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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 20.11.09
Real Mixed Bag
Evans could provide answer to Raptors' defensive problems
The early part of the season was supposed to provide a glimpse of what the Raptors were capable and incapable of producing.
It was a time of figuring out minutes, defining roles and identifying strengths and weaknesses.
No team in the Eastern Conference has played more road games than the Raptors and perhaps no other team has showed flashes of excellence mixed in with moments of ineptness.
As they returned from their 1-3 trip to play host to the Miami Heat tonight, the Raptors sit at 5-7 and realistically one Hedo Turkoglu made shot from being 6-6.
That one shot in Phoenix actually turned out to be one of those two-game swings. Had his buzzer beater dropped, the Raptors would have gone 2-2 on the road and no one would be complaining.
"I'm not happy where we are, but I'm not completely disappointed either,'' head coach Jay Triano said. "We're making progress"
You can see the improvement and the potential with these Raptors, even as they struggle to make stops.
Chris Bosh is playing at a high level, but he needs help when opposing a physical frontline such as the one the Denver Nuggets threw at him, limiting him to a season-low 13 points and two trips to the charity stripe.
That's where Reggie Evans enters into the equation, but his foot injury continues to sideline him, leaving a huge hole in the Raptors' interior.
Antoine Wright needs to get healthy as well, another piece that was supposed to provide much-needed toughness.
Turkoglu is getting more comfortable, but there's a lot more game that has yet to surface.
There's better cohesion on the team and the bench is beginning to take shape.
During the four-game trip, Marco Belinelli averaged 15.2 points, while Amir Johnson was active defensively and averaged 6.5 rebounds.
Sonny Weems stepped up, giving Triano another option.
The new Bosh out to change opinions
Reggie Evans, the Raptors power forward, has made a career of sneaking up on people. Barely recruited out of high school in football-first Florida, he went undrafted from the University of Iowa.
But when he makes his regular-season debut for Toronto, it's safe to say he'll get his share of pre-performance fanfare. Twelve games into the season, after all, the Raptors are a study in extremes.
Heading into Friday night's home game against the Miami Heat, they're the best offensive team in the NBA, according to the points-per-100-possessions efficiency stats. They're also the league's worst defensive team by the same method of measure. So logic suggests a defence and rebounding specialist like Evans, if he clogged even a few of Toronto's many in-the-paint pores, could be indispensable
"I don't want to put it all on one guy's shoulders ... but there have been nights when we've gotten eaten alive on the glass. And Reggie would be able to go in and stop that flow," Bryan Colangelo, the president and general manager of the Toronto Raptors, was saying Thursday. "Whether it was a five-minute span or a 10-minute span or what have you, he's a weapon."
Raptors Game Day
"Every day I turn on the TV and they're talking about guys, especially my draft class, '03 draft class, and this and that," he said. "They keep bringing up all these and I never hear my name, unless I'm like second honourable mention or something like that. I got tired of that.
"I don't even think people know I've made all-star teams or know what I've done in this league."
This is the new – vastly improved – Bosh talking, a guy with more consistent determination, greater bulk and numbers that place him among the very best in the NBA right now.
He takes the floor Friday night seventh in the NBA in scoring, averaging 26.8 points per game, and with 20 points-plus games in 11 of 12 outings. He's second in the league in rebounding, averaging 12.3 per game, including 4.3 offensive rebounds, and he's shooting 50 per cent from the field.
Wade confident he can bounce back from recent shooting woes
Who's hot? Marco Belinelli scored in double digits on all four games on the Raptors' road-trip, peaking with 19 against Utah on Wednesday.
Who's not? Jarrett Jack is still struggling to adjust to the Raptors. He has yet to score 10 points or more in a game this season.
Who's hot? After shooting 47% from the field last year, former Raptor Jermaine O'Neal has started this season by shooting 56% in 10 games.
Who's not? Dwyane Wade has connected on just 12 of his last 37 field-goal attempts. Perhaps he is slumping. Perhaps he is due
Dwyane Wade is in a slump.
A team that only goes as far as its leader can take it, the Miami Heat has seen its star shooting guard stymied by a variety of tactics over the past three games.
Saturday against the New jersey Nets, it was a zone defense that helped hold Wade without a basket for more than 25 minutes.
Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was the grit of defensive nemesis Thabo Sefolosha that helped limit Wade to 6-of-19 shooting.
Wednesday, in Atlanta, the Hawks packed the paint and watched Wade mostly miss from the perimeter in a 6-of-18 performance, with his 15 points marking the first time in 24 games, dating to last season, that he failed to score at least 20.
"I got some good looks that I normally make in my sleep," Wade said of the misses against the Hawks. "But I just couldn't knock them down."
Wade's accuracy is critical to the Heat's success.
In the team's four losses, he has shot 28 of 78, 36.8 percent. In the Heat's seven victories, he is shooting 69 of 149, 46.3 percent.
Sunshine Girl - 20.11.09