Basketball REPORTER, You could excuse Patrick O'Bryant for looking a little uncomfortable.
Not only did the little-used Toronto Raptors centre find himself in the game - a rare enough occurrence in his three-year NBA career - he was on the floor in the first quarter.
With other starters. Against other starters.
It's a new experience for O'Bryant, who has averaged five minutes a game in his NBA career. But he played seven in the first half of the Raptors' 118-110 loss to the Atlanta Hawks and 17 for the game, his season high.
He affected the outcome not at all on a night when the Raptors were led by Chris Bosh's 21 points and 10 rebounds, the game turning when the Hawks knocked down four three-point shots without a miss in the fourth quarter as they went 11-for-22 from deep, with Josh Smith and Joe Johnson scoring 25 points each.
As for O'Bryant, on one possession he didn't seem clear on what his role was. On another, he could only watch as Hawks centre Al Horford lofted easy 15-footer over him. Not long after, Zaza Pachulia, not the fleetest of NBA big men, blew by him for a layup.
With just five games to play and the playoffs gone, the Raptors are free to experiment without recrimination.
Enter O'Bryant. The lithe seven-footer was drafted ninth overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2006 but never caught on there in two seasons, appearing in a total of 40 games.
The Boston Celtics took a chance on him as a free agent prior to this season, but he wasn't able to crack their veteran lineup. At the trade deadline, Raptors president Bryan Colangelo was able to acquire him in three-way deal with the Sacramento Kings, giving up only Will Solomon.
And if O'Bryant is so far a washout in his NBA career, he has two qualities most often looked for in teams willing to give second and third chances: He's seven-feet tall and he doesn't turn 23 until June.