Update your feeds, Update your links & Check out the new digs!
February 7, 2009
Update your feeds, Update your links & Check out the new digs!
February 1, 2009
We've got our own dot com baby!
The new site is hoopheadsnorth.com
Thanks for your guys' support that made our blog successful.
January 30, 2009
Even with home court advantage, a healthy Jose Calderon, an injured Michael Redd, even freaking Jermaine O'Neal bobbleheads for the fans, the Raps couldn't do it. The Raps went ice cold in the third quarter falling to the Milwaukee Bucks 96-85.
The played one good quarter. The first quarter. This quarter had Il Mago score 13 points, Jose Calderon threw a nice alley oop to Jamario Moon and this quarter had Andrea Bargnani pull off this fancy reverse:
Chris Bosh had a nice And 1 in the second quarter but he also had a technical foul and four turnovers in this quarter. Charlie Villanueva and Charlie Bell nailed threes to go on a 9-0 run to get up three. Milwaukee led 49-47 at the half and Charlie V had 16 pts/4rebounds at the half.
Charlie V continued his hot shooting starting off the third with a three. The Raps went cold in the third shooting 5 for 20 scoring only 12 points. It was ugly. The Bucks got up to an 18 point lead and then the Raps went on a run. JO got in going in the fourth and Jose Calderon hooked up Bargnani for the jumper to get within ten.
And then.....it happened. Jose's consecutive free throw streak ended. He missed his free throw in the fourth ending thre steak at 87, and it symbolized how the game was going. Things got a little testy, J.O. had a hard foul on Richard Jefferson and was called for his second technical as he got into it with Andrew Bogut and Charlie V leading to an O'Neal ejection. Things just fell apart in the second half, even Bargnani went cold, after scoring 13 in the first quarter he only hit one field goal for the last three quarters. The Bucks maintained their lead in the last minutes and put an end to the Raptors winning streak.
For a Bucks perspective, check out Brew Hoop
Charlie V. had 26 pts, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks
Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 19 pts & 9 rebounds but also had a whopping 7 turnovers
The Raps moved to 19-29 and have a tough four game stretch
Raptors face the Magic on Sunday
The All-Star reserve list was announced on Thursday and with every announcement come a band of critics of the list. For instance, Al Jefferson didn’t make the All-Star team but some would argue that he’s not deserving because although he's playing great, his team is horrible. A lot of good players on bad teams never get the credit as All-Star talent because their team is sitting in the bottom of the standings. Some people call them All-Star snubs, some people call them Stat Stuffers on bad teams, either way here’s the best of the worst.
Here are the qualifications for this team:
Have to have played at least 40 Games
All-Starrish stats this season
Player's come from a team with a losing record
In the West:
Starting at Point Guard
Russell Westbroook, Oklahoma City Thunder (11-35)
Finding a good point guard in the West is easy. Finding a good point guard in the West on a losing team is impossible. There's Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Steve Nash on the winning side but the best on the losing side is Russell Westbrook. He has been amazing as a rookie. Westbrook has averaged 14 pts, 4 reb and 4 assists for the Thunder. And on another note, he should also be in the dunk contest instead of Rudy Fernandez.
Starting at Shooting Guard
OJ Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies (11-34)
This spot is hard to fill . I could have went a few directions but Mayo has been pretty consistent and has been an offensive threat for the Grizz. Mayo is averaging 19 pts per game and is a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Starting at Small Forward
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder (11-35)
The Thunder are in 13th place in the Western Conference but they got a young 20-year old Kevin Durant to build their franchise around for the future. KD has been a quiet all-star in OKC and has been averaging 25 points and 6.6 boards. In the West, Durant is the third highest scorer behind Kobe & Dirk.
Starting at Power Forward
Al Jefferson, Minnesota Timberwolves (16-28)
Probably the biggest All-Star snub, Al Jefferson has been averaging 22 pts, 10 rebounds & 1.6 blocks with the Wolves. Minnesota has been playing good ball as of late going 7-3 in their last ten. Jefferson is one of only three players in the league to average 20/10.
Starting at Centre
Andris Biedrins, Golden Sate Warriors (14-32)
Biedrins has been a beast on the boards for Golden State. He averages 13 pts & 12 boards on the season along with 1.2 steals & 1.6 blocks. The Latvian has been getting in done in Golden State with his double double consistency.
In the Eastern Conference where pretty much half of the teams have losing records...
Starting at Point Guard
Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets (20-26)
New Jersey has been a perfect opportunity for Harris. He landed a lead point guard role and has flourished with the Nets. He has been the biggest suprise for the Nets averaging 22 pts & 6 assists, he deserves to be on this year's All-Star team.
Starting at Shooting Guard
Vince Carter, New Jersey Nets (20-26)
I mean the Nets unload Jason Kidd & Richard Jefferson, who else is supposed to pick up the scoring?
Starting at Small Forward
Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers (18-28)
Granger isn't all-star snub as he made the All-Star reserves. Granger's scoring has been bananas lately averaging 27.6 points in the last month including a game against the Warriors where he dropped 42.
Starting at Power Forward
Antawn Jamison, Washington Wizards (9-36)
Jamison is averaging 21 pts, 9 rebounds and 2 assists. He has been a consistent 20/10 threat each night but the Wiz just stink. Someday Gilbert Arenas will be healthy for the Wizards.
Starting at Centre
Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors (19-29)
Of course, CB4 is an all-star he's one of the best big men in the East. But unfortunately, the Raps have not lived up to their expectations. CB4 has been the leader on the Raps and since the Eastern conference is so bad, the Raps have an opportunity to make a run for the playoffs with Bosh leading the way.
Photo credit: (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
January 29, 2009
The New Jersey Nets made a run in the fourth but couldn't close it out as the Raptors won their third in a row.
This was an important game for the Toronto Raptors as the games leading to all-star break become very crucial. If the Raps have playoff hopes, they need to start piling on the W's. Last night's game against the Nets and the matchup against Milwaukee on Friday are games the Raps have to win because of the tough four game stretch after that. They face Orlando, Cleveland, the LA Lakers and New Orleans Hornets afterwards. So in order to build on any playoff hopes, the Raps had to stick it to VC & Devin Harris' Nets.
