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Energetic Weems powers Raptors

Energetic Weems powers RaptorsSurrounded by the media for the first time this season, basking in the aftermath of his most significant contribution as a Raptor , Sonny Weems tried to explain what he thought about his out-of-the-blue new role as sparkplug off the bench.

"It was a shocker to me," he said.

But it shouldn't have been. Weems would seem to have the kind of tonic for what chronically ails the Raptors - the ability to energize an all-too-often lacklustre squad with his athleticism and effort.

And in light of the results, a 101-88 Toronto victory over the highly regarded Houston Rockets, there's no reason to think Weems won't keep getting his moment in the spotlight.

"He's had two great games coming off the bench prior to this game and we just thought, move him up quicker into the rotation," said coach Jay Triano.

Bright move.

Weems gave the Raptors 11 points and four rebounds, but most importantly he gave them quickness and energy.

He spent time Sunday trying to harness waterbug-like Houston guards Kyle Lowry and Aaron Brooks and did an admirable job.

"Man, did you see how fast those guys are out there?" the 6-foot-6 Raptor swingman asked. "They (were) quick. That's real tough."

But dealing with them was necessary and that got Weems as many minutes as he's ever played in an NBA game.

"We knew they were going to play two very quick point guards at the same time," Triano said. "Sonny proved the other night against Minnesota he could stay with (Jonny) Flynn and we just thought we needed someone to contain point guards who are getting to the basket."

It wasn't just Weems who delivered solid defence. The Raptors were quick to close out on Houston shooters and the Rockets missed 21 of 24 three-pointers.

It was as impressive as they've been in a while, which begs the question: Why can't they do that all the time?

It's not a question they want to, or can, answer.

"Some days we are clicking and sometimes we are not," said Chris Bosh, who finished with 27 points. "We can't dwell on the past, ever. You can't try to figure this out or figure that out. ... We have to look at the positive things and try to think about that all the time."

Likewise, Weems doesn't want to worry about all the times he's sat forlornly on the end of the bench. He wants to make sure Sunday's effort is rewarded.

"Take advantage, take advantage," he said. "Especially on the defensive end, that's going to get me the most minutes. I'm willing to do that. As long as it keeps me on floor, I'll do that all day."

The Raptors unveiled a couple of wrinkles to their offence that worked well. Hedo Turkoglu was given more free reign, finishing with five assists and six rebounds to go with his 23 points while Jarrett Jack played off the ball a bit and had 17 points, eight assists and a team-high eight rebounds.

"We've done a couple of things where, (because) he's going to have to play more minutes, we're taking the ball out of his hands a little bit with this new set just to try to make sure that we don't completely fatigue him," Triano said of Jack.

That's going to be critical over the next few days as injured guard Jose Calderon didn't travel with the team for games in Miami on Tuesday and Orlando a night later.

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Added: December 14, 2009


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