Lunchbox Links

If the Toronto Raptors lose to the Atlanta Hawks tonight (a very real possibility) and the Chicago Bulls beat the New Jersey Nets (another very real possibility), the Raptors will fall one game behind the Bulls for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Thanks LeBron!

The Toronto Star's Doug Smith thinks sitting LeBron against the Bulls was a blow to the integrity of the game as well as a sign of disrespect. But his colleague Dave Feschuk thinks the Raptors should focus on winning, not whining.

For more on tonight's game against Atlanta, check out Hawks blogs Peachtree Hoops and Hoopinion, as well as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, NBA.com, Raptors Republic and the National Post.

Dave Berri questions a couple of Marc Spears' observations in his Wages of Wins Journal. Namely, is Hedo Turkoglu really a disappointment? And is there still time for Andrea Bargnani to reach his potential? (Hint: if you answered 'no' to both questions, you'd probably be right)

When stars go down, their replacements' production tends to increase... except if your last name is Bargnani. As Eric Koreen of the National Post points out, Il Mago has failed to step up in the absence of Chris Bosh.

Tim from the Picket Fence blog builds a case against Bargnani highlighted by the big Italian's inability to create his own shot.

If the Raptors did a promo like this, chances are Bosh or Turkoglu would fall off the light cycle and injure themselves.

But Tom Ziller of NBA FanHouse believes that Bosh is worth a max contract.

NBA scoring is up.

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