Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bargnani's emotion epitomizes the win streak

"BUY MY DVD!!!!!!!!"

Andrea Bargnani's reaction after he hit what could've very well been the gave-saving 3-pointer was epic. The last time he showed that much outward, obvious emotion of sheer joy was probably when he signed his contract in the summer, or when he got to do that Italian pasta commercial. In all seriousness though, that brute emotion running back down the court and doing the whole jump-and-bodychecking-his-teammates in happiness thing not once - but - twice was exemplary of just how much this game meant to the Raptors, and to the win streak as a whole.

You can't take away any of the wins before tonight as every one was earned, but let's face it, only the New Orleans game that went down to the final minutes in Toronto was one that truly tested the Raptors. They were down 5-6 games below .500 so its not as if the Raptors had anything to be proud about anyway, but that four game win streak before tonight was delightful if not expected (then again, you just have no idea with this team). But this...this game against Charlotte was the first time since facing the Hornets that a good team (regardless of their record) took us down to the wire on our home court and how the Raptors responded really gave a better indication of this team's bonding/chemistry/whatever you want to call it. They've grown.

So to beat the Bobcats, who absolutely destroyed and embarrassed us back in Charlotte earlier, is huge. And that's a huge understatement. In that way, this game was much more important and tougher than it looked on paper. It's officially a legitimate win-streak now - take that as you may. Now I can smile instead of gulp if I read on ESPN NBA's headline somewhere "streaking Raptors" or "surging Raptors".
Losing Turkoglu in the first half evened things out a bit as the Bobcats are missing Chandler, and other players had to step up, and step up they did - from the quirky, mind boggling plays of, all the way up to Marcus Banks, whose confrontation with Gerald Wallace had to, HAD TO have had an effect on the Raps. It definitely rose the tension up a few notches and got things more heated.

I can't speak enough about the demolition that Chris Bosh is putting on other teams, night in night out; particularly the offensive rebounds in the clutch, and the aggressive drives to the hoop rather than settling for the jumper. Or how everyone contributed to a bona-fide victory. I'm just enjoying every second of it, and tomorrow will wake up and smell the coffee..and smile while reading up Raptors related posts all over the web for the last time this year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mirror Image: Jarrett Jack is Xzibit!

A picture is worth a thousand words right? These guys don't just look like brothers separated at birth, but rather identical twins separated at birth. If Jarrett Jack grows his hair and a goatee, you get Mr. X to the Z, Xzibit.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Low Expectations: 13 point deficit now means "The Raptors are IN IT!"

I know it hurts to look at the Raptors
these days, so look at her instead.

I'm not going to bother re-capping that ugly mofo of a game, I'll leave that pain to Raptors Republic and all the other faithful Raptors blogs out there. I put up more of a defense while playing NBA2K for the first time against Adit than the Raptors did in Orlando, so there's nothing really new to say there.

Instead I'll just point out something I found so funny yet so sad. With the Raptors behind by 13 points, about, oh what, the second quarter(?), Leo Rautins was enthusiastically stating something like "The Raptors shouldn't get too down on themselves, they're right in this game!" Now, I must point out that I actually like Leo Rautins - probably the only guy out there that does. But at this point, we're like the abused wife who's about get beat up by her abusive husband yet again and we're clinging on to positives like "well...I only have ONE black eye so far, this isn't SO BAD!"

So really Leo? We're right in this game? Are we even "hanging around"? How do you "hang around" when you can't get a single, simple stop? We were killing ourselves on offense, earning almost every bucket out there, while the Magic looked like they were barely trying.

Has the bar been raised so low now that anything less than a 20 point lead for the opposing team is seen as a positive? Can you just picture an upcoming game, a commercial break takes place in the fourth quarter and Matt Devlin joyously shouts "Don't go anywhere folks, it's only a 22 point game!!!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Off To Nowhere

Doug Smith's latest blog entry following another loss by the Toronto Raptors is titled, "Tell me you were surprised by a bad game following a good one".

It is the Raptors sixth loss, where they have been beaten by more than twenty points. The Raptors are predictable. Pay attention to their efforts in the first quarter and the remainder of the game can be determined.

“It’s a good team, a playoff team. Probably fifth best in the East. But I have no idea why they can’t play hard every night. If you get them down, they go away.”¹

The Raptors are "a good team" on paper, but unfortunately the "good" materializes in reality in snippets. Chris Bosh continues to flourish, but his individual effort cannot bail out the uninspired collective.

“The Magic offered a three-year deal for almost $24-million (US) and Toronto gave me five years and ($53)-million,” Turkoglu said, “They gave me that kind of money and Orlando did not want to pay".

It is never right to fault individual players. But when the second highest paid player struts around on court, while another player like Sonny Weems who barely makes a full million, grinds his heart out, then one is forced to speak out.

“On today’s Raptors ‘You ain’t going nowhere with 7-footers shooting three-pointers. You can’t put four or five scorers on the floor at one time. You can, but you ain’t going nowhere. You got four or five scorers on the floor, ain’t enough shots in a game, in a quarter, for everybody to be consistent. You need your two scorers, outside threat and a post-up threat. You need your sixth man who can score. You need another guy that can just be an all-around energy guy, and you need another guy who can just, you know, play basketball.” - Charles Oakley

Tell me again how the team's problem is not rooted in toughness and I will continually disagree. Explain to me how it is about selflessness, yet how many times do I have to sit and watch Bargnani or Belinelli launch a shot early in to the shotclock when not one of our players is in position to rebound? And why even worry about selflessness when problems are coming from the defensive end?

Toughness, especially at the defensive end wins games. And the toughness I speak of is one, based on a symmetry of the mental and physical. The Raptors are an NBA best, 8-0 when they hold their opponents to less than a hundred points.

I look back at one particular year when the Raptors were 47-35 with a line-up that epitomized effort/heart: Alvin Williams, Vince Carter, Morris Peterson, Charles Oakley and Antonio Davis. Then you have Jerome Williams and Dell Curry on the bench, which gave you both energy and a sixth man, who can score.

Look at the present Raptors roster and the rest will speak for itself.

Can I get a F*ck you?

I got no game. I'm still trying find it against Asian guys at the UofT gym. I don't know the difference between speed at the NCAA or the NBA level. Cause yeah, I'm an arm chair analyst. Doug Smith - I know you see me. I know that it exists because Rick Kamla mentioned it. Cause he's on NBA TV (period.). If I had good wifi, I'd have told you about how I wiki'd his ass and read a couple sentences and told myself that I know enough about him to write about him. Unfortunately, I pay for the utilities at my house.

Nah, on the real though - I understand - I will get to the point. The Raps suck - I think that's what you wanted to hear anyways. Kobe will win again with his fractured finger and everything. The headlines on NYTimes will read "Kobe scored > 50 points despite broken finger." It will be beautiful, mind you like Russel Crowe (You got that after you noticed the comma and you still thought it was lame - cool - me f*ing too).

DESPITE all that, I've convinced myself that I will watch, err, I mean waste time watching, at least half of Raps game this year because they are supposed to be better, even tough I believed O'Neal last year when he mentioned the forbidden American word: "championship" (for real - how could I be so stupid!). That, well you know the rest, did not pan out. But yeah, check this math out about how I'll watch half of the Raps' games: 82/2 * 2.5 =~ 102 hours. Or 102/24 = 4.25 days. Holy sh*t. Only if I spent that much time working on my resume.