The Raps were at home.....oops I mean they were in their home white jersey in Jersey. I think the Nets like the red alternate road jerseys as they are a horrible 9-14 at home. Vince went off in the first going for 16 in the quarter. The Raps shot 52% but were still down 30-21 after the first.
The Raps started to get the three ball falling as Jason Kapono and Andrea Bargnani nailed threes. Chris Bosh started to get it going and hit the jumper bringing the Raps to within four. Oh yeah, I'm seeing a beard. Anthony Parker didn't shave, so immediately I had high expectations of exceptional play from AP. Bobby Simmons hit a three to get the Nets up eleven but AP answered back with a three. Jamario then hit a three to get within five. Then more AP, who hit another three. Chris Bosh hit the jumper and got the foul to get it to 52-50. At the half, Nets were up 54-50.
The Raptors were a little reckless with ball and had 10 turnovers in the first half. Anthony Parker had 16 points for the Raps, all thanks to the beard. Even though the Raps were down by four, they shot a lot better than the Nets: Raps 61 FG%, NJ 43 FG% but the Raps just turned it over too many times.
Chris Bosh got it started in the third by hitting the jumper. Jamario Moon played a decent game and had a nice block on Bobby Simmons which landed right in Jay Triano's hands. Raps got the lead 55-54 with another Parker three. Jose Calderon played well in third and had a nice alley oop to Jamario Moon. The Nets got it going again as Devin Harris blew by Anthony Parker and took it to Chris Bosh for the And 1. NJ got up 64-60. Jose Calderon continued his excellent play and had 10 points in the third quarter. The Raps went on a 8-0 run up 82-74 after three.
Devin Harris started the fourth with a three. Jose Calderon nailed the J to get up nine. Anthony Parker played excellent backup point guard, hooking up Joey Graham with the basket. Our boy, Beard-nani didn't play much of the fourth as the Raps went withh the small ball. Even though the Raps had a good lead throughout the second half, the Nets made a run at the end of the fourth. Bobby Simmons hit a three to get within four, Vince Carter hit a three to get within three and Devin Harris drove in for the layup to get it to one, down 107-106. Jose Calderon missed his jumper leaving it to NJ for the last possession. Devin Harris handled the ball in the closing seconds, broke Joey Graham's ankles but his open jumper didn't fall. Raps won their third game in a row.
JOSE! had 17 pts & 11 assists
Raps' Bench aka Joey, Jason and Jermaine scored 33 pts
Raps shot 56% and NJ shot 46% from the field
Devin Harris/Vince Carter combined for 52 pts, 13 rebounds and 15 assists
Raptors had six players in double figures
Raps play the Bucks on Friday
January 27, 2009
We at Hoop Heads North love to let the Canadian side of the game shine whenever possible, so we'd be remiss not to showcase, the Miami Heat's shot blocker extraordinaire, Runnin' Rebel, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada native, Joel Anthony. By the way, it's pronounced JO-EL!
With Toronto, Ontario native and Kentucky Wildcat Jamaal Magloire also on Miami's roster, I'm thinking we might get a chance to see some Heat players doing charity events or making other event appearances throughout Canada in the future.
Sun Sports feature on Joel:
Joel's 'Dirty Work' highlight reel over Ludacris' track 'Act The Fool' ***(due to the unedited version of the song played, this video is not suitable for work OR around children)***:
Shouts to youtuber 'HeatPusher' for these video clips.
This is David Stern @ The Rucker (Rucker Park, Harlem, NYC) Summer of 2003, rockin' the Fat Joe/Terror Squad chain. No, this is not a photoshop job. This is the real deal.
Not quite sure why he's rockin' the Terror Squad Ice but this is pre-2005 NBA dress code. Maybe this was when he dropped his hip hop album which later flopped leading to the institution the '05 NBA dress code to get back at hip hop, who knows.
Shoutouts to San Fran for the tip!
January 26, 2009
Ever since the New Year, Andrea Bargnani has really stepped it up. The production from the former #1 draft pick has increased dramatically. He has moved from a Darko comparison to a Dirk comparison. In this same time frame, Andrea looks to have stopped shaving and has grown a ridiculous beard that only the Gasol brothers could be jealous of.
Here is the statistical analysis of the bearded Bargnani vs. beardless Bargnani.
Beardless Bargnani (15 games before New Years Eve)
Averaged: 7.5 ppg, 31% FG pctg , 23% 3PT pctg, 3.2 rebounds
(picture from 12/29 game vs. Golden State)
Dec 5th @ Utah: 7 pts on 3-12 shooting, 6 rebounds
Dec 10th vs Ind: 0 pts on 0-4 shooting, 4 rebounds
Dec 17th vs Dal: 3 pts on 1-5 shooting, 3 rebounds
Dec 20th @ SA: 2 pts on 1-5 shooting, 2 rebounds
Dec 22nd @ LAC: 3 pts on 1-5 shooting, 1 rebound
Dec 29th @ GSW: 7 pts on 3-8 shooting, 6 rebounds
Words to describe Beard-less Bargs' play:
No confidence, hesitant, soft, no defense, can't rebound, sucks, Darko, Kwame, Bust-nani, inconstistent, defensive liability
"There is no chin behind Andrea Bargnani's beard. There is only another fist."
