Back To Normal With Something Abnormal

The Raptors get back to some sense of normal life after their London adventure. They return to the ACC facing the Utah Jazz that no longer have Jerry Sloan on the sidelines. Also no Deron Williams as the Raptors are aware from their last two games in England. I have to be honest for myself it is hard to get back in the normal groove. The Raptors might have a little ring rust with all this time off. Practice is great, but it is not a game, just ask Allen Iverson. Raptors road losing streak has reached a team record level, so to be home at the ACC is a beautiful thing. Not that their 12-20 home record is any great accomplishment. Surprisingly though the Raptors are 6-8 at ACC vs West. Andrea Bargnani has the flu or is it flu like symptoms again? I wonder what Amir Johnson thinks about that? He has played trough a lot more than the flu or flu like symptoms this year. Reggie Evans should be back. I have been wrong on this before so I am just going to say I HOPE we see #30 in white tonight.

The Basics: Jazz 33-30 (Since Sloan Left 2-8) Raptors 17-46 ( 2-4 in James Johnson Era)

When Last We Saw Them: It took 3 overtimes in England for the Raptors to fade into the London fog. Bargnani not once but twice had chances to be the hero and win it. DeRozan had one shot as well and failed. Better effort than 1st game in England but the same result in the end an L.

Key Match Ups: Raja Bell hates Kobe Bryant and Demar DeRozan doesn't. Bell and Bryant had got into it on several occasions back in the day. My point is Raja Bell at one time was thought of as a solid defender and it should be a nice challenge for Demar to see how he stacks up against the one time "Kobe Stopper". Devin Harris is no Deron Williams and as such Jose Calderon should have an easier time of it with Harris. Least you would hope that is the case. Paul Millsap is a beast and Amir Johnson, Ed Davis and maybe a returning Reggie Evans, will all get a chance to battle with him. You also have Big Al Jefferson to match up with Bargnani assuming he had his "Chicken Soup" this morning. A huge contrast there and makes for an odd match-up. I could see Jazz using someone else on Bargnani maybe AK-47 might actually makes sense.

Other Things of Note: Dave Feschuk confirms that Sonny Weems is not happy in his article the other day. This is hardly earth shattering news. I had said after the James Johnson trade was done this would happen. I also have noted how Sonny has looked pissed after the first couple games when Johnson first arrived. I feel bad for Sonny who is a good guy. The irony in all this is the game before Johnson came, Weems led the Raptors in scoring with 19. But as the article suggests it is about the other end of the floor as to why Weems finds himself in this spot. Weems does make the point this team has not been good on defence and it is not all on him. Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon not mentioned but we can all imply. Sonny is a good guy and if this is the end of his run with Raptors I hope he is able to find a new home with what he has done in Toronto. By the way after his big comet like debut James Johnson has come back down to earth if you have noticed. In other news, the Raptors sent Solomon Alabi back to the Bayhawks for the 107th time this season. O.K it is actually the 3rd time this year. I am left to wonder now how am I suppose to know when the Raptors have given up. Alabi entering a game has become the Raptors international sign for a white flag. I don't understand the logic in shipping him back and forth between Erie and Toronto. It can't be doing anything good for his mental outlook. Ask Ed Davis about his time in Erie. He will likely have about as positive a response as he did about the prospect for playing for an NBA Team in London.

Where Is It On: Sportsnet 1 (Sportsnet announced a deal to be the Home of the UFC another reason to bump the Raptors to this network in the future)

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