Anyways, I came on here to say one thing (I realize that it's my first post), but I just just got all Jay Z'd reminiscing about T.O .. can i live?. I've lived in the states, it simply doesn't compare to Toronto unless of course you play for Knicks (I'm sorry but NYC is best city in the world). LA is close only because of Kobe. But what I don't understand is why Canadians have an inferiority complex about TO. Listen (but I really mean F*ing Listen), T.O is second best city in North America. The fact that Hedo chose T.O over steel factory-ass Portland should not impress you. I've been to Portland. They got nice seals only cuz they close to the Pacific. Toronto - we got strip clubs and shit. And shawarma. And Ox tail. And Curry. And food from every culture except maybe one.

What I mean is this. We can't let athletes front when they are drafted, traded or acquired by Toronto. We've already have established the fact that we are a great city - we need more. We need good players. We should worry when a player describes our diversity as one of the reasons they picked T.O. We got diversity and all that - but players like Turk should understand it is not why picked him. If we wanted a Turk - we'd have picked that guy that owns the Shawarma joint near Spadina and Bloor.

So next time a players hypes up Toronto for it's diversity, we should all be like "Can I get a f*ck you?"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What is the Problem?

Bosh doesn't know either why the Raps show no effort.

What is exactly the problem with this group that they always make you guess if they'll show up to each game? Most people wouldn't have been surprised if we lost to the Rockets to Sunday - hell, probably we were expecting a loss. But the Raptors didn't just win, they won in convincing fashion. We blew them out.

So what the fuck happened tonight in Miami? We MUST be a superior team than them, we just HAVE to be. How is it they outplayed us? Because they lost 4 in a row at home probably and got whooped by the Grizzlies, but that shouldn't matter because if we matched half their intensity we would've had this game in the bag.

We are WAY too Talented to be 11-16. I know it's been a tough schedule, 9 new players, blah blah blah, fuck the excuses - we should be at least .500. I really believe that. We had inexcusable losses to Memphis and Charlotte, and most other games where we would've won only had our team showed some damn passion and pride.

Is it Triano? I'm getting frustrated more and more by him as each game passes, but I honestly don't know. Isn't it the coach's job to motivate his guys to haul ass out there? The schedule gets a bit easier and we could very well end up with a winning record by the end of the season and will be in the playoffs one way or another - welcome to the Eastern Conference, where being 11-17 only puts you about 2 games back of the FIFTH SPOT! I don't know if I should be happy or manically depressed that we're in the playoffs with our dismal record.

I understand losing to great teams, but its the way in which we lose - getting routed time after time to mediocre teams at best - like Miami. Why are they more hungry than us? Why do they have a better record than us? Ok that's probably because they've had a light schedule, and by the end we should - BETTER have more wins than them.

So, again, what is exactly is the problem? We're worst defensive team in the league. Defense is effort isn't it? You don't have to be a highly skilled defensive player to get some stops, just fucking put some effort out there man, what's the problem? Why aren't the players embarrassed that the Golden State Warriors are ranked higher than us in defense, hell even the Bricks (Knicks). And losing is one thing, but show some damn pride.

By the way, does everyone still want Jarrett Jack as the unquestionable starter? He scored six points, made one field goal, had 1 assist, and registered 5 turnovers. Calderon's always been my guy, but I'm rooting for Jack, I really am - but he's not helping himself with games like these.

Random thoughts:

  • Triano why the FUCK are you playing Rasho in garbage time? That's just a slap to his face. Hasn't the guy proven himself enough through out his career, do you really need to make him lug his slow ass body out there for an already decided game and risk breaking a bone? The guy is old, he's a wily veteran, he's won a ring, he doesn't need to see the court time in a blowout. He deserves a little more respect than that.
  • If the Raps somehow win tomorrow in Orlando (I know, chances are slim to none), it'll only confuse everybody. This team would be truly unpredictable then.
  • Why is Marcus Banks seeing the floor? Who cares if he's the only other true point guard available, he's shit. Sure, he doesn't complain or whine, but that's not the point, the point is he SUCKS. It must be because BC is trying to trade him so we need Banks out there to show other teams that he can play right? Only one problem - he CAN'T. Get this Tracy Morgan look-a-like mofo the fuck outta here. I'd rather see Belinelli at point even though he's been struggling hard as of late.
  • Bosh with 2 rebounds..and it wasn't even because he wasn't trying.
  • Sonny Weems is earning his playing time. He's even hitting his jumper consistently. Go Joey Graham!! err..Sonny Weems!
  • Poor DeRozan - he was driving hard to the rim tonight, but didn't get any calls. A lot of contact on a lot of plays, no calls for the Raptors.
  • When did the Heat get Carlos Arroyo?
  • When is Reggie Evans getting back? Like I said before, it's looking more and more like Rachel was right - maybe Evans really is out for the year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Best Part About Jack's Confrontation

Let's go straight to the heated moment of the game and look at the Trevor Ariza - DeMar DeRozan incident:

First of all, that was an extremely cheap shot by Ariza. But I do personally think it had a lot to do with his frustration - his team's getting blown out, he didn't hit a shot, and he just got outplayed by a rookie who stole the ball him in a rather embarrassing manner - not an excuse by any means for that kind of reaction. After all, he swiped at the back of DeRozan's head with his elbow. Dirty play, but is Ariza a dirty player? I know he's had one other dirty play, and interestingly enough that also involved him swinging his elbow to connect with the back of an opponent's head.

If Ariza had connected on DeRozan too, who knows what would've happened? Most likely DeRozan would've been knocked out worse than TJ Ford was when he got nailed by Al Horford. And Jack's confrontation would've been much more aggressive; hell the whole team would've probably been running at Ariza, at least you'd like to think so as Raptors fans as we're used to our team not standing up for themselves.

So why was Jarrett Jack's confrontation so unique? Forget for a second that it was probably the first legitimate get-in-your-face stance a Raptor has taken this season for one of his teammates (the Bosh-Stoudemire incident seemed contrived). Jack's confrontation of Ariza was distinct because he didn't even have a clue as to what Ariza actually did! Jack stated:

“I actually didn’t see what happened. I was up running with DeMar (DeRozan) and when I turned around I saw the ref making the technical foul signal and I saw our whole bench standing up. I knew he must have done something. I’m going to have anyone’s back in that situation and stand up for them. No question.”
Jack didn't know what the hell actually happened, but just seeing his team's bench get riled up over a technical foul signaled by the ref toward Ariza was good enough for him to immediately get in Ariza's face. The speed of the reaction is what's really impressive. It's not like Jack took a minute to ask his teammates what had exactly happened and then decided to confront Ariza - that wouldn't have been half as impressive or gritty as him just gunning straight toward Ariza right away without even knowing what Ariza actually did. It's that natural and instantaneous reaction that really fills you with pride and joy and speaks of some form of toughness, which has been sorely racking, as we all know too well, being Raptors fans.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Euro Selflessness

Generally the big verdict on the Raptors is we're too soft, too european. Now while both those things may be true, the problem to me seems to be not the fact that our players are too soft, i think it's just the style of play. In today's NBA toughness is a virtue, but lets face it, it's a rarity. Last years lakers won the title and with the exception of fish and kobe, nobody else is/was tough on that team and their identity was certainly not toughness. In fact, even the hawks who destroyed us in recent history are by no means a "tough" team. Within all the NBA, I would dare to venture that toughness is really only evident in the celtics and the rockets, and to a lesser degree perhaps in 2-3 other teams. Toughness is nice, but talent is more important to the real winners. After all, the playoffs are a different animal, nobody rolls over in the playoffs anyways. So for arguments sake, if toughness isn't the raptor problem, what is?