Bearded Bargs (15 games after New Years Eve)
Averages: 21 ppg, 52% FG pctg , 49% 3PT pctg, 6.7 rebounds
Dec 31st vs Den: 26 pts, 6 rebounds
Jan 4th @Mil: 21 pts, 5 threes, 8 rebounds
Jan 7th @ Was: 25 pts, 4 threes, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks
Jan 12th @ Bos: 23 pts, 8 rebounds
Jan 14th vs Chi: 31 pts on 10-14 shooting, 10 rebounds
Jan 19th @ Atl: 20 pts, 10 rebounds
Jan 25th vs Sac: 24 pts, 7 rebounds
Words to describe Bearded Bargs' play:
Confident, Tough, talented scorer, swagger, consistent, gritty, Rebel Without A Cause
Other Notable Beards:
Chuck Norris, Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Abe Lincoln, Mr.T
Ever since the growth of the beard, here are the percentage improvements on Bargnani's stats:
Scoring is up 184%
Assists are up 110%
Rebounds up 108%
3 pt percentage up 62%
FG percentage up 113%
Toughness is up 400% (just watch below)
When all else fails in life, grow a freaking beard.
Last week: 35pts, 13 rebounds, 4.5assists, 2.5 steals
Durant had a career-high 46 pts, 15 rebounds and 2 steals against the LA Clippers last week. Durant went head to head with Eric Gordon who scored 41 for the Clips. Durant had 27 pts & 12 rebounds against the Golden State Warriors as well.
Paul Millsap of the Utah Jazz didn't suck
Last week: 21pts, 13rebounds and 2 assists
Paul Millsap continued to be a double double machine as he returned from injury. His last four games: 28/15, 20/12, 24/15 and 12/10.
Andrew Bynum of the LA Lakers didn't suck
Last week: 23 pts, 11 boards, 2 blocks
The Clippers just got killed with career high perfomances. First, Kevin Durant and then Andrew Bynum. Andrew Bynum had 42pts and 15 boards against the LA Clippers and also recieved the Western Conference Player of the Week. Lakers have won four in a row.
Brandon Roy of the Portland Trail Blazer didn't suck
Last week: 18pts, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals
Brandon Roy almost had a quadruple double, with 22 points, 7 assists, six rebounds and a whopping TEN STEALS against the Wizards. He tied a Blazers franchise record with the ten thefts.
The Boston Celtics didn't suck
Last week: Won 8 straight
The defending champs have gotten out of their funk and knocked off Phoenix, Miami, Orlando and Dallas with ease, beating each team by double figures.
Check out the piece on The Truth, Paul Pierce:
Photo credit: (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
January 25, 2009
In the third Jose was hype to be back , he got the steal, passing it to Anthony Parker for the dunk. By the mid third quarter, Chris Bosh had 23 pts and 6 rebounds. Andrea Bargnani nailed a three to get up 71-62 on the Kings. He scored 13 points in the third quarter as the Raps went on a 21-6 run. Andrea Bargnani got into a scuffle with Francisco Garcia after a hard foul under the basket. Bargs went face to face with Garcia when Joey Graham got in the middle, Garcia was called for the technical. Bargs' hot third quarter put the Raps up 87-74 after three quarters. Chris Bosh also had an excellent game and started the fourth quarter with a jumper and the and 1. The Raps led it the rest of the way as the Raps outscored the Kings 57-44 in the second half. The Raps shot 52% for the game as they got back to back wins.
Jawai Watch - Nathan Jawai made an appearance in fourth quarter garbage time.
The line: 1:49 of garbage time, 0 points, 1 foul, 1 airball
It may be a little pre-mature but I'd like to give Nathan Jawai a new nickname as "The Toronto Human Victory Cigar".
Toronto Raptors outrebounded the Kings 43-32
Chris Bosh had 31 and 8 boards
Andrea Bargnani had 24 pts, 7 rebounds
The Parker/Calderon combo: 11-18 shooting, 27 pts, 15 assists, 8 boards, 4 steals
Jermaine O'Neal double double: 11 pts, 10 boards
John Salmons led the Kings with 21 pts, 7 rebounds
Check out Raptors Republic for the roll call.
Photo credit: (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
January 24, 2009
Raptors 114, Bulls 94
...because Jose sank some shots.
Jose made his return, A.P. moved back into the shooting guard slot and J.O was ready to showcase for Pat Riley as the Raps were ready to get revenge on the Bulls last night. And guess what? The Raps didn't blow it. They actually ended their 7 game losing streak, finishing off the Bulls 114-94. The Raps actually fixed some of their mistakes and played some good D. Jose Calderon didn't show any signs of rust.
The game started and my girlfriend got a glimpse of Bulls coach, Vinny Del Negro and was like "Is that Luke Wilson?" I've never seen the resemblance until she mentioned it.
Derrick Rose is too freaking quick, he just blew by the Raps for easy layups. Jose came out strong passing the ball to get everyone good shots and he nailed his jumpers, I mean all of them. The Raps looked so much better without Roko/Solomon running the point. Joey Graham had a nice jam to get the Raps an early lead 24-17. Tyrus Thomas then had a block on Chris Bosh and then just posterized Jermaine O'Neal.
Good showcasing J.O., we're never going to get Marion.
Raps shot 66% from the field and the Raps led 28-25 after the first.
The Raps continued to have good ball movement. Jose continued to look good as he found Jason Kapono for the three to get up 34-27 on the Bulls. Bulls made a run, Nocioni nailed a three to get within three. Bulls outscored the Raps 31-26, as the score was knotted at 54 at the half.
The Raps looked like Raps' past opponents in the third. This time around, it was the Bulls falling apart and not the Raps. Bargs and Jose were nailing shots as the Raps went on 15-1 run. Jose Calderon was perfect from the floor going 6 for 6. Bargs hit another three to get the Raps a 10 point lead. Nocioni nailed a three to end the run and then Bulls went on an 8-0 run to get within four. Raps up 83-74 after three.
The wheels started to fall off for the Raps again in the fourth. Ben Gordon nailed a J to get it to a five point game and then the Bulls went on a 16-6 run to get within one. Derrick Rose who scored 17 in the fourth at the last game, was non-apparent in the fourth and sat most of the quarter. Anthony Parker came up big, nailing his corner threes to build the Raps lead, as the Raps went on another run getting back up to ten. Jose was clutch in this game, going 8 for 9 from the field as the Raps finished off the Bulls on a 23-4 run.
