Monday, April 27, 2009

Chris Bosh is Rorschach from Watchmen

With many fans calling for Bosh's head and blaming him for this disastrous season, its turned CB4 into a vigilante in his own city a la Rorschach. Brian Colangelo seems like he is going to stay put with his franchise player and is just praying that Bosh doesn't leave, hoping CB4, with a better squad around him next season, can save him of his job, and the fan base from going berserk. People who want Bosh to stay are hoping CB4's mindset in the summer of 2010 is not this:

"All the fans and management will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll whisper, "no."

* cue "The End is The Beginning Is The End" song.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Maverick Thought

I'll post my thoughts about the Raptors season some other time. Right now, I'm tuned into the playoffs, and other than of course going for the Lakers to win the ring, my favourite player, Dirk Nowitzki, just got a big road win in San Antonio in what I think is the most underrated series in the opening round. That's because my other favourite baller, Manu Ginobili, is injured - otherwise, the Spurs would easily take this series - but because of his absence, it's made it a compelling matchup.

It's anybody's game. Hell, I'm even betting the Mavs take it, but am afraid to get too ahead of myself because poor Dirk and his Mavs have crumbled since that Finals run. Plus, you can never underestimate the Spurs. So, with Ginobili out, the way I see it, its a pretty balancing act which is what makes this series so fun - it could stretch to seven games, which I'm hoping it doesn't, because it'll be in San Antonio, but then again, the last time this happened between these two teams, Dirk made one of the biggest plays, driving down the lane, scoring and getting fouled to eventually win the game/series.

So I was extremely hyped up to see this game tonight. The way I see it, Tony Parker can run circles around anybody, so hopefully Kidd+Terry can somewhat counter him, Duncan and Nowitzki cancel each other out (not in a head to head matchup, just great-players wise), and all of a sudden we're left with anything goes. So, thoughts from Game 1

  • Tony Parker, not surprisingly, was penetrating the Mavs to death, why the hell did he stop? The Dallas defense did step it up, but not to the point where Tony Parker-Longoria couldn't keep driving it at will.
  • Even down 13 when it looked BAD for Dallas, I had hope the Mavs could come back, and did, the best part of it being with Nowitzki on the bench due to foul trouble.
  • Jose Calderon? NO, Jose (Juan) Barea! Who the hell saw him having such a strong impact. Tenacious little player, how annoyed was Tony Parker whom Pop had to talk to during a timeout to tell him not to start going one on one and making it personal (I'm assuming he was referring to JJ Barea's scoring)
  • Brandon Bass - his body is scary, that crunch time fadeaway on Michael Finley even scarier if you're a Spurs fan
  • Matt Bonner's reactions are still hilarious when he gets called for a foul or makes a bad play - looks over at Gregg Popovich scared to death.
  • Michael Finley's corpse is still deadly - guy still hits threes like its nothing.
  • Erick Dampier played HARD - props to him. Duncan still had a good game, but the defense of Damp was solid - about as well as you could play TD.
  • Speaking of Duncan - no one uses the glass like him. Those two jumpers in Dampier's face were a thing of beauty, he almost willed it in, hitting the rim and in.
  • Really sad to see Manu on the bench, must be killing him not being on the court. Although like I said, I don't it'd be much of a series if he were playing.
  • Glad to see Kidd start to post up Parker all the way to the paint - gives me horrendous flashbacks of when he did that to TJ Ford in the playoffs and just killed us.
  • Josh Howard always surprises me. He's one of those players that you know is really good, but still surprises you :s
  • How healthy is Duncan? We know he's not 100%.
  • I know Dirk was in foul trouble, so next game he has to go at Bonner, Gooden, or whoever the hell is trying to check him, just as Hubie Brown said.
  • Speaking of whom, Hubie Brown adds so much to the games - I hope he lives 20 more years so we can hear his break-em-down-to-the-tee style analysis.
  • Rick Carlisle, for some reason, looks to me like he could star as an older Patrick Bateman in a future version of American Psycho. Don't ask me why.
  • Quote: "We're a humble team, but we're hungry." - Rick Carlisle
  • Lookin' forward to Game 2.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Word On Douby, Ukic, & O'Bryant

