December 30, 2008

Marco Belinelli & Andrea Bargnani Nike Spot

I must admit that I had never seen Golden State's Marco Belinelli play until last night's Toronto Raptors-Golden State Warriors game. I found out that he's Italian and a teammate of Andrea Bargnani on the Italian national team. I did a little searching and found this Nike ad with both Bells and Bargs.

I'm not sure exactly what Andrea is saying but it kind of sounds like this:


Raps Can't Get No Satisfaction, Giving Up 30 to Stephen Jackson

The Raps faced off against the 9-23 Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were losers of three of their last four but their lone win came against an Eastern Conference powerhouse, the Boston Celtics. Raps came off a disappointing loss against the Portland Blazers as they finished their six game Western road trip last night against Golden State.

As usual, the Raptors played a good first quarter. Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon both had 9 points a piece as the Raps led 29-28 after one. Golden State who isn't known for their defense let the Raps get the shots that they wanted. Who is Marco Belinelli? If you haven't heard of him before, you probably know him now. He's an Italian product who apparently wants to be the best basketball player in the world. He has a lot of skill, as he displayed last night. He can shoot and can also distribute the ball well. He definitely outperformed his Italian counterpart, Andrea Bargnani on this night. He had some nice plays including some key threes and some nice dishes to Andris Biedrins. Chris Bosh hit a three in the mid second to pull within one, as the Warriors led 37-36. Although the Warriors slack on the defensive end, they had a few nice defensive plays where Ronny Turiaf had two consecutive blocks on Bosh and Jose. After the blocks, he danced and it looked something like this. From there, the Golden State made a run and then led by eight at the half. Chris Bosh had a good half with 17 points at the half. Jermaine O'neal did not return after the half due to flu-like symptoms.

The Golden State Warriors were living off the three ball and were 8/13 from three, two minutes into the third. They ended up going on a 12-2 run and with another three from Marco Belinelli, the Warriors got up 15 on the Raps. Jamario Moon then hit a three and had three threes in the game. Crazy. The Warriors REALLY don't play defense if Jamario's knocking down threes. The Warriors in turn had hit ten three pointers by the third quarter.

I think you might remember this guy, Kris Humphries (who's been buried on the bench), he made an appearance in the fourth and made a few key plays to get within 4. Marco Belinelli continued to perform well and had some good assists. The final minutes with the score 106-101, Bosh drilled a three to knock the Warriors' lead down to two. Then the Raps had a few open look threes, Parker, Kapono and Calderon all had open looks but they all bounced out. Bosh was able to get some good boards for an opportunity for a Kapono three but the shot still wouldn't fall. The Raps kept getting breaks with offensive fouls against the Warriors but couldn't convert. The Raps were only down 108-106 with one minute remaining until CJ Watons hit a clutch basket to go up 4. The Raps turned it over twice in the closing seconds including a botched inbounds play. Anthony Parker hit a three at the end to bring the Raps to 113-109 but it wasn't enough as the Warriors finished off the Raps 117-111. Tough loss for the Raps.

Double Double Doubles
Bosh had 30pts & 14 boards, Calderon had 21 pts & 16 assists

Warriors Who Came out to Play
Marco Belinelli had 23 points, 6 assists and 5 threes
Stephen Jackson had 30pts, 7 assists, 7 boards in 48 minutes of play
Andris Biedrins had 13pts, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks
For a Warriors point of view, check out

The Raps are finally home on Wednesday as they face the Denver Nuggets.

Photo credit: (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


December 29, 2008

SUCKA FREE 2: Who didn't suck in the NBA last week

If you want to see which NBA blogs that didn't suck check out's Carnival of the NBA #62 Suprisingly, we made the list.

Who didn't suck in the NBA last week? Here are your un-sucky teams and players for last week:

Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
Last Week: 30.5 pts, 7 reb, 9.5 assists, 1.5 steals
The Atlanta Hawks have won four straight all thanks to Joe Johnson. The Hawks have been on a 7-game home stand and Joe Johnson went off for 41 against the Bulls and had a triple double (20, 11 & 11) against the Thunder.

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Last Week: Averaged 29 pts, 5 asst, 6 reb and 2 stls
Flash led the Heat to 2 wins in three games last week knocking off the Warriors and Bulls.

Emeka Okafor, Charlotte Bobcats

Last Week: Averaged 22 pts, 12 boards and almost 3 blocks
Emeka had a monster game against the Wizards last week scoring 29pts with 18rebounds and 3 blocks.

Shaquille O'Neal/Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
Last Week: The duo combined for 48 pts, 15 rebounds, 3 steals and 6 blocks in their lone game against the Spurs.
The game resulted in a one-point loss for the Suns on Christmas Day but the towering duo led the Suns throughout the game until the Roger Mason buzzer beater three in the closing seconds.

Jermaine O'Neal, Toronto Raptors
Last Week: Averaged 25 pts, 7 boards, 2 steals and 3.3 blocks
J.O. looked like the old Indiana Pacers All-Star as he was a defensive presence for the Raptors and had a big game with 36 pts and 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks against the Sacramento Kings.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland has been the hot team and have won six straight knocking off big opponents like the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets. Lebron James was named Player of the Week last week and the Cavs have their best franchise start with their 25-4 record.

Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic sit on top of the Southeast division and have wont 7 straight. Last week they knocked off the New Orleans Hornets by 20 points and are winners of the last 11 of 12.

San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have won their last five games and seem to have got their groove back. Squeezing out a one point win against the Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day and a 3-point win against the Memphis Grizzles. They are 0.5 game ahead of the New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets in the Southwest Division.

Photo Credit: (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)


We Don't Need No Water, Let the Raptors Lead Burn!

If the Raps were packaged in a box and had a set of instructions, they would read as follows:

Play Well.
Build Lead.
Blow Lead.

Play Well.
The Raps started out well against the Blazers in Portland. The Blazers crowd was loud, the Blazers had the lead until Jose Calderon hit a shot to tie it up early in the first. Greg Oden who has been knocked in the press lately for his disappointing play, looked a lot better this game. He nailed some points in the paint and knocked down free throws. The Raps had great shooting and took a two point lead at the end of the first 28-26.

Build Lead.
The second quarter had the Raps and Blazers exchanging shots. Bargnani would hit baskets and then Rudy Fernandez and Channing Frye would nail shots. The Raps built up a 6 point lead in the mid second quarter where J.O. nailed shots down low and Calderon had a nice alley oop to Jamario Moon. Chris Bosh looked good and had nasty throwdown as the Raps continued to build their lead to 11. Chris Bosh had 15 points and the Raps shot 52% for the half. Travis Outlaw had a buzzer beater to lessen the lead to single digits.

Blow Lead.
This is where it fell apart, Raps were only 3 for 11 in midway throught the third and Brandon Roy tied it up at 65. Will Solomon turned it over with 1 second in the third as Portland regained the lead 69-67. Raps stunk it up, I mean straight up stank as they shot 22% from the field and had 5 turnovers in the third quarter alone. The Raps only scored 10 points in the third, a straight up nasty, horrible, disgusting quarter by the Raps. Brandon Roy then scored 14 in the 4th to close out the Raps. The Raps shot 12 for 34 and did not hit any threes at all in the second half. Final score 102-89, Blazers.