Jose Calderon was unstoppable in his return: 23 points, 10 assists, 0 turnovers, 9-10 from the floor in 29 minutes of action
Bargs had 22 pts, 5 assists
Joey Graham had 16 points
The Bulls had 23 turnovers
Kirk Hinrich had 17 pts, 5 rebounds and 7 assist off of the bench for the Bulls
Raps shot 56% from the floor
Raps are home against Sacamento on Sunday
January 22, 2009
As a Canadian, loving the Raps is like having a nerdy little sister, you're forced to love them. Of course, I've been a Spurs fan before the Raps were even born but you just grow to love the Raps, no matter how bad they stink. If you like basketball and you live in Canada...you're pretty much forced to be a Raptors fan. It's the only team you can get extensive coverage on and you can catch every game on TV. After watching the Raps lose another one last night, I was looking at through Wikipedia and the all-time Toronto Raptors roster. I was like "Damn, I never knew he was a Raptor" or "Wow, I forgot about that guy"
Well, if I could assemble one Toronto Raptors all-time greatest roster (past or present, that at one time in their playing career sported a Raps jersey), this would be it:
At point guard, Chauncey Billups
Chauncey had a brief stint with the Raps in '98 but if his prime was on the Raptors we'd have a killer team. He's been a NBA champ and an NBA Finals MVP and look at how well he's turning around the Denver Nuggets. Look at us now, we're dealing with Will Solomon and Roko Ukic at the point, Mr. Big Shot would be a blessing at this point.
At the shooting guard, Vincent Lamar Carter
The most hated man in Toronto. Arguably, he's the best player to ever play for the Raptors and whether you like him or hate him, he's taken the Raps deep into the playoffs and put the city of Toronto on the map. 8-time all-star, Olympic gold medalist and 2000 slam dunk champ (and probably one of the best dunkers to ever play in the league)
At small forward, Tracy McGrady
Sure he hasn't been passed the first round of the playoffs and he's always injured but this guy has turned into such a dominant scorer since his days in Toronto. The guy averaged 32.1 points in 02-03 with Orlando and is a 7 time all-star and 2 time scoring champ.
At power forward, Chris Bosh
What's not to like about this guy? He loves playing in Toronto, Olympic gold-medalist, he is a product of one the best draft classes in NBA history and he is currently the face of this franchise. He's only 24 and will only get better. He has set Raptor all-time records in rebounds, blocks and double doubles.
Camby was ok when he played with the Raps from 96-98 but after his stint with Toronto, he had developed into a defensive monster. He has always wore the "injury prone" label but in the past couple of seasons he has stepped up to be a premier defender, rebounder and shot blocker. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in the 2006-2007 season.
C'mon, the Raps aren't dishing out 20 mill for nothing, he is a 6-time all-star and a 20pt-10 reb with a couple blocks kind of player.
The Red Rocket is a baller. He's a Toronto fan favorite and is a three point threat when in the right system. Man, Matt Bonner is the guy who threw down KG! Probably one of the greatest Matt Bonner moments.
Jose has four Olympic medals including a gold one from the '06 Summer games. His international experience alone warrants a spot on this team.
MoPete is a fan favorite, Toronto loved him as a player. He's probably best known for nailing ridiculous shots.
Well, he may not have done much with the Raps but this guy has such an impressive resume. Former MVP & 2-time NBA champ and probably one of the greatest centres to ever play in the league.
But it would have to be the Toronto Damon Stoudamire, the Rookie of the Year that averaged 20 pts and 9 assists not the marijuana smoking "Jail Blazers" Stoudamire.
As far as the coach, Lenny Wilkens or Smitch. Probably Lenny with Smitch as the assistant, Lenny got the Raps to the conference semi finals.
What do you think, who would be on your roster?
Ever considered ankle insurance? After seeing this new viral ad for the Nike Zoom Kobe IV you may want to invest in some :) I think the satire in this is genius. Shouts to my homie AB for hitting me with this!
January 21, 2009
Pistons 95, Raps 76
Raps got blown out by the Pistons last night, leading to their 7th loss in a row as the Raps just fell apart in the second half. The Raps stayed close in the first two quarters only to get outscored 30-19 in the third quarter. This was the first game that the Pistons had Rip Hamilton coming off of the bench. Jermaine O'Neal made his return to coming off the bench for the Raps.
Nathan Jawai made his NBA debut last night. The Aussie Baby Shaq got the ball in the post only to be called for a travel.
His line: 3:05 minutes, 1 turnover
Yep, that's how exciting the game was, the Nathan Jawai's 3 minutes of garbage time was the highlight of the night.
Joey Graham sucked. Your starting shooting guard had 0 points in 22 min. Need I explain more? If the Raps even think about winning a game, Joey Graham has to do something.
Rodney Stuckey didn't suck. He took it to the Raptor guards going for 17 pts & 7 assists. Iverson got the start at the two and Rip Hamilton was last night's sixth man. The Billups-Iverson trade has really displayed what type of talent this kid has.
Roko Ukic sucked. He also had a donut off of the bench (0 pts, 3 assists, 2 reb). Sometimes he looks unstoppable on the the floor and then sometimes you just have to cringe when he tries to create his own offense. On back to back possessions, Roko decided to get the offense going on his own but had no luck.
Tayshaun Prince didn't suck. Tayshaun just torched the Raps for 25 pts on 11-16 shooting.
The Raptors in the second half sucked. The Raps only scored 33 points in the second half and gave up 49 to the Pistons. They got killed on the boards....Raps defense, Raps offense were just terrible all the way through.
The Bosh/Bargnani comobo didn't suck. They weren't great but Bosh/Bargs did their thing offensively. Bosh started off strong and finished with 19 pts & 5 rebounds. Bargs had 16 pts 6 rebounds.
But 12 combined rebounds from the Raps Bigs (O'Neal/Bosh/Bargnani)? That's horrible.
Rasheed Wallace sucked. 'Sheed didn't get anything going offensively, which I guess the Raps Bigs did do something right defensively. Rasheed finished with three points on 1-6 shooting.
