Evan Turner

The “big Raptors news” of the day was that Sundiata Gaines was released while Trey Johnson was signed to a 10-day contract. Johnson is a six-foot-five combo guard who was the D-League’s leading scorer before his call-up. Gaines seemed to average about two airballs per game in his brief stint with the Raptors, so it’s no big surprise that they decided to give someone else a try.

As you probably know, the Raptors go into tonight’s game with an eight-game losing streak that is their longest since they lost 10 in a row near the end of the 2005-06 season. Coach Jay Triano responded to a question about this skid by saying “It’s about the process more than it is the outcome.” Maybe so, but yeesh… what a painful process.

As has been the case lately with the Raptors during this losing streak, they’re facing another team that’s on a bit of an upswing lately. The Sixers have won four of their last six games and they’re currently seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 19-25 record. That’s right, they’re six games under .500 and they’re not even the playoff seed with the worst record in their conference. In comparison, the Golden State Warriors are also 19-25 but they’re in 12th place in the West at the moment.

Some of the credit for the Sixers’ resurgence has to go to the recent improvement of rookie Evan Turner. He only has 14 double-digit scoring games this season in 42 games, but four of those double-digit performances came in the last eight games. And while his offensive game is rounding into form, he’s already one of the top rebounding guards in the game, averaging 4.5 boards in just 24.7 minutes. Maybe he won’t be a complete disaster as a second overall pick, after all.

Injury report

Toronto: Jose Calderon is back in the lineup tonight, while Sonny Weems and Joey Dorsey will be gametime decisions. Leandro Barbosa and Linas Kleiza are still out.

Philadelphia: No injuries reported.

Five questions

1. Were you at all broken up by the death of the Raptors’ consecutive game three-point record? And is it a coincidence that they followed this up by signing a guy named “Trey”?

2. Speaking of which… can you guess which Raptor was the first out on the floor warming up for tonight’s game? According to Holly, it was Trey Johnson.

3. Will Alexis Ajinca make his Raptors debut tonight? He’s expected to be in uniform.

4. Do the Sixers quietly have one of the deepest benches in the NBA? Their second unit of Turner, Lou Williams, Andres Nocioni, Thaddeus Young and Marreese Speights is pretty solid.

5. I wonder how many players in NBA history start every game they play in a season but play fewer than 20 minutes per game? Spencer Hawes has started in all 43 of his games but averages just 19.7 minutes in those games.

Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: TSN2
Liveblog: theScore.com and ScoreMobile with James Borbath
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Julian Wright, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
Philadelphia: Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes

Tonight’s pregame song is “Stop Looking at My Moms” by The Astronomical Kid. This song is amazing. That is all.

Comments (6)

  1. So Hawes is on the Hoffa Plan, where he starts the 1st and 3rd Qs before foul trouble and general lousiness sentences him to the bench?

  2. Jdbar: Seems about right, although Hoffa was never an everyday starter.

  3. Hoffa started 41 games as a rookie and 34 games as a sophomore. I even remember this game at Cleveland where he was abruptly inserted into the starting line-up.

  4. Long live the HOFF.

  5. Scott, could you please just list the players who aren’t injured, so I don’t have as much to read? Thanks.

  6. The losses don’t bother me at all, as long as I see the development, which I do.

    And as for Evan Turner, are trying to tell me that people were possibly judging him too early in his career? Inconceivable!

    And to answer question #5, former assistant coach, Marc Iavaroni, started 71 games for the Jazz in 1988 while only playing 15 mpg. Meanwhile Thurl Bailey started only 10 games (the 10 games Iavaroni didn’t start) and played 34 mpg.

    And, by the way, I know this because I was a very big Jazz fan, at the time, and remembered this rather strange arrangement.

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