The Raptors escaped NYC with a win over the New York Knicks. In live blogging the game for The Score it was funny to watch fans go "Oh No here we go AGAIN!!!". However the Raptors did not have a repeat of what happened to Indiana. The positive in what they did in both games was get off to a solid start. The other good thing in both games was Andrea Bargnani who looked great in both games. I admit there was a time in which I would have considered the idea of trading Andrea Bargnani a good idea. That day is gone for me and many others I would venture. The other good thing from that game in New York was Demae DeRozan. I boldly predicted when asked by some on a live blog for an X-Factor in that game that Demar would be that X-factor. In his first game as a pro in MSG coming off the news that he had a chance to earn his way into the slam dunk contest he was better than good. One of the things in talking with Demar a few times that I walk away impressed by is his desire to be not just good but great. He got to the line 14 times and made 11 of those free throws.
This leads to talk that Jose Calderon is on the trading block. Steve Simmons tweeted this over the weekend. He is hardly making headline news by saying it as any Raptor fan that is somewhat knowledgeable knows already. However let me say that maybe the Raptors should hold the phone for a moment. The reason to trade Jose Calderon would be to bring in a legit shooting guard for this basketball team. However maybe we already have on in the guy I was just talking about in Demar DeRozan. I think I would like to see another month of development from Demar before I am throwing Jose Calderon out with the bath water. He along with Bargnani and DeRozan was great in the win over the Knicks. Calderon in the role of back-up has been better than he was in the starting role earlier in the season. The Raptors already made the grave mistake of undervaluing what a great strength it was to have 2 good to great starting point guards. So by all means take offers for Calderon but don't pull the trigger just yet. Raptors may not be as needy at the shooting guard position as we think especially if we see more performances from Demar like had Friday in New York.
Next up for the Raptors is Disco Dirk and his Mavericks. Andrea Bargnani was compared to Dirk when he was drafted and it was a laughable comparison until perhaps this year. Nowitzki is looking back to his MVP like form a few seasons ago averaging 25.3 points with 8.2 rebounds as the Mavericks are 2nd in the West at 26-13. They also have the best road record in the Western Conference with a 13-6 record away from big D. There is another game that will be going on at the same time that may make the Mavericks efforts north of the border go with out notice. Another Dallas team is on the road in Minnesota playing a football game. The Mavs despite all of the good things with the Mavs they are just 6-4 in their last 10 games. Raptors are 7-3 in their last 10 and have the red hot Bobcats breathing down their neck in the East standings. Bobcats are 8-2 in their last 10.
Beyond Dirk a guy like Josh Howard is a guy that could be factor today. He is a great defender and can create his offense from his defense. The other guy that Raptors need to be on high alert for is Jason Terry. This is a gut that can get red hot from beyond the 3 point line and kill the Raptors if they forget about him. Mavericks come in hungry after a close loss to the OKC Thunder and will be looking to get back on track with a win.
I want a Dallas team to win today it just isn't this one. Go Raptors and Go Cowboys. I am doing this game for The Score so go to the Score.com and click on the liveblog link and then the game and come enjoy it with me. I also will try and post a direct link prior to the game on Twitter account @dinonationblog . So come join the fun.
Here is your link to The Score LiveBlog of Raptors and Mavs we tip it up a little before 12:30