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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Daily Raptor Dish - 29.12.10
Raps rookie Davis seeing progress
Hobbled Raptors stun Mavericks
As he approaches the end of his first month in the NBA, rookie power forward Ed Davis isn’t exactly smiling, but he is seeing progress.
Like every rookie out there, Davis would like to have broken through and have the same feeling of comfort on the court in the NBA that he had in college, which for him was at North Carolina.
Davis is confident that feeling will eventually come, but he also knows it’s still a long road there.
Having seen firsthand the difference experience makes in going up against the likes of Carlos Boozer, Lamar Odom, and most recently Zach Randolph, Davis is not intimidated by what still needs to be done.
“Not at all,” Davis said genuinely surprised by the question. “I’m just getting ready to play and when I’m called on I’m going to perform to the best of my abilities.”
Davis admits there are daily reminders from the coaching staff that he’s still a rookie, but he doesn’t actually feel like one.
“I just want to be treated like any other player,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of good rookies out there and there are a lot of good vets. I just want to be a player.”
The Raptors coaching staff hopes for nothing less, and Alex English, the guy on that staff who works most closely with Davis, will tell you even he has to remind himself that Davis is just a kid.
“He’s teachable, yes, but you forget that he’s still a kid sometimes,” English said. “He has a lot of skill, but he’s still a kid and he’s learning. You look at the players he’s going up against and they are grown men. The more you play, the more growing you do. People start giving you all kinds of tricks and you learn those tricks. They give you all kinds of numbers and you learn they’re going to give you numbers.”
Opportunity right now is at a season high for the 21-year-old freshman. With Andrea Bargnani and Reggie Evans both unable to answer the call, minutes that would normally be hard to come by are plentiful.
But with that opportunity come higher expectations and English for one feels Davis is more than capable to living up to them.
“Where I would like to see him make his leap is in his offensive production,” English said.
Raptors are one hurting unit
Given all they were up against, can anyone argue this was not the most impressive effort of the Raptors season?
Maybe Raptors history?
It certainly has to rank right up there with the craziest wins in the franchise’s 16 years.
In the locker room afterwards, there were references to the 25-point comeback against the Detroit Pistons earlier this season. Other, more veteran followers of the team talked about a win in Lenny Wilkens’ last year in 2003 in which the Raptors had just eight healthy bodies and three of the guys on 10-day contracts. But for sheer off-the-charts craziness none could have been better than Tuesday’s win in Dallas.
No Andrea Bargnani. No Jose Calderon. Only eight healthy bodies (Amir Johnson and Leandro Barbosa were both playing at well below 100% health) to begin the game with and then losing Linas Kleiza after 30 minutes to an ejection and Jerryd Bayless for the final nine minutes with a sprained ankle, and the Raptors still won?
Bookies in Vegas would have flown you out there on their dime had you said you were willing to bet the Raptors large in this one.
The final was 84-76 against a 24-5 Mavericks team that was coming off one of their most complete wins of the season just a night before in Oklahoma City.
Yes, the Mavs were without the services of leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki, but even that loss paled in comparison to what the Raptors were missing.
Triano had said before the game that the only way the Raptors had any chance to win this one given their injury situation was for every player to have a great game.
He pretty much got the impossible.
“Credit those guys in the locker room, they did a tremendous job, they competed and they played hard,” Triano said. “They didn’t hang their heads, and I’m proud of them.”
Ed Davis had not just a great night but a career night going off for a team and career-high 17 points and a personal best 12 rebounds.
It was the second double double of his first year in the NBA and the kind of game that builds confidence and can easily snowball into something bigger.
Five different Raptors including Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Kleiza, Leandro Barbosa and Amir Johnson hit for double figures in points, but none better than the 17 by the young North Carolina rookie.
Kleiza, who had been leading the Raptors with 16 points, didn’t do his team any favours midway through the fourth when he was ejected after being whistled for back-to-back technicals.
Depleted Raptors upset Mavericks 84-76
It was exactly the type of report Raptors head coach Jay Triano didn’t need.
Standing at the door to the team locker room and already knowing 2/5 of his starting five would not be playing, Triano waited as Amir Johnson walked by and was asked by his coach how his sore back was feeling.
“Little bit of pain coach, I’m going to put a little more tape on it,” Johnson said.
Turns out that was the best injury news Triano heard all night.
Still, Triano could only shake his head. He had been hoping for a more positive report but those have been few and far between in this tough month of December for the Raptors.
Already without Andrea Bargnani and Sonny Weems, Triano was looking at the distinct possibility of a total of eight healthy bodies for Tuesday night’s tilt against the 24-5 Dallas Mavericks in a city the Raptors have not won in since Dec. 30, 1999.
And no, that is not a misprint.
The only definitely healthy Raptors heading into Tuesday’s game were Linas Kleiza, Joey Dorsey, DeMar DeRozan, Jerryd Bayless, Ronald Dupree, Julian Wright, Ed Davis and Solomon Alabi.
Not even the news that Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks leading scorer, would be sitting out with a knee injury could lighten the mood in the MASH unit of a visiting clubhouse.
Point guard Jose Calderon limped off the court Monday night in Memphis. His sore left foot, which cost him four games earlier this month, again prevented him from playing.
Leandro Barbosa hurt his knee in Memphis and was “going to try to go” in Dallas. How effective he could be was anyone’s guess
The tape apparently did Johnson a world of good because he was in uniform and starting as the teams came out for their final warmups.
Without Calderon, Bayless got the start at point guard with Wright his backup.
