Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: TSN2
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Rasual Butler, Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson
Minnesota: Luke Ridnour, Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Kevin Love, Darko Milicic

Injury report

Toronto: Jerryd Bayless and Linas Kleiza are both day-to-day.

Minnesota: J.J. Barea is a game-time decision, while Michael Beasley, Brad Miller, Nikola Pekovic and Martell Webster are all out.

I admit it — I’ve got a man-crush on Ricky Rubio. But hey, who doesn’t these days? He’s poetry in motion out there on the court. His cross-court passes hit their targets like finely-tuned lasers, and his bounce passes remind me of a billiards shark sinking bank shots with ease.

I didn’t think he would be this good, this early. In fact, I predicted he would be a bust and ultimately cost Timberwolves GM David Kahn his job. I didn’t think he would fail because he’s European, but because I expected his shooting to hover around the 35 percent mark. Eight games and 225 minutes into his rookie season, he’s shooting 29-for-60 (48 percent) from the field and 7-for-14 (50 percent) from long range. I don’t believe he’ll sustain those averages, but he clearly put in a ton of work on his shot in the off-season — and it’s paying off, big-time.

Another player whose shooting is under a microscope is DeMar DeRozan, who followed up a strong start in that area with a combined 5-for-19 performance over his previous two games. The Raptors are 3-2 this season when DeRozan scores at least 15 points, and they lost all three games when he didn’t.

I predict a bounceback performance from DeRozan tonight, although all eyes will be on the Rubio-Calderon showdown. And why shouldn’t they be? Rubio is the glamour boy of the moment, but Calderon is quietly off to a fantastic start this season and you can bet he’d like to show NBA fans that he’s not ready to give up “The Best Spanish Point Guard in the World” title just yet.

Random thoughts…

  • I played “Guess the NBA Player’s Career Salary Earnings” with a couple of co-workers today and was reminded of how much fun that game is. When I guessed Kevin Garnett’s $270 million career earnings on the nose, I was super-pumped. Then again, I came in about $40 million short of Theo Ratliff’s $102 million total.
  • This Japanese department store is really “in-your-face” with its sales

While searching for a Jerryd Bayless injury update on Twitter, I found this just-released rap track by G-S Tha Dream. It’s called “Jerryd Bayless”. I’m not sure why he picked J-Bay for this song, but it’s actually a pretty decent track.