The NBA: Canadian Bacon

Andrea Bargnani and the Raptors have been the poster boys
of inconsistency in the NBA.

*Unless otherwise specified, all images are from the Associated Press.

Both DeMar DeRozan and James Johnson might get some bench-time because of a slew of injuries.

The solution?

Enter 7’1 shooting guard Solomon Alabi.

Who the hell?

Beats me.

The Raptors have been suffering thru a continuous spate of injuries, and it has resulted in two things:

1) They just need warm bodies on the floor, and

2) They haven’t been the most consistent team out there.

Far from it.

They blew out the Knicks last March 23, played the Bulls all the way to OT a few days ago and then lost by a mile to the Magic two days after. 

This is why, quite simply, the Raptors won’t make any playoff ripples this season.

It’s also why only 4 teams have fewer wins than the Raptors at this point.

I’m willing to bet it’s also why they won’t matter very much next season.

By all accounts and purposes, all the Raptors will be good for in the next few weeks is to be spoilers.

Which is sad, because I used to really like this team.

You know, back when Damon Stoudamire was still the helmsman,s and they were young and exciting.

They’re still quite young now, and sometimes exciting. DeMar DeRozan is, arguably, the new helmsman.

But, for me at least, the magic of the franchise is gone. Right now, for better or for worse (really, it’s for worse), they’re not much more than, say, Canadian bacon.

After the JUMP, March 26 & 27, 2012 stat-stuffers:

March 26, 2012 Game Recaps:
BOS over CHA, 102-95
Paul Pierce scored a season-high 36 points with 10 rebounds and the Boston Celtics moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with a win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Their fourth win in five games pulled the Celtics even with the Philadelphia 76ers at 27-22. The Bobcats, meanwhile, lost their fourth straight and became the first NBA team to 40 losses in the lockout-shortened season (7-40). 

IND over MIA, 105-90
Danny Granger drained 3-of-5 three-point attempts en route to 25 points as the Pacers used precision shooting from beyond the arc to down the Heat. Paul George scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Indiana, which has won four of five. They also ended a five-game losing streak to the Heat. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade paced the visitors with 24 points apiece, including a season-high four three-pointers from Wade, as they fell for the second time in as many nights. 

ORL over TOR, 117-101
Ryan Anderson connected on 8-of-13 three-point attempts en route to a game-high 28 points to help Orlando cruise past the Toronto Raptors. Dwight Howard poured in 23 points to go with 10 rebounds and Jameer Nelson added 18 points and 7 assists to help Orlando earn its third consecutive win. Gary Forbes led the way for Toronto with 21 points. The Raptors have dropped five of their last six contests.

DET over WAS, 79-77
Rodney Stuckey's jumper with 0.2 seconds remaining lifted the Detroit Pistons over the Washington Wizards. Stuckey netted 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter for Detroit, which overcame a 12-point fourth-period deficit and snapped a five-game losing streak. Jamal Crawford scored 20 points while John Wall had 14 points to go with 9 assists and 7 rebounds for Washington, which has lost its last 20 games when scoring less than 90 points.

NYK over MIL, 89-80
Missing Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, the Knicks got 28 points and 12 rebounds from Carmelo Anthony to down the Bucks in Monday's critical Eastern Conference clash. Stoudemire is out indefinitely with a bulging disc in his lower back and Lin is dealing with a sore right knee, but Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis added 13 points apiece, allowing New York to extend its lead over Milwaukee for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot to 2 1/2 games. 

UTA over NJN, 105-84
Showing no fatigue on the heels of their four-overtime loss to Atlanta on Sunday, the Utah Jazz finished their four games in five days stretch with a resounding win over the New Jersey Nets. Paul Millsap had a double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds for Utah, which has won seven of its last eight games. Playing against his former club for the first time in New Jersey, Deron Williams netted 17 points, but on just 7-of-21 shooting.  New Jersey has dropped six of its last seven contests.

DEN over CHI, 108-91
Ty Lawson scored 27 points, Arron Afflalo had 22 and the Denver Nuggets beat the Chicago Bulls. Afflalo returned from a one-game suspension and played almost 38 minutes while Al Harrington scored 17 points off the bench for the Nuggets, who snapped a two-game losing streak and remained in a tight battle for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. The Bulls, without injured star Derrick Rose for the seventh straight game, were led by C.J. Watson's 17 points and eight assists. 

HOU over SAC 113-106 (OT) 
Patrick Patterson's career-high 24 point effort included 14 in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Rockets overcame a 16- point deficit to defeat the Kings. Luis Scola recorded 18 points and 14 rebounds, Chandler Parsons and Courtney Lee scored 16 points apiece and Goran Dragic contributed 14 points and 10 assists before leaving in the overtime session with an apparent ankle injury. The Rockets have won three of four and kept pace with Denver and Utah, which both won earlier, in the race for the final two spots in the Western Conference. 

LAC over NOH, 97-85
Los Angeles Clipper Chris Paul had game-highs of 25 points and 10 assists against his former team, the New Orleans Hornets, en route to a win. Paul and the Clippers fell in the Big Easy on Thursday, marking their third straight loss, but bounced back with a victory over the Grizzlies on Saturday. They got 20 points from Blake Griffin and 17 from Nick Young in Monday's win. Al-Farouq Aminu had a season-high 15 points to pace the Hornets, who have dropped two straight since Thursday's win. 