Jason Maxiell didn't suck. J-Max had 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Wow, he played better than anyone on the Raps roster last night. Jason Maxiell eats babies.
The Raps have to do something soon, this Marion-O'Neal trade has to happen or the Raps just have to start thinking about next year's draft. Raps play the Bulls on Friday.
In true Conan O'Brien style, here is NBATV's exclusive interview with the Atlanta Hawks star, the quiet, soft spoken Joe Johnson.
"In all of Atlanta sports, I am the best athlete, embrace me!"
January 20, 2009
Remember Reggie Slater? Me neither. But I do remember Doug Christie and Alvin Williams.
Check out this classic Toronto Raptors' Maple Leafs spot.
Alvin Williams dropping the gloves? Priceless.
January 19, 2009
Ok here's the situation:
Score: 84-85 Hawks
0:41 Chris Bosh defensive rebound
0:35 Jamario Moon misses 26-foot three point jumper
Why oh why would Jamario Moon chuck a quick three during one of the last Raps' possessions down 1? Ugh...Raps dropped their sixth game in a row.
Triano went with the same lineup change today with AP at the point and Joey Graham at the two. As the J.O./Sean Marion trade rumors swirl, Jermaine O'Neal sat out and Jose Calderon sat today as well.
First quarter, Joey Graham started with a sick dunk. Josh Smith had a couple of nice dunks as well in the first quarter with his Hawks down 24-21. Raps were up 24-23 after one. The Raps took control in the first half, Roko was just blowing by the Hawks with layups, Bosh & Bargs also had it going as the Raps got up 11, 51-40. Raps shot 50% in the first half holding the Atlanta Hawks to 39% shooting. The Raps also outrebounded the Hawks 23-17 in the first half.
The Raps stunk it up in the second half, Joe Johnson hit a jumper in the third to get it to a 58-53 Raps lead. Then the Raps went cold going 0 for 7, while Mike Bibby cut it to one point. Raps led 64-62 after the third quarter. Toronto only scored 13 points in the third. The Raps continued to tank as they shot 9-32 throughout the second half, shooting under 30%. The Raps fell behing 76-71 until Jamario Moon hit a three to tie it at 78. The Raps started to hit shots as Chris Bosh hit a jumper to get up 2.
Then this is where it started to go sour. First, Jamario bit on a Mike Bibby pump fake that sent Bibby to the line where Bibby went 2/2 from the line to get up 85-84. With 54 seconds left, the Raps inballed the ball to Bosh who just lost it off the dribble which lead to a Hawks steal. Luckily, Mo Evans completely missed a layup giving the Raps a perfect opportunity to set up for the go-ahead basket. But as Jamario ran down the floor, he decided to go for the quick three. A quick three? Ugh. Ugly. Leo and Matt Devlin couldn't believe it along with the rest of the Raps nation. This set up Joe Johnson to nail a clutch jumper to get up three. Raps had 12 seconds to get a decent shot, but they couldn't a decent shot at all. The Raps lose another "OHHH, SO CLOSE" game again.
Raps have Detroit on Wednesday.
Photo credit: (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers didn't suck.
Last Week Average: 29 pts, 13 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Obviously he doesn't suck but 'Bron-'Bron had three double digit rebounding games last week. Averaging 29 points and 13 rebounds, that's just sick.
Check out this video: "Flight 23" and select the HD version.
Gerald Wallace of the Charlotte Bobcats didn't suck.
Last Week Average: 24 pts, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1.5 blocks
Wallace had a bad-ass game going 31-16 against Portland Blazers and this nasty dunk on Greg Oden.
Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers didn't suck.
Last Week Average: 26 pts, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals
Iggy had a big game Knicks going for 28 pts, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. Philadelphia has won seven in a row.
Jameer Nelson of the Orlando Magic didn't suck.
Last Week Average: 24 pts, 2 rebounds, 8 assists, 1.7 steals
Jameer Nelson helped the Orlando Magic win seven in a row scoring 20+ points in his last four games.
The Philadelphia 76ers didn't suck.
Last Week: Won 7 in a row
Philly knocked off a couple of Western conference powerhouses in Portland & San Antonio. The Sixers clobbered Portland by 21 and the Spurs by 22. Philly sits second in the Atlantic behind the Boston Celtics
The Orlando Magic didn't suck.
Last Week: Won 7 in a row
The Orlando Magic went 4-0 on their Western Conference road trip beating the Spurs, Sacramento, Denver and the LA LAkers. Watch out Cleveland & Boston, Orlando is a force to be reckoned with.
Photo credit: (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Suns 117, Raps 113
The good news is that the Raps next nine games include seven against the Eastern Coference. So this is a the stretch where the Raps can either make or break their season. Yesterday, Triano made some lineup changes putting Anthony Parker as the starting point guard and puttting Joey Graham as the starting shooting guard. Apparently, these guys along with Bosh, Bargs and Moon were the only ones who could get it going in the fourth of the Raps-Pacers game.
The Raps came out swinging in this one starting off with 18-6 start over the Suns as this would be a high scoring affair. Then the Terry Porter Phoenix Suns looked more like the D'Antoni Suns Sunday afternoon as J-Rich hit a three to lead the Suns to five buckets in a row to get up on the Raps 27-26. Phoenix would continue the hot streak going on a 21-9 run to get up 36-34. The Raps would shoot a hot 64% but the defense let Phoenix shoot a sweltering 72%. The hot offense continued until halftime, the Phoenix Suns led 71-67.......at halftime, yes halftime. Steve Nash was scoreless at the half but had 11 assists.