As the season has been ending (thank goodness), the scrubs have been getting more playing time, although I thought this should've happened much earlier. We all have a pretty rough idea of most of the Raptors players, except Quincy Douby and Patrick O'Bryant. The last two games against Philly and Washington, we've been exposed a bit more to these guys and they've actually shown something.

Quincy Douby has shown positive signs of being a serviceable backup point guard. He's made good passing decisions, handled the ball well and has shown he can shoot decently. Fans are commenting on boards to drop Roko Ukic and keep Douby, but I think that's a mistake. I say keep Douby & Ukic. I don't know if its feasible financially, but I think that would be ideal: Douby can be the primary backup next season if Ukic is still not ready. Besides, anyone who can ball with a unibrow is work keeping right?

Speaking of Ukic, yes, he's played terribly the last month or so. He's tried to take it on his own too many times, and needs to make wiser passing choices, and of course work on that mugly jumper. All in all though, people are throwing him under the bus way too fast which is pretty typical or Raptor fans. I'm not saying he's going to be an elite player by any means, but I do think he can be a good, no very good one. He's got potential: great handles, a willingness to drive the ball, a slick-ass spin move that seems to his signature along with the floater (not that he has much else in terms of offense, at the moment anyway), and size at 6'5" as a point guard. This offseason will tell a lot about him in terms of work ethic. Is he gonna kill himself like Bargnani did last summer?

Patrick O'Bryant is an especially peculiar case. Since we've gotten him, he's shown nothing but what's been reported around him - disinterested, lazy, and (what looks like) a poor work ethic. Yet the past couple of games, he was blocking shots, rebounding, making shots, and even..(gulp) hustling. In all fairness, he hasn't really gotten decent minutes (as a Raptor) in strides - you can't expect a clear evaluation of a guy if he's gonna get the hook after 2-3 minutes of playing time. But when he did, he's shown life. Hell, against Washington, I swear I even saw him do a little drive and hook in the paint. Plus, he's mad young, and we all know big men take a much longer time to develop. So he's worth looking at in the summer again at least. And you can't say, "doesn't matter because we didn't play great teams." It's not like Philly wasn't trying, they needed to win as much as any team since they're fighting for the 5th spot, and Washington wasn't just lying down for us to run over them. Equally big offseason for Patty O' B, as Jack Armstrong and Matt Devlin likes to call him.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Basketball on My Brain

i've decided to write something because i've been M.I.A. for so long. and instead of writing a cohesive article with a great punchline at the end, i've decided to write what's on my mind. a raptors free flow, kinda like the cash being spent on marcus banks. so here goes:

. i won't be surprised if the raptors break even and match their 6-game winning streak with a 6-game losing streak. sad part is, even if they did that all season, theyd have a spot in the playoffs.

. i've eaten my words so far about my ambivalence to having marion. my main reason was due to his sense of entitlement. then again, there's always next season to test that if we re-sign him.

. douby has been a surprise to me. perhaps the biggest surprise is his decision to keep those bushy eyebrows so bushified

. the Toronto media must have been advised to frame the whole Bosh "deadbeat dad" fiasco in a different light. did anyone else notice how articles always started off with "The US media has portrayed Bosh..."? someone high up is fighting to keep him here for reasons other than basketball, me thinks.

. Smitch to the T-Wolves? biiiiiiiig surprise.

. i saw Cheryl Miller on the old sitcom "Living Single". She balled against Queen Latifah. the resemblance between her and reggie is scary as heck.

. the cavs won't win it.

