1/12/12

Raptors Lose More Than Just Another Game.

The Toronto Raptors did not exactly come out like gangbusters after what most would consider an embarrassing performance in Washington. Both teams looked pretty awful to start this game. In fact the whole first half was borderline unwatchable but fair close. Andrea Bargnani was rebounding but wasn't scoring. Which considering how the rest of this roster was scoring was a big issue. Leandro Barbosa off the bench was picking up some of that scoring slack, while Demar DeRozan was still continuing to struggle. He would end the night just 5-9 with 13 points and 3 turnovers in just under 30 minutes. Barbosa on the other hand would lead the Raptors in scoring with 24 points off the bench shooting 11-18 from the field.

The Raptors were not playing exceptionally well but would manage to head to the 4th quarter tied at 63. But the Raptors would also be without Andrea Bargnani who had been ruled out for the rest of this game with a calf injury. They would miss him in that forth quarter as Demarcus Cousins would take over this game late and be a huge factor down the stretch. He had a 21 points and 19 rebound on the night, and despite some typical Cousins stuff like getting teched up for taunting after a dunk, when the game was still in the balance. it did not take away from his performance. Kings would win the 4th quarter 35-28 and the game overall 98-91.

While the Raptors watch Bargnani go out they also got to watch Linas Kleiza come in and look pretty good almost a year after his injury that led to micro-fracture surgery. Given the fact Rasaul Butler and James Johnson have pretty much no offence individually or combined it was a welcomed site. In 14 plus minutes Kleiza was able to go 3-6 and got to the line 5 times making 4 which totalled for a 10 point night. Johnson and Butler combined for 1-9 performance with just 3 points (Butler had 3, Johnson 0).

That being said Kleiza being back is not going to make up for no Bargnani if he is unable to play. The thought of this team being without Bargnani against the Pacers and or Bulls is a scary one. His status for those games on Friday and Saturday is not known as of now. If you needed any proof of how much a change there has been in how much the Raptors rely on him, it was evident in that 4th quarter with out him on both ends of the floor.

Later today the Starting 5 returns to the DNB and our guest is the one and only Jack Armstrong. So be sure to come back and have a listen to that later tonight or tomorrow.

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