Rinse. Repeat.
Raps have the Warriors on Monday in Golden State.

Key Notes:
Blazers outrebounded the Raps 40-36
Brandon Roy scored 32 pts, 9 reb
Greg Oden scored 16 pts, 10 reb
Lamarcus Aldridge had 21 pts, 9 reb
Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal led the way for the Raps with a combined 46 points
Chris Bosh hit all eleven of his free throws
For a Blazers perspective, check out

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)


December 28, 2008

This is a throwdown, a showdown, hell no Bosh can't slow down....

it's gonna go down.....

Chris Bosh with the nasty left handed jam on the Blazers. Bosh fought the Outlaw but the Outlaw LOST.


December 27, 2008

J.O. Caught Fire, the Sucka-mento Kings should call him Sire

The Sacramento Kings are 7-23 for a reason. They've just fired their coach, they're young and rebuilding. The young Kings faced off against the struggling Raps who were fresh off of a win against the Clippers. Last night, Jermaine O'neal just dominated down low against the Sacramento bigs: Spencer Hawes, Brad Miller and Mikki Moore. He looked like the '03-'04 Indiana Pacers all-star as the Raps had good ball movement to get the ball down low to the Raps centre. Chris Bosh had early foul trouble which allowed O'neal to just take over.

The Raps played a good first quarter going up 30-26 and shooting 60% from the field. But first quarters have never been a problem with the Raps as they tend to get early leads but blow them down the stretch. And the second quarter displayed this, the Kings outscored the Raps 30-21 where the Raps just turned the ball over too many times. J.O. looked like he had hurt his hand but was able to play through it.

After the half, the Raps came back as they played a better third quarter and J.O. continued to rip apart the Sacramento bigs and the Raps went into the 4th with a three point lead. The Raps built up a nine point lead in the fourth while resting Bosh, J.O. and Calderon on the bench and then the Kings went on a 7-0 run withi 7 minutes left to pull within 2. Joey Graham had another Graham slam (if I find a clip, I'll link to it) to end the run. Bosh got his 5th foul with 6 minutes left an then the Raps just gave the ball to J.O. in the closing minutes as it was only a two possession game with one minute left. While it was 103-99 with a minute left, J.O. had a key steal to regain possession. Final score, Raps win 107-101.

Key Notes:
First win for Toronto in Sacramento since 1997
The Raptors outrebounded the Kings 39-34
Raps shot 55% for the game
Brad Miller led the Kings with 20 points & 8 rebounds.

Photo credit: (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)


December 26, 2008

Oh Christmas Three, Oh Christmas Three! Mason nails a last second three for victory....

In yesterday's Christmas Day action, San Antonio's Roger Mason nails the game winning triple on Steve Nash's Suns......

This game lived up to the bill as Suns-Spurs games are always exciting


December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays from Hoop Heads North!

Season's Greeting from the crew at Hoop Heads North!


December 23, 2008

Merry Chris-Mas!

Cue up "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang and let the streamers fly from the rafters, the Raps have broken their 5 game losing skid!

Boy did those Raps ever catch a break. They caught a fatigued Clippers team without former Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Camby. The Clippers who normally have three bigs in Kaman, Camby and Randolph were without Kaman (foot injury) and Camby (death in the family.) The Clippers were fresh off of a blowout against Milwaukee and this was a great opportunity for Bosh and J.O. to take dominate down low.

The Raps were able to get it going early, getting up 21-10 on the Clips in the first. The Bosh/J.O. combo were able to take advantage of the depleted Clippers lineup. This was a game that looked over quite early as the Raps built a 19 pt lead, up 51-32 at the half. The Clippers' fans were frustrated and booed their Clips. Why? Because the Raps were taking care of their home team and the Raps actually played two consecutive good quarters! That's right, two consecutive good quarters. Bosh and O'neal combined for 22 at the half and the Raps shot 46% while the Clippers shot a miserable 30% from the field.

In true Raptor fashion, the Clips made a run in the third quarter outscoring the Raps 28-18 as they blew their lead again. The Clips got as close as 6 points in the third. Zach Randolph left early in the 4th with a knee injury and that's when CB4 went off. Bosh scored 18 points in the 4th to cap off the Clips. Raps won it handily 97-75. Bosh looked like his old self scoring 31 pts and 7 boards.

Check out the Raptors roll call at Raptors Republic

For a Clippers perspective, check Clips Nation

Photo Credit: (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)


December 21, 2008

Good News Raps Fans: Voskuhl Scores 4!!!! Raps Lose.... Again... But Voskuhl Scores 4!

Oh yeah. Good energy from the Raps tonight. Jamario Moon and Jake Voskuhl wore their "rally" headbands and I think Jose Calderon got a haircut. The Spurs are my team and have been for the longest time, long before the Raps were even born, so either way I was going to be pleased. But I really wanted the Raps to get out of their funk, and they did, kind of.

First quarter, the Raps looked a lot different tonight and it was for the better. They were moving the ball up the floor faster getting some easy baskets. The Raps led 25-20 after 1.

In the second quarter, there was a Jake Voskul sighting!!! San Antonio outscored the Raps 36-21 in the second and led 56-48 at the half. Raps shot well, shooting 46% from the field.

The second half was all about runs. Raps would pull within 7 but then the Spurs went on a run to go back up by ten, then the Raps would go on a run to get within 4, Spurs run and then Spurs were up by 10. The Raptors made smarter decisions with the ball (well, in comparison to the last few games). Tonight, just when Bosh would normally take a three, this time he passed it down low to J.O. for the easy basket to pull within 9. That was it though, Jason Kapono hit a three to pull within 5, Joey Graham had a chance to get it closer but the layup didn't fall during the closing minutes. Tim Duncan iced it with consecutive baskets and the Spurs capped off the Raps, final score 107-97. The Raptors played better tonight and just got beat by the three ball and on the boards. If the Raps played with this energy this whole season, I really think their record would be more like 13-14 as opposed to their 10-17 record right about now.

Key Notes:
Raps were outrebounded 48-38 for the millionth time
The Spurs went 16 for 35 from three
J.O. had 24 pts & 10 reb
Chris Bosh had 17 pts & 10 reb
Former Raptors, Roger Mason and Matt Bonner went a combined 8-13 from three
Tony Parker flirted with a triple double with 24 pts, 8 rebounds & 10 assists
Jake Voskuhl with 4 pts in his Raptors debut

For a Spurs perspective, check out, they've coined a new nickname for Andrea, Andrea "Darko Two" Bargnani. Ouch.

Clippers are up on Monday. This game will be a big challenge as the Raps will have to do everything they can vs the Clips to show the world that they are playing the WORST basketball right now. The Clips lost by 34 tonight, so it'll be a big challenge.

Photo credit: (AP Photo/Eric Gay)


December 20, 2008

SUCKA FREE: Who didn't suck in the NBA last week

With the Raptors just being the Raptors, we all need some straight up positivity, just some straight up "not sucking" news. So here are the guys who DIDN'T suck last week:

Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets
Devin averaged 26 pts 9 assists and 2.5 steals last week. He took it to his former team, the Dallas Mavericks, on Friday, going off for 41 pts and 13 assists.

