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.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Raptor Thoughts

Alright so very briefly, here are some first thoughts on each potentially important player from the first preseason game.

1) The first basket was in the "house" as an and-1 layup on jose. deja vu for sure.

2) Reggie gets a board. Sweet.

3) The first offensive set went to a reggie post up. Disaster?

4) Definitely not, got to reward hustle. Reggie gets a steal and an and-1

5) I love reggie

6) Is deRoazen in this game? No show on defense, can't use spacing and picks. Above average court vision though.

7) Jose definitely looks like he needs some real game time experience

8) Weems is putting in the effort and may appear as our sf backup. Potentialy.

9) Belinelli only scores in 3's lol. Very quick shoot. Looks great on the catch and shoot, fast break, but creating his own doesn't appear to be his forte. Good passer as well.

10) Bargnani is showing the most complete offense of all of the players on the floor right now

11) Jack may end up finishing the season as a starter. Great vision, great passing, and his jumper is falling. Whether he is better than jose, who knows. but in my opinion, he adds something more unique to the starting lineup than jose. Toughness and strong defense. Jose may just fit more with the bench unit.

12) Rasho is still Rasho

13) Amir will warm the bench more than advertised. Can't see him taking Rasho as the backup centre, at least not in the first half of the season. Hopefully he shows some progress. Can't really take much from improved play down the stretch, it was scrubs versus scrubs. If he can't exploit that, there is no hope for him to crack the rotation.

P.s. Does anyone know what happened to Wright? Is it a precuation or is he just sick or something.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Thoughts Per Raptor Player

A new season dawns upon us, and I have no idea exactly how we'll do, which makes it the most exciting season yet in the past half-decade or so. By the way, I'm writing this while sitting in a lecture - gotta love university - they keep finding new ways to bore you to death. Anyways, here are my first thoughts when it comes to each player, in no particular order:

Reggie Evans: he's mean, he looks unclean (which makes him look even more mean), and he's a rebounding machine. The closest thing to Charles Oakley we'll get, and we will enjoy it. Already pegged as the crowd favourite and a single game (season wise) hasn't been played. Forget Obama, THAT's PROGRESS.

Chris Bosh: like my friend Rubin once said: "CB4? How about 'CB4-he-leaves!'"? Get it? Got it? Good. *I must point out, I think Bosh is staying put - in fact I bet my friend $20 on it, and I intend to win it. Bosh (Jarrett-)JACKED up this summer, and visibly looks like it. Now will he actually play more inside? Only time will tell.

Rasho Nesterovic: Like Ludacris' second album - "Back for the first time." Somewhere in Indiana, TJ Ford is crying and bitching.

Marcus Banks: couldn't see the court from a bird's eye view.

Hedo Turkoglu: The Turkish Michael Jordan! I think he's gonna be great. There seems to be so much doubt, and they're not unwarranted, but I expect amazing results stemming from the Turk man. Call it optimistic, or call it 'smoking crack', either one's fine with me.

Jose Calderon: circa 2007 - already fighting for the starter's job..even though he is already the starter...right? Don't bring it up to the Raps coaches and management though, they'll hear nothing of it. I believe in JC - and I'm not talking about Christ. But its amazing how him and Jarrett Jack are already battling for the starter because Jack is..

Jarrett Jack: everything we wanted TJ Ford to be, except not AS fast (still fast), but much taller..and stronger...and not a ball hog...and not selfish...ok so maybe he's not that comparable to TJ Ford. You get the point. When it was Ford and Bosh, they were referred to as "the Texans" (on the Raptors website), and now with Jack and Bosh, will they be "The Roomates"? Stepbrothers anyone?

DeMar DeRozan: His name looks cool, so do his hops, but his handles look like Marcus Banks - ugly. He looks like Vince Carter a bit, I swear - and I hate Vince. I think it's the head/face shape, although his actual face reminds me of a cat. And not 'cat' as in slang for a friend/person, but an actual cat. Smoking crack am I?

Patrick O'Bryant: makes Loren Woods look like Schwarzenegger. Him and Marcus Banks should be Starsky and Hutch.

Quincy Douby: Comeback Kid.

Marco Belinelli: Kinda rhymes with"Manu Ginobili". Can he play a similar role? Although lets get something straight, Manu Ginobili is a world-class talent - the Argentinian Kobe. Back to Belinelli. He needs to shave. Bargs can pull off the scruff, Belinelli just looks like he was Tom Hanks in Castaway, with Don Nelson being the plane crash.

Antoine Wright: our Kobe stopper. Maybe our ONLY stopper? Group together Wright, Reggie Evans, and Jarrett Jack, and let's call them Voltron (Defender of the Universe).

Andrea Bargnani: my boy. This is it. This is the year he breaks out like a teenager with a bad case of acne. This is the year he shows the world that "Andrea", as female as it sounds, is a name to be feared on the basketball court. This is the season he makes his opponents think "When did Dirk learn Italian!!???" * I really hope he doesn't fail, he's gonna make me look pretty stupid then with my high hopes :0

Amir Johnson: G-G-GGG-G-Unit!!! He looks like Lloyd Banks. Is AJ the next Tayshaun Prince, or the next Jerome Moiso?

Sonny Weems: when I first read about the trade and saw his picture, I thought they mistakenly put Joey Graham's picture. No joke. Hopefully his game isn't either. Can we start calling him "Young Weezy"?