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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Daily Raptor Dish - 21.12.10
Raptors' Kleiza taking advantage of opportunity
Ryan Wolstat's Courtside: Magic has a new roster, but is it any good?
The Toronto Raptors are so banged up, head coach Jay Triano can’t even put his charges through a proper practice on Monday.
Luckily for Triano — who said he had seven-and-a-half bodies to work with, for once, the team’s gruelling schedule has hit a rare lull.
The Raptors take on Detroit on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre, than don’t have to suit up again until a date with Memphis five days later.
Leading scorer Andrea Bargnani, starters Jose Calderon and Amir Johnson, sometime starting small forward Sonny Weems and forwards Peja Stojakovic and Reggie Evans all sat out the practice, which followed a 120-110 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
Calderon and Weems at least were able to get some work in, while Bargnani lifted weights and then did a shooting drill under the basket. He did not appear to have any braces or wraps on his ailing knee or ankle. Johnson said his sore back was “fine,” but the way he was walking said otherwise.
Calderon said his foot felt much better after a good night’s sleep and some treatment and both expect to be fine for the Detroit game. Calderon missed Toronto’s stirring comeback from 25 down in Detroit earlier this month.
Linas Kleiza, who has done well as the starting small forward, only made it through half the practice, but wasn’t about to say anything was wrong or that the 40 plus minutes he has averaged of late are a problem.
“It’s better to feel tired than rested (from sitting on the bench),” Kleiza said with a smile.
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
The NBA’s landscape was shaken up late last week when some major names were sent to new addresses.
Desperate to keep superstar Dwight Howard happy, the Orlando Magic beefed up its roster by adding dynamic guards Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas and by repatriating Hedo Turkoglu from the Phoenix Suns.
Losing the fading Vince Carter (to Phoenix) and the now-useless Rashard Lewis (to Washington) was no big loss for the Magic, but parting with big man Marcin Gortat could come back to bite them in the playoffs since Howard is more effective when a competent backup is available to give him a rest here and there.
Orlando certainly will be able to score, but can Arenas and Jameer Nelson coexist? Who starts between the two and can even the great Howard make up for all those awful defenders surrounding him?
It will be interesting to see if Turkoglu — hideous in Toronto, awful in Phoenix — will become a competent player again now that he is back where he previously had the bulk of his pro success.
The Suns insist Victoria’s Steve Nash is not the next player to go, but it is clear the team is no longer a contender.
So who wins? Maybe nobody.
Phoenix had to give away Richardson — its second-best player — just to get rid of the Turkoglu albatross, meaning the Raptors’ Bryan Colangelo is looking pretty good for his Turkoglu-for-Leandro Barbosa heist this summer. Phoenix didn’t totally fail here though, since Gortat is an intriguing young centre and Carter might be revitalized by the best training staff in basketball.
The Magic didn’t give up a ton, but also arguably didn’t improve enough to get by Boston or Miami in the playoffs.
Banged-up Raptors limp through practice
In the absence of anything big, some little things to get you through the day.
I guess there is no real answer to one of the dilemmas that’s kind of bothered these guys the last two seasons, one that came up yesterday when we were talking to Jay and Linas about the decision to put Kleiza back in the starting lineup.
A lot of his woes early in the year, we’re told, came from poor health, his Achilles tendons were acting up, and it limited what he could do, according to the coach.
“He had no bounce to him. Tendonitis in both Achilles, a long summer and just had no bounce at all. If you have no bounce in the NBA, you’re going to be in trouble, guys are going to exploit you.”
The part that caught my attention? The part about the long summer and the impact of playing for Lithuania at the worlds and how it contributed to the slowish start.
But there seems to be no one answer to a situation that always pops up.
Last year, as we know, they let Turk off the hook during training camp, he got out of shape and never really recovered.
This time around, they rode Linas as hard as anyone during camp and the pre-season and it caught up with him a couple of weeks into the season.
I guess it’s always going to be a case-by-case situation and no one can know how anyone is going to react. And if you’re looking forward to next fall, remember that the European championships are in Lithuania, they are as big as any tournament anywhere in the world at any time, and there are going to be a couple of Raptors who’ll likely be involved.
Toronto Raptors head coach Jay Triano had just enough able bodies – if he were preparing his team for an inter-squad 3-on-3 tournament.
But he’s not. Toronto’s next opponent will arrive on Wednesday in the form of the Detroit Pistons and the Raptors will be expected to send out at least five healthy players onto the Air Canada Centre floor.
Judging from Monday’s practice – if you can call it that – that will be no easy task.
“I’m prepared,” Triano said when asked the inevitable question if there was enough healthy players to go around to get any meaningful work done at practice.
The coach was holding in his hand a sheet of paper that contained the names of the walking wounded.
“No Amir [Johnson], no Jose [Calderon], no Andrea [Bargnani], so Sonny [Weems], no Peja [Stojakovic], no Reggie [Evans],” he said, stopping short of adding no hope to that list.
To make matters worse, Triano said Linas Kleiza, who starred in Sunday’s 120-110 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, could only make it through half the action Monday before sidelining himself to rest.
By the coach’s count, that left him with 7 1/2 available bodies to try to run a productive workout, a difficult proposition to be sure.
But it’s not quite as bad as it seems. While Stojakovic (knee) and Evans (foot) are out indefinitely, the others are expected to be able to play against Detroit.