With Devin Harris as the new big baller in New Jersey, the crowd gave their thanks to Mark Cuban.

Brandon Roy, Portland Trailblazers
Averaged 40.5 ppg last week, including a careeer high Fitty Two against the Suns. Fitty Two!

Zach Randolph & Marcus Camby, LA Clippers
These two are the new Elton Brands of LA. Z-Bo averaged 29pts and 12reb and Marcus Camby averaged 16pts, 16boards and almost 3 blocks last week. The Clippers seem to have gotten their act together and have won 5 of their last 7.

Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz
Averaged 22pts and 12rebounds last week filling in for Carlos Boozer who had recently told that he plans on opting out of his contract. Paul Millsap has had 14 straight double doubles.

Danny Granger
Last week, he averaged 27 pts, 7 boards, 4 assists and 2 steals. At his game against the "No D" Golden State Warriors, Danny went for a career high 41 pts, 11reb and 6 assists. His game isn't throwing down big dunks or shooting threes, he's known for knocking down that mid range J.

Rajon Rondo
Big Three? More like the Big Four. Rajon Rondo has had an amazing season averaging 16 pts, 6 reb and 10 assists along with almost 4 steals a game last week. This triple double threat has made big time contributions with the Celtics 17 game winning streak.

Boston Celtics
They've won 17 in a row. Do I really need to explain more?

New Orleans Hornets
Led by CP3, the Hornets are on a 3 game winning streak knocking off Toronto, Memphis and most recently, the San Antonio Spurs.


OKC-TOR Recap: And with the first pick in the 2009-2010 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors select...

Did I just fall asleep on the couch last night and dream that the Raps lost to the worst team in basketball? It was funny, in my dream "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC was playing during every play. Seriously, what time does this game start?

What, the game is over? That was real? The Toronto Raptors just lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 91-83 who had a record of 2W-24L. Seriously?

Ok, I've recently just come to grips that the Raptors are going to just be a .500 team (at best) but there's just some games that the Raptors are SUPPOSED to win, especially against the worst team in the NBA. You never want to be THAT team that loses to the worst team especially when you're the Toronto Raptors. This was the game that they showed they could get it done and build up their confidence even if it's the Oklahoma City Thunder. Are they seriously a lottery bound team?

This game was just ugly. The Raps got off to a bad start, falling behind the Thunder 11-5. There were two sick dunks by the Thunder, Desmond Mason on Moon and Kevin Durant with a Sick, Wicked & Nasty jam on Jermaine O'neal. Raps were down by 9 after one quarter.

In the second, Jermaine O'Neal returned the favor and had one nasty block on Kevin Durant. In a weird sequence of events, the Raps weren't even shooting 30% but they were still in the game and this is probably because this is the OKC Thunder, the worst team in the NBA. Then Chris Bosh tried that whole trailing three again and missed. The Raps are playing so bad that even Matt Devlin sounds defeated. With comments like "oh no" or "you have to make THOSE shots" The Thunder were up 46-36 at the half.

The Thunder were pretty quiet in the second half which allowed the Raps to stay in the game. In the 4th, Bargnani hit a big three to get within four. The amazingly, Parker hit a three to get within three and then Bosh hit a layup to pull within one. Then there was a sequence of plays where Jamario chucked up a three and missed, and then on the defensive end, he had a quick unecessary foul. Bosh was pissed and tore a strip out of Jamario. Toronto stayed close to the end but that was about it as the Thunder just ran away with the win. Streamers came out, "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang came on, it was like a freaking playoff win for the Thunder. For a team that only had two wins, it was one of the loudest home crowds I've heard this season.

Key Notes:
Raps were outrebounded again 54-48
Jermaine O'Neal left the game with a sore shoulder
Raps were 2-17 from three pt line (if it's not dropping, stop shooting them!)
Bosh had 22pts and 16 boards and Bargnani had 16pts and 5 boards
Joey Graham had a good game with 9pts and 9 rebounds, he's been playing well this year
Kevin Durant had 24 pts and 8 boards
Russell Westbook had 19 points and 8 assists
Courtesy of Doug Smith's Blog, check out NewOKC's headline "OKC Thunder: Yes, miracles do happen"

Toronto at San Antonio tonight....ugh.


December 18, 2008

Top Ten Things Heard at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday Night

You got it all wrong! The A.C.C Crowd Wasn't Booing..

Ok, ok, Raptor fans are pissed. Chris Bosh has been horrible as of late, Bargnani has no confidence whatsoever, the Raptors are not closing out games and the biggest news today are the stories of the Toronto fans booing the Raps at Wednesday night's game. Chris Bosh now thinks the fans aren't supporting the Raps but I don't think Toronto fans (Canadian fans at that) would boo their home team.

I'm thinking the Toronto media are getting it confused, we have several theories:

10. Fans were cheering for "Jamario MOOOOOOOOOOON"

9. Or maybe it was just the crowd chanting "We love Chris BOOOOOOOOO - sh!"

8. Was it crowd chants of "Roko YOOOOOOOO-kic" or maybe the crowd was crying for "Jake Vosk-OOOOOOOOOOO-l" to come into the game?

7. Chants of Joey Gr-OOOOOOOOOOO-m? Maybe? He had a good game. Maybe he's getting married? And he's the groom?

6. I know, I know......Kevin YOOOOOOOOOU-kilis! Man, who doesn't love YOOOOK? Shit, that's baseball.

Maybe it was just fans ordering food "I want TWWOOOOOOOOO hot dogs and TWWOOOOOOOO beers!"

4. Or Raps fans may have been chanting that their favorite blog is "HOOOOOOOOOOP Heads North!"

3. Or maybe, because Canadians are so polite, everyone was passing by each other all at the same time and saying "Exc-UUUUUUUUUUUUse me"

2. Maybe it's that Toronto fans were still reeling about the recent NFL game in Toronto and they wanted more FOOOOOOOOOOOT-ball? Huh, huh? Maybe? Or that former Toronto Maple Leaf, Mats Sundin recently signed with the Van-COOOOOOOOOOO-ver Canucks?

1. Or maybe they were talking about Nathan Jawai being cleared to practice and the fact he's from Australia, the home of animals like Koala bears and kanga-ROOOOOOOOOOS?

Or maybe it was all just "Boooos", who knows....

(in case you were wondering, yes Simpsons' fans, this was inspired by the Boo-urns episode, watch the clip)


C.B. Phone Home

CB, where did you go? You've seem to have disappeared, please come home.

Chris Bosh struggled last night going 6-20 as he finished with 12 points. He's starting to become non-apparent on the floor and doesn't look like the leader he once was at the beginning of this season. I don't know if it's fatigue, new systems or adjusting to change of a new coach but Chris has to become the energy that the Raps should be feeding off of. Lately, he just seems to look frustrated.

Last night, the Toronto Raptors did it again. They played one good quarter of basketball. In fairness to the Raps, this was the Dallas Mavericks. Their 13-10 record looks deceiving as their losses were to top tier teams like the Lakers (twice), Denver, Cleveland and San Antonio.