It's easy to blame the coaches, the players, the schedule and the athleticism but I think the problem is more in our seflessness. It's something that occurred to me when I read something Yao said about how when he was playing international, it wasn't good to stand out from the team and so coaches frowned upon players dunking and putting the eyes on them. When he came to the rockets, they wanted him to dunk everything and so they made it that whenever he layed the ball in instead of dunking, his teammates would run laps.

I combined this with something I read about some player in europe who played against Jennings when he had 12-15 points in one quarter. The exact details may be wrong because it was a while ago but his opinion was that jennings scoring 50+ was no surprise because scoring 12-15 in a quarter of Euroball is even more unheard of. That kind of play is deemed selfish and frowned upon.

Those two alone made me think seems to be the root of our problems. How many times have we seen jose or belineli pump fake on very open shots whereas a more selfish player might have taken those shots. It always strikes me when we play against other teams like the nuggets for example. JR knows his range and is willing to take 5-6 shots in a row while i don't know any player other than Bosh has done that. Billups constantly walks the ball up for a straight away three pointer. Again, this has never happened with this team.

Jose is our best shooter and should not care if he takes 10 shots in a quarter. If they're open, I can safely say, any raptor fan would live with his shot. Hedo is our second best player but defers to almost everyone on the court. Both players need to be selfish. Meanwhile we see Weems and Wright having no hesitation to jack up as many shots as they can. Even when Jack was shooting bricks, he never hesitated to shoot it. One thing that stands out to me about the raptors is you never really see anyone other than Bosh go off for big games. We're too much of a TEAM for that. Our best games are when everyone is in double digits rather than 2-3 guys having monster games.

The worst part of this is that the solution is that we need to change how players have been playing for most of their life. I don't even know how to begin to spread that kind of message to the players but hopefully someone in that organization does. I for one am sick of our reluctance to shoot open shots. Too many times does it let the defense recover to our shooters and forces one of our poorer shooters to take a still open shot. At the end of the day, I would have lived with Jose our Bargnani or Hedo taking the more open one earlier in the shot clock. But then again, I'm not afraid to stand out.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Atlanta Thrashers - not the NHL team, just what the Hawks are against the Raptors

A sight only too familiar with Raps fans:
an opposing player dunking with no defense
to be seen.

Such a pathetic effort I'm typing this up while the game's still going on in the fourth quarter.
  • Atlanta is just DANGEROUS. I've been reading up on them, and wasn't sure what to think at first, but damn they are just lethal. They score so fast off a missed shot or a turnover..they're like the Phoenix Suns with defense.
  • Anyone else found it ironic when they were showing a split screen with Antoine Wright's interview talking about change in team mentality while the Raps are getting their ass kicked in the live game feed?
  • Payal from Raptors Game Time tweeted: "Enjoy that the 3 streak is on there is meaning to it! The only bright spot for the Raps right now literally is Patrick O'Bryant blue jacket" Ouch.
  • I appreciate Jack Armstrong calling it like it is during embarrassing efforts like this. At least he doesn't sugar coat what's going on like most analysts.
  • I fucking hate Antoine Wright. Every game I see him, my dislike for him grows. God he sucks. He should only take shots when he's left open.
  • Amir Johnson continues to impress. Wish the rest of the squad had the heart and hustle of this guy.
  • Turk started out the game hot and then just got abused on defense. He got exposed worse than Tiger Woods.
  • I know the Raptors showed no effort, but is it just that? Is it also we just simply don't match up well with them at all? They're all agile and athletic, which is the opposite of us. If we make the playoffs, and I'm sure we will as a low seed, I'd rather face the Celtics, I kid you not.
  • Why do people call for the booing to stop? They're paying top dollar to come and watch a live game, with their team showing no effort and is getting blown out..what do you want them to do exactly..cheer? This is Toronto. The city demands effort. Anything less is absolutely unacceptable.
  • Quote of the night: this exchange between me and my friend Adit, right before tip-off "Shit, should've picked Williams." Me: "what, for fantasy team?" Adit: "Ya, any wing player against the Raps is money."
  • Time for another team meeting. Or five. Did I mention I hate Antoine Wright?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

He Need To Be Playing.

Alright it's been a while but lets give this a go.

The thing that I'm probably most grateful about this season is that some of our players have had minor injuries. What I'm talking about is I like that certain people are taking the game off because it's giving a chance to some of the people deeper into the rotation. What I liked the most about this offseason was the added strength to the bench but the problem was that we can only have so many people on the floor and so we as fans, never really get to see how good some of these players are. So here are some of the injuries i've been talking about.

1. First off the list has to be that recent hip injury to Jose. I still think Jose is the better player, but I've always felt that Jack is the better player in the starting lineup. He and DeRoazen both offer a lot that Bargnani, Bosh and Hedo simply can't bring. They are both strong quick players who can guard their own position but more importantly can simply play the fast break much better than Jose. Then with ocho off the bench, he a lot better at getting others involved and thus can help make people like Belineli and Wright a little more consistent. Not to mention, Jose is generally a consistent 10-12 points off the bench himself.

2. Those minor injuries to Hedo really paid off for the young Mr Weems. Every time I see that guy the only thing I can say is that he deservers to play. It's a similar situation to Jack really in that they may not necessarily be the better player than Hedo or Wright but they bring more unique elements to the lineup. Weems is one of the only people on the lineup who is always looking to run and is willing to take the ball down the centre of the lane. I never understood why we don't do that more. With the way the game is called today, even in a one on three, people get the call more often than not. He jack and Demar are the only ones who do this and as we can see in Demar's recent trips to the free throw line, it's proving to be very effective.

3. Alright, the last one pains me to say it, but the injury to Reggie is really paying off for Amir. The man has become a great rebounder no both ends, plays good d, but more importantly knows his limits, plays within his game, and gives us a lot of heart and hustle. Granted reggie will bring all of those things, besides maybe the playing within his game but if he was never injured, our big man rotation might have just ended at Rasho and Reggie. I think Amir has assured himself of a steady spot in the rotation.

The biggest blessing here has definitely been that these injuries were/are only minor things but it's definitely been great to see what our bench can offer that are more unique than what some of our starters may be offering. I definitely hope Triano is thinking about making the lineup offer unique things rather than just playing the people who have the best overall rating.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

i'm not sayin, i'm just sayin...

I'm not sayin...

I'm just sayin...

Turk, Bargs, and Rasho drink on a fan's dime after ignoring him in L.A.

"I left the restaurant putting the bill on some guy's tab
who just wanted to say 'hi' to that's CLUTCH!"

A fan at a restaurant was shunned when he approached Turkoglu, Bargnani, and Nesterovic at their table, yet they still placed the bill on HIS TAB!

"At this table sits, Rasho Nesterovic, Andrea Bargnani, Hedo Terkoglu, and some new white Raptor that I had trouble identifying. Perhaps it was Zan Tabak after having undergone skin-rejuvenating botox injections. Letting the alcohol do the talking is something that generally has worked for me in the past. Not this time. The restaurant crowd is quite thin at this point and no one other than our table seems to have recognized these overgrown whities. “Hello fellows”, I eke out. “So nice to see you here. I’m from Toronto, as you may have guessed and we’re so glad to be in the company of other fellow Canadians. Congratulations on beating the Clippers tonight, might I add”. Silence. No eye contact. Silence. “That being said, can we offer you guys a drink”..."

