Johnson provides Raptors intangible benefits

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

For the fifth time this season, Amir Johnson reached double figures in scoring.

But it’s his sixth sense that has earned him minutes. When a loose ball needs to get tracked down, Johnson is more than willing to sacrifice his body. When he’s asked to defend a bigger opponent, Johnson answers the call.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Raptors dole out minutes to the forward/centre when Reggie Evans returns, but for now he is enjoying the moment.

Sunday’s win over a quality Dallas team provided Johnson an opportunity to excel at both ends of the floor.

Early in the fourth quarter, he came from the weak side to block Shawn Marion’s attempt. Later, he made like a point guard by attacking the rim and getting Dirk Nowitzki to commit his fifth foul.

The Raptors don’t run any plays for Johnson, who isn’t known for his offence. Still, he managed to score 10 points.

“I know my role,’’ Johnson said. “When I come off the bench, I pretty much just run the floor. I’ll do anything to give our team a lift.”

His eight rebounds led Toronto’s second unit.

“Everything he gets is hustle,’’ head coach Jay Triano said. “Roll hard to the basket and if they don’t collapse, he is going to finish the play.

“If they do collapse, he is going to get somebody on the weak side open for a jump shot. I thought he did a real good job creating both those opportunities for us.”


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