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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 27.02.11
Evans close to returning, but not this week
Raptors tipoff: Meeting the Mavericks
Evans said he is still feeling some discomfort when he makes sharp turns, but is fine when he runs up and down the court.
“Even if I was 100% I wouldn’t play (Sunday) anyways because I need to get practices in,” Evans told the Sun.
“(Over the all-star beak) I did some stuff on my own, but I need to practise with the team. Scrimmage, banging, Andrea (Bargnani, out with flu-like symptoms) not being here helped me get my reps today.”
Evans and head coach Jay Triano said the team has also put in a host of new plays that the veteran will have to pick up before he can get back in.
When might the return be?
“I don’t know, I really don’t know,” Evans said with a shrug.
“Wait and see.”
Cuban's Mavs a model for the Raptors franchise
Mavericks at Raptors
Sunday 6 p.m. SN1/FAN590
Dirk Nowitzki vs. Andrea Bargnani
When the Raptors drafted Bargnani No. 1 overall in 2006, they hoped he eventually would become close to the player the 2006-07 league MVP is.
Nowitzki is the gold standard for European big men and is in the midst of another standout season for the surprising Mavericks.
Bargnani favours the three-point shot more than Nowitzki, who has gone away from that part of the game over the years, both are deadly scorers.
Few teams can score like the Mavs who are orchestrated by future hall-of-famer Jason Kidd.
A game after dealing with Steve Nash, the Raptors have to try to contain Kidd who shares many of the same gifts. The Mavs don’t push the pace the way Kidd-led teams have done in the past, but are highly efficient.
Peja Stojakovic has given Dallas some three-point shooting out of the small forward spot, while Tyson Chandler has finished everything inside. Chandler is shooting a career-best 65.9% from the field after coming over in the off-season from Charlotte, after almost being dealt to Toronto.
Raptors brace for rock-solid defence from incoming Mavericks
Cuban says he has lost tens of millions since buying the franchise in 2000, but he doesn’t really care.
Meanwhile, faceless Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Ltd. is all about making money and the Raptors have one playoff series win in their 16-year history.
The Raptors — 11th in salary — have never exceeded the NBA’s luxury tax, the dollar-for-dollar stipend levied against the league’s richest franchises (eight teams have exceeded it this season).
Dallas does so annually, its $87.8-million-US payroll is third in the league and that doesn’t even take into account the extra $17.5 million it pays in luxury tax.
That monster payroll allows Dallas to become something like a modern-day Noah’s Ark (two-deep at every position) which makes season-ending injuries to stars like Caron Butler — which would debilitate teams like the Raptors — mere bumps in the road.
The advantage Mavericks bench boss Rick Carlisle has wasn’t lost on Raptors head coach Jay Triano.
“Dirk’s (Nowitzki) a great player, the focus is him, (but) when you go to the bench and have a guy like Jason Terry who would be starting on most teams, a guy like Shawn Marion who has started on a lot of teams (including the Raptors), that’s pretty impressive.
“And then Brendan Haywood who has started a lot of games in the NBA, you’re going against a team that can put guys on the floor who know how to play,” Triano said.
The Raptors can only dream of such depth until ownership opens up the chequebooks, something that certainly won’t happen until it proves it can consistently win at least a round in the playoffs.
Until then, Triano is left to console himself that at least newcomer James Johnson gives him some size to throw out against the sturdy Mavs. Having Leandro Barbosa to match up with fellow sixth-man-of-the-year winner Jason Terry and the other sparkplugs off of the Dallas bench also helps.
But really, given the talent and age discrepancy, Sunday will be men against boys.
Perkins: Parity in the NBA nothing but a pipe dream
Toronto is the worst three-point shooting team in the league, connecting on only 30.6 per cent of its attempts this season, and to think they can shoot the Mavs back into some traditional defence is folly.
The Raptors have neither the manpower nor the ability to do that, and it’s one of the failings of an otherwise good offence.
“I want to be able to shoot more threes. I like the three and it’s a very valuable tool, but we can’t force guys who aren’t shooters to shoot them,” lamented Raptors head coach Jay Triano.
Toronto does lack a consistent outside threat from outside. No one on the team — perhaps outside of centre Andrea Bargnani — could be considered a true threat and no one else is likely to get the green light to shoot at will from the bench.