The Word of the Day:

Lead-blowing: to blow a lead in a basketball contest; to build up a lead and then watch it fizzle as the game progresses

Unfortunately, just like the last game against Jersey and the game against New Orleans, the Raps struggled to maintain their lead. They played an excellent first quarter and I mean it was great basketball by Toronto. Toronto shot 66% from the field, Toronto's D shut down Dirk and Toronto scored 33 points in the first quarter. Raptors couldn't have played any better and finished with a 33-21 lead after 1 quarter. Joey Graham played well in the first half as he's been the energy off of the bench.

Toronto continued to maintain their lead in the second as they defended Dirk as best as they could. And then with a few minutes left in the second, that was was over. This was a moment that we've seen too many times over and over, Raps were controlling the game (with a lead as large as 13 pts) when the Mavs made a run to pull within 5 at the half. Chris Bosh was non-existent with 4 points at halftime.

Dirk continued to struggle in the third as he was 3 for 10. With 9 minutes left in the quarter, Jason Kidd hit a three to pull within 1. Chris Bosh, where did you go? He looked miserable this game. He started to miss more shots, never made it to the line and there was a moment where he got an offensive board and completely missed a slam he would normally make. And as Bosh struggled, Dirk get hot. Raps continued to get outrebounded, and may need to starting thinking about bringing out the secret weapon, Jake Voskuhl, to hustle for some boards as they looked horrible. Raptors scored 33 in the first quarter but then scored a combined 30 points in the second and third quarter. Dirk and Mavericks closed out the Raps 96-86 as the Raps go 0-3 on their 3 game homestand.

Key Notes:
Dallas outrebounded the Raps 47-37
Jermaine O'Neal led Toronto with 19 pts, 7 boards
Jose Calderon continued his free throw streak as he hit his lone free throw
Josh Howard returned to the Dallas lineup after missing 11 games, he scored 20 pts in 22 minutes
Dirk Nowitzki had 27 points, 10 boards
Jason Terry had 27 pts, 7 reb, 8 assists

Toronto begins their six game road trip in Oklahoma City on Friday.


December 16, 2008

10 Interesting Facts About Jake Voskuhl

Ever since the Raptors signed free agent 6-11 centre Jake Voskuhl on Monday, I was excited to get the lowdown on him as he may be the missing piece of the puzzle for the Raps. I've seen him play a few times with the Charlotte Bobcats and Phoenix Suns and was curious to see what he was all about.

Here's 10 interesting facts that you need to know about Jake Voskuhl

10. Let's see, he played for the '99 UConn NCAA National Champs with Rip Hamilton.....exciting.

9. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

8. He wears a size 17 shoe, awesome.

7. He has one YouTube clip titled "Shawn Marion uses Jake Voskuhl as a toilet paper"

6. His nickname is "Jake"

5. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma....oops, I already used that one. Ummmmmmm....He had three 20 point – 20 rebound games (12/2/07 vs. Indiana, 2/28/07 at Phoenix, 1/23/08 vs. Sacramento).....shoot, that was Chris Kaman.

4. ..................



Raps Get Whacked By Jersey

This game was the last time Toronto would face the Nets for the regular season and this was also the "rubber" match as the series was tied 1-1. There was some good and bad, so here it is in Pleasure & Pain format.

Pleasure - The Raps started out really well jumping on the Nets from the get go. They started out on a 9-0 run until NJ called a timeout. Vince scored a basket out of the timeout but the Raps continued to make a run getting up 16-2 on the Nets including a nice alley oop from Jose Calderon to Jamario Moon. Jermaine O'Neal played well in the first as well. The Raps played a good first quarter and had the lead 28-20 in the first.

Pain - The Raps couldn't shut down Vince like the last game, and VC scored all of the Nets first 7 points.

Pleasure - It was good to see good plays from all around the roster: Roko had a sweet dish to JO, Bosh had a nice block on Trenton Hassell and Joey Graham had a sick "Graham slam". Ever since the coaching change, Joey has been playing with more energy and confidence and his game has really stepped up.

Pain - The Nets were able to chip away at the Raps lead and Yi was able to bring it within two with a three. The Raps stunk it up on the offensive boards as the Nets beat the Raps on second chance points 14-0 which lead to a Nets 1 point lead at halftime. I'm not a fan of Jamario's outside jumpers and three attempts either, I think he's got the hops and should attack the basket more. I've seen a lot of Jamario missed outside jumpers when he could probably attempt for a better shot.

Pleasure - The Raps came back in the third outscoring the Nets 25-17 and were up by 7 at the end of the 3rd. Joey Graham continued to look active and Andrea was more aggressive driving to the basket and playing good defense. It was good to see him tussle with Vince when trying to get a rebound, it shows his grit that we've rarely seen from him.

Pain - Andrea Bargnani played well last night but looks like he has been suffering the Greg Oden disease and not looking confident in his game. Like Oden, people have been dogging them since they were both #1 draft picks and haven't been meeting the high expectations.

Pleasure - Here came the famous Raptor "lead-blowing" and the Raps again blew their lead but managed to get big shots to stay in the game. Jason Kapono continued to hit the big threes, Jose hit big shots and Bosh hit a big three during the closing minutes.

Pain - Devin Harris scored 14 of his 20 points the 4th. The D started to break down again and the Raps continued to go back to their bad habits of settling for jumpers. Nets regained the lead and the Raps continued to turn the ball over with careless passes and bad shots. The Raps again were outrebounded by the opponent (for the 13th straight game), and were outrebounded 54-38. The Nets ended up building their lead to 10 with 3 minutes left and closed out the Raps 94-87

Pleasure - The Raps again had 6 players in double figures including 5 threes form Kapono. All starters had double figures along with Andrea's 10 points off the bench.

Pain - Toronto wasn't able to shut down Vince and Devin Harris like the last game and gave up as the duo combined for 40 points. Ryan Anderson from the Nets had a great game going for 21 points, 9 rebounds with 3 threes and some big shots down the stretch. And yes, the biggest pain was for Raps fans as VC got the better of us again.

The Raps are home to Dallas on Wednesday.

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


December 14, 2008

Ring Around the Posey, With A Pocketful of Six Threes

What a tough matchup for Toronto with CP3 and his New Orleans Hornets in town. It was a Jose Calderon-Chris Paul point guard matchup and it was also the return of MoPete to Toronto, one of the Raps' all-time faves. Unfortunately, he was a DNP - Coach's Decision.

The first quarter had the Raps playing good D holding Paul and the Hornets to only 22 pts. I think Raps play well when they hold opponents to under 25 pts per quarter. James Posey hit some big shots early on in the first.

The play of the day? AP with the sweet dish to Jermaine Oneal.

In the second quarter, Raps came out strong building up on their lead of 8 points until.....

Posey hit another big three.
Posey again with a three.
Again, Posey with the 3 to tie it at 44, the Hornets went on a 17-4 run

James Posey had 5 threes at the half...ouch. James Posey has been a great addition to the Hornets with his championship experience with Miami and Boston. Chris Paul was great too, as he just drove down the lane, the Toronto defense would collapse and then he just kicked it out to any of their outside shooters. As far as Toronto, Andrea Bargnani is looking more and more like "Bust"-nani as he continues to be ineffective both offensively and defensively. He needs to become more consistent with his efforts as you never what you're going to get form him from game to game. Raps managed to lose their lead (again) and trailed 51-46 to the Hornets at the half. New Orleans had shot 51% at the half.