Read the rest of the encounter here:

Oh yeah, not much to say about the Minny game tonight other than it was dangerously and unnecessary close, but I guess the positive way to look at it is that we can grind out least against the Timberpups.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

This is Why I'm Hot - Raptors Decimate Bulls while Jarret Jack Ties His Shoe

Jose loves himself a blowout win

That game was, in one word, I think Jack Armstrong said it best - "nirvana". After such a hard fought and emotional win last night, how would the Raptors respond on the second game of a back to back; something we've usually been brutal in, plus Chi-town was 5-1 at home before this game. Then we get off to a hot start - like we did in Washington - except this time take it WAYYY high and never look back. It was a blowout for the ages, just the fashion in which it happened. DeMar DeRozan's alley-oop with one hand, followed by his vicious slam past Brad Miler. We just never let up. Bosh putting 25 in 22 minutes! Then later on of course this happened:

As my friend Adit said, "I've never seen anything like that." And you know what, it was GREAT to see something like that. For once, the Raptors were on the giving end of a taunt - I mean, I highly doubt Jack meant to intentionally taunt the Bulls like that, but if you're the Bulls you can't take it as anything less than disrespect. Especially because it was in the midst of a blowout, and especially after LeBron James taunted them just last night by dancing silly. -> which by the way was completely uncalled for and unprofessional - I'm glad Noah stood up that bullshit.

  • Did you see Chris Bosh, Jose, and the rest of the bench smiling and laughing? When was the last time we've seen that?
  • Belinelli just looks weeeirdddd when clean shaven. My buddy noted "he looks like a mouse." Strikingly true.
  • How about Nesterovic banging out there and running up and down. Dude was on.
  • Even in a blowout and plenty of garbage time, Pops couldn't get a field goal - I was really rooting for him to get a bucket, poor guy even had his alley-oop jam rim out.
  • DeRozan took a big step these past couple of games? Did you see his face as he came back up the court after dunking on Miller? Eyes of an assassin - stark contrast to his usually happy-go-lucky demeanour - glad Turk told his ass to sit down though when he was dancing in the fourth - especially in light of LeBron's antics.
  • Triano did good. Real good. How freakin' good was his call to NOT change the starting lineup at all starting from the Wizards game last night? If we lost, people would be asking for his head. He didn't succumb to the pressure, so I give him props for that.
  • Turkoglu's passes never cease to amaze me.
  • Gotta grab that win against Minnesota on Monday. No ifs, ands, or buts.
  • What do you think Chuck Swirsky was saying as the Bulls play-by-play man?
    Bring out the salami and cheese, this game was over in the first quarter.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hedo Clutch-A-Loo Comes Through Along With Bosh's Monster Night

Chris Bosh celebrates the gutsy overtime win

I was at Jackastor's for the game and surprisingly, people started getting noisy from the fourth quarter, making me realize - shit, people are actually watching the Raptors in here. Quite a spectacle, and when Turk hit that tough, TOUGH fadeaway game-winner - well, the place went wild. Just how impressive was that shot?

"Turkish Jordan. It was a tough shot. I tried to make him take a difficult shot, and it's exactly what happened." - Caron Butler

He clanked the 3-pointer at the end of regulation, but you just knew no matter how many times he misses he wasn't going to shy away by any means. I texted a bunch of people after that crazy shot, and my buddy Adit replied "that's why we pay him 10 mil a year". Ya damn right. It must be noted, he didn't always take the shot down the stretch of regulation - one particular play, Turk cut down the middle and made a beautiful pass to Bosh who if I remember correctly got an and-1.

Speaking of, where do you start? I haven't seen Chris Bosh play like that in ages.
34 points 16 rebounds - 9 of those offensive (!!!!) 4 assists and 2 blocks

No matter how much you may dislike the guy, he couldn't do anything wrong last night. He kept driving it hard to the rim in the tension filled fourth quarter, and got some ridiculous and one's throughout the night. The one where it looked like he may have travelled, but then just glided to the left of the rim and swiped the ball in was breathtaking. And the one play that keeps replaying in my mind where he took on the whole Wizards front line it seemed underneath the basket, and kept trying to put it in, and got his own rebound about 3 straight times. Just monstrous.

My boy Bargnani was disappointing me greatly, then of course he hits that killer three in crunch time of regulation and hits some timely and oh-so-important shots in overtime.

Jack was...what we thought he was going to be when we acquired him. And that's a great thing.

What better way to finish this game, especially after all the pressure building up from the team-meeting and all huh? Crazy shit. If we lost this one it would've so dispiriting it's a scary thought just to think about it. All the hate would come out again, starting with "Why the hell didn't Triano change the starting lineup at all after he said he probably would!?"

We must win tomorrow. We have to. After a crazy night in Washington, anything less than a win will be a huge...disappointment.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"We're just not a good team." - Chris Bosh, checking in with Reality

Bosh's hand isn't big enough to hide his face in shame.

They say admission is the first step toward recovery, and Chris Bosh finally opened up to reality. Reality the Raptors, for intents and purposes, suck shit right now. Jay Triano could learn a thing or two about admitting what is the state of the sad-sack Raptors. For all the offensive flare, we're getting raped without the lube on defense.

Just when you thought that Boston game was the most humiliating loss ever..the Raptors lose in Atlanta. Fine. Predictable. Hell, almost acceptable. But by a final score of 146-115? You'd think you would only see that in an NBA LIVE game for your PS3 or whatever the hell you play it on.

There's no point in talking about the actual game. These quotes are what's really going to make the fish fry in least you'd hope so.

Chris Bosh:

"“Defensive effort hasn’t been there for a while,” Chris Bosh said. “We have to be honest with ourselves. (Wednesday night) was just a total embarrassment. We couldn’t stop anybody. We haven’t stopped anybody all year. “The past few games we have been outworked in every aspect. We don’t get on the ground. We don’t consistently get rebounds. We give up a lot of points in the paint. No coverage is good for us. I mean it’s just not a good team."

This is gonna sound insane, but that might be the first, closest dose of leadership we've seen from CB4 this year so far. Yeah, he's got more than his share of blame to carry around, being the franchise player and all, but this is also the first time he's actually called out the team, and thus, his coach. Part of leadership is calling out your team when it's warranted, and not being afraid of how your teammates + coaching staff might feel. I'm not letting Bosh himself off the hook by any means, but its about time he speaks loudly about what is bound to be the worst defensive team in NBA history.

Jarret Jack:

"Every time something happens it's always, `It's okay, it's all right.' It's not all right. Problems go by without attacking them or challenging them or bringing them to the forefront and getting them solved. We can't keep keep putting them to the back of the bus and just saying, `That's okay.' It's not all right. Everybody can't walk on eggshells around here and say, `We're playing good basketball.' We're not."
You fucking tell'em JJ. I like that he's basically calling out Triano specifically. Even Bosh didn't point the finger that accurately at the coach.

Antoine Wright:

"You've got to address (the defensive issues) and you've got to show people on tape. It's not personal. If you want to win, you're going to have to make some sacrifices."
From The Toronto Star:

Wright, who has criticized Triano's schemes previously, was the only Raptor not to see the floor on Wednesday. He said Triano has failed to "call out" under-performing Raptors because unnamed teammates are "too sensitive" to criticism. And although he and Jack were the most explicit in their post-game assessments, their sentiments weren't unique. After Triano gave a post-game press briefing in which he said he couldn't fault his team's effort - "I can't say I (saw players) not trying out there" - other eyes remembered it another way.

It's sad when Antoine Wright, an NBA journeyman, has to keep calling out the team. He's been pretty sub-par himself, but at least he's trying to hold the team accountable. Same with Jarrett Jack.

