Three months without Reggie Evans made me forget how bad things can get when he’s forced to play 30+ minutes. Evans made his return from a broken foot last night against Utah, and with Andrea Bargnani unable to handle the cold Toronto weather and Amir Johnson sidelined with an injury eight minutes after tipoff, was forced to play crucial minutes down the stretch in the Raptors’ last-second 96-94 loss to the Utah last night. The score kinda masks how bad this one actually was — Toronto led 86-72 with eight minutes left and lost at the buzzer on a swatted in put-back by Al Jefferson off a Devin Harris miss.
With Bargnani out with the flu and Johnson down with a rolled ankle in the first quarter, Evans was stuck with 33 minutes, which undoubtedly was more than Jay Triano had in mind for his winded legs after 48 games on the sidelines. I gotta say, too, that I don’t see what the rest of Toronto sees in Evans. Has there been a bigger offensive liability in the history of the game? Also, for a big, he doesn’t challenge shots, as was evident when Jefferson nailed shot after shot in the post on him en route to scoring 34 points, including a 10-foot fadeaway to give Utah a 94-91 lead in the final minute. Evans also fouled on a rebound to give the Jazz another shot to win after Earl Watson missed a three in with 18 seconds left. In all, the big fella turned in two points and missed all four of his free throws on the night.
The Raptors best effort came from Sonny Weems, who turned in 16 and five boards in 23 minutes off the bench. Jose Calderon had 14 points and six assists on 7-of-12 shooting, but missed three shots in the last three minutes, including a wide-open three prior to Jefferson’s fadeway. DeMar DeRozan led with 17 but was just 4-of-16 and Ed Davis managed just 12 points and three rebounds while starting in place of Bargnani.
I took this one in live and found myself more humoured than upset with the end result. What are we playing for these days, anyway? Nothing. And yet I was still there, which is something I’ll have to address internally. Nevertheless, the season drags on, with Indiana in town for an inspiring matchup on Friday.