In the second half, Posey hit another 3 in the 3rd quarter for a total of 6 threes for the game. Raps defense played good D in the second half but were only down 8 to New Orleans 80-72 after the third. In the 4th, Jose hit a big three with 6 min left to pull within 6. The Raps stayed close but missed some key shots at the end. I'm not too crazy on Bosh's three attempts in the closing minutes when they're down. Hornets ended up closing out the Raps 99-91

It was a loss but a loss to a very good Western Conference team. It wasn't disappointing as the Raps played good ball and were competitive to the end. Bosh, Calderon and J.O. all had great games. Bosh had 25pts-8reb-6asst, J.O. had 19pts-7reb and Jose had 22pts, 7 assists going 8-8 from the field. For the Hornets, David West led the way with 29pts, 9 boards.

As a side note, the CBC crew announced that the Raptors signed Jake Voskuhl and can play as soon as tomorrow against the Nets.

Photo credit: (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Frank Gunn)


December 13, 2008

The Big Payback - VC stinks it up

There’s an old James Brown song called the Big Payback and Friday was the Raps chance to get it.

"Gotta Get Pay Back!"
Ever since Vince was traded, Raps fans just want to eat him for lunch. Even though it was years ago, fans still want to see Vince suffer and stink it up. Unfortunately, Vince usually just rubs it your face like he stole your girlriend. Vince is the guy that once beat him in a fight and you're walking away, he's the guy to kick you in the back of the head because once you thought you've beat him, he just goes off.

"I'm Mad!"
The last game against the New Jersey Nets was the root of when everything started to go sour for Toronto. The Toronto Raptors have always been known for blowing leads but that particular game put a sour taste in Raptors fans mouths. Bosh, Calderon and Bargnani all had big games and were on rout to closing out the Nets when Vince just took over. It was the game where the Raps lost Jermaine O'Neal to injury, it was the game where Colangelo started thinking about firing Sam Mitchell and it was the game that lead to a string of losses where Bosh lost his groove. It just stung that not only was a last second loss but it was also against VC who Raptors fans hate. Vince Carter is the Raptors' Lex Luthor.

Tonight was the second game of the three game series. Raptors were fresh off a win against the Pacers where they got increased production from bench players (now starters) in Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono. Moon and Kapono have had a quiet start of the season and the last game was somewhat of a breakout game for them. The Raptors were looking to put a string of wins together to end their funk and also get revenge on the Nets in their hometown.

"The Big Payback"
Anthony Parker was still out with the ankle injury so Jason Kapono got the start. Jamario also started in place of Andrea Bargnani. The game started out slow, and the Nets only scored 18 points in the 1st.

To the Raptors fans delight, the big story of the night was that Carter stunk it up. Bad. He went 0-13 from the field, missing a lot of jumpers and ended up with only 3 points. The Raps played good defense holding the Nets to 27% shooting in the first half. They were able to contain both Devin Harris and Vince Carter to a combined 17 pts where they were 4-23 from the field. Bosh looked strong in the first half, driving to the basket and getting to the line where he was 6 for 7 finshing with 18 & 5 in 30 minutes of play.

Another big story was the Raps had 6 players in double figures again. I think Triano's rotation of minutes is getting everyone out there playing and provding more scoring opportunities for everyone. Kapono, Calderon, Bosh, Graham, Bargnani and Roko were all in double figures. Jason Kapono had another good game as a starter going for 16. Joey Graham had another nice dunk as the Raps' second unit got more run as this was already a blowout in the 4th. A blowout for the Raps? Yes. It was good to see the Raps on the other side of the coin, Bosh, Calderon and Jamario sat out most of the 4th. The Raps were outrebounded by the Nets 50-37 but it was probably one of the best defensive efforts from the Raps this year.

Raps are home for the Hornets on Sunday and then the Nets again on Monday for the rubber match.


December 12, 2008

Oh my Bosh, that would be Sick, Wicked & Nash-ty!

With the recent Phoenix trade where Charlotte's Jason Richardson was traded for Phoenix Suns Boris Diaw and Raja Bell, it has sparked me back to fellow HoopHeadsNorth contributor's U-E's point that Triano may be the bait to attract Steve Nash. Nash is a little sour with the Suns as Raja Bell has been known to be Steve Nash's good friend, and Nash is also known to be one of Jay Triano's biggest supporters. I'm not sure if it all makes dollars and sense but Colangelo has ties to the Phoenix Suns to add to this point. A Bosh-Nash combo? Oh my Bosh, that would be Sick, Wicked & Nash-ty!

Here's the Score's view on Steve Nash`s possibility on moving up North.


December 10, 2008

Raptors Win, Raptors Win, Raptors Win! A win? Raps win?

Raptors Win, Raptors Win, Raptors Win! A win? Raps win? Yep, they did. "The Curse of No-Swirsk" may have been lifted. It may have only been against the 7-13 Indiana Pacers but these Pacers have beaten the Boston Celtics & the LA Lakers!

Anthony Parker was out with an ankle injury so Jason Kapono got the start. Jamario Moon also got the start over Bargnani and it seemed to pay off. Raps came out strong int he first half, shooting 50% from the field. And the suprise of the game? Jason Kapono got some extra run and had 15 points at the half. Raps were up 11 at the half.

And suprisingly, the Raps were strong the rest of the way. No "lead-blowing" which the Raptors have been famous for. It was a great performance with 6 Raps in double figures.

J. Kapono - 25pts, 8 boards
Jose - 11pts, 14 assists
Bosh - 21pts, 10 assists
J.O. - 10pts, 9 boards
Jamario - 17 pts, 9 boards
Joey Graham - 12pts

This was the offensive production we expected from the Raptors this season (but haven't seen lately), and the defense was great holding Indy to 88 points. For Indy, Troy Murphy went off for a 20pt-20reb game and Danny Granger had 22. It was a nice win for the Raps, Triano finally gets his first win as an NBA head coach. For a Pacers perspective, check out Hopefully this leads to the start of a streak, as they face VC on Friday in New Jersey.

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



With the Raps losing five in a row and struggling to compete, I am reminded that they sorely miss the creative play-by-play calling of Chuck Swirsky, who moved on to do radio commentary for the Chicago Bulls at the start of the season. Now, we've all heard 18 Parkerville Court, oh my Bosh and another MP3 download (#3 Mo Peete when he was with the Raps), which we at HoopHeadsNorth affectionately call “Swirsky-isms”, from season's past. Let's take a moment and venture into a parallel universe, where the Raps are leading the league, have a 20 game winning streak going and the Swirsk is calling the Raps game versus the Pacers tonight. What would we hear him say? Hmmm...

10 - “What a block by the Raptor's Jermaine man in the middle!”

9 - “Oooh! Calderon! Numero ochoooooooo mama what a pass by Jose!”

8 - “Joey throws down a Graham slam!”

7 - “A-B-7! It's as easy as 1-2-3, Do re mi, Bargnani with another threeahhhballlzzaahhh like the meeeattaballlzahh!”