The second half started with Chris Bosh playing Shaq one on one in the post and Bosh got just got swatted. Anthony Parker and Joey Graham continued to play well as the Raps stayed in this one, down only eight after three. In the fourth, Jamario Moon hit a three to make it a five point game and then Joey Graham nailed a jumper for a career high 20 pts. The Raps got within two, 102-100. Joey Graham nailed another jumper to make it a tie game. There was a scary moment when Bosh hit a rainbow jumper over Shaq, but when coming down, Chris Bosh landed on Shaq's big-ass shoe. It looked pretty nasty but Bosh was able to wak it off. Jamario Moon had a crazy putback slam out of nowhere to get within three, 114-111. But in the next Raps possession, Anthony Parker would throw it away, turning the ball over leading to a Nash missed wide open three. AP redeemed himself to get back within one. During the closing seconds, Nash drew Bosh in, then drove passed him for the layup to go up 116-113. In the last seconds for the Raps, it was a lot of chaos of offensive boards trying to tip it in but the shots just didnt fall. Kid Canada wins in Canada 117-113.
AP & Joey Graham were huge: AP: 26/7/5, Joey Graham: 22/7/4
Amare Stoudemire 31 pts, 6 reb
Steve Nash had 9 pts and a season high 18 assists
Raps play the Hawks on MLK Day, Monday afternoon.
January 18, 2009
Pacers 111, Raptors 104
Man, the Pacers pulled off a Raptor-esque performance by blowing their 24 point lead after the third quarter. It all started with a 10-1 run by the Raps in the first. Jermaine O'Neal made his first appearance in Indiana and got a mixed review with both boos and claps. After the first quarter, the game was tied 20-20.
In the second is where the wheels started to fall off for the Raps. The Raps fell behind 41-30 and then the Pacers started to hit the threes. Danny Granger hit a big three, Troy Murphy had an open three and then Dunleavy hit a three. The Raps defense was too slow, and their shots were just ugly as nothing was falling for the Raps. The Pacers were up 56-42 at half.
Jamario Moon started the third quarter with an airball. Toronto continued to turn the ball over and Troy Murphy hit a three to get up 81-59 on the Raps. Former Raptor, TJ Ford hit a late jumper to end off the third up 24 points.
In the fourth, Bosh started off with back to back baskets as the Raps went on a 11-0 run to start the fourth. Bargs continued to struggle shooting 4-13. Raps contined to rally as AP passed to an open Bosh for the dunk. Toronto continued to go on a 17-5 run. Then Bargs hit a three to make the game close to get within nine. Jason Kapono hit an open three and then Danny Granger who was 7-22 missed an open three. Bosh continued to go on a tear and hit two free thrown to get within three. Then Anthony Parker hit a jumper to get within 1. Even though the Raps made the 4th quarter run, the Pacers hit key free throws to put the Raps away.
Toronto had 20 turnovers leading to 29 Pacer points
Danny Granger had 23 pts on 8-24 shooting
Bosh had 25 pts, 16 rebounds
Jermaine O'Neal had 2 points and 7 boards in his return
Raps are home to Phoenix on Sunday.
Photo Credit: (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
January 14, 2009
Bulls 102, Raps 98
Bargs was large. He played so well, he even tipped in a basket for the Bulls. Andrea Bargnani had a career night but this was another heart-breaker. The Raps came out flat in the first, falling as much as 12 pts behind the Bulls. After one, the Bulls led 27-18, outrebounding the Raps 14-6.
The Raps just got killed on the offensive boards in the first half, the Bulls had 10 offensive boards versus the Raps' donut. The Raps made a run in the second that started with a huge Jamario Moon block on Kirk Hinrich as the Raps got within four. Will Solomon then hit a jumper to get within one and then he followed it with an alley oop pass to Jamario Moon to take the lead. Bargs had it going scoring 10 points in the second quarter alone. The Raps took the lead at 48-47 at halftime. Bulls outrebounded the Raps 26-11 and killed them on the offensive boards 12-1.
The third quarter had the Raps bench struggling and settling for too many jumpers. Bosh/Bargnani carried the load scoring 14 of the Raps 18 points. Roko Ukic had a late layup to get up 71-68 at the end of the third.
The Bulls started off on a 7-0 run to start the fourth. The Bulls had good ball movement passing it around until they found a high percentage shot. The Bulls were just killing the Raps in the paint. Then the Raps got back on a run again, AP hit a three to get within one. AP was clutch in the fourth as he hit another jumper to take the lead. Derrick Rose was amazing, he was just so quick and explosive, he just drove to the basket with ease. Chris Bosh had a nice cut to the basket for the dunk, as the score was 98-96 Bulls. Derrick Rose and Anthony Parker traded baskets and then the Bulls had the ball with 15 seconds left. Kirk Hinrich had a bad inbounds pass which led to a Chris Bosh steal. Toronto got the ball to Chris Bosh, down 2, but Joakim Noah stuck to him and blocked Bosh's jumper. Bulls Win, Bulls Win, Bulls Win, break out the salami and cheese that ball game was over.
Andrea Bargnani had a career high 31 points and 10 rebounds
Derrick Rose had 25 points and 10 assists and scored 17 in the fourth quarter
Luol Deng had 16 points and 14 rebounds
Chris Bosh had 25 points and 4 rebounds
Raps are @ Indiana on Friday.
Photo credit: (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tonight the Raps face off against the 16-22 Chicago Bulls but this also means the return of The Swirsk, Chuck Swirsky, former Raps announcer.
After having Chuck as the announcer of the Raps for so many years, it just seems weird of having the new guy in Matt Devlin in there. Don't get me wrong Matt Devlin is a great announcer but I was just a fan of the originality that Chuck had brought. Be it "Another MP3 Download" (for a Morris Peterson three) or "The Red Rocket" (for former Raptor Matt Bonner) it just made the Raps broadcast that more enjoyable to watch. I know Devlin doing his best for the nicknames but the "Rockin' Roko" or "Will the Thrill" nicknames just doesn't cut it. Anyhow, it will be nice to see Swirsk back in Toronto.
Welcome back, Swirsk.
Check out TSN's Top 10 Chuck Swirsky Tribute:
Also check out our "Curse of No-Swirsk", this season's Chuck Swirsky calls if he was sill in T.O.
January 13, 2009
Vince Carter of the NJ Nets didn't suck
Last week: 25pts, 8 rebounds, 11 assists
VC has been dropping dimes, getting double digit assist games against Milwaukee and Memphis.
