Start time: 8:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Amir Johnson, Aaron Gray
New Orleans: Greivis Vasquez, Marco Belinelli, Trevor Ariza, Gustavo Ayon, Chris Kaman
Toronto: No word on Andrea Bargnani’s return yet.
New Orleans: Eric Gordon, Carl Landry, Emeka Okafor and Jason Smith are all out.
The New Orleans Hornets are a team being held together with scotch tape and chewing gum. They have the second-worst record in the NBA at 8-26, and they host the Raptors tonight while missing their two best players (Gordon and Okafor) and two key bench players (Landry and Smith). That doesn’t mean this squad is a pushover — this same lineup beat the Knicks in New York two weeks ago.
With Gordon out of the lineup, the primary scoring duties fall upon Trevor Ariza and Deliverance aficionado Chris Kaman. Those are not names that tend to strike fear in opponents’ hearts, but it’s worth noting that the Hornets have performed better than their record shows. They have the same “expected w0n-loss record” (based on overall point differential) as the Raptors at 11-23.
It will be interesting to see how DeMar DeRozan plays tonight after he was benched for the entire fourth quarter last night and sent out an angry tweet, which he later deleted. While I can understand DeMar’s frustration, he hasn’t played well enough this season that he should feel entitled about playing time. Andrea Bargnani (when healthy) and Jose Calderon have been the only Raptors to play at an NBA starter level this season.
On the off-chance you haven’t watched the latest “Dancing Hedo” video from The Basketball Jones yet, here you go…