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Stiemsma Rocks The Thunder In Raptors Debut

Greg Stiemsma knew he was winning a limited role when the Raptors selected him to fill the 15th spot on the roster ahead of Jordan Hamilton and Will Cherry just days before the start of the regular season, however, it was an important role. Stiemsma is a physical center that isn’t worried about collecting a few fouls in order to impact a game and he immediately rocked the Thunder when Head Coach Dwane Casey turned to him to open the second quarter of a game that was in danger of getting out of hand.

In his first 2 minutes and 11 seconds, Stiemsma collects a rebound, causes a Thunder shot clock violation, takes a charge, commits an offensive foul and grabs a steal. Now that’s making your presence known. The big center played 12.5 minutes and had 4 points (2-2), 3 offensive rebounds, an assist, a steal and 5 personal fouls including a flagrant one. It didn’t take long before the Thunder opted not to test his resolve on defense in the post.

 

 

“I knew the situation coming in that minutes were going to be here and there, hit and miss, kind of matchup-wise and seeing a couple of guys go down, I kind of had a feeling that tonight might be the night I had a debut,” Stiemsma said. “Any little thing you can do defensively, you just have to be aggressive – stop the paint. They were getting too many easy buckets shooting a crazy percentage.

“I definitely am not going to shy away from contact”

There is definitely nothing shy about Stiemsma’s game. The center has averaged 6 personal fouls per 36 minutes played for his career and he isn’t about to change now. The Raptors needed a huge dose of toughness to change the tenor of the game against the Thunder and Stiemsma delivered in a big way. It might be hard to keep him on the court, but while he’s there, the Raptors opponents are going to notice.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

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