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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Daily Raptor Dish - 11.04.11
Raptors shoot down Nets
Undermanned Raptors knock off Nets
The Raptors have been able to use the dog days of the season to get a better idea of what they have in point guard Jerryd Bayless.
With incumbent Jose Calderon hobbled, Bayless has been outstanding as a starter this month, averaging 24 points, 6.4 assist and 1.6 turnovers while shooting 52.6% for the field in April prior to Sunday’s 99-92 win over New Jersey.
While he didn’t match those gaudy numbers at the Air Canada Centre against the Nets, Bayless still turned in a tidy performance, leading the Raptors with 19 points, including a crucial drive in the final minute that led to two free throws.
Bayless said he is finally 100% healthy after suffering through various ailments and that has made a considerable difference in his play.
He also said learning under Chris Paul, Calderon and Andre Miller has been a key to his development.
“I know what I’m able to do, it’s just opportunity,” Bayless said.
“I think I’ve had great teachers and I’ve learned a lot from them and hopefully those opportunities continue, I just want to be here for a long time.”
Bayless leads Raptors past Nets
Necessity being the mother of invention and all, Julian Wright finds himself in the strangest of places with the Raptors these days.
With Jose Calderon out and Leandro Barbosa also on the sidelines due to injury, the 6-foot-9 forward is all of a sudden a backup point guard on a wildly undermanned team playing out the string in the final week of the regular season.
He’s got all kinds of things to worry about: where his teammates are, what the plays are, what mismatches to try to exploit and all the other things that go with being a point guard.
And there’s one other thing he’s got to think about.
“I’m a sweat-aholic so I have to make sure my hands are wiped dry,” Wright said after the Raptors dispatched the New jersey Nets 99-92 at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday night. “First play, I lost the ball and I’m like, ‘Oh, man.’”
But Wright didn’t have to worry about making mistakes and being pulled from the game because of them. With Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson and Sonny Weems also on the shelf for Sunday, it wasn’t as if coach Jay Triano had many options at his disposal.
So he told the guys to just go and have fun, play free and easy and not to worry; after all, what’s the worst thing that could happen, another loss in a season full of them?
“I said that to the players, I said, ‘Let’s embrace this. Let’s not look at it like, ‘Oh, we’ve got guys hurt.’ Let’s embrace it,’” Triano said after Toronto beat a Nets team missing star guard Deron Williams and Kris Humphries, among others. “Guys are going to get a chance to play, they’re going to make mistakes, they’re going to probably stay in the game if they do, but let’s play the right way and share the basketball.”
Raptorswin battleof injured clubs
Toronto led 92-76 with 5:51 play but New jersey rallied, and a 3-pointer by Vujacic cut it to 94-87 with 2:28 remaining. Bayless answered with a driving layup to give the Raptors a nine-point lead with 2:12 to play.
Lopez was fouled on consecutive possessions and made three of four from the line before Wright missed a pair for the Raptors. New jersey turned the ball over on an errant pass before the Raptors were called for a 24-second violation, giving the Nets one more shot inside the final minute. Lopez made a driving hook shot with 46 seconds left, cutting it to 96-92.
Lopez fouled Bayless on a drive to the basket and the Toronto guard made both, giving Toronto a six-point edge with 35 seconds to go. Vujacic missed a 3-point attempt and, after a replay review, the Raptors were granted possession. Bayless was fouled and capped it by making one more free throw.
Vujacic was upset with himself after missing an open look from long range.
“I've got to make nine out of 10 if not 10 out of 10,” Vujacic said. “I'm a little bit frustrated.”
Already dealing with injury problems, the Nets lost rookie Ben Uzoh early in the fourth when he slipped and bruised his right knee. Uzoh was able to stand and walk slowly to the bench, and Johnson said he could play Monday.
Guard Mario West went down clutching his left shoulder late in the fourth and had to be helped out of his jersey as he undressed in the locker room.
Both teams were without several key players. New Jersey's Deron Williams, who will undergo right wrist surgery Monday, missed his third straight game, while leading rebounder Kris Humphries (right heel, right ankle) has not played in six games and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Anthony Morrow (left knee), Damion James (right foot) and Sundiata Gaines (hip) were also absent.