6 - “And 1 for Moon! Granger picks up the foul going for the block, but its-a 33, Jamario! - (in a super mario voice – Swirsk had pizza tonight and seems to be riding out the Italian theme)

5 - “J-Kap caps another one! Quick on the trigga coming off a CB-4 screen!” (Swirsk has been brushing up on his gangsta rap)

4 - “Hassan Adams! Leo, I'm gonna need a SAM Adams after that move!”

3 - “Everybody, do the Humphries hump, watch #43 do the humphries hump! People say “Yo Humphries! You're real funny-lookin'. That's aiight 'cause he gets things cookin'” (Apparently, he's been brushing up on his early 90's hip hop as well. Digital Underground WHAT!)

2 - “Roko with the slam over Rasho! He will, he will Roko U, Indiana! Raps routing the Pacers!”
(Roko throwing it down over Rasho?!? Rout for the Raps?!? Remember, parallel universe. On that note, Ukic also went through the legs and 360'ed before his dunk. Cut to Brian Colangelo by the tunnel SMILING.)

1 - “Will Solomon Grundy sinks a shot on a Wednesday bring on the Nets on a Friday! It's salami and cheese time Leo!”

Swirsk also said, “Oh my Bosh!” about 50 times on this night, as the crowd chanted M-V-P! M-V-P on multiple occasions...

If each Raptor fan chants all ten of these once, maybe just maybe, the Curse of No-Swirsk will be lifted and the Raps can begin the turn around tonight against the Pacers and beyond. May reality collide with this parallel universe. Strength and honour!


Cavs spin Raps round, baby right round, like a record baby...

It was like a broken record:
Cavs steal the ball, Lebron slams it home........Cavs steals the ball, Lebron slams it home....Cavs steals the ball, Lebron slams it home, (repeat)

And this game had some broken records as well.

The Raps continued to get bullied by NBA teams on the road and this matchup was another one of those beatings as the Cavs sent the Raps packing with another L.

How did the game start? Lebron with two quick dunks. Ouch. Then, Cleveland takes the time to honour Lebron as he broke the Cavs all-time steals record. As the Raps struggle on the road, the Raps get outscored in the paint falling in love with the jumper and shot 33% from the field in the first.

In the second quarter, Jose continued his consecutive free throws streak going 45 for 45. Parker got the hot hand hitting back to back threes which got the Raps on a run getting within 9. Cleveland got a little clumsy getting 3 techs in the first half. There was another Cavs milestone tonight, Big Z passed Brad Daugherty as the all time rebound leader for the Cavs. With a minute left in the half, Raps pull within 4 but the quarter ended with a Lebron buzzer-beater. Cavs up at the half 59-51 with the Raps outscoring the Cave 32-29.

Third quarter, guess who showed up? Karl, not really but Lebron did make his tribute to him with this dunk.

Again with the broken record this quarter, Lebron steals the ball, Jam, Lebron steals the ball, Jam. The game was over this quarter, Cleveland just took over outscoring the Raps 31-16.

I’d finish off with analysis of the 4th quarter but basically it was just the Cavs starters sitting on the bench watching the second unit finish off the Raps. Final score 114-94.

Raps high scorer? Joey Graham with 17! Bosh/J.O combined to score 17 pts, yuck. Raps drop their 5th loss in a row and are back home against the 7-13 Pacers tonight. This is probably the best opportunity Raps have had for a win in a while


December 8, 2008

Time To Reunite Smitch, Babcock & Hoffa

Another one bites the dust.......another coach down.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota Timberwolves have fired their head coach, Randy Wittman after their 4-15 start. He was the 4th NBA head coach (after Sam Mitchell) to be fired this season.

I really thought NBATV's Rick Kamla had a great idea for the Minnesota Timberwolves. If you read his article on, Sam Mitchell (former Minnesota Timberwolve) would be a perfect fit. And now that Randy Wittman has officially been fired, the Wolves should pursue Sam Mitchell and reunite the former Raptors coach with former Raptors GM Rob Babcock, who is an assistant GM with the Wolves. Kevin McHale says he plans to remain as the Wolves head coach but this would be a perfect opportunity for Sam Mitchell. It would give him an chance to start with a young team and turn around the re-building franchise.

Then all they would need to do is recruit "Hoffa" Rafael Araújo (wherever he is) to the Wolves.

HoopHeadsNorth got some love on Yahoo!'s NBA blog, Ball Don't Lie!


December 7, 2008

Blake Serves Up The Raps On A Trey's the recap of today's game.

I'm just fresh off of watching the Manny Pacquiao-De La Hoya fight so I've scored this afternoon's Raps-Blazers game round by round.

Pre-game thoughts:
Welcome Home, Toronto. It was a painful road trip. I thought this would be a tough matchup against the young Blazers but the Blazers road record was 7-7 so Toronto had a chance. Bosh-Bargnani-O'Neal had a challenge against young Blazers Aldridge-Oden. And the way the Raps have been playing against Denver, Utah & LA, the opposing teams were killing the Raps on the inside. This was also a tough matchup for AP against Brandon Roy, Parker would need to play tough defense on the Blazers' star. The last game between the Raptors-Blazers went double OT and this game looked to be somewhat of the same.

Round 1
I don't know what the stats are on these Sunday afternoon 1pm EST games but the Blazers looked sluggish in the first. Raps looked good defensively and there offense was there, Chris Bosh actually nailed a 3 in the quarter.

Defensively, the Raptors looked good limiting the Blazers' points in the paint, settling for outside jumpers. Raps jumped to a 20-8 lead, looking a lot better than their last few starts.

Joey Graham is coming around, he looked more confident and driving to the hoop. The Raps played great D holding the Blazers to only 37% from the field in the first quarter. Another aspect where the Raps were struggling were points in the paint and the Raps outscored the Blazers 14-2

Round 1: Toronto won it 31-20
Round 1 to Toronto!

Round 2
JO played really well today in the post. Even Jason Kapono played a lot better and it looked like he was getting more minutes. Bosh played good D on Aldridge, Blazers had a difficult time getting the ball to him.

Rudy Fernandez and Steve Blake hit some big threes and the Blazers battled back to pull within 2.

Chris Bosh had to leave late in the 2nd with a cut to the forehead.

Toronto handled the ball well with only 3 turnovers.

Round 2: Blazers outscored the Raps 28-19 only down 2 to the Raps at the half.
Round 2 to Portland

Round 3
Bosh came back with a band-aid on his forehead. Apparently he had to get stitches from an Oden elbow to the forehead.

Steve Blake continued to hit big corner threes even Larmarcus Aldridge hit a three. Lamarcus Aldridge is going to be a good player along with the rest of the young Blazers. Roy, Fernandez, Oden & Aldridge should all have great NBA careers. Blazers had extended their lead over the Raptors to 10.

Jermaine O'Neal had played extremely well in the third. The Raptors then made a run and Jose hit a big three to pull it within 2. After that, Jason Kapono hit another three to take the lead.

The play of the day?
Joey Graham facial on Pryzbilla HELLLOO! (Jack Armstrong style)

Round 3: Even though Toronto had the energy at the end, Portland outscores the Raptors 30-25
Round 3 to Portland

Round 4
Blazers continued to have the hot hand, hitting big j's. I think the biggest mistake of the game was Bosh and then Bargnani shooting quick threes and they were only down 5? Not sure why they thought that it was the best play. Blazers were able to build another 10 point lead.

