*Whoops. Realized this morning that practice notes from yesterday were saved in a Gmail draft and not posted for you all. My apologies.
- Practice was very short yesterday and once again, a bunch of players did not go. When we were let into the gym, Andrea Bargnani was working with Eric Hughes. He wasn’t doing much, but he didn’t look to be in any pain from his ankle or knee, so there’s that.
- DeMar DeRozan was on the floor putting in some ab work as trainer Francesco Cuzzolin had him working with a medicine ball. Small note on DeRozan: When you see someone everyday it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of small changes to their appearance. A fellow Raptors’ scribe and I were discussing DeRozan after the last game. It’s clear that while he came into the season with added muscle, he has maintained it and continues to work hard. While many players lose weight during the season, DeRozan has continued to fill out and get stronger.
- When Jay was asked about the strong performances LinasKleiza has been putting in, he said the Kleiza we saw to start the season was injured and that when a basketball player doesn’t have bounce they’ll be exploited.
- A list of the guys who didn’t practice: Jose Calderon, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani, Reggie Evans and, of course, Peja Stojakovic. Linas Kleiza went through most of the light session. Jay Triano was ready for us with a written list of who did and who did not take part.
- Allow me to change the topic for a moment to send my condolences to Hornets’ guard Willie Green who lost his sister and cousin in a car accident after the Hornets loss to the Pistons on Sunday night.
- On the last time he’s had a quarter like the third quarter he had against the Lakers:
“College, I think. I just wanted to win. The game’s close and you know, we were just trying to run. I was just trying to do as much as I could.”
- On whether Kobe Bryant had any moves to surprise him and what is the toughest part about guarding him:
“Yeah, he always surprises. I got something else I can try to steal.”
“Everything. You don’t know how to defend him. If you think you have an idea, he’s got a counter to that. That’s the toughest part.”
- On the decision to move Linas Kleiza into the starting lineup two games ago:
“We just weren’t really pleased with the way we were getting starts to the games and I think that a choice to change things up a little bit. We were very young. I thought we would change it up a little bit and see if we could get better.”
- More on Kleiza:
“He’s a scorer. He’s a guy who can rebound and score, but he had no bounce when he was hurt. Tendonitis in both Achilles’, a long summer. Just no bounce at all. If you don’t have bounce in the NBA, you’re going to be in trouble. Guys are going to exploit you.”
- On the effort against the Lakers:
“I thought the guys who played played really hard. I don’t think we played particularly well at times. We have to lose the mentality that we’re going to outscore good teams like that. We’ve got to get stops. We can’t give up 120 points and a lot of that was offensive rebounds. I can take the offensive rebounds when it’s Bynum over top of a smaller guy and he’s just bigger and stronger, but we missed a box out off of a free throw, we missed box outs in transition. Those are the kinds of things you can’t give them .Those extra points multiply like that. Overall, effort was good. If we play like that most nights we’re going to be pretty good.”
- On DeRozan’s success in the third quarter:
“I thought it was very good. He really attacked. I thought as a team when we got the ball from one side of the floor to the other we could attack the basket. We showed some clips today of Linas taking it out there, DeMar in the third quarter did a great job of attacking it. As a basketball player, that’s what you want, you want the ball swing to you with the defence running towards you. That’s what we tried to get DeMar in the second half there.”
- On the way Kleiza has been performing the last two games:
“I think this is the way he plays. This is the way I know him when I played him on the national team and when he was in Denver. He’s a really good shooter. But he can play in the post, he’s big for a 3. He can play at the 4 and give us some different views in the game when we need someone to open up the floor.”
- Why he’s been such a different player the last two games:
“I think I’m finally healthy. I’m getting there. My legs are feeling good. They put me back in the starting lineup and I’m getting consistent minutes. I’m playing along with Jose and kind of getting that flow early in the game, it helps.”
- On how Calderon helps his game:
“He’s a very good point guard to get everybody involved, get the team going. He’s not necessarily the flashy one that is trying to go out there and score. He just runs the team well. He knows how to pass the ball very well. When he’s court, it makes a big difference, as you can see.”