||12-27-2010 12:45 PM
Daily Raptor Dish - 27.12.10
Holiday Raptors wishes
Which Grizzlies team will show up?
The Raptors surely got all kinds of goodies this holiday season, but here¹s a look at what should have really been on their Christmas lists:
Solomon Alabi: He is already living his dream just by making it to the NBA so this was likely one of his most memorable Christmases, even without a gift.
Leandro Barbosa: The Brazilian Blur needs a full-body healing chamber. He¹s been hampered by a wrist injury since getting hammered on a layup attempt in Montreal and has also played through other ailments. Barbosa has been a solid addition, and most needs a return to health.
Andrea Bargnani: A special version of those blinders that racehorses wear that only lets him operate in the low post on offence. Teams have had few answers for Bargnani down low, but too often he doesn¹t set up there and launches long jumpers (35.6% from three, second-worst mark of career).
Jerryd Bayless: A private workout session with either Steve Nash or John Stockton focusing on decision-making and how to best make use of your teammates. Bayless is a talent, but must learn from some of the greats how to put it all together.
Jose Calderon: Rest and relaxation. Having seemingly conquered hamstrings issues that have plagued him for two seasons, Calderon has battled a foot problem. He¹s having an outstanding season (12.2 points, 9.2 assists, 48% three-point shooting as a starter) and just needs a little break to get recharged.
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
With the holiday break over, the Raptors made their way to Memphis on Sunday, but what was awaiting them there was uncertain.
The Grizzlies are one tough team to figure out.
Are they the outfit that stampeded through the pre-season with an 8-0 mark?
The squad that has had four- and three-game winning streaks this season?
Or the one that had lost three in a row — heading into Sunday’s game against Indiana — that had also dropped five and four straight at other points of the season?
Though the Grizzlies sit last in their division, on paper they are a much better team than the Raptors and are made up of all kinds of players that traditionally give the Raptors fits.
There’s athleticism to spare in the form of Rudy Gay — who is posting career numbers in most offensive categories — and size with centre Marc Gasol and power forward Zach Randolph, an imposing combination down low thanks to size, strength and a bevy of post moves.
Gasol and especially Randolph have had some massive games against Toronto in the past.
Last season, Randolph averaged 27 points and nine rebounds in two meetings and back in 2004, Randolph went off for 60 combined points and 32 rebounds over two games against the Raptors.
Meanwhile, the burly Gasol has shot almost 60% from the field against Toronto over the course of his career. Without a true centre on the roster and given Amir Johnson’s propensity to pick up fouls, stopping that duo could be an insurmountable task on Monday night.
Ailing Andrea Bargnani on shelf as Raptors hit road
Everyone's back and ready to go
Anyway, we’re on central time for a week with some awful travel (the 7 a.m. flight out of here to Dallas to complete the back-to-back sucks, having three days in Houston isn’t the greatest thing to ever happen because I’m not a big fan of the city) so I have no idea when I’ll get this done every morning.
But done it will be, like it is now:
So, what’s up with the post-Christmas HOTH?
A brutal schedule – six of seven on the road, the lone home game against Boston, Andrea’s not on this trip – could have them dead and buried shortly after 2011 starts.
Of course, we know “that’s why they play the games” and who knows what actually transpires but man, things seem bleak, don’t they?
I know they’d had four days off after the Detroit game but it looked like the same old banged-up group here Sunday night.
Amir Johnson was wandering around like the 2,000 Year Old Man (and he was …) with ice on his back after practice, I asked Sonny how his back was feeling and got an expletive as a one-word answer and things didn’t seem a whole lot better than they were after the Detroit game.
But, on the bright side, seems everyone had a happy holiday.
Chef Solomon Alabi was relatively pleased with his first attempt at a nice chicken and rice stew (“It was okay, only good for me, I’ll be better next time), Amir got his gumbo (“ate great and slept, a nice break”) and the rest of ‘em seemed quite relaxed.
I do think the mental break was almost as important as the physical respite they got; they were stumbling along, playing poorly, with game piling up one on top of the other before Christmas and getting away from the game – and each other – probably wasn’t a bad idea.
And since they’re about to start a stretch of seven games in 12 days, being mentally fresh is significant. They don’t have good physical health but at least they seem mentally rested.
Wonder what that’s worth?
Raptors re-sign Ronald Dupree
MEMPHIS, TENN.—The Raptors will end the calendar year without their top scorer.
Andrea Bargnani, who averages nearly 20 points per game, did not accompany the team on a three-game road trip that begins here Monday night, continues Tuesday in Dallas and concludes Friday in Houston.
Bargnani, who has been bothered by sore knees and missed a game last week with a bad ankle, is out now with a strained left calf, an injury sustained in a game last Wednesday against Detroit.
Team officials couldn’t say exactly how long he’ll be out but the earliest he could be back is for a Jan. 2 home game against Boston.
There was no immediate indication who would replace Bargnani in Toronto’s starting lineup. Coach Jay Triano could call on rookie Ed Davis or Joey Dorsey to go against a strong Memphis frontcourt of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
And with the Raptors battling a few nagging injuries, the team has added an emergency fill in.
Ronald Dupree, who was with the team in training camp, has signed a non-guaranteed contract and the swingman is expected to be in uniform Monday night against the Grizzlies.
Jose Calderon (foot), Sonny Weems (back) and Amir Johnson (back) were all at Sunday’s workout although Johnson did not escape unscathed. He took an inadvertent elbow just above the eye and was expected to need stitches.
The Toronto Raptors re-signed forward Ronald Dupree on Sunday.
Dupree appeared in five pre-season games with Toronto, totalling 20 points and eight rebounds in 55 minutes before being released in October.
The six-foot-seven, 210 pounder has played in 154 NBA games with Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota and Seattle, averaging 3.6 points and 2.2 rebounds.
Toronto's roster now stands at 15.