The Charlotte Bobcats and Toronto Raptors have something in common: They each faced the Boston Celtics in their last game.
While they share a common opponent, the outcomes were a little different, as the league-worst Bobcats upset Boston on Tuesday while the Celtics proceeded to teach the youthful Raptors a lesson Wednesday.
Newcomer Sebastian Telfair was ejected in the Raptors’ loss after losing his cool in the third quarter — not the greatest teaching moment for his young ‘mates — but once again, the Raptors were left feeling as though the refs were against them.
“We haven’t been getting calls all year. We let frustration set in, and we can’t let that happen,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Here are a few thoughts to consider ahead of tonight's game:
The young 'uns
Casey once again addressed the question of why he hasn't been playing the kids more than he has been.
“It’s a two-edged sword,” Casey told Sportsnet.ca's Holly Mackenzie. “Everybody is clamouring for young guys to play, and unfortunately there’s veteran players in the league."
Casey pointed out how tough the match-up was for Jonas Valanciunas on Wednesday versus the Celtics when he had to go toe-to-toe with Kevin Garnett.
"There’s so much to learn. We knew that with Jonas. He’s making progress. When you’re playing with a veteran player like that, not only is your what you do defensively is important, but your spacing. If you’re one or two steps off a veteran player like Garnett, he knows how to zone up… it takes the other team totally out of their offensive sets. There’s so much that goes into that. That’s why it’s hard to play rookies extended minutes, but we’ve got to. He’s a big part of what we’re doing in the future. The only thing he’s going to do is learn. It’s painful sometimes, to play rookies big minutes, but we’ve got to do it.”
Valanciunas has only been averaging around 20 minutes per game since he returned from injury on Feb. 1 but is still second among rookies at 6.2 rebounds per game. He has also been chipping in a block and 5.9 points per contest.
More on Andrea
Veteran Toronto Star reporter Doug Smith created quite a stir on Thursday when he wrote, "I can tell you with 99.999999999 per cent certainty that, at this moment, using the amnesty clause to get rid of (Andrea Bargnani) has never been discussed at the highest level of Raptordom."
I can't speak for Smith, but I am assuming he was being somewhat facetious in saying that. While it may be true that the bigwigs down at the ACC would never use the amnesty clause on Bargnani, if they haven't at least discussed (and then dismissed) the idea at some point, they are not doing their job.
Smith (and others in the know) believe there is a market for Bargnani if he were to stay healthy for a stretch. But if they have to take back a bad deal to get a trade done, then the amnesty clause would be the better option.