. Shaq referring to Bosh as "the RuPaul of big men" was infuriating.. for various reasons. a) feminizing someone as an insult is ignorant. b) shaq refuses to admit that he parks a tent in the paint while he, Charlie Villanueva (CV31) and Andrew Bogut tweet the game away. and c) Bosh gets walked on again - everyone knew he wasn't going to say anything clever back.

. bosh is definitely eyeing 2010, and will not take an option if BC offers it at the end of the season.

. i'm a sucker for Pops.

. i want the NBA to be back on NBC with triple-headers so i can sit on my ass and eat unhealthily in peace.

. if Voskuhl leaves and we can't heave Banks' contract out of here, i nominate him for Executive Cheerleader. pay the motherfucker for something in return.

. i wish i could see Triano sweating when he saw Iavaroni sitting in on a practice.

. on that note, I'm still unsure about what BC is going to do about Triano and English/Evans

. if anything to thank Triano for, its for letting Bargnani play.

. if anything to hate on Triano for, it's his awful plays out of timeouts.

. i'm on the fence as to whether or not Calderon proved himself overall this season.

. to me, Calderon's free throw record is a close second to our useless three-point streak. third was probably Mo Pete's Iron Man streak

. JK's gotta go. i see him getting passed around regularly until he makes a conscious effort to find his role on a team. and by role, i don't mean banking three's or random floaters, which he hasnt been doing much of lately.

. i have two games saved: Raps vs. Houston and Raps vs. Chicago. i've purposely saved these games til the end of the season to remember a time when we won.

. BC's got some work to do. i see the faith fans had in the beginning quickly dwindling, and rightfully so. is this a lower-calibre, Phoenix repeat of never winning a championship under Colangelo rule?

Finally, perhaps late fourth-quarter crumbles are a Toronto thing. i attended a U of T Varsity Blues men's basketball game. they, too, crumbled severely late in the third/early fourth to the Ottawa GeeGee's and gave up a hard-earned lead. so have no fear, Raptors fans, it may not just be them.

....... yeah right.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hustle for the 13th

I can't help but smile at watching these pointless raptor games and seeing O'Bryant, Voshkul and Douby going all out. To be perfectly honest with all you I've been so busy that I didn't know we had Douby until two games ago. Not to mention the fact that I didn't know that he had been released because he played pretty decently in Sacramento. I mean it's not like they have a lot of talent to start cutting people. Regardless, we got him and I really feel that he is definitely a steal. This guy can play, he can be the third pg and step up as a reserve if Jose goes down. In fact, the only aspect holding him back is the people on contract already. With our bench warmer banks holding up 4 million or so already, there's little money left for another bench warming pg. His ability and in fact, any of these three's ability to stay largely depends on whose going to be here. I have to think one of BC's priorities is to move Hump, Kapono, maybe Graham and hopefully Banks. I doubt he can get much for any of those but since graham is restricted, we can clear cap just by not offering him something till the last minute. If we can somehow get space from Hump and Kapono, then that means more than getting a player. Part of me thinks trading bosh is really the only way to ship off all of that deadweight by packaging banks, kapono and hump with Bosh. Regardless, he has to clear enough money to bring back pops and delfino while giving us enough money to pursue a good sg/sf. Delfino would be one of our more balanced two way players, better on the fast break while pops is that energy guy every team needs. Hump never cut it for me in that role because he's not athletic and aggressive enough.

Based on that, more so than heart and hustle, it seems if any of those three returns its simply because they were the cheapest alternative. I see douby having the best chance based on playing ability because if Jose goes down again, he can play decent minutes as a backup. Unfortunately his contract is a bit high for a bench warming guard to have. O'Bryant has the best chance in terms of contract simply because he is already in fact on contract and is extremely young and could just need a lot of offseason work. To me it's still not worth it. We don't need another tall lanky big and if we're going to occupy another roster spot, it should be a heavy big, which we should hope to see in Jawai and Hump, if he's still around. Finally, the last man standing is Voshkul. I love him as a cheerleader, always up and supporting the team but I just can't see them using him to fill a spot when we're looking for a drastic rebuild. I think he'll only be there if a) we can't make the right moves prior to camp and there happens to be a spot left, or the more likely choice, is b) that he gets signed again mid season.