“We’ll manage with the guys we have, and we’ll have to scramble if that is the case,” Triano said
Davis leads Raptors to upset of Mavs
It is the true beauty of sports that the unexpected can happen in the blink of an eye, that an upset can come at any moment, that what’s going to happen for sure in the minds of many never transpires.
It is why nights like here Tuesday can be so memorable and so rewarding and so totally out of nowhere that it catches everyone by surprise.
“Unbelievable,” was how Amir Johnson first described it and it was perhaps the best way to put it.
Ravaged by injuries to begin with, and with Linas Kleiza ejected in the third quarter and Jerryd Bayless lost to a sprained ankle in the fourth, the Raptors somehow managed to beat the powerful Dallas Mavericks 84-76 on a night when a group of young, game kids grew a little bit.
“Credit those guys in the locker-room,” coach Jay Triano said after the improbable victory. “They did a tremendous job, they competed and they played hard; they didn’t hang their heads, and I’m proud of them.”
It’s difficult to fully grasp just what the Raptors accomplished.
Jose Calderon sat out the game with a sore foot, joining Sonny Weems on the sidelines. Johnson was as hobbled by his bad back against the Mavs as he was against the Memphis Grizzlies a night earlier but he still managed to have seven points and six rebounds in 42 minutes. Leandro Barbosa was doubtful about an hour before tip but played 28 minutes on a bum knee and dominated in the final nine minutes after Bayless went out with a bad ankle.
And the rookie Ed Davis was exceptional leading the Raptors with 17 points and 12 rebounds, tossing in three blocked shots and three steals to boot.
He became even more important after Kleiza was tossed in the third quarter after being hit with two quick technicals by referee Bob Delaney.
“It was a great team effort,” said Bayless, adding he expects to play Friday in Houston after X-rays on his ankle were negative. “Everyone did their job. We have to continue to hold our cool a little bit, I mean the T’s were a little bit unnecessary, but I think it was the emotion of the game.”
Davis leads Raptors to upset of Mavs
“I just kept encouraging these guys and trying to come up with something we could score on and something we could get stops with,” Triano said. “All our guys stayed real positive and I thought that was a key part in tonight's win.”
Toronto, which had dropped its last 10 games in Dallas and had lost nine of its previous 11 overall, got 12 points each from Amir Johnson and Leandro Barbosa.
“Ed stepped up, Amir played well, and I thought all our bigs played extremely well,” Triano said.
Jason Terry scored 18 points and Caron Butler 15 for the Mavericks, who had won 17 of their previous 18.
Dallas led in the game's first minute, but trailed the rest of the way while setting a season-low for points scored.
The Mavericks got as close as 71-68 with 7:41 left, but the Raptors answered with an 8-0 run capped by Davis' layup with 4:05 to play.
The Raptors held a 48-24 edge on points in the paint and a 42-35 rebounding advantage. Toronto had 25 fast-break points to nine for Dallas, outhustling the older Mavericks for most of the night.
“I'd credit them more than saying we gave it to ‘em,” said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, returning to the bench after missing Monday night's game after knee surgery. “I think they earned it.”
Why loss to Raptors is Mavericks' worst showing of the season
Rookie Ed Davis and the short-handed Toronto Raptors took advantage of the injury absence of All-Star Dirk Nowitzki to pull off one of the season's biggest upsets.
Davis had a career-best 17 points and 12 rebounds, Linas Kleiza and DeMar DeRozan added 16 points apiece, and the Raptors beat the Dallas Mavericks 84-76 on Tuesday night.
Nowitzki had an MRI exam earlier Tuesday that revealed a sprained right knee and the team said he was day to day. Nowitzki, seventh in the league with 24.1 points per game, was injured in the second quarter of Monday night's 103-93 victory at Oklahoma City.
"We've got to get used to playing without the big fella for a while," said Mavericks center Tyson Chandler. "We had a tough time adjusting. Our defense held them to 84, but offensively we had nothing."
Dallas went 31 for 75 from the floor, 5 for 22 from 3-point range.
Coming off their most emotional and perhaps best statement-making victory so far, the Mavericks followed it up with their worst showing of the season.
Playing without Dirk Nowitzki and with points coming at a trickle, they found out in a hurry how ordinary they can look when things go south. The Toronto Raptors led virtually throughout on Tuesday night and took an 84-76 victory, their first at American Airlines Center.
They had lost 10 in a row to the Mavericks dating to the Reunion Arena days.
"Sometimes, it's Christmas for the other team," Shawn Marion said.
Indeed, other than writing a get-well-soon card to Nowitzki and having every other Maverick sign it, there wasn't much to analyze about this one.
The Raptors give up more than 105 points per game, but the Mavericks struggled mightily to nudge their total past 75. It was easily their lowest production of the season.
The 11-20 Raptors – playing without leading scorer Andrea Bargnani and guards Jose Calderon and Peja Stojakovic – had lost nine of their last 11, but when they saw Nowitzki wearing a snappy gray suit, they figured the Mavericks were there for the taking. And they were right.
"We had a lot of turnovers  and we were in too much of a trying-to-make-things-happen mode, and not trusting the team and the system," said coach Rick Carlisle. "I would credit them rather than saying we gave it to them. We've played strong defense a lot of the time, but we never made that stand tonight, and that was our undoing."
A miserable offense didn't help. As much as the emotional win at Oklahoma City was a total team effort Monday, this was a total team letdown.
The Mavericks missed 16 of 20 shots in the first quarter, fell behind by a dozen points and never fully recovered.
Carlisle was in no mood for excuses, but the Mavericks clearly were out of sorts with Nowitzki out.