The NBA: Is DeMar DeRozan the new Air Canada?

When DeMar DeRozan was busy dunking basketballs as a sixth-grader in Compton, California, the original Air Canada, Vince Carter, led the Raptors to their best ever playoff run in franchise history.

Toronto beat the New York Knicks in the first round of the 2001 NBA Playoffs to face the Allen Iverson-led Philadelphia 76ers in the Conference Semifinals. Carter and Iverson had a memorable duel in the series, which stretched to seven games. Carter’s potential series-winner at the end of Game Seven bounced off the rim and eventually pushed the Sixers to the East Finals versus Ray Allen and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Fast forward more than a decade after – we find that DeRozan is the new face of Toronto and Carter has long since gone, playing in his fourth team since leaving the Raptors after the 2004-2005 season.

With Carter in the twilight of his career (and it shows, too – he’s averaging just 12.3ppg on 39% FG shooting), the mantle of Air Canada seems to have found its new bearer in DeRozan.

DeMar DeRozan has emerged this season as the new
leader of the Toronto Raptors.
(image by Ron Turenne/Getty Images)

The fourth year player out of the University of Southern California Trojans’ hoops program is currently putting up All-Star consideration numbers – 19.0ppg, 5.3rpg, and 2.0apg while shooting a respectable 45% from the floor. With the exception of his field goal accuracy (he shot nearly 50% in his rookie season), all those stats are career-highs. He has scored in double-figures in all but one game this season, including registering 37 in a tight loss to the Utah Jazz last November 12.

Like Carter, DeRozan is also a high-flyer. He joined the 2009 and 2011 editions of the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, losing to Nate Robinson in ’09 and finishing third as a last-minute substitute for Brandon Jennings in ’11.

With so many comparisons between both DeRozan and Carter, it’s no wonder observers see the former channeling the latter on the court. Here's what Eric Koreen of the National Post wrote comparing both players after the Utah loss: “…the games, and their performances, were very similar. And in mimicking Carter, DeRozan delivered one of the most memorable individual performances in team history.”

The Raptors’ front office believes DeRozan is so good he deserved a 38-milloin USD four-year extension on his contract. Some were surprised at this, but not Toronto president and general manage Bryan Colangelo, who said, “DeMar is a young talent. He is a hard worker. He’s been developing and progressing to a level that we felt [that] he is an asset. We wanted to retain the asset.”

If, indeed, DeRozan continues to improve and ride on his Carter-ish trajectory, then perhaps Colangelo’s decision will be justified. And maybe, just maybe, Air Canada will be reborn.

Game Recaps (courtesy of the Sports Network):
New York 88, Indiana 76
Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the New York Knicks downed the Indiana Pacers, 88-76, Sunday at Madison Square Garden. J.R. Smith followed with 13 points and seven boards and Raymond Felton chipped in 11 points and eight assists to help the Knicks bounce back from their first loss of the season on Friday against Memphis. Paul George led the Pacers with 20 points, while David West donated 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds for Indiana, which has dropped three of its last four games.

'Sheed has become a vital cog in the current
machinations of the Knicks.
(image by Kathy Willens/AP)

Toronto 97, Orlando 86
DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points and Jose Calderon dished out 18 assists to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 97-86 decision over the Orlando Magic at the Air Canada Centre. DeRozan pulled down a team- best nine rebounds as well while making good on 8- of-16 field goal attempts for Toronto, which broke open a close game over the final eight-plus minutes to notch just its second victory in its last seven outings. Andrea Bargnani added 17 points in the win. The Raptors trailed 74-73 with 8:29 to play, but proceeded to outscore the Magic by a 24-12 count the rest of the way. Glen Davis and E'Twaun Moore each finished with 16 points for an Orlando squad that played without second-leading scorer J.J. Redick due to illness, with Davis grabbing 12 rebounds in the Magic's sixth setback in seven games.

Philadelphia 86, Cleveland 79
Evan Turner had 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to an 86-79 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Wells Fargo Center. Spencer Hawes gave 14 points and nine rebounds, while Jrue Holiday also contributed 14 points with nine assists for the Sixers, who have won two straight. Alonzo Gee finished with 17 points to pace Cleveland, which dropped its sixth consecutive game. Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao each recorded a double-double in defeat as Thompson had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Varejao also netted 14 points to go along with 15 boards.

Brooklyn 99, Sacramento 90
Andray Blatche poured in a team-high 22 points to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 99-90 win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Deron Williams posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists and MarShon Brooks dropped in 14 for the Nets, winners in five straight. DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Tyreke Evans had 21 points and seven boards for the Kings, who have dropped five in a row.

Oklahoma City 119, Golden State 109
Kevin Durant's first career triple-double and Russell Westbrook's 30 points lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 119-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors. Durant tallied 25 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, while Westbrook added seven assists and five steals for Oklahoma City, which has won seven of its last eight contests. Kevin Martin had 23 points off the bench in the winning effort. Stephen Curry recorded 22 points and David Lee finished with 19 points, 10 boards and five helpers for the Warriors, who had their brief two-game winning streak snapped.

Detroit 103, Boston 83
Greg Monroe paced six double-digit scorers with 20 points while also adding 13 rebounds as the Detroit Pistons downed the Boston Celtics, 103-83, on Sunday. Jason Maxiell had 15 points, Kyle Singler and Rodney Stuckey each dropped in 14, Corey Maggette netted 11 and Tayshaun Prince contributed 10 for the Pistons, who have won two of their last three after dropping their first seven games of the season. Jared Sullinger scored 16 points off the bench to lead the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo finished with 12 points and 10 assists in Boston's second loss in three games.

Portland 102, Chicago 94
Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews scored 21 points apiece as the Portland Trail Blazers downed the Chicago Bulls, 102-94, at the Rose Garden. LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 13 rebounds, Damian Lillard contributed 16 points and J.J. Hickson poured in 10 as all five Portland starters scored in double digits. Ronnie Price added 10 points off the bench in the Trail Blazers' third straight win. Joakim Noah finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists to pace Chicago, which dropped its second consecutive game.

LA Lakers 119, Houston 108
Mike D'Antoni's head coaching debut will have to wait again. Once again, though, his Lakers had no trouble putting the ball in the basket. Kobe Bryant's triple-double and Dwight Howard's 28-point, 13-rebound effort lifted Los Angeles to a 119-108 victory over the Houston Rockets. D'Antoni was set to debut Sunday night, but decided hours before the game that he was not quite ready to return yet. He has been on crutches as he recovers from knee replacement surgery earlier this month. Bryant tallied 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the victory for Los Angeles, which recorded a season-high in points. Chandler Parsons netted 24 points to lead the Rockets, who have dropped six of their last eight contests.

Kobe Bryant was a playmaking marvel as the Lakers
beat the Rockets in a high-scoring affair.
(image by Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Top 10 Plays of the Night:

Game Highlights:

Next Post »
0 Comment