Ah well, at the end of the day, despite how none of these guys really matter, it's nice to see someone on the raps trying to prove something.

Blowout Thoughts

Well all that winning went away quite quickly didn't it? Not just losing, but getting sodomized in Indiana 130-101. TJ Ford must be gushing right now.

  • After a nice 6 game winning streak, we've built up a promising 3 game losing streak. People are saying we're in full tanking mode, I don't agree - if we lose to Washington, then I'll believe we're in full tanking mode.
  • Chris Bosh was laughing and having a good time on the bench in the 4th reminiscent of VC as we were getting our asses whooped. What the fuck. At the same time, should I be thinking the opposite and look at it as "hey, he can still smile while we're getting rocked, maybe its a good sign in that he may wanna actually stay in Toronto"?
  • This Roy Hibbert kid looked pretty decent out there..wasn't he supposed to be a Raptor? Then again it was a meaningless game so it shouldn't be taken out of context.
  • Who's not gonna be on the Raptors next year between Patrick O'Bryant, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, and Quicy Douby?
  • Bargnani must feel lucky out of all the games he didn't play, tonight was one of them. What an embarrassment.
  • You know you suck when the home crowd is leaving the game early because you as a road team can't even keep them interested by putting up a fight - "Indiana Pacers fans headed for the exits early Wednesday night.For once, it was because their team was on the right side of a blowout" (from AP).
  • That picture sums up the game: no raptors defense in sight.
  • Triano after the game: "We need to be competitive and try to win games." Was there ever any instance in the history of the franchise when that was not the intention? I wanna know.
  • All of a sudden that Orlando win seems so far away..
  • Every time we play Indy I forget that Rasho Nesterovic is on the team too. He's a free agent this summer, think we should go after him? Wouldn't he be a better backup then O'Bryant and Voskuhl? If my memory serves me right, this will be the first season in his career that Nesterovic doesn't go to the playoffs.
  • Tonight it was Good Joey (Stephen Graham) vs Bad Joey (Joey Graham).
  • You know how they say that you if you're gonna do something, do it right? If we are truly tanking, at least we did it right - what better way to ensure a loss than to get pounded, right?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bosh Extends His Clutchness To 2 Games In A Row

What a game. Even in this shitty of a season. I put away my school readings to watch this, and it was not wasted.

The four game winning streak was nice, but this was a true test, against the Orlando Magic, albeit in a lost season. Both teams started out the game on fire, seldom missing shots and with little defense played, which is a regular feature of the Raptors, but not the Magic.

Now, right to it. How clutch was that Bosh jumper? Or perhaps maybe you'd prefer to say, lucky? That seemed like a desperate shot, but bottom line, it found the bottom of the net. Let's rewind it back a couple of minutes first. Most of the game, Bosh was taking stand-still jumpers without even hinting to drive. Even with an 11-point lead, you knew the Magic were gonna make a run, it just happened even much faster than I thought it would - they stormed back in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Finally, CB4 decides to drive, but he didn't get the call and looks at the refs astonished. It's not gonna happen - you take jumpers all game, and then drive once into the lane, the refs aren't gonna be tempted to blow the whistle unless its an evidently clear foul. Then, to my surprise, he drove the ball again on another possession, and whadaya know, he got fouled. On another trip down the floor, ball goes to Bosh, and Bosh goes to the bucket, falls hard to the floor, and gets the call. See what happens when you drive?

