Ed Davis looking good for Raptors

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:33 PM ET

Ed Davis said he had a few rookie jitters, but they were not readily apparent.

The 13th selection of the 2010 NBA Draft finally made his NBA debut on Wedenesday night in Toronto’s blowout win over the Washington Wizards.

“I was a little nervous at first, it was faster and longer than I thought it was going to be,” Davis said.

Davis checked in halfway through the first and made an immediate impression, tipping in a Jose Calderon miss a couple minutes later.

Davis was very active for the Raptors early, changing shots at the rim and getting put-backs on offence as the team pulled away.

The former North Carolina forward got his first NBA throw-down late in the first half, when DeMar DeRozan set him up with a pretty behind-the-back pass.

He looked more tentative in the second half, blowing an easy layup, but later showed good hands in catching and converting a tougher lay-in.

Davis finished with 11 points, two blocks and six rebounds in 24 minutes

“I was just trying to play hard. It felt good to get out there and put on a Raptors jersey for the first time.”

Perhaps the most important aspect Davis showed he might bring to the team is a shot-blocking presence, which will make things tougher for opponents inside.

Case in point, rookie-of-the-year candidate John Wall was unceremoniously denied by a massive Davis block early in the fourth.

Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa said Davis has great timing in erasing shots.

“That’s what we needed right now,” Barbosa said. “We need a guy that can block (shots in) situations that we don’t do a great job defensively.”

REVENGE

Payback clearly was on the minds of the Raptors, who looked horrible in losing 109-94 to Washington earlier in the season.

That loss featured, arguably, Andrea Bargnani’s poorest effort of the year and it seemed clear that was on the big man’s mind.

Bargnani looked energized, skying for a couple of dunks and a handful or rebounds early on to set the tone.

Bargnani had 14 points and six rebounds overall to lead the Raptors to their highest-scoring half of the season. The team shot 69% through two quarters, largely thanks to good ball movement and 44 points in the paint.

After refusing to attack the rim for much of Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Raptors were much more assertive early, scoring 24-of-34 first quarter points inside.

SHOOTING STARS

Not all of Toronto’s points came inside. DeRozan showed extended range on his jump shot, nailing a rare three, along with another long shot that was called a two because he had his foot on the line.

DeRozan, who finished with 20 points, said his now-healed hamstring has allowed him to get back into the gym for extra shooting work the past few days and it has resulted in a better shooting rhythm.

Barbosa also had all facets of his game going. The speedy Brazilian nailed a couple of threes and repeatedly got to the rim with ease after putting the ball on the floor.

Point guards Calderon and Jerryd Bayless also were strong, combining for 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting.

WONDER-WALL

Wall was as fast as advertised. In his first appearance in Toronto, the flashy rookie repeatedly blew-by defenders.

If there was one criticism of young Wall’s game, it was his refusal to look to score. Wall made some nice pases to teammates, but also passed up many good offensive chances.

At the half, Wall had two points (off of a dunk), and former all-star Gilbert Arenas had zero field goals.

Once the home side built an big lead, Wall finally found his scoring touch and ended with 19 points to go with his eight assists.

His coach, Flip Saunders, was not impressed with the performance of any Wizards, Wall included.

“Basically, our guards got broken down on the perimeter and our bigs didn’t protect the rim,” Saunders said.

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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