A word on Triano: he's either insane, or just plain stupid. I like him, I really do, and I want him to do well. But to keep insisting after every game that the Raptors are "alright" makes you wanna throw a piece of dog turd at him. We're not alright. We're on pace to become the worst defensive team in NBA history. And he keeps insisting they're just figuring it out, so it's going to be okay. How can it be okay if you can't even admit we're getting blown out of the water worse than a Tsunami? Remember that scene from Pulp Fiction when Butch (Bruce Willis) saves Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) from the rapists:

Butch: You okay?
Marsellus: Naw man. I'm pretty fuckin' far from okay.
Instead of Triano saying "I'm pretty fuckin' far from okay" after this, it's like he's saying "Yeah, I'm fine. I just got raped up the ass in Atlanta but I'm just gonna walk on like nothing happened and just hope that I don't get sodomized again."

So like I said, he's whether insane or unbelievably stupid. Insane if he truly thinks they'll just suddenly turn it around, when he can't even admit it's a glaring problem to begin with, or unbelievably stupid if he actually thinks there isn't anything THAT WRONG with this team in the first place.

*credit: Raptors Republic

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hedo hits the GAME Win.. err....PIZZA WINNER!

Get that gaw-bej outta here!

Another night, another disappointing loss. This is when the schedule was supposed to get easy no? Forget Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas. We would've won this game if it wasn't for Brendan Haywood. He blocked so many good, hard drives by Bosh and co. it was ridiculous. And the ones he didn't block, he certainly altered or at least intimidated. He was the X-Factor, Game Changer, whatever lame company sponsored feature you wanna label it.

This has to be mentioned. With the game gone away for good, and with 1.2 seconds left, the crowd starts suddenly cheering like there's no tomorrow? Why? For Pizza of course!! WOW. How low was that? "Hey, who cares if we lose the game, at least give us a slice of pizza!!" That was kind of embarrassing, to me at least. The crowd goes wild...for a SLICE of Pizza. Well, the economy is tough these days, so I guess every little dollar counts. So who says Turkoglu isn't clutch? The man hit the last shot, a fade away three, under pressure from the crowd, and delivered!!! Okay, back to reality:
  • How many people saw Chris Bosh getting the picked away by Antawn Jamison when he drove late in the fourth quarter on Haywood coming form a mile away?
  • Turkoglu came up bricks late in the game when he had so many chances to pull us closer.
  • Why didn't Bargnani get more touches?
  • Calderon was lighting it up early...could it be because he still remember Arenas calling him out on his infamous blog, stating Calderon isn't an all-star?
  • I miss Arenas...the old Arenas. He's not the same. The NBA needs him.
  • I HATE Antoine Wright. The guy showed zero defensive prowess, his supposed strength, and had the audacity to jack up a 3 on the fast break like he's Belinelli, Turkoglu, Bargnani, or Calderon. Or Jack. I'd actually say he's been one of the biggest disappointments.
  • Is Jack getting back into form? Or were all those threes just a fluke? It was a pleasure seeing him and Calderon actually be able to play together well for once.
  • Antawn Jamison is a BEAST. A BEAST.
  • Bargnani had 20 points and 11 rebounds. Would've liked to see him get more touches in the fourth when the Raps were choking for offense.
  • What are the chances we win in ATL tomorrow? Slim-to-none? Do the Raps shock us with a win? Because it would be a total shock, and nothing less.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Time To Respond

Raptors need to respond today and I believe they will. If they don't, then god held us all. It's tipoff time, time to "BANG ON!"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Utterly Humiliated: Defining Play of This Raptors Season

I know its infuriating, but let's take a look again at how Paul Pierce shat on the Raptors:

As much as you may hate Pierce, this isn't about him. Pierce is a bastard, but that's far besides the point. The reaction, or lack thereof, after Pierce throws down a thunderous dunk on Bosh all the while Pierce's knee strikes Bosh's stomach, is pathetic. Pitiful. And to add insult to injury, Pierce stood over Bosh and stared at him = taunting him. I don't need to go through all the details again, just want to put in my two cents about this predicament.

This was THE DEFINING play of this fresh season for your Toronto Raptors. I think Arsenalist of Raptors Republic summed it up best:

"So far, so pussy."

Of all the defensive struggles and the inabilities to give 48 minutes worth of effort on the court, the one thing that irks me - and YOU - is how soft the Raptors are. Mashed potatoes soft. Campbell's soup - ready in a minute - soft. And the Celtics brought out the worst in us, with Paul Pierce nailing the hammer. How the FUCK does nobody other than the Toronto coaches react after such an insult? The dunk itself was fine, a heckuva basketball play, but a player standing over your FRANCHISE PLAYER and taunting him while he's clutching himself in pain?



We've seen this too many times, hell even with this same opponent. From the infamous KG-Jose confrontation, where Mr.Nice Guy himself, Calderon started talking back to the douche-bag that is KG because nobody, including Chris Bosh himself would stand up for Jose.

So let's fast forward to this event now. Triano and his minions were the only ones to get upset and do anything about it.

The players all get a big F+ for Fail, especially Jarrett Jack because he is supposed be one of our 'tough' guys. And he's Bosh's boy - for God's sake - they room together don't they? Jack claims he didn't think the play was dirty. The dunk itself wasn't dirty - okay, it was 'dirty', but just in the slang sense, as in it was amazing whether you like to admit it or not. But, it wasn't dirty, as in, it didn't look like Pierce intentionally threw out his knee to hurt Bosh - it was just bad luck. The only aspect that was truly dirty was Pierce taunting Bosh after the dunk while Bosh is there lying on the floor in pain. Jack saw that, hell the whole world's seen it by now, and that should've compelled Jack to at least do SOMETHING - ANYTHING, other than just to continue playing like NOTHING happened, like your boy/franchise player didn't just get his ass handed to him!!!

A lot of stupid commenters are saying things like "Bosh shouldn't have jumped, Pierce was already in the air, it was a surefire score" and other insidious comments like "next time, don't jump" . Wow. Yeah, that silly Chris Bosh - it's his fault for TRYING TO PLAY DEFENSE!!??

I know the game was pretty much already decided, but you have to appreciate that the man at least still tried to contest the play, he just ended up on the wrong end of it - reminds me a lot of Garbajosa's epic injury when he chased down Al Jefferson on the breakaway in a similar game - took place in Boston, and the game was already pretty much over.

But what Bosh COULD'VE controlled is his reaction after he got up. He claims he didn't even see Pierce towering over him and taunting him because he was in so much pain he was "pretty much looking at the ground." Fine, even if that's truth, didn't he realize what had happened from the reactions of the coaching staff? Didn't he find out once he went to the bench?

And laughing on the bench with Marcus Banks? I think that's Bosh trying to show he wasn't affected much by the play; as in like he's trying to show I'm past it, look, I'm not intimidated or anything, it doesn't even mean anything. Which, course, made it ten times worse. I think Bosh was so embarrassed and humiliated, he tried to play it off as if NOTHING happened.

I can't help but imagine how much we needed Reggie Evans on the floor last night, if only for that one play. Speaking of Evans, Rachel thinks he's done for the year and the Raps are just trying to cover it up. I that's extreme and far fetched, or at least I hope so. But that's another topic for another day.

I told my friend Rubin before this game that Bosh has been putting up monster numbers this season, but that how he plays against Boston will be the ultimate test since he always gets his panties tied in a knot whenever he faces KG and Rasheed Wallace. Well, he put up 20/13, which is more than respectable, but his lack of reaction after he got kneed and taunted is an EPIC FAIL. It's much worse than him having a bad game statistically against his tormentors. The fact that he didn't even have the balls (no pun intended) to go after Pierce - in the very LEAST - confront him speaks volumes about him, and ultimately this team as NOBODY did.

Even with that, YOU'RE the FRANCHISE PLAYER. If anyone stand up for you and lead by example, it's GOTTA BE YOU. I'm not deflecting any blame off the other players by any means - it was a shameful exhibition of lack of pride and toughness around the whole circle - but the main guy on the team's gotta take charge, even if he couldn't right away as he was trying to gather himself on the floor.