Now, that jumper. You can say it misses 9 times out of 10, and you're probably right. Hell, I thought it was probably gonna miss - it was a crazy shot - right over the outstretched arms of Dwight Howard, much less from basically the 3 point line (he had his foot on the line). But it went in, and no matter how much of a fluke it may have been, he made the shot. No matter what way you put it, so you gotta give him credit. I'm sure Bosh's tip in and-1 against the Bulls had most fans saying "well, its only the Bulls, not an elite opponent", but the Magic are just that. Plus it made it a little sweeter that it was in Orlando, where Bosh missed the game-winning shot in game 2 of the playoffs last year - a much closer and arguably easier shot by the free throw line. I'm not saying Bosh has suddenly transformed into a clutch player, but for once, against a top-tier team, the pressure was on, the Raps put the ball in his hand, and Chris Bosh delivered. Now:

  • How bad would it have been if Joey Graham missed that second free throw, and the Magic somehow tied it, and won in overtime? That was the most disgusting clutch free throw performance I've seen by the Raptors this year (next to AP's classic 1/2 last game), and you almost have to make Joey Graham the second hero by default for actually hitting one and pretty much sealing the win.
  • Bargnani was aggressive early, scoring 12 points I think it was, on an array of dribble-stop jumpers, some free throws, and an easy dunk on a nice find by Bosh. Unfortunate he missed most of the game with foul trouble. Speaking of which..
  • Third quarter, the Magic are going to Howard down in the paint consistently, drawing fouls back and forth on Bosh and Bargnani. Why did Triano wait till they both got 3 fouls to sub one of them? And somebody explain why Pops Mensah-Bonsu wasn't in the game, couldn't he have at least been worth a try on Dwight Howard. Putting Joey Graham was a worthy try, because even though he gave up numerous fouls on Howard (really, who doesn't), the Magic commentators themselves said something to the tune of (in the 4th quarter) "you know why the Magic haven't been able to take a lead yet? Joey Graham has kept Dwight Howard off the offensive glass."
  • I was impressed to see Triano take Anthony Parker out instantaneously after AP was getting dusted by Courtney Lee out of all people...but with Kapono?
  • The Magic commentators: talked about Bargnani's improved defense, particularly how he doesn't commit silly fouls anymore, and that whatever he did in the summer should be given much credit. They also know about the Good Joey/Bad Joey reference, and mentioned that Roko Ukic looks like he's 14 years old. Oh yeah and this observation about the Raptor defense: "Every pick and roll that the Magic have run, they seem to get an easy score out of it." No surprise there.
  • Bosh took a fadeaway jumper on Gortat.
  • Mickael Pietrus looks like a skinny/fit version of Nathan Jawai.
  • Love seeing Calderon passes to Marion on fast breaks, it gets me excited about the possibility of Marion signing here in the offseason and it actually working out.
  • Calderon took it upon himself in the third with Bosh and Bargnani out, great to see. In fact, he actually drove whenever he could straight to the hole - just how badly did that hamstring injury affect him??
  • For once, Dwight Howard didn't get a 20-20 on us. Not only that, he actually didn't even get a double-double, very rare, as he's the sole player to average double figures in rebounding this year in the league.
  • Stan Van Gundy apparently told his squad before the start of the 4th that they'd need to limit us to 20 points in the final stanza, along with scoring 27 themselves to win the game. They ended up holding the Raps to 19, but scored 22.
  • Marion with FIFTEEN rebounds. I'm just going by mere observation, but it seems like Marion gets us the same amount of rebounds, if not more, than Jermaine O'Neal did.
  • April fool's joke at halftime from ESPN's game recap: "In an April Fool's joke, the Magic made the crowd think a real fan was shooting a half-court shot for $100,000 at halftime. The fan was blindfolded, and the crowd was told beforehand to cheer as if he made the shot. The young contestant missed badly but acted as though he believed he won and danced around the court in a frenzy. Before being told it was a joke and showed the replay he said, "I just got laid off at work." He was given a 100 Grand Bar of candy, but the joke was on the crowd."