||01-01-2012 11:22 AM
Daily Raptors Dish - 01.01.12 - Happy New Year Edition
Raps have lots to learn
Raptors set for Howard, Magic
ORLANDO - Three games in the lessons continue for the Raptors.
A young team is slowly but progressively finding its way defensively, but the defensive lessons aren’t the only one’s that need to be learned.
After the loss in Dallas in a game the Raptors had played themselves back into courtesy of a third quarter 17-2 run, the Raptors youth showed.
To hear veteran guard Anthony Carter tell it, they got all giddy with themselves and lost that focus to detail that made that run a possibility.
Next thing they knew the seven-point lead they had built was gone, gone for good as it turned out as the Mavs rolled to a 99-86 win.
“We can’t be jumping up in the air when guys are coming to the bench,” Carter said. “We have to act like we’ve been there before. You guys saw what happened, they went on that run right after. That was a big mistake and we have to learn from that.”
DeMar DeRozan, while a member of the core group of this team going forward, is still one of the young guys on the team but 15 minutes after the game ended someone had clearly filled him in on the night’s lesson or he had picked it up himself.
Sunday: Raptors at Magic
ORLANDO - MARQUEE MATCHUP
Normally this is the no-brainer with whatever Raptors centre has to take on Dwight Howard the de facto marquee matchup. But that was before Howard became basically a rebounding and defensive machine and not the scorer he once was. That is why we are going with Ryan Anderson versus Rasual Butler/James Johnson as the matchup to watch. Anderson has led the Magic in scoring in three of the four games (Hedo Turkoglu, remember him, led the team in scoring in the other game). While the Magic is getting plenty of scoring out of that three spot, the Raptors have received very little. Butler starts to bring a calming, veteran presence to the starting five but Johnson logs the majority of the minutes.
The Magic is a team on the cusp of a big move. That would be either convincing Howard to remain in Orlando and sign long term or dealing him to bring something back before he hits free agency after this season. It’s a tough situation with Howard repeatedly reiterating his preference for a move. After a season opening loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Magic has reeled off three consecutive wins. Point guard Jameer Nelson sat out Orlando’s win Friday in Charlotte with neck spasms, but could be back Sunday for the Raptors. Chris Duhon started in his place Friday and would get the start again if Nelson can’t go.
Doug's sports blog
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Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Rasual Butler, Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson
Orlando: Chris Duhon, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson, Dwight Howard
Johnson vs. Howard
The behemoth Orlando centre had 24 rebounds in a Friday win. He's a bit of a monster and always causes problems. Amir Johnson will have his hands full.
Slumping Raptors ready to face red-hot Magic
I hope you all ushered in the new year in fine fashion and had wonderful evenings.
My best wishes for a prosperous 2012 full of good times, personal success and the love of good people.
Now, go take something for that hangover and be back here at 6 p.m. for the game.
Q: Hey Doug: Since there were a number of questions/comments about HWSNBN, I thought I'd ask another.
First, on a scale of 1 to 10, how good was he compared to how good he might have been?
Second, what (in your opinion) held him back from reaching his full potential?
Here's wishing you, Super Family and all of the Irregulars a prosperous and blog/mailbag-filled 2012!
Tim H, Windsor
A: I’d probably give him a 6 1/2 or 7 out of 10 for realizing his entire potential and he just seemed to lack that killer instinct, or crazy-mad work ethic of the truly great Hall of Famers.
That said, at 6 1/2 or 7, he was something special.
Q: Doug, I hope you continue to enjoy the holiday season. Can you please comment on why DeMar is considered a shooting guard and not a small forward? I think the Raptors best lineup might include Leandro and DeMar playing at the same time, with DeMar moving to the 3. I think he has the height to play the 3.
Thanks, Happy Holidays,
Chris F, Ottawa
A: As we saw in Dallas, Dwane’s not adverse to having Calderon, Barbosa and DeRozan on the floor at the same time in certain matchup circumstances when they need points. But the defensive liabilities – not sure DeMar’s really good at guarding 3s – would make me think that’s going to be a rare occurrence; but he’ll do it every now and then.
Discussion/Thought/Ponder of the day ?
The rumors of Dwight Howard’s imminent departure do not appear to have phased the Orlando Magic through the first week. The Magic have won three of their first four games and turned in their best performance yet on Friday with a 100-79 drubbing of the Charlotte Bobcats. Howard has been a monster on the glass, averaging 17.5 rebounds, but it is the play of leading scorer Ryan Anderson that has really sparked Orlando lately. Anderson will try to throw up his third straight 20-plus point game when the Magic host the Toronto Raptors. Howard will be stretched defensively while guarding Raptors center Andrea Bargnani, who likes to drift out toward the 3-point line. Bargnani scored 30 points on Friday but could not drag his team to a win over the Dallas Mavericks. Toronto has dropped back-to-back games since opening the season with a win at Cleveland.
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