“We don’t want Sonny (Weems), DeMar (DeRozan), James Johnson shooting threes,” said Triano. “Jose (Calderon), Leandro (Barbosa) and Andrea are the three-point shooters, Jerryd Bayless can make one as well but we’re not getting the looks and I don’t want to force the three.”
They may need to Sunday, however, if only to loosen up a tight Dallas defence. Unlike Toronto’s last few games, it’s going to be difficult to score as easily as they have against a team like Dallas.
Post Picks: Melo dreams, the Leafs fantasize
Oh, woe are all the small and unattractive markets, so-called and otherwise. With the biggest stars in the biggest towns, sponsors and TV networks will rejoice and those of us in Toronto, Orlando, Cleveland and so on can just suck wind.
You have been hearing this, in one form or another, the past few days, inspired by Anthony’s months-long ransom of himself to the Knicks, then the Jazz subsequently parceling Williams, the league’s best point guard, off to New Jersey, the loser in the Anthony auction. The Jazz acted responsibly; they read the tea leaves and figured it was better to get whatever they could rather than let their megastar walk for basically nothing. They see how the Cavaliers and Raptors, to name two, have imploded this season.
Loud cries are heard that the league’s parity is at stake and that the coming negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement need to address the issue. Get an NFL-style “designated player,” some are urging. Adopt the kind of salary scenario that allows, say, poor little Indianapolis to keep its Peyton Manning, thereby maintaining reasonable dreams of contending.
In reality, the NBA has never had much parity. More than half of its 64 championships have been won by two teams, the Celtics (17) and the Lakers (16) and three teams have won 15 of the past 20 titles. This league is less about parity than about stars and marketing them. Just look how games are refereed.
Toronto vs. Dallas
Across state lines, the New jersey Nets had been strung along in the Carmelo proceedings to the bitter end, only to be told there’s no basement at the Alamo. Rather than engage in his own months-long superstar boondoggle, though, stonewashed denim magnate and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov picked himself up, dusted himself off and immediately snatched up Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams, much to the surprise of everybody — including Williams, who found out he had been traded by seeing it on SportsCentre. He later expressed certain misgivings about joining a 17-41 team, but Williams certainly stands to gain from Prokhorov’s largesse, not to mention the team’s imminent move to Brooklyn. Plus, the Nets aren’t even the worst team in their division…
…the Raptors are! Oh, the Raptors. But general manager Bryan Colangelo indulged his possibly pathological need to make a trade at every deadline by dealing for the Chicago Bulls’ James Johnson, who, in addition to technically being a basketball player, is also a black belt kickboxer. Brace yourselves, every door in the Raptors’ locker room.
The Mavericks, however, haven't fared well against the Raptors, losing the last two meetings after an 11-1 stretch. They fell 84-76 at home on Dec. 28, and in the last visit to the Air Canada Centre on Jan. 17, 2010, losing 110-88.
Dirk Nowitzki missed the most recent matchup with a knee injury, but he's averaging 26.4 points and 9.1 rebounds over the past eight games at Toronto with Dallas winning five.
Continued production from Tyson Chandler could also re-establish the Mavs' success in this series. The center made 10 of 14 shots for a season-high 23 points while pulling down 13 rebounds Saturday. His scoring output was two points shy of the total over the previous three games.
"I really wanted to get involved, because coming after the All-Star break, I know it's the stretch now where we've really got to get focused and make our playoff push," said Chandler, who was limited to three points and six boards against the Raptors in December.
Toronto turned in a listless effort Friday, falling 110-92 to Phoenix after holding its only lead when it made the first basket of the game. Just 1:58 later, the Raptors were down 11-2 and never came close to recovering.
"They jumped on us early and for whatever reason we were a step slow tonight," coach Jay Triano said. "We were slow reacting, we were slow going to the ball on the glass and they take advantage of that."
While the Raptors may be on their way to a third consecutive season out of the playoffs, Andrea Bargnani is providing one of the few bright spots.
The top overall pick in 2006 made 12 of 15 shots for 26 points against the Suns and is averaging 27.1 over the last nine games. He missed the last meeting with Dallas due to a strained left calf, but has averaged just 11.3 points during the past four home matchups.