Steve Nash is tougher than Chris Bosh - remember the way Nash went after Robert Horry after he got body checked into the stands. So you can't say Bosh was hurt, lying on the floor. Yes, he was, but he should've chased down Pierce after the way Nash confronted Horry.

Antoine Wright is talking a lot of the right stuff, but it's all talk anyway - and even Chris Bosh admitted that. Let's see if anything changes, but we as Raptors fans know better than to hold our breath. Next time we face Boston, Bosh has got to play mean and try to rip the rim off. The mindset has got to be "There Will Be Blood" with Bosh playing the leading role.

I'm almost glad this happened, as weird as that may sound - hopefully this pushes the whole team over the edge, lights a collective fire underneath their asses.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Here is a random Celtics blog. Let them know how you feel.

Bosh Ponders..

Take a peek into Chris Bosh's thoughts..

Fascism in Dinoland

Raptor fans, I urge you to follow me in a revolution to advocate Amir Johnson, aka Andre 3000 as starter. I’m back at it again to talk shit about everybody’s favourite Raptor, Andrea Bargnani.

Well, fuck Bargnani! And “Fuck Bargnani!” should be a slogan. Are you listening, B.C.? You fascist son-of-a-bitch! Are we really supposed to believe we can win anything with Andrea Bargnani; a lazy, air-greedy giant that can’t even make a lay-up. We’re paying six and a half million calzones and counting on a guy, who’s only consistency, is to advertise his favourite Italian pasta.

I’ve been fortunate to watch every single Raptors game so far this season. I love the intensity CB4 brings night in and night out. But contrast CB4’s desire to play to Bargnani and Bosh looks like a hungry dinosaur; an angry motherfucker, whose dinosaur babies has just been eaten by another dinosaur versus Bargnani, who always plays like that triceratops they find in Jurassic Park that’s sluggish and constipated. Someone check this man’s shit!

Why Amir Johnson over Bargnani? First of all, the Raptors shouldn’t even waste any more time with Bargnani. If Bosh leaves, do you think the franchise is any safer by having Bargnani around? FUCK, NO! I like Amir’s game. I’ve seen Triano use the combination of Bargnani and Amir plenty of times this season. And what I noticed a few times is that when the opponent shoots the ball, Bargnani is usually not boxing out, but instead already running the other direction. Meanwhile, poor Amir is left alone, battling for rebounds and getting eaten by all three: Rashard Lewis, Gortat (the Polish beast) and Mickael Pietrus. Tell me... why the fuck is the tallest guy on the floor not even attempting to get a rebound?

If it came down to choosing between Amir Johnson and Bargnani as my new franchise player – again, this is only if it came down to it (in other words, it won’t) – I would choose Johnson without hesitation. I’ll always choose a player with fire, desire over someone who doesn’t show any bit of it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ask Bryan Colangelo A Stupid Question in Rogers Ultimate Access

How bad are those Rogers Ultimate access questions that get asked to "Bryan Colangelo" during the games? First of all, who knows if it's actually Colangelo himself answering in the first place. Second, who knows if it's even real fans asking these questions? People complain Leo Rautins commentates as if the audience is completely aloof to the game of basketball, which may be true, but then the questions that get sent in by fans during these games make Rautins' analysis look complex and sophisticated.

The questions that supposedly come in from fans directed towards Colangelo look like it's coming from a fourth grader - today's question went something like this during the Raps-Pacers game:

"Do you think Amir Johnson's hustle has made the Raptors staff give him more minutes?"

...what do YOU think?

What other foolish questions are "fans" going to ask?

"Do you think Chris Bosh gaining 15 pounds of muscle has helped his inside game!!??" - Patel from Peterborough

And the week after that, you can expect:

"Hi Bryan. Do you think Hedo Turkoglu's performance in the playoffs last year and in the finals particularly helped raise his stock to get a big contract in the summer?" - Lauren from Edmonton

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jose Calderon Is Mad

Jose Calderon is pissed off. He's pissed off that he hasn't started the season with a bang since he got banged last year, he's pissed off his shot hasn't been falling, and he's really pissed off that it's only increased the doubters to the point of suggesting that Jarrett Jack should replace him as starter. That changed in New Orleans, when he stood over Chris Paul and stared him down and said who knows what; whatever it was, it wasn't pretty unlike his razor-sharp sideburns.

Since then, while it would be too much to say he's been on a tear, he has regained his shot back, and has started to somewhat consistently attack the rim - with success. Let's not kid our selves, he's been getting rocked defending opposing point guards on the point of attack, but what made it really bad was that he wasn't putting up much on the offensive end either.

And there's no better player than to turn it around against than Chris Paul, pound for pound, the NBA's best point guard. While the Hornets are sucking hard, Chris Paul himself isn't. He was scoring pretty much at will, as he would against anybody because, well, he's Chris Paul, but Calderon ended with 16 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and no turnovers, which is one of Calderon's strengths as he is low-risk, conservative guard. I noticed a little jolt in his step when he hit that deep three, and it became abundantly clear to me when he was jawing with Chris Paul after he caused the turnover...Jose Calderon is pissed. And its great to see.

He may be the nicest guy in the NBA off the floor, but on the court he's a competitor. I honestly think outside of Chris Bosh, he's the toughest player the Raptors have had in the past couple of seasons (until Reggie Evans arrived this year). Now, by tough I don't mean physically, that he doesn't get injured, or some kind of an iron-man type, but tough, as in, he stands up for himself when need be. Think about this for a second: the last two guys he confronted were Kevin Garnett and Chris Paul. That's the NBA's biggest dick/intimidator, and the NBA's best point guard right there.

With Kevin Garnett, Calderon came back with some getting-in-your-face of his own, even with a timeout being called when Chris Bosh, the franchise player and leader couldn't even stand up for his teammate. Bosh, as anytime he faces KG, plays like shit and lets KG's scare tactics get to him. So with Bosh not doing anything, the referees not calling any of the over-the-top antics KG was pulling like crawling on the ground like a dog barking at Jose, Jose stood up for himself, and with some anger too. Enough is enough.

With Chris Paul, while CP3 wasn't overtly taunting JC in any way, you could feel the tone of superiority he was painting all over Jose. Calderon going into that game knew full well what the critics were saying about his inability to perform as of late, and took it to Chris Paul in his own right, but to me, that little confrontation after both of them fell was the ultimate statement. Chris Paul looked at him and then to the referee like "this piece of shit can't get that call against me, you crazy ref?" and Calderon's reaction was something like "That's right, get your ass up and gimme the ball. You're not above me" Even though CP3 IS the best point guard, Calderon was demanding respect.

And looking at last night's game vs the Bulls, he was LOOKING for his shot in that fourth quarter and took those jumpers off the Bosh screen right above the key and nailed'em with confidence. That's the Jose I know, and it's great to see. But what I didn't realize until now is that no matter how much he may struggle in guarding the dribble penetration, he won't accept anything less than respect from opposing players, from KG to CP3.

Calderon is averaging 12.4 points and 6.4 assists going into L.A to face the Clippers tonight, and I expect his assists to go up as the season progresses.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Raptors pull away after some terri-bull defense

There was so much unnecessary tension this game it was remarkable. It wasn't until crunch time fourth quarter that we started pulling away behind some aggressive plays from Bosh and Calderon. The Bulls played their asses off, while we looked sluggish, but in the end the fatigue caught up to Chi-town.