March 27, 2012 Game Recaps:
PHI over CLE, 103-85
Jodie Meeks filled in well starting in place of injured guard Andre Iguodala, scoring a career-high 31 points on 7- of-10 shooting from beyond the arc to help the 76ers earn a victory over the Cavaliers. Jrue Holiday added 19 points and 6 assists, and the Sixers took a slim half-game lead over the idle Boston Celtics for first place in the Atlantic Division. Anthony Parker scored a team-high 14 points for the Cavaliers, who have dropped four straight.

MEM over MIN, 93-86
Rudy Gay scored 21 points, Marreese Speights had 18 and the Grizzlies defeated the Timberwolves. Dante Cunningham, starting in place of injured center Marc Gasol, added 13 points, a season-high 14 rebounds and 4 blocks. Memphis was coming off of Sunday's win over the Lakers, which halted a three-game slide. Kevin Love had 28 points and 11 rebounds to pace Minnesota, which has lost eight of its last 11 games.

MIL over ATL, 108-101
Monta Ellis scored 17 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Milwaukee Bucks  over the Atlanta Hawks. Brandon Jennings tallied 18 points, Drew Gooden added 16 and Mike Dunleavy netted 13 for the Bucks, who now sit two games behind the idle New York Knicks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks received a big night from Josh Smith, who scored a team-high 30 points and grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds.

DAL over HOU, 90-81
Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points and the Mavericks downed the Rockets. Rodrigue Beaubois added 14 points, Brandan Wright had 13 and Jason Terry finished with 12. Dallas, which was coming off of Sunday's overtime win over Houston, has won six of eight overall. The Rockets followed Sunday's setback with an overtime win over the Kings and led by as many as 16 on Tuesday, but were outscored 44-32 in the second half to suffer the loss. 

SAS over PHX, 107-100
Tim Duncan dropped in 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs topped the Phoenix Suns. Tony Parker finished with 24 points and handed out 7 assists, while Kawhi Leonard contributed 14 points and 7 boards for the Spurs, who have won five consecutive games. Shannon Brown drained five three- pointers en route to a career-high 32 points to pace the Suns, who saw their two-game win streak come to an end.

OKC over POR< 109-95
Russell Westbrook scored 10 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter as the Oklahoma City Thunder ran away with a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Kevin Durant added 25 points, James Harden netted 21 and Serge Ibaka contributed 8 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocked shots for the Thunder, who won their fourth straight game. JJ Hickson paced the Trail Blazers with 21 points while LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 20 to go along with 8 rebounds in Portland's fourth loss in six games.

LAL over GSW, 104-101
Kobe Bryant made the go-ahead jumper with 32.3 seconds remaining and the Lakers held on for a win over the Warriors. Bryant scored a game-high 30 points despite shooting 9-of-24 from the floor. Pau Gasol added 19 points and 17 rebounds for Los Angeles, which was coming off of a 102-96 loss to Memphis. David Lee gave Golden State its first lead of the game with 1:22 remaining and finished with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. 

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
March 26: DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) – 38
March 27: Monta Ellis (MIL) – 33 

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
March 26: Luis Scola (HOU) & DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) – 14
March 27: Josh Smith (ATL) – 18 

Will Luis Scola and the Rockets have enough gas in
the tank to reach the playoffs?
Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
March 26: Rajon Rondo (BOS) – 13
March 27: A LOT with 8!!!

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
March 26: Tyreke Evans (SAC) – 6
March 27: Goran Dragic (HOU) & Wesley Matthews (POR) – 4 

Will Tyreke Evans be offered an extension
by the Kings?
Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
March 26: Omer Asik (CHI) – 5
March 27: Serge Ibaka (OKC) – 6 

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
March 26: Ryan Anderson (ORL) – 8
March 27: Jodie Meeks (PHI) – 7 

March 26, 2012 First Five
C – DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) – 38pts, 14rebs, 2asts, 2stls, 1blk
F – Paul Millsap (UTA) – 24pts, 13rebs, 3asts, 1stl
F – Paul Pierce (BOS) – 36pts, 10rebs, 4asts, 3stls, 3blks
G – Ty Lawson (DEN) – 27pts, 9rebs, 3 treys, 2asts, 2stls, 2blks
G – Chris Paul (LAC) – 25pts, 10asts, 4stls, 3rebs 
Honorable Mention:
Dwyane Wade (MIA) – 24pts, 6asts, 5rebs, 4 treys, 4blks
Carmelo Anthony (NYK) – 28pts, 12rebs, 1ast, 1stl, 1blk
Dwight Howard (ORL) – 23pts, 10rebs, 3asts, 2stls, 2blks

Daily Zap:

March 27, 2012 First Five
C – Tim Duncan (SAS) – 26pts, 11rebs, 2asts, 1stl
F – Kevin Love (MIN) – 28pts, 11rebs, 4 treys, 4blks, 2asts, 1stl
F – Josh Smith (ATL) – 30pts, 18rebs, 5asts, 2stls, 1blk
G – Monta Ellis (GSW) – 33pts, 8asts, 4rebs, 1stl
G – Russell Westbrook (OKC) – 32pts, 8asts, 3rebs, 3stls

TD and Spurs are looking sharp as the
season enters its final legs.
(image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Honorable Mention:
Jodie Meeks (PHI) – 31pts, 7 treys, 2rebs, 2asts, 1stl
Shannon Brown (PHX) – 32pts, 5 treys, 3asts, 1reb
Pau Gasol (LAL) – 19pts, 17rebs, 3asts, 1stl, 1blk

Daily Zap:

*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.

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