Toronto dressed just nine players. Leading scorer Andrea Bargnani (right ankle) and guard Jose Calderon (left hamstring) sat for the fifth time in six games, and Leandro Barbosa (left pinky) missed his fourth straight. Amir Johnson (left ankle) was sidelined for the third straight game and Sonny Weems (right knee) was also unavailable.
DeRozan scored 14 points in the first, including two on an alley-oop pass from Bayless, as the Raptors made seven of their first eight shots to open a 31-22 lead after 12 minutes.
James Johnson had 11 points in the second and Wright came off the bench to score eight as Toronto extended its advantage, building a 61-42 lead at the half.
Bayless had nine points in the third, helping the Raptors take an 82-62 lead into the final quarter.
Losses and injuries continue piling up as Nets fall 99-92 to Raptors
For known only to him, Sonny Weems was looking for four extra tickets to his team's game on Sunday night.
If this was some sort of organizational power play, it was an odd one. For one thing, Weems was not playing because of a knee injury. For another, this was game No. 80 of a season best forgotten. Finally, well, Weems said it best as he tried to explain to a Toronto Raptors staff member why his request should not be a problem.
"Ain't nobody coming to see the New jersey Nets anyway," Weems said.
Well, those that showed up got to see a win, at least, as the Raptors took down the Nets 99-92. Jerryd Bayless, who has been excellent down the stretch, had 19 points to lead the Raptors. James Johnson, DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis each had 18 points.
It was truly the stuff that end-of-season nightmares are made of. Thanks to various ailments, the Raptors could dress just nine of the 12 players they were allowed to, while the Nets could get up to just 10. Some of the more high-profile players -Deron Williams, Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon -did not play. As such there were some funky lineups and plenty of funky basketball. The Raptors, for example, turned the ball over 20 times. (The win also tied the Raptors with the Wizards for the league's third-worst record, all you lottery-odds-tracking maniacs.)
Even power forward Amir Johnson, who played through injuries almost all year, had to sit because of a left ankle injury. He is done for the year after the team's staff recommended he be shut down for the remainder of the season because of damage beyond swelling. Coach Jay Triano would not get into specifics. None of the other missing players -Leandro Barbosa, too -will play Monday in Milwaukee, either.
Milwaukee vs. Toronto
With Morrow a no-go, the Nets had just 10 players in uniform against the Raptors and featured a starting lineup of Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Stephen Graham, Dan Gadzuric and Brook Lopez. Toronto, though, has similar injury problems. They were missing Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, Leandro Barbosa, Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems and Linas Kleiza, and had only nine available players.
The Raptors (22-58) jumped out to a 61-42 lead at halftime and were up 82-62 after three quarters before the Nets rallied in the fourth.
The Nets would pull to within four, and trailed, 96-92 when Lopez (35 points, 11 rebounds) hit a hook shot with 46.5 seconds remaining, but would not get closer as Toronto hung on to win for just the second time in their last 11 games. The Nets (24-56) lost for the 13th time in their last 15 games.
“We weren’t very good with our energy level,’’ Johnson said of the Nets’ first half.
“We didn’t follow the game plan. We were up too close on guys that were drivers. Their post catches were too easy on offense. We didn’t rebound the ball well. But guys found some energy, found some life. Hopefully this will carry over to our last home game of the season tomorrow.’’
Milwaukee has not lacked intensity averaging 104.0 points and shooting 50.2 percent in three wins over the Raptors (22-58) this season. Jennings scored 25 points and Gooden added 22 with 11 rebounds in a 104-98 win at Toronto on March 30.
The Bucks, who have not swept a season series from the Raptors since 2001-02, have won seven of nine overall versus Toronto. Milwaukee has averaged 107.3 points during a four-game home streak against the Raptors.
Toronto won for the second time in 11 games, 99-92 against New jersey on Sunday. Jerryd Bayless scored 19 points as the Raptors shot 51.3 percent.
With the Raptors set to miss the playoffs for a third straight season, Bayless has seen more time in the final stretch. The second-year guard has averaged 23.2 points on 51.7 percent shooting the last six games.
Swingman DeMar DeRozan has averaged 24.3 points the last seven games. That included 20 against the Bucks last month.
After dressing just nine players Sunday, Toronto could again be without leading scorer Andrea Bargnani (right ankle), guards Jose Calderon (left hamstring) and Leandro Barbosa (left pinky), and forward Amir Johnson (left ankle).