Jawai makes his point
NATHAN Jawai is on his way in the NBA after registering his first career points yesterday.
Jawai played almost five-and-a-half minutes in the Toronto Raptors’ 93-76 loss to the high-flying Cavaliers in Cleveland, registering his first points from a lay-up in the final quarter.
New Raptors recruit Shawn Marion, who Toronto picked up last week when Jermaine O’Neal was traded to Miami, found Jawai on the front of the rim and the former Taipan was able to lay-up for his first NBA points.
Jawai also registered a rebound – another career first – in yesterday’s clash.
His first three games – against Detroit, Sacramento and Orlando, had resulted in two turnovers, a foul and a missed shot, with the 208cm Bamaga behemoth having to wait until yesterday to register a positive stat.
Mentor Aaron Fearne said he had received a text message from a thrilled Jawai after the match.
"He was definitely relieved and excited," Fearne said.
"Obviously it’s a very happy day for him. It gets that monkey off his back if you want to call it that.
"With Jermaine O’Neal traded and Kris Humphries still recovering from that broken leg, that’s a chance there now for him."
Jawai made his NBA debut last month after sitting out the opening three months of the season following a health scare.
Routine pre-season cardiac testing picked up an "irregularity", with Jawai only allowed back on the training court in mid-December.
"It was always going to take some time to catch up to the speed and athleticism of the NBA," Fearne said.
"He was out for a long time and lost his timing."
Jawai has been regaining full fitness and entered the game late in the second quarter yesterday, the first time he has been pitched into a match so early. "He started moving well and throwing his weight around," Fearne said from Minnesota, where he watched the match over the internet.
"I don’t think he really hurt (his chances).
"He went out there and did what he was meant to do."
The Raptors play the Knicks in New York tomorrow before returning to Toronto for another match against the Knicks on
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Big rebound: Nathan Jawai scored his first points for the Toronto Raptors and in the NBA.
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