the media.
Evans, a one-of-a-kind personality in a clubhouse lacking in the quotability department, is a reporter’s dream with the ability to fill up a notebook in mere minutes.
He did not disappoint after his first on-court workout since breaking his foot back on Nov. 26 in Boston, opining on a number of topics, including the impending birth of his first son, when he might be able to get back on the court and how he actually had to up his candy intake since he was doing too well in the weight-loss department.
“It feels good just to get a sweat going, (to) look at your shirt and see a dark area,” Evans said of finally being able to lace up his sneakers and take to the hardwood.
Evans was able to take jumpers, run around a bit, throw down a few dunks and take a beating from some resistance padding before rolling to the hoop, but said he still has one sore spot which is keeping him out.
“Still gotta get over one little hump. Once I get over that area, it’ll be good, but that one area is just taking a little time to heal and stuff,” he said.
“I just had like the discomfort of that one area that still has to go down. So once that area goes down, then I’ll be ready to go.”
Though Leandro Barbosa likely will return from a much shorter injury hiatus in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, Evans, like guard Jerryd Bayless, did not make the trip.
Evans is not expected to return prior to the all-star break.
“He’s slowly ramping things up a little bit and then we have to wait and see how it responds,” head coach Jay Triano said.
Raptors tipoff: Toronto at Milwaukee
Trey Johnson is sticking around for at least 10 more days.
The Raptors re-signed the guard to a second 10-day stipend on Monday.
“We like what (Johnson’s) done for us so far,” explained head coach Jay Triano.
“He has picked up a lot of what we’re doing (so the team doesn’t) have to teach somebody (new the plays).”
Johnson said he will feel a little more confident and comfortable now that he is more familiar with the playbook and has been kept around.
“It means that you’re doing something right and I just want to continue proving they made the right decision,” Johnson said.
“I know I can bring defence, I know I can bring energy.”
Raptors’ Reggie Evans awaits son’s birth while nursing foot injury
Jose Calderon vs. Brandon Jennings
Calderon is coming off of his franchise record-tying 19-assist performance but will be in tough to match those numbers against one of the NBA’s stingiest defences.
Jennings was a rookie sensation last season, but has not been as good this time around and is just back from a foot injury.
Still, Jennings has the quickness to give Calderon some trouble and the Spaniard would probably be best-served letting the 37.9% shooter fire away.
The Bucks are a lowly 19-30, but yet sat just 2.5 games out of a playoff spot heading into play on Monday ... Not a great offensive team, Milwaukee nonetheless ran roughshod on the Raptors in an overtime win the last time the two squads met ... Centre Andrew Bogut is shooting just 41.9% from the stripe, but Raptors head coach Jay Triano said it is extremely difficult to get him to the line. “In the last 10 games he’s been to the line 20 times. Everybody knows he’s 40% ... but, nobody’s figured (out how to get him there), nobody’s fouling him. I think each team goes in: ‘Let’s put him on the line,’ but he hasn’t shot many free throws,” Triano said on Monday.
Did you know?
The Raptors “couldn’t handle their guards,” according to Triano the last time the teams met. Carlos Delfino and Corey Maggette gave Toronto particular trouble. “We have to do a better job on the wing,” being able to control the man,” Triano said ... Jennings leads the Bucks at 15.8 points per game, five other Milwaukee players average at least 10 points and Ersan Ilyasova and Chris Douglas-Roberts aren’t far off at 9.8 and 8.8 points per, respectively ... Ex-Raptor Delfino has recently returned from a concussion and has been a solid overall contributor, despite his 36% shooting from the field.
Reggie Evans starts working out with Raptors
Evans is probably getting a bit bored himself, having been out since late November, when he broke a bone in his foot that to be surgically repaired. He’s been working out as much as he can, sometimes twice a day, and that’s made him some new friends.
“I work out here (at the Air Canada Centre) and I go home at nighttime and I may do a little cardio or a little (stationary) bike,” he said. “And then I go in the sauna and I’ll be in there for like 30 minutes and stuff like that. Talking to some of the old people and stuff there.”
Rehabbing foot injuries has become second nature for Evans, who missed 50 games last season because of an injury to his other foot. But having spent the past summer getting himself in arguably the best condition of his career, he found it easier this time around.
