Daily Raptor Dish - 21.01.12
Old 01-21-2012, 10:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Daily Raptor Dish - 21.01.12

More consistency needed from Raptors

“I thought Portland came out the way you should, aggressive, into us and we didn’t respond until the second quarter.

“Once we did, we played well, but again, it’s a four-quarter game. The mark of a young team is learning how to play those four quarters and once we do that, I think we’re going to be a good team.”

The Raptors now embark on a five-game road swing that begins with a practice in Los Angeles on Saturday before a date with the Clippers on Sunday afternoon.

Casey said he hopes to have Andrea Bargnani back on the practice floor on Saturday which would be a huge move for a team that has averaged just 77 points a night in his absence.

Bargnani has missed five games with a strained left calf. His departure from the lineup has not surprisingly coincided with a huge drop in offensive production. When he went down with injury, Bargnani was averaging 22.3 points a night in addition to 6.5 rebounds.

Trail Blazers too strong for Raps

Casey made a bit of a pre-game plea to back off DeRozan a little bit.

The third-year shooting guard has become the lightning road for the Raptors offensive woes of late with Andrea Bargnani sidelined.

Casey feels the expectations from the beginning of the year have been too high where DeRozan is concerned.

“He’s a young kid,” Casey began. “I think the expectations of DeMar were way, way high. Yes he’s young, yes he’s talented, but I think everybody thought he was going to come in and play like an all-star. To be honest, I had high expectations of him but I didn’t have expectations of him playing like an all-star. I think that’s too unrealistic at the moment.”

Casey’s not saying he can’t reach that level or that he and his staff aren’t aiming for that goal, just that he’s not there yet and to ask that level of play of him at this stage is a bit much.

Casey said DeRozan, like the bulk of the roster, is being asked much more of on the defensive end than he ever has before.

“Last year I thought offensively he put up big numbers but again didn’t do his job on the defensive end. Now we have to put it all together and take it to the next level.”

Inept Raptors overmatched in 94-84 loss to Portland Trail Blazers

“I think the (offensive) expectations on DeMar were way, way high,” Casey said before Friday night’s in-and-out homestand with the Portland Trail Blazers. “I’m not trying to put the whole monkey on his back.”

Maybe he’d hoped DeRozan would carry half a monkey. Or possibly an entire Capuchin. No dice. DeRozan was travelling light Friday night. He dropped 22 points — 18 of them in the second half of a game that was already lost by the end of the first quarter.

The Trail Blazers shepherded that early advantage all the way home, taking the contest 94-84. The Raptors have now lost seven in a row. As they are about to embark on a five-city, cross-continental tour in the next eight days, much worse is more likely than a little better.

Afterward, Casey was about as close as he gets to off-the-court displays of frustration.

When the most positive case for DeRozan’s play was put to him — that he scored 14 points in the third quarter, when Toronto closed the gap to five — the coach held a tight smile for a long time, as if he were playing out an internal monologue before he was tempted to vocalize it.

“It’s who we are. We either play out the first three quarters and give it up in the fourth . . . or (pause) tonight . . . ” Casey said.

Yes, tonight. That was a new wrinkle. The Raptors scored the first two baskets of the game, both uncontested slams. Then they sat back to admire their early work. By the end of the first quarter, they were down by 13. Halfway through the second, they trailed by 20.

“We were soft,” Casey said. Casey doesn’t curse. “Soft” is his &!#*%

Doug Smith's Sports Blog

Q: Hey Doug, I noticed in the Celtics game that when Garnett put a hard foul on Calderon that there was actually some respect displayed with KG helping Jose up. Given their history, is your view that it was culmination of standing up to the schoolyard bully and finally gaining his respect? BTW, saw your pink shirt during Casey's post game scrum...not feeling like it’s up to your usual GQ standards. Still love the blog though!

D L, Richmond Hill

A: It’s dusty rose! Yeesh.

Funny, I was talking to Jose about KG before the pre-season game in Boston and Kevin’s propensity to yap and how it was going to be interesting to see how this group of Raptors reacted.

And he said he’s had no issue with Garnett, and vice-versa, since Jose took exception to a cheap shot and a verbal jab in a game a season or so ago. Guess if you do go back at a bully you can gain some respect and it was interesting to see Kevin extend a hand to Jose when there was a little tie-up near midcourt at some point in Wednesday’s game.

Trail Blazers scorch Raptors

With leading scorer Andrea Bargnani sitting out his fifth game with a sore calf muscle and guard Jerryd Bayless missing his 13th recovering from a sprained ankle, the Raptors were lacking in firepower.