I was really enjoying the energy from Joey Graham, taking it to the hoop, not afraid to attack the basket. JO was clutch down the stretch hitting big baskets from the post. Raps made another run and Jose hit another big three and the Raps were back within two.

Brandon Roy hit a big basket with 48 seconds to go to tie it at 95 and then Bosh hit a jumper to take the lead with 27 seconds left.

The final play was nuts. Blazers final possession dealt with a lot of tips and then it was knocked out to Steve Blake who hit the dagger, hitting a three to put them up by 1.

Bosh had the ball With 8.4 seconds left, he drove in but no luck. Chris Bosh looked a little awkward and fatigued towards the end.

Round 4: Toronto outscored the Blazers 22-20 but Steve Blake had the dagger
Round 4 to Toronto, but Blazers took the win 98-97

It went all 4 rounds. It wasnt a game where it was over by the third and the Raptors competed until the end.

JO had a great game (24 pts, 8 rebounds and 6 blocks!), he just brings some defensive toughness for this Raptors team. Chris Bosh had a regular day scoring 19pts with 5boards but he looked sluggish while J.O. looked fresh today. The West Coast trip must have taken a lot out of Bosh. I was thinking he would have one of the "MVP"-ish like games and go for 40 but today wasn't his day.

Raps played much better today and got a lot of bench production from Joey Graham and Jason Kapono. Triano said after the game that he was going to spread the minutes more, hopefully having the starters fresh for the 4th. You could really notice it today, since we saw a lot more Kapono and Solomon minutes. Anyhow, it was a good game but a loss is a loss. Raptors dropped their 4th straight. For a Blazers perpsective, check out

Raps games this week: Cavs on Tuesday, Pacers on Wednesday and VC and the Nets on Friday.
Photo credit: (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)


December 6, 2008

The Crying Game - NBA's Best Crying Moments

Here are the NBA's top 5 crying moments:

Runner up: Charlotte Bobcat, Adam Morrison while at Gonzaga

The Top 5:

5. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics

4. Former Raptor, Tracy McGrady

3. Former Raptor, Vince Carter

2. Sasha Vujacic, LA Lakers

1. Glen "BIG BABY" Davis (shoutouts to the for the clip)

Yes, Big Baby. The origin of his nickname?

“Ronald Glen Davis was born in Baton Rouge on Jan. 1, 1986 to Donald Robertson and Tonya Davis. He got the nickname big baby when he was playing in peewee leagues. Because he was bigger than the other kids his age, he was playing with older kids and would whine at times and they would call him a big baby and the name stuck.”

It's ok Big Baby, it's ok.

Honourable mention goes to this guy.


Kenny Smith LOVES Jose Cuervo not Jose Calderon!

Sometimes it's nice to see the outlook on the Toronto Raptors coming from people outside of the Toronto Raptors media.

Check out Kenny, Charles and C-Webb's take on the Raptors & the firing of Sam Mitchell:

Charles Barkley is one funny dude.


Utah Jazz and Millsap Rip Raps

Wake me up when this string of games are over. The Raps stunk up another one but in fairness to the Raps, Triano was trying to implement new offensive/defensive schemes with one day's practice. Just when you thought they would come out and compete, the Raps showed off their weaknesses again losing 114-87. Paul Millsap did a fine job filling in for Boozer with a monster double double with 17 pts, 11 reb, 7 assists.

J.O. had foul trouble with three fouls in the first quarter and the Jazz were able to roll over the Raps in the getting 33 points in the first. The Raps offensive game was pretty bad going 7 for 20 in the field. By the end they shot 36 for 82 (43% from the field)

Joey Graham had another good game scoring 13pts and 5 boards. He also a sick jam on Mehmet Okur. CB had a double double with 18&11.

Jack Armstrong hit my point last night talking about the Raps having to limit teams to under 100 points. The Raptors are 1-8 when teams score over 100 against them. But the D was still terrible allowing 64 points to Utah at halftime. The Raps are giving up an average of 119 ppg on this road trip.

If you watch the highlights of last night's Jazz-Raps game, all the plays that you'll see are defensive breakdowns and the Utah Jazz scoring easy layups. Utah had a whopping 66 points in the paint to the Raps 44 and the rebounds were in Utah's favor (55 to Toronto's 38). The Raptors have to close the lane more and stop these easy baskets. Also, Jay Triano is trying to have the Raps run more but this led Toronto's 23 turnovers. These turnovers lead to even more easy baskets. Raps have a lot to improve on defense and have to handle the ball better in order to compete with these Western Conference teams. Overall, the Utah Jazz exposed the Raps defensive weaknesses and had no problem taking care of the Raps.

While watching the other NBA highlights at halftime last night, I couldn't stop laughing at Big Baby being a Big Baby, crying on the Celtics bench last night. He is never going to live this one down.

Raps take on the Blazers on Sunday. Another tough matchup with Brandon Roy and Bosh/J.O. matching up with Greg Oden/Lamarcus Aldridge.

Photo Credit: (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)


December 5, 2008

Talkin’ All That Jazz

I just wanted that title so I could throw in the Stetsasonic video.

The 8-9 Toronto Raptors take on the 12-8 Jazz tonight at 10:30pm EST. Jay Triano makes his debut as head coach for Toronto as the interim replacement for Sam Mitchell. Sam Mitchell had his success in Toronto with an Atlantic Division title and Coach of the Year award in 06-07 but it’s a new day in Toronto. Exit Smitch, Enter Triano and ever since the firing there’s been a party at And since the recent development of Jay Triano's promotion, also check out FireSamMitchell's next target at

At least someone loves Sam Mitchell, Rick Kamla from NBATV is a die hard Timberwolves fan and wants his Wolves to pick up former Timberwolve and former Raps head coach, Sam Mitchell.

As far as tonight's Raps-Jazz game, here are some highlights/hopes for tonight:

The New Coach Factor
There have been two fired coaches this season, Oklahoma City’s PJ Carlesimo and Washington’s Eddie Jordan. Once Eddie Jordan was fired, the Wizards won their first game by a large margin 124-100 against the Golden State Warriors . The Wizards had a miserable 1-10 start and were hungry to stop the bleeding, ending it with the win. Hopefully, the Raps' coaching change can fire them up. This also gives Jay Triano a chance to add some his own flavor on the Raps. He hopes to have the team running for easy baskets as opposed to sticking to half court play. This is an excellent opportuntity for Canadian Basketball, and Jay Triano should make us proud. Co-contributor U-E, thinks this also may be an opportinity to lure Steve Nash to Toronto.

Little known fact: According to Yahoo! Jay Triano was signed by the Utah Jazz in 1984-85, John Stockton's rookie season. As a coincidence, Jay will make his debut tonight against the Utah Jazz.

No Boozer
According to the Deseret news, Carlos Boozer has been ruled as doubtful for tonight’s game. This works in Toronto’s favor giving Toronto's big 3 of Bosh/JO/Bargnani an advantage both on the offensive and defensive end. The Jazz do have Paul Milsap starting in place of Boozer but he will have a tough time with J.O/Bosh.

