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.