Heidi ho, friends and haters. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting your nog on these past few days. Myself, I can’t believe I won’t technically be back to work until next Tuesday. Completely unrelated question: Does anybody know if family homicide rates tend to rise this time of year? Nevermind, don’t answer that.
The Raptors play their first of three straight road games tonight — six of their next seven games are on the road. You might think the Raptors’ playoff chances have already been disintegrated by their 10-19 record, but they’re actually only 2 1/2 games behind Milwaukee for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. However, the Raptors’ 3-10 road record combined with the fact that they play Dallas, Chicago and Boston (twice) during this seven-game stretch means that reality is probably going to come crashing down like my Christmas tree after my four-year-old bum-rushed it during a glucose-induced frenzy.
Andrea Bargnani didn’t join the Raptors on this first three-game trip as he’s nursing a strained calf muscle. In his place, the Raptors signed journeyman forward Ronald Dupree to a non-guaranteed contract. OK, maybe “in his place” isn’t the right choice of words, but Dupree is expected to be in the lineup against the Grizzlies tonight. If Dupree gets any playing time while he’s under contract, it will be his first regular season NBA action since April 11, 2008 when he played five minutes for the Seattle Supersonics and grabbed three rebounds.
Toronto: Bargnani is out for tonight, while Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems and Jerryd Bayless are all questionable. J-Bay reportedly acquired food poisoning last week after asking his Twitter followers for advice on where he should eat. Nice job, Internet!
Memphis: No injuries reported, although I suspect that Zach Randolph probably overdid it on the sweet potatoes this past weekend so we can expect that he’ll be a bit sluggish.
1. Is Mike Conley going to be worth that five-year, $45 million contract extension which was widely panned when it was announced at the beginning of November? He’s averaging 14.0 points, 7.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game so far this season — and the only other players to match or top those averages this season are Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Raymond Felton and John Wall.
2. Did you know that Zach Randolph has more double-doubles (18) this season than everyone on the Raptors combined? Johnson has four, Calderon has three, Bargnani has one, Evans has one, Davis has one and Dorsey has one.
3. When the Grizzlies played the Timberwolves earlier this season, do you think Darko Milicic looked at fellow second overall draft pick Hasheem Thabeet and thought, “Man, that dude’s a bust!”
4. Has anyone made the “Don we now our gay apparel” joke to Rudy Gay yet this holiday season?
5. Did your Christmas dinner look better than the one Julian Wright’s mom made him?
Start time: 8:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Joey Dorsey, Amir Johnson
Memphis: Mike Conley, Xavier Henry, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol
Your pregame song for tonight is “Feel It” by Memphis’ own Three 6 Mafia, featuring Tiesto, Sean Kingston and Flo Rida. Watching this video, I’m wondering if I should have just spent my week off in Vegas.