Lamarcus Aldridge of the Portland Blazers didn't suck
Last week: 24 pts, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Lamarcus had three twenty point games against the LA Lakers, Detroit Pistons and Golden State. The Blazers sit a game and half behind the Nuggets in the Northwest.
Pau Gasol of the LA Lakers didn't suck
Last week: 20 pts, 10 rebounds
PG 20-10 averaged 20-10 last week with a huge game against Golden State. He had 33 points, 18 rebounds and 2 blocks against the Warriors. Check out the dish by Pau in this clip:
Philadelphia 76ers didn't suck
Last Week: Won 4 in a row
The've won four in a row knocking off Houston, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Atlanta. They sit in the third spot in the Atlantic Division.
Minnesota Timberwolves didn't suck
Last Week: Won 5 in a row
The Wolves are only 11-25 but are on a streak beating mediocre teams Golden State, Chicago, Memphis, OKC and Milwauekee. The Wolves are 4th in the Northwest. They squeaked out a win against the Bucks 106-104 even without Kevin McHale (ejected) and Al Jefferson (fouled out)
Photo credit: (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Celtics, 115, Raptors 109 (OT)
Suprisingly, the Raps had the lead early on. Andrea Bargnani had 3 fouls in the second as the Raps were up 41-35. The Raps bench played an important factor in the first half with Roko Ukic, Jason Kapono and Joey Graham all hitting shots. The trio from the bench had a combined 20 points in the first half. The Raps shot 54% from the field and also outrebounded the C's in the first half. The Bosh/Bargnani combo also played well combining for 20 pts and 11 rebounds.
In the third, Brian Scalabrine hit back to back shots to knock the Raps lead down to four. But then the Raps managed to build their lead back up, Anthony Parker hit a late shot clock jumper and then Bargs hit a three to get up ten. Andrea has been a beast lately playing with so much confidence, I really don't know what they plan on doing when J.O. returns. In the late third quarter, Paul Pierce just took over getting the C's within two. The Raps led 74-70 afer three.
To start off the fourth, Gabe Pruitt hit an open three to get the C's a lead. Then Bosh had a sick dunk on Big Baby Davis. The Raps were a little cold, Roko tried to make plays but his shot wasn't falling. I've never seen anyone play such good defense on Bosh better than KG. He just gets right in his face every play. KG & Ray Allen hit back to back baskets to get up 4. The Raps were cold, only 2 for 14 in 9 minutes. Rajon Rondo had a nice layup, faking the pass and then driving to the hoop.
The last minute of the fourth was pretty exciting. First Will Solomon hit a three to get within 2. Paul Pierce nailed a jumper and then Bargs had the pump fake on KG and hit the j, to make the score 92-90 for the Celtics. Pierce went to the line for free throws and went 1/2 to put the Celtics to get up 93-90. The last play was chaos, Bosh tried to knock the rebound out and it got to parker, passed to Kapono and then Kapono dished it to Bargs for the three and then whoosh. Tie game with 1 second left.
The overtime period was all Paul Pierce and the Celtics as they went on to beat the Raps 115-109. Raps have the Bulls on Wednesday.
Andrea Bargnani scored 23 pts, 8 rebounds
Paul Pierce had 39 pts, 9 rebounds, 4 assists
Roko Ukic had 16 points off of the Raps bench
Photo credit: (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
January 12, 2009
Do you want to see a young Chris Bosh at a press conference discussing trash talk or a young Jose Calderon speaking about his contract negotiations? Check out these Raptors Foundation spots:
Chris Bosh is a stupid head.
Jose Calderon loves candy.
January 11, 2009
Celtics 94, Raps 88
Good effort. Going into the game, the Raps were the hot team and the Celtics not so hot. The Raps offense had been on fire, averaging 100 points/game in their last five. The Celtics on the other hand have been losers of four in a row. There were a few lineup changes today, Jose Calderon was back in the Raps starting five. For the C's, Kendrick Perkins was out and Brian Scalabrine started in his place.
Raps started off the first well, Jamario Moon hit a three to put the Raps up 12-6. And then.....Jesus came out on Sunday. Jesus Shuttlesworth AKA Ray Allen started to drop some treys on the Raps. The Celtics hit back to back threes to tie it back up at 12. Ray Allen went 5/5 in the first quarter from three point land. The Raps only shot 37%. 32-20 after 1.
The Celtics got up 42-24 on the Raps until Bargnani hit a three and then Anthony Parker hit another triple to get with 10. Things got a little physical as Joey Graham and Brian Scalabrine knocked heads. It was pretty cool, the ACC just erupted with a "JOEY, JOEY, JOEY" chant. As the crowd got excited, the Raps went on a run to get it down to 42-34. And then to top it off, Joey Graham dunked on Brian Scalabrine to get within six as the Raps went on a 10-0 run. But the Celtics went back on a run as Rajon Rondo had a ridiculous dunk on Will Solomon. Celtics were up 54-41 at halftime.
The third quarter was all Celtics as Ray Allen continued to hit threes. Boston outscored the Raps 21-14 in the 3rd, leading the Raps by 18, 73-55. In the fourth quarter, the Celtics went cold. They started off 0/7 until Ray Allen hit a shot to end the Raps 11-2 run. Joey Graham hit a basket to cut the Celtics lead down from 20 to 10 points. The Raps got hot in the fourth, going 6/8 and then Joey Graham had a block on Rajon Rondo that lead to a Chris Bosh dunk. The Raps continued to make a push when Andrea Bargnani hit a three with 1:30 left in the game to get within five. Kapono hit a late three to get it to 92-88 but the Celtics managed to maintain their lead. Final, C's won 94-88.
Raps shot 28 for 74, 37% for the game
Ray Allen had 8 of the Celtics' 10 threes, he finished with 36 points
Rajon Rondo and KG both had double doubles
The Killer B's: Andrea Bargnani had 17 pts & 9 rebounds, Bosh had 15 pts & 11 boards
For a Celtics perspective, check out RedsArmy
The Raps are at Boston on Monday.