  • I think its really embarrassing that Jay Triano had to ask the Raptors at half time in the locker room which team played last night (Chicago), and why they're the ones full of energy and hustle.
  • The Raptors defense is so bad its mind-numbing. I'm slowing coming to a point where I've just accepted that on defense, we're going to blow harder than the big bad wolf did to the Three Little Pigs' home.
  • Chris Bosh continues to be a beast. He just wants it. His drive (no pun intended) and determination to get to the rim was relentless - and he didn't keep complaining on every play to the refs, just got up and came back harder the next trip.
  • The refs sucked tonight. So many bad calls, late calls, and missed calls, especially on CB4. When Leo Rautins has to point out about 5 times that Bosh should be given the respect by the referees and get those calls, you know it's BAD.
  • Another night, another unknown has a great career game against the Raptors. Presenting Taj Gibson: 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks and zero turnovers. You wanna know how much of an unknown this guy is? Look at this picture from ESPN's recap:
- Even Matt Devlin said he looked like a veteran out there...and dude is a ROOKIE!
  • I'm going to say Jose Calderon, apart from Bosh, was the game changer in that fourth. He set up some plays nicely, but the key was he looked for his shot, took'em, and hit'em. Some clutch 2-point bombs off the classic Calderon-Bosh PNR.
  • Amir Johnson is coming along nicely. Relentless hustle, he had six rebounds, but was responsible for many more just by tapping and keeping the ball alive on several possessions.
  • Reggie Evans is an unbelievable teammate. Who would've guess this would be the guy to jump up and down on every play, get up from his seat and encourage/talk to his teammates at every opportunity.
  • That fast break drive Belinelli had was crazy - off balance, lean-in jumper with two guys on him, he should've gotten a foul call too. This guy is a body contortionist.
  • Bargnani's shot wasn't falling, but he still ends up with a decent 16 points and a respectable 6 rebounds. He had some key defensive plays down the stretch where he altered or bothered his man .
  • It's transparent Hedo Turkoglu is getting more and more comfortable with the Raptors. I loved him handling the ball in the fourth - he just makes great decisions (other than that turnover where he threw the ball from half court) and has slick passes.
  • DeMar DeRozan had an awesome game, and deserved more time. 9 points, 9 rebounds - both a career high, along with 2 blocks and a steal. The three turnovers are understandable - rookie mistakes, and that fast break dunk was VICIOUS off the pass from Calderon!! I appreciated that he tried to dunk it again on his next trip down even though he got blocked pretty badly. He even showed a jumper, which is good to see.
  • I laughed when Brad Miller got stuffed by Bargnani in the fourth - Miller fell down so slow.
  • Antoine Wright continues to look for his offense a bit too much. He's a very capable offensive threat; he's got effective cross overs, can drive decently too, but still should ease up a bit on taking all those shots. That block falling down on the fast break was ridiculous though.
  • Jarrett Jack continues to toss bricks, and his shots are looking more and more off. He does credit for continuing to be aggressive though and driving to the rim.
  • Luol Deng needs to shave that mustache-goatee. Just looks ugly on him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What DON'T They Get!!??

The ESPN NBA page headline for this game reads:

"Duncan, Parker injured | Spurs top Raptors"

What more did the Spurs need to do in order to give us an even better chance of taking this game? Ginobili catches Rabies? We knew Parker wasn't going to play, which was a blessing. Then Duncan was announced to be out as well - that's a Godsend. Seriously, its like the heavens went out of their way to give us a dream scenario - win in San Antonio and be 2-1 in this road trip, and the real plus is that team morale would be up after getting blown worse than a porn star in Dallas. But of course, the Raptors, in their classic style, had a meltdown in the fourth quarter.

I stayed behind in school instead of hopping on the long TTC ride home because I wanted to watch this game live - this road trip includes stops in two of my favourite players' (Ginobili, other being Nowitzki) town - so I plugged in my laptop and sat on a hard bench that made my ass sore, probably what the Raptors are feeling right now, at least they should be.

So, my two favourite players - Manu and Dirk, and this is how the Raptors handled them on this trip:

Dirk Nowitzki: 29 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block.


Manu Ginobili: 36 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 4 blocks.



Dirk got his points so easily it wasn't even funny, and lets not forget he sat out most of the fourth because the game was long done. So lets fast forward to tonight's game. Fourth quarter, close game, who should the Raptors guard!??? Well...Duncan is out, Tony Parker is of course its Ginobili!! Now its much easier said than done I know, and Manu is one of the game's best closers, but you'd think they'd be able to at least bother him somewhat or not give him easy shots - the Spurs announcer, after Manu hit that last dagger three that pretty much wrapped it up, said "Manu Ginobili is torturing your team...and what do you? Leave him WIDE OPEN!!!??"

While Ginobili was being aggressive; driving, slashing, kicking it out to teammates, the Raptors go into the fetal position and start taking horrible jump shots. Belinelli was on fire, but everyone saw that bad jumper coming - he shouldn't have taken that shot at that instance in the game, unless he was wide open. The only guy I'll give credit to down the fourth is Bosh - he tried to be aggressive and drove hard - it worked once, he got the call, the other time he tried to draw the call but didn't get it and ended up shooting a bad off balance jumper. I mean, the guy had 32 and 10, you can't ask for more. Bargnani stats wise was good too - 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting, but the four boards is ugly. And he should've attacked more - nobody out there can guard him.

  • Is it just me or did Hedo look...kinda old in that fourth quarter? A couple of plays it seemed like if the ball is two feet from him he can't get it without collapsing to the ground.
  • Matt Bonner drove and dunked on us - how's that for a sum-up of the game?
  • The Raptors scored 124 points...and gave up 131..131!!! We've finally completed our transformation into Phoenix North or Phoenix East, whatever you like.
  • No seriously, we really Phoenix now - the Spurs announcer said during the game "the HIGH-FLYING Raptors!"
  • As much as it pained me to watch the Raps suffer another excruciating loss, watching my man Ginobili explode on them was amazing (and painful). This guy doesn't get enough credit for how great he really is.
  • Antoine Wright has been (in a Barkley voice) TURRI-BUL on offense. I get against Dallas he wanted to show his old team what they gave up (which he really didn't), but this cannot continue.
  • Jarrett Jack needs to practice now. Especially if he's still vying for the starter's job, when Calderon has found his stroke. Even though no matter what Calderon will always be the starter, and deserves to. Even if Calderon struggles now and then, Jack hasn't done enough to warrant it.
  • Belinelli was doing his best Ginobili impersonation out there...until the fourth quarter of course, when we really needed, when Ginobili was being himself.
  • Fuck this loss sucked.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Season Opens With Fire with Chef Bargnani

