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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Daily Raptor Dish - 25.01.11
Raps show heart in loss to Grizzlies
Raptors acquire Ajinca from Dallas
As the Raptors — forced to play five former D-Leaguers against the Grizz — stumble through these dark days, progress, at least is apparent in the forms of young DeMar DeRozan and Davis.
DeRozan’s play has taken off this month. He has posted an impressive 19.5 points per game on 47.5% shooting in a dozen 2011 contests and is fifth in scoring among all sophomores.
DeRozan stormed out of the gate with 10 first quarter points and finished with 25.
Davis stepped up with five blocks and has also turned it on in January, looking aggressive and proficient on the glass, intimidating in the lane, and efficient inside.
Holds his own
Davis held his own in the low-post with Memphis bruisers Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol at times defensively and when was the last time any Raptors big man could say that?
Each still has a lot to work on — offence in Davis’ case, defence in DeRozan’s — but they are solid building blocks going forward, Davis has risen near the top of several categories among rookies and appears to be learning from all of the losses.
“We don’t say moral victories (but) ... one game the tables will turn and we’ll be the ones to get the stop or hit the tough shot,” Davis said.
“If we keep playing like that, the future is going to be bright,” echoed Bayless.
Banged-up and broken, Raptors still keep it close
Decimated by injury and now, the flu, the short-handed Raptors inked point guard Sundiata Gaines to a second 10-day contract and confirmed the acquisition of 7-foot-2 centre Alexis Ajinca from the Dallas Mavericks ahead of Monday’s tilt with the Memphis Grizzlies.
With starting point guard Jose Calderon too weak to play due to the flu and combo guard Leandro Barbosa still sidelined, Gaines received another look, even though it first appeared the team would be using its final roster spot to call-up guard Trey Johnson, the NBA Development League’s leading scorer.
The little-used Ajinca was peddled to Toronto along with the 2012 second round pick Toronto previously gave Dallas in exchange for the rights to 2010 50th overall selection Solomon Alabi. In this transaction, Dallas received the draft rights to big man Giorgos Printezis.
Dallas is paying the remainder of Ajinca’s salary and has also brought aboard ex-Raptor Peja Stojakovic.
A native of Saint Etienne, France, Ajinca has appeared in 47 regular season games (six starts) with Charlotte and Dallas averaging 2.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 6.1 minutes.
He was the 20th selection of the 2008 draft by the Charlotte Bobcats and averaged 13.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 24.9 minutes in 33 D-League games last season.
Ajinca is expected to join the team for Wednesday’s game against Philadelphia.
Gaines has played in five games with Toronto averaging 5.8 points, 2.0 assists and 14.6 minutes, but was not a lock to sign a second 10-day deal until Calderon was ruled out.
Johnson, a 6-foot-5 combo guard,is averaging 25.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Bakersfield Jam.
The Raptors do not have to keep Gaines for the full 10 days and can drop him and pick up Johnson at any time.
Raptors swingman Sonny Weems dressed for the Memphis affair, the second time he has suited up in the past 19 games due to back spasms, though he did not play the last time he was in uniform.
Ailing Raptors make a game of it against Grizzlies
An under-manned team, seven players for all intents and purposes, took the Grizzlies to the final possession, losing when Rudy Gay hit a tough fallaway baseline jumper with 0.8 seconds left.
“We challenged it well and we had our best defender (Julian Wright), we think, on him,” said coach Jay Triano. “We knew exactly what they were going to do, it was going to be an iso.
“If you run somebody else at him, he’ll make passes but if you can get a guy to shoot a fadeaway jumper late in the game, you kind of want that.”
But you don’t want him to make it and leave you needing a basket with under a second left.
Still, if there were moral victories — and there aren’t — the Raptors do deserve some credit for playing hard and being in the game despite being short-handed.
Jose Calderon (flu), Linas Kleiza (knee), Leandro Barbosa (hamstring), Joey Dorsey (knee) and Reggie Evans (foot) all sat out the game while Sonny Weems (back) tried to play but could give them nothing.
Gay lifts Grizzlies past Raptors 100-98
It’s been weeks since the Toronto Raptors have been anywhere close to healthy.
The injured list is routinely long, beat reporters have become well versed in knee anatomy, flu-like symptoms and “fractures of the fifth metatarsal,” and head coach Jay Triano has occasionally stooped to using cheat sheets to rhyme off his list of maimed players.
But Monday’s heartbreaking 100-98 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at the Air Canada Centre took Toronto’s injury saga to a whole new level. “I don’t even know what to classify as health any more,” Triano said.
He and his coaching staff had fewer bench options than an average pickup game, and a handful of those were simply the healthiest of an unhealthy bunch.
They put a uniform on Sonny Weems, who hasn’t played a single minute in the last 19 games due to back spasms.
Hours before tipoff, they informed point-guard-for-hire Sundiata Gaines that he’d be a Raptor for at least one more game (he’d been hired on a 10-day contract to relieve the hobbled Jose Calderon and Jerryd Bayless combination).
A sudden flu had made Calderon unable to stand this time, not the sprained ankle or sore foot that have been bothering him recently.
Meantime, the starting lineup morphed throughout the day as medical assessments rolled in. The final version featured two reserves, including Bayless and Wright, who logged his fourth start of the season and contributed 11 points, and tied a team-high nine rebounds in an astronomical (for him) 41 minutes.
“Crazy,” Wright muttered before the game, shaking his head.
Gay hit a tiebreaking jump shot with less than a second to play, Zach Randolph had 17 points and 12 rebounds and the Grizzlies beat the Toronto Raptors 100-98 on Monday night.
"Rudy is good at that," Randolph said. "I knew it was good when it left his hand. He's good at shots like that and he's hit a lot of them."
Gay drove right and put up a 14-foot fadeaway jumper over Toronto's Julian Wright.
The play was similar to his last-second game-winner over LeBron James that gave the Grizzlies a 97-95 home victory over the Miami Heat on Nov. 20.
"I predominantly go left so people have to give me the right," Gay said. "It's all confidence though. That's all it's about really."
Gay scored 21 points, Marc Gasol had 17, O.J. Mayo had 15 and Mike Conley 13 for the Grizzlies, who have won three straight and five of seven.
Andrea Bargnani scored 29 points and DeMar DeRozan had 25 for the Raptors, whose season-high losing streak reached eight games. The Raptors have dropped five in a row to the Grizzlies.
Toronto's losing streak is its longest since a 10-game slide from March 26 to April 12, 2006.