Casey said the Raptors offence has been "crippled" by their absence.

"We don't have our No. 1 scorer, we've got to find other ways to win and to compete," he said. "I thought our guys competed after the first quarter."

Especially James Johnson, who finished with a career-high 23 points and six rebounds.

After a slow start, DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points in the second quarter to finish with 22 for Toronto

"Somehow, someway we've got to get four good quarters together and get healthy," Casey said. "Health is huge in this league. And it's not a forgiving league if you're not healthy."

Raptors’ Gary Forbes relishing opportunity

With Jerryd Bayless still recovering from a left ankle sprain he suffered Dec. 30, and veteran point guard Anthony Carter seemingly not the right deputy in Casey’s mind, Forbes has been given the responsibility of directing the Raptors’ second unit offence. And the University of Massachusetts product, who became a Raptor in mid December after Denver did not match Toronto’s free-agent offer sheet, has seen his minutes steadily increase in the last three games to a season-high 19 in Wednesday’s 96-73 loss in Boston. He led the Raptors with 18 points.

“He did an excellent job attacking, and being courageous, attacking the basket and taking open shots with confidence,” Casey said. Forbes got to the free-throw line eight times, making seven. He also made five of his six shots from the floor.

Forbes, however, knows offence is not what is expecting of him. Like everything else with these Raptors, defence is paramount. Playing point guard, Forbes knows he is a little vulnerable against the leading lights of the position such as Boston’s Rajon Rondo and Chicago’s Derrick Rose.

It is the new perspective that is the most challenging to adjust to because Forbes has to see the floor behind him differently guarding the other team’s point guard.

“When you’ve got guys like Rondo who consistently penetrate, who are looking to set up the offence, you’ve got to know every position on the court defensively — what the other team is doing [in every position],” he said. “So it is something that I’m getting used to.”

Raptors stumble to seventh-straight loss

Players on different teams in the NBA frequently dine together the evening before their teams meet. The same cannot be said for coaches, apparently.

Dwane Casey and Nate McMillan are good friends. Casey was an assistant when McMillan played in Seattle. Casey served under McMillan with the Sonics when the latter man replaced Paul Westphal. But with McMillan’s Portland Trail Blazers in town, neither coach could find the time to get together on Thursday night. Such is life for work-obsessed coaches.

Still, in a hypothetical world where time was more plentiful…

“He makes a lot more money than I do,” Casey said. “So I’d try to get him to pick up the tab.”

Rich in talent, rich in life: so it goes for coaches. On Friday night, McMillan handed Casey a thorough bashing, as his Trail Blazers beat the Raptors 94-84. One could try to dissect the loss, but here is the reality: Without the injured Andrea Bargnani, it is questionable if any Raptor would crack Portland’s top seven players. It was men against boys, and all of that stuff.

Portland 94, Toronto 84: LaMarcus Aldridge propels Blazers with monster night (33 points, 23 rebounds)

As LaMarcus Aldridge waltzed out of Air Canada Centre, he planned to have something special ride shotgun with him during the Trail Blazers' short flight to Detroit: The game ball from Friday night's 94-84 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

"It's got its own seat," Aldridge said, laughing.

In one of the best individual performances in franchise history and the best of his six-year career, Aldridge finished with 33 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and two steals, almost single-handedly willing the reeling Blazers to a victory.

Aldridge became the first player in Blazers history to finish with so many points and rebounds in one game and just the sixth to finish with at least 30 points and 20 rebounds. Only 13 players in franchise history have recorded at least 20 points and 20 rebounds, the last being Zach Randolph (31 points, 20 rebounds) on April 11, 2003.

Yahoo! Sports Game Pictures

Sunshine Girl - 21.04.11

SUNshine Girl Aldrey, 18, is a 5-foot workaholic who spends a lot of time in the gym. She hopes all that effort will help her push those heavy carts up the aisles as a flight attendant one day. She enjoys hanging out with family, friends and her two puppies Spyro and Cinder

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Old 01-21-2012, 10:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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One of the bet SSG's ever.
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:06 AM   #3 (permalink)

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I am in love with the rf girl.
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LX View Post
One of the bet SSG's ever.
I agree completely. Both the SSG & RFG are caliente.
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by INSIDER View Post
I am in love with the rf girl.
step off. I saw her first
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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RFG is incredible, what is her name?
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
and a 1, and a 2, and a 1,2,3,4!

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not wanting to seem like i'm overdoing it but.. rf girl is fantastic!
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ashley Ann Vickers aka Ashley Valance.

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Old 01-21-2012, 12:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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