Jazz vs. Eastern Conference
7 of the 8 Utah Jazz's losses come against the Eastern Conference this season. These weren't against the top Eastern Conference teams either but they have been against the mediocre Eastern Conference teams. They have lost to the Miami Heat 89-93 and the New Jersey Nets 88-105. They have also lost to Charlotte, Washington, Chicago and New York…….yes, the Knicks! We do have a chance!

National Coverage
The game has US national coverage on ESPN. This will be a great stage for the Raps to show tht they are back on track and will also be a great opportunity for Jay Triano to make his mark in the NBA.

National Pride, Eh!
Quoting J.O. after the miserable loss to Denver:

“The game was what it was, it was embarrassing and it was embarrassing not only
for us but for the people who represent the Toronto Raptor organization, the
city, the country.”—Jermaine O’Neal, after Tuesday’s 132-93 loss to Denver.

Raps need to win for Canada, the Raptors have not only embarrased Raps fans but have embarrased the whole country of Canada. Forget the Coalition Government, forget the falling economy, the important issue for Canadians is ensuring that the Raps win!!

It should be good game tonight, I say "SHOULD" but I still never know with these Raps.

Anyhow, please take some time to reflect on Sam Mitchell. We will miss you like we miss The Swirsk.


December 3, 2008

Buh Bye Sam, Hello Trian-Oh-Canada!

According to Yahoo! Sports, Sam Mitchell has been fired and Jay Triano (Canada Represent!) will be coaching in the interim. Jay Triano is Canadian born and is the first Canadian NBA head coach. He was most recently an assistant coach with USA Basketball. According to the Bryan Colangelo at his press conference on the Raptors channel, Triano will likely be the head coach for the remainder of the season.

Sam Mitchell had a 156-189 coaching record and was Coach of the Year in the 2006-2007 season.


That's A Rap......In The Third Quarter


I have a nephew that played Mini ball a few years ago. One of the rules was that if one team was running the other team off the floor, they just stopped scoring for the rest of the game. Tonight's game was one of those games. At the end of the 3rd, they should have just turned off the scoreboard. The Denver Nuggets had 100 points at the end of the third. The Denver Nuggets just walloped the Raps 132-93.

Chauncey Billups just buried the Raps. When he drove he scored, when he penetrated he dished off to Nene or Melo, when he felt like it, he hit big buckets. The Nuggets had no problems with the Raps at all. The Raps took a bunch of jumpers in the first and could not get it going from the start.

Jermaine O'Neal made his return and had 12 pts. Chris Bosh had 24 and 12.

As for the Nuggets, Chauncey and Melo led the way with 24pts and 23pts respectively.

On an off topic, I think the Denver Nuggets are the most tatted team in the NBA. (These are the things you notice when you watch a blowout)

This was just a straight up horrible game for the Raps from the beginning and the Nuggets had their way with them. Raps have to learn to play better D and try to keep teams to 25 pts/quarter. The Nuggets were able to shoot 60% vs. the Raps disappointing 37% from the floor. In all of the Raps wins, they held teams to under 100 points. The Nuggets scored 132 tonight.

Raps have a tough stretch of games still and Utah is up next (Friday) Let's hope this leads to a better result.....ugh.

Photo Credit: (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)


December 2, 2008

Raps Hope to Get Big Buckets Against The Nuggets

Tonight, the 8-8 Toronto Raptors take on the 12-6 Denver Nuggets. This is as tough of a matchup as the Lakers. Denver has been a hot team ever since the acquisition of Chauncey Billups. Here's a breakdown on the matchups:


Jose vs. Mr. Big Shot
The will be the big matchup of the night. The Nuggets have been 11-3 since Chauncey has joined them. The 3 losses have been against NBA powerhouses New Orleans, LA Lakers and Cleveland, all stellar teams. Jose will be able to use his speed against Chauncey but he has been playing some real good ball in Denver.

AP vs. Dahntay Jones
This will probably be more AP vs. JR Smith but AP has the edge here as long as he can hit those big threes.

Bargnani vs. Carmelo
According to the Denver Post, Carmelo may be dealing with a right elbow contusion but he is a go for tonight. Andrea has come into his own and may be able to take advantage of the injury riddled Melo.

Bosh vs. K-Mart
Bosh has a chance to bounce back with J.O. back in the lineup. He had a tough time on Sunday playing against the Lakers big men. The combo of big defenders, K-Mart and Nene may cause Bosh to face similar situations tonight.

J.O. vs Nene
According to the Toronto Star, it looks like Jermaine O’neal will start tonight. This will help relieve Chris Bosh on the defensive end against the Nuggets bigs. His return to the lineup should boost the Raps defensive intensity.

Toronto's Bench (Kapono, Graham, Moon) vs. Denver's Bench (Kleiza, Smith, Carter)
I say the Raps have a better bench but Denver has a highly offensive guard in JR Smith who can go off for 20-30 if he gets the hot hand. This could be a deciding factor.


December 1, 2008

Iron LA Lakers KO Little Raps

Ok, just to start off, those goggles that Vlad-Rad wear are pretty darn cool. They are very 90’s Antoine Carr-esque.

Raps vs. Lakers result: Mike Tyson beat Little Mac.
The Raps got knocked out by the Lakers 112-99. It wasn’t an ugly beating as some thought it would be and on a positive note, it turned to be somewhat of a good display for the Raps.

Here’s the post-fight recap:

Did they follow Doc Louis’ advice? Yes & No

Did they copy Detroit?
Raps were unable to copy the Pistons and hold the Lakers to under 100pts which means they didn’t defend well. Lakers shot 51% from the field and they also outrebounded the Raps 54-36. If you play a team that averages almost 108 ppg, you have to play tighter defense and hold them to 25 pts per quarter or less to compete. The Lakers ended up scoring 32 in the first.

Did they increase offensive production?
Yes they did. There was a well-balanced attack from the starting lineup where all Raps starters scored in double figures. Bosh & Jose both had 12 pts, Bargnani had 14 & 11 boards, Moon finished with 11 and AP led the way with 19.

Did they take advantage of injuries?
Well, this didn’t work in the Raps favor. There seemed to be a lot of talk of J.O. starting against the Lakers but turned out that he had to sit out. To add to that, Andrew Bynum was good to go for this game and he put on a good showing with 18pts & 10 reb. Had J.O. started, it probably would have affected the Raps gameplay. Chris Bosh was forced to deal with Pau and Bynum guarding him where J.O. may have been able to relieve some of that pressure.

Did they let Kobe score 81?
No, he only ended up with 23 in 29 minutes. I don’t know if it was good defense or that Kobe sat out most of the 4th with the game in hand. Either way, he didnt light up the Raps for another 81.

Did Bosh prove his MVP worthiness against the Lakers & the reigning MVP?
Yes and No. Bosh's teammates played better but Bosh’s game was rusty, settling for jumpers as opposed to driving to the hoop.....and his jumper was ugly last night. Unfortunately, he had a brick wall to face with Pau and Andrew Bynum. Did it expose his ineffectiveness against a stellar team? Maybe.

In summary, the Raps put up a good effort against a tough team in the Lakers. They were able to pull it close at times but Lakers would go on a run. Andrea Bargnani seems to look better each game and looking more comfortable with his game. Raps were also able to get decent production out of their bench from Jason Kapono and Joey Graham. Raps have Denver (Tuesday) and Utah (Friday) up next.


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