November 22, 2008

Raps Suffer From Vinsanity and a Touch of Devinsanity

Oh my, what a ball game. Unfortunately, I can't put 10 exclamation points at the end of the first sentence because it ended on a sour note for Raptors fans. Vince Carter, Devin Harris and the Nets took down the Raps 129-127 in OT. Let me break it down for you in pain and pleasure point form:

Pleasure – Andrea Bargnani, for the second straight game puts up 25+ points (29 on this night) and also pulls down 10 boards. He's playing with confidence now and looks like he could live up to all our early Dirk Nowitzki expectations.
Pain – Jermaine O'Neal goes down with a knee injury. Hopefully it's not too serious (but man, did it look serious when it happened), as he had been steadily improving game by game. The Raps need his inside presence, which is one of the reasons Bosh has been able to raise his game to an MVP level.

Pleasure – Seeing Jose Calderon come back strong from straining his hamstring last week and putting up some sweet point guard numbers with 26 points, 15 assists and 5 rebounds. It's amazing how well Calderon's been running the team, especially since it's only his first year as the full-time starting PG.
Pain – Watching “Numero Ocho” let us know that “it's over” after his dagger 3 put the Raps up by 7 with 2 minutes to go. As we all know now, it most definitely was not over, especially the way the Raptors have been closing out games this season. Hey Jose! What the hell?!? A seven point lead does not equal “it's over” in the NBA! Have you ever seen Isiah, 16 points in 94 seconds vs the Knicks? T-Mac's four 3's in 30-something seconds a couple years back? The Pistons stealing the ball at halfcourt with a few seconds left and Rasheed Wallace hitting that halfcourt shot against the Nuggets a couple years back to force OT? Reggie Miller's 8 points in 17 seconds vs. the Knicks? It's never over until the scoreboard clock reads all zero's!

... And oh yeah, Devin Harris lit him up for 30 points, including a late steal and layup during the run that forced OT.

Pleasure – Watching Bosh show the competitor he is, putting up another 40-point game, his second in three games. I wanna hear MVP chants every time he goes to the foul line at the ACC for the rest of the year!
Pain – Unfortunately, with LeBron being the runner-up last year and the Cavs putting up eight straight wins and leading the Central early in the season, MVP for CB4 doesn't appear likely. The Raptors have to start finishing games off stronger and have homecourt in the east for Bosh to even have a chance against the King of the 2010 free agent class (would everyone stop talking about that! It's two years away! There is the whole matter of 2 NBA seasons to happen first, how about we focus on that?)

Pleasure – Listening to the crowd boo their hearts out every time Vince Carter touched the ball and watching the Raps for the better part of three quarters stick it to the Nets.
Pain – Watching the man formerly known as Air Canada light up the scoreboard for 39 points including the game tying 3 pointer to end regulation AND the game winning reverse alley-oop jam to win the game in OT. This just in: the Tin Man does have a heart! He played great down the stretch, making all of Raptors nation ask: And where the heck was THAT at the end of your Raps career, Mr. Carter? Seeing Vince do what he did tonight and Bosh do what he did tonight... oh, what could have been.

Pleasure – Watching a great Raptors game, with clutch shots being hit down the stretch by both teams.
Pain – Having Matt Devlin call it and not Chuck Swirsky. Not that Matt Devlin is particularly bad, he's actually quite solid. But he's just not the Swirsk. There's only one Swirsk. Come back Swirsk! Come back!!!!!!! Okay, no more mention of Swirsk, glad that's out of my system... Until they play the Bulls...

And one last note of pain: Next up: The NBA champion, trash talking Boston Celtics. Ugh. Make it into a pleasurable W on Sunday afternoon, Raps!

Photo credit: (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)


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