My season opener observations:
  • First of all - how sizzling is that picture? Bargnani looks like he's just throwing down that dunk in DISGUST..disgust that anybody would try to even challenge that.
  • For all the talk of the bad preseason, the Raps looked like an NBA ready team (conditioning and all that jazz).
  • The crowd was bananas - no, apeshit - and it was great to see. I could just feel the buzz watching from my television set. I went to a preseason game and I was excited as hell, can't imagine what it must've felt like to be sitting at this game against such a big opponent.
  • Andrea Bargnani..sigh..can't say enough about this guy. I've been his biggest supporter, and he couldn't have done anything better tonight - if the refs didn't call the most BS fouls he could've easily had 30-36. No one could guard him out there, and it was extra fun watching him scorch Shaq daddy. He looked like he actually FELT that he was unstoppable, you could just see it in his eyes. And really, that's how it should be. It's like he was offended that the Cavs put Big Z/Shaq/Varejao on him.
  • It's great to see Turkoglu driving, it really revs you up. His drives almost look...unpleasant and awkward, but its always on point and effective.
  • You know what? Jose Calderon played awesome period. He had what, 8 assists in the first half if I remember correctly? He wasn't off-the-charts or anything, but there's been a lot of worry about his play since last year, and I thought he was damn solid tonight.
  • I LOVED Jarrett Jack's aggressiveness in the fourth. It just seemed like the Raptors would've never done that last year in the 4th quarter of an important game - take it to the whole and push the ball continuously.
  • I'm not a big fan of Jose and JJ at the 1 and 2, but it wasn't bad in the fourth quarter.
  • Even though Bosh didn't dominate by scoring, I still thought he had a monster game with the 16 boards to go along with his 21 points.
  • I forgot about Anthony Parker..seriously. I didn't recognize him initially when he was on the floor in a Cavs uniform, definitely do not miss him, hope he does well though.
  • I was on the ESPN Cavs-Raps message board, and a lot of Cavs fan seem to think if they had Delonte West it would've made a huge difference. Oh, and also, all the talk was about whether Shaq or LeBron, or the Cavs in general and whether them getting Shaq was a good idea or not. Not one word about the Raps' great game, rather how shitty Cleveland sucks. Understandable, we haven't done anything yet, especially after a dismal season last year.
  • Shaq looks TERRIBLE. Like, REALLY BAD. And hell, he looks kinda fat, is it just me? He should've retired in Miami and gone out while still on top, but he keeps sagging on and has left his previous four teams on bad terms. Honestly, I love Shaq, I think he's funny as hell and would be an awesome guy to hang out with, but wtf is up with him acting like he's still a centerpiece of a team?
  • How is Mike Brown still the head coach? How? I know they couldn't fire him after they went to the finals and all before, but wasn't last season's playoff exit a great excuse to let him go? They have NO offensive NONE.
  • Do you think the Suns are roaring in laughter that Cleveland actually took Shaq aka the Big Geritol (from Basketbawful) off their hands?
  • Marco Belinelli continues to wow with this...athleticism. And he looks like a total bum with that facial hair, but it kinda adds to his crazy "you have no idea what I'm going to do" game. His facial hair is basically the equivalent to Ginobili when he had his long hair.
  • How long till LeBron gets sick of Shaq and there's bad vibes and rumours floating around about how they don't like each other? I say January. Because Shaq never adjusts to the teams he plays for, rather everyone has to adjusts for Shaq's team.
  • If Kobe wins at least one more ring - which could very well happen this year - I wonder how much that's gonna eat at Shaq as Kobe will surpass him.
  • Bryan Colangelo looked so worried during the fourth quarter it was hilarious..the man was sweating bullets. When he walked into the tunnel after the game was over, he had the biggest expression of relief of on his face, forget a tissue he needed a towel to wipe off the sweat.
  • The twenty point lead was great - Cavs coming back all the way to TIE it was SCARY - but not surprising - but the way we responded to it was. It was a pleasant surprise, a huge horse to get off our backs with this first and oh-so-important game.
  • Watching Big Z and Shaq go up the court is like watching a turtle and a snail.
  • Jamario Moon! Remember him? What a bozo. I forgot about Parker, and even more so about Moon.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mirror Image: Jose Calderon and 'Charlie' from 'Lost'

This is just freaky, who knew Jose Calderon doubled as 'Charlie Pace' on the epic tv show Lost'!!?? Okay, so Charlie is really played by actor Dominic Monaghan - but you take Jose, grow his hair and facial hair out longer, and colour it dirty blonde, and you have Charlie "NOT PENNY's BOAT" Pace.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Observations from Attending Raps vs 76ers

I was at the game with Rachel (thanks Malin), and we were pumped to see the Raptors again, regardless of it being pre-season. Some observations:

  • DeMar DeRozan looks like a baby, as Rachel pointed out. Being there in person, you can easily tell he's the 'new kid', the 'young guy', etc. And he's wiry as hell - I thought his body was bigger, but that must've been pictures from he just finished working out. His athleticism is awe-inspiring. He had a sick, wicked, and nasty dunk on the breakaway, and every time he drives to the rim in general, it catches your breath.
  • Sonny Weems is quickly winning me over. I've only seen him in a couple of games, but he's hustling to death and is running the lanes at every opportunity. Of course a lot of that has to do with him trying to get minutes, but he's done no wrong so far. He's a legit 6'6", and has a big, wide body on top of that. Guy just looks huge. I keep saying he looks like Joey Graham, Rachel said he looks like a mix of Joey Graham and Antonio Daniels.
  • Bargnani played well in his limited minutes, and he looked like he wasn't even trying that hard. That baseline drive-and-dunk was the highlight of the game for me - it beats DeRozan's dunk because DD's was on a fast break and we expect that from him, while Bargnani drove from the corner all the way for the dunk. As soon as he started driving my heart skipped a beat in anticipation, and he delivered.
  • Marco Belinelli is awesome. He's all over the floor, has better handles than you'd expect, but what surprised me the most about him is his hang-time (seriously). It's not like Jordan by any means, but he had at least two drives I remember where he switched hands 2-3 times in the air and they weren't easy finishes either. Ginobili is one of my favourite players in the NBA, and Rachel admitted Belinelli's "got a little Manu in him". Also, his height always catches me off guard. He's taller than I think - I always picture him as 6'3"- 6'4", but he's definitely 6'5" almost close to being 6'6".
  • Reggie Evans forced a lot of shots. I don't know if its because he honestly thought they could go in, or because he was feeding off the crowd cheering for him and he just wanted to deliver the goods. The frustrating aspect of his game is when he dribbled down the floor on the fast break - and of course- it resulted in a turnover as he got called for a charge. Now, it wasn't one of those situations where he's way ahead of anyone else, which would excuse him for handling the ball - nope - there were plenty of Raptors right around him. Reggie Evans shouldn't ever take more than one dribble down the floor. Other than that, he was doing what he brought over to do - throwing bones and getting rebounds. Actually, its quite uncanny how he grabs offensive rebounds - you just don't expect him to - he's undersized and what not but in the first quarter alone it was like the ball was just pulling towards him like gravity or something. Oh, and he got a technical foul. Like Malin texted me, "you gotta love a guy who gets a tech at a pre-season game".
  • Calderon looked much better than last night's stinker. He even looked to be aggressive and get the ball down to the other side of the court as soon as possible. There was one play I remember, an alley-oop to Amir Johnson on a broken play/fast break where Calderon sensed Johnson's position to be, and just tossed it from around mid court towards him, and Johnson didn't even realize it till it was half way towards him - and to his credit, quickly jumped and completed the play. It was quite beautiful actually.
  • Amir Johnson gets me excited all over again for that Jerome Moiso, Jerome Williams, Keon Clark type. Long, athletic as hell, and even when he doesn't block shots, he definitely alternates them. And he follows the ball like its the Lord of The Rings; never gives up on the play and will get numerous tips and second chance points.
  • I was appalled that Rachel thinks Marcus Banks is good looking (can you believe it!!??) we were arguing over it, and it got to the point where I ended up saying Reggie Evans is probably better looking than Banks!
  • Your main man Primoz Brezec was in the game - and he tired to go at his boy Rasho Nesterovic as soon as he got on the court - to epic failure of course. Primoz was trying so hard to post up Rasho and do all these moves in order to score on him to no success, while on the other end Rasho just put up that soft jumper of his so non-chalantly and scored over Primoz, it was hilarious.
  • Marc Iavaroni is an intense dude. I caught glimpses of him several times on the bench yelling out defensive instructions - he just looked pissed, like, all the time. It was wicked.