“I didn’t gain any weight,” he said. “Just learning from last year, like just by me going to Andrews (Institute, a rehab clinic in Florida) this past summer, and having talked with them, I’m making sure I still eat the proper things and stuff and staying mentally strong on how I eat and still work out.
“I know how to handle it a lot better than last year. Last year I didn’t have my family here so that was even more tough, so now I’ve got my family here so it’s a lot easier to go home.”
But the self-professed candy junkie has had his moments.
“My weight had got to like 245, 248 so I had to reward myself for doing a good job,” he said. “My daughter . . . had a big bag of Skittles, she was taking too long to eat it. It was sitting there forever so I killed it.”
Raptors Game Day
Two members of the Evans household are anxious to get their show on the road.
First, there’s baby Evans, first name unknown and definitely a boy, whose official due date is Feb. 16 but seems determined to make an early entrance.
“Right now he’s, like, two centimetres? As in being eight [centimetres] from 10 [centimetres dilated],” said his father, Toronto Raptors forward Reggie Evans, doing his best to summarize the birthing process to a bunch of reporters on Monday.
“He’s kind of ready to come out of there and stuff like that.”
Toronto’s affable veteran is also keyed up for his own debut, now that he’s finally on the brink of returning to NBA action after spending the past couple of months rehabilitating his right foot.
“I hope I can start practising with the team at least by Monday,” he said. “That’s what I’m hoping. Keeping my fingers crossed.”
On Monday, for the first time since breaking his fifth metatarsal bone in late November, Evans worked up a sweat dunking and shooting jumpers with Raptors assistant coach Eric Hughes. Evans said his foot felt a little uncomfortable during the workout but there was none of the shooting pain he’d felt earlier. Now it’s a matter of getting some of the swelling down, he said.
“Once that area goes down, then I’ll be ready to roll.”
Milwaukee vs. Toronto
TORONTO Raptors AT MILWAUKEE BUCKS
8 p.m., Bradley Center
TV: TSN Radio: Fan 590
14-37 Record 19-30
5-22 Away Home 11-11
99.2 (14th) Points per game 91.3 (30th)
104.9 (25th) Points allowed per game 93.1 (4th)
-0.9 (23rd) Rebound differential +0.2 (13th)
21.1 Andrea Bargnani Points Brandon Jennings 15.8
12.1 Reggie Evans Rebounds Andrew Bogut 11.6
8.8 Jose Calderon Assists Brandon Jennings 5.3
Statistics do not include Monday's games
Who's hot? While his shot has been off lately, Jose Calderon has collected 29 assists over the past two games, 19 in Friday's win over Minnesota.
Who's not? Since being bumped from the starting lineup four games ago, Julian Wright is playing fewer than 15 minutes per night.
Who's hot? The last time Andrew Bogut played in a game without blocking a shot? Dec. 20, or 20 games ago.
Who's not? Brandon Jennings has played five games since returning from a broken foot. He has shot just 10-for-39 (26%) in those games.
Milwaukee's 91.3 points per game rank last in the league but it could take advantage of a Raptors defense allowing an average of 105.3 points during a nine-game road losing streak.
Carlos Delfino, whom the Raptors dealt to Milwaukee in 2009, is averaging 15.0 points in four games against his former team since the trade.
Toronto hasn't lost 10 straight as the visiting team within one season since a franchise-worst 11-game slide Dec. 1, 2004-Jan. 14, 2005.
The Raptors (14-37) snapped a season-worst 13-game overall losing streak with a 111-100 win Friday night over Minnesota thanks in large part to Andrea Bargnani's 30 points.
Bargnani, who is averaging a team-best 21.1 points, was limited to 13.0 per game on 23.5 percent shooting over his previous three contests. He is averaging just 9.8 points at Milwaukee over his career.
Amir Johnson, who was acquired by Toronto in the Delfino deal, also came up big Friday with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting with 12 rebounds.
"Amir was unbelievable," coach Jay Triano said. "His line is almost perfect basketball for a power forward."
Johnson is averaging 18.4 points - 8.0 more than his season mark - and 10.2 boards over his last five games, including a season-high 24-point effort with 12 rebounds in the Jan. 28 loss to the Bucks.
Leandro Barbosa, averaging 13.4 points, has missed the Raptors' last 12 games with a strained right hamstring but practiced Monday and could return in this one.
The Bucks have taken five of seven in the series while averaging 107.3 points.