Photo credit: (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rajon Rondo with the nastiness on Will Solomon. Rondo had 14 points against the Raps today and here was two of them:
January 10, 2009
Final Score: Raps 103, Grizz 82
Raps are on a streak! Raps are now winners of 4 of the last 5 and it's a great time for the Raps to get on this streak since they are facing the slumping Celtics on Sunday. Now that game can result in one of two ways: Celtics can continue to slump on Sunday afternoon or they can finally wake up and just demolish the Raps.
Unfortunately, I didn't catch last night's game since I was in attendance at the home opener of the Halifax Rainmen. The Rainmen are a local PBL (Premier Basketball League) basketball team based in Halifax. An interesting tidbit about this minor basketball league is that former Houston Rocket and TNT analyst Kenny Smith is the commissioner.
Key Notes from the Raps-Grizz Game:
Chris Bosh - 32 pts, 10 reb, 3 blocks , 11/13 from the floor, 10/12 from the line
Bargnani - 21 pts, 8 reb, 2 blocks
Raps outrebounded the Grizz 38-33
Rudy Gay led the Memphis Grizzlies with 22 pts
Raps outscored the Grizz 56-38 in the second half
For an extensive recap, check out these blogs:
Raptors Forum - Raps vs. Grizzlies - Post-game
Raptors Repbulic - God smiles on Chris Bosh
Next Game, Sunday afternoon: Celtics - Raps
January 8, 2009
Final score: Raptors 99, Wiz 93
Ok, first off Hassan Adams was traded yesterday. He was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers along with cash for a future second round draft pick. He was then immediately waived by the Clippers as the headlines read "Clippers acquire, waive Hassan Adams" I'm sure there's a logical explanation but I'm not exactly sure what it is.
Anyhow, Raptors were shorthanded for the night. No Jose, no J.O., no Jamario (attending the birth of mini-Jamario) and no Hassan Adams. So the Raps were short 3 starters and 1 cheerleader. Joey Graham, Will Solomon and Andrea Bargnani got the start. Jake Voskuhl replaced Hassan Adams as the bench cheerleader.
So the Raps were down to nine players but they were facing the lowly 7-26 Wizards. If the Raps could pull off a win, it would have to be against the Wizards who were on the end of a back to back. And the Raps lucked out, the Wiz looked flat from the start. Andrea Bargnani got another start at centre and showed more of his Dirk-side and not hit Darko-side last night. The Raps quickly got off to a hot start getting up 10-2 on the Wizards from the start. The Raps could barely miss a shot in the first quarter, Will Solomon was hitting shots, Bargs was hitting shots and the Raps as a team shot freaking 70% in the first quarter. They were had a lead up as big as 21-8 and finished the first quarter 27-16.
In the second, Andrea & Anthony Parker got the Raps up to 46-25 after hitting back to back threes with 4 minutes left in the quarter. That's when I thought, "OK, this is where the Raps will begin to blow the lead" And it happened, the Wiz went on a 9-0 run to knock the lead down to 12. Antwawn Jamison led the way to the second half as the Wiz trailed the Raps 50-38 at the half.
The third quarter got a little sloppy for the Raps. Andray Blatche hit a jumper to get within 8 as the Raps turned the ball over too many times. And then Bosh, Will Solomon and Andrea Bargnani got the Raps offense going again to get the lead back up 73-60. I was sure that this quarter was going to be the one that the Raps were going to blow but they held their ground and built their lead again. Andrea Bargnani had 15 points at this point going 6/7 from the field.
The fourth quarter was all Jamison as he was hitting jumpers to lead the Wiz back into the game. Five minutes into the fourth, the Wiz were only down five as the Raps continued to turn the ball over. But from that point on, Raps kept their compsure as Andrea Bargnani was "on" in the 4th hitting his shots down the stretch.
Bargs had a nice game, 25 pts, 4 rebounds
Antawn Jamison had 32 pts, 7 rebounds for the Wiz
Raps actually outrebounded a team beating the Wiz 39-28 on the boards
Toronto had a horrible 20 turnovers
The Wizards never had a lead during this game
For a Wiz perspective check out Bullets Forever
Raps beat the Wiz and the take on the Grizz on Friday.
Photo credit: (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
January 6, 2009
Forget about Andrea Bargnani scoring 21, forget about Bosh's 31 points, forget that the Raps shot 55% and forget that the Raps have won two in a row. This game was a "shoulda won" game.
Just scrap the first 46 minutes of the game and go right to the 2:39 minute mark left in the fourth quarter. Raps are up 95-91.
Here's the play-play:
Luke Ridnour makes 27-foot three point jumper (Michael Redd assists) 95-94
Will Solomon misses 18-foot jumper
Charlie Bell makes 23-foot three point jumper (Charlie Villanueva assists) 97-97
Will Solomon misses 26-foot three point jumper
Luke Ridnour makes 26-foot three point jumper 97-102
Andrea Bargnani misses 21-foot jumper
Michael Redd makes free throw 2 of 2 97-104
Michael Redd makes free throw 2 of 2 97-106
Will Solomon misses layup
Will Solomon? Will Solomon who was 2 for 13? Did they forget Chris Bosh was on the floor?
This game just slipped away from the Raps so fast as the Bucks went on a 13-0 run in the closing 2 minutes. It went from a four-point Raps lead to a 10 point loss against the Bucks. It was just a nasty way to finish a game and it goes to show that the Raps still have a ways to go if they couldn't finish off this game. The Raps went ice cold while the Bucks' Luke Ridnour hit a couple of big threes at the end.
For the Bucks, Michael Redd went for 35 pts, Charlie V went for 25 and Richard Jefferson had an offnight going for 6 points. For the Raptors, Bargs had a good game, 21 points and 8 boards, no one can call him Darko Two now. Chris Bosh scored 31 for the Raps along with 11 boards but the Raps did not go to the leading scorer in the closing minutes. The Raps had a lead as large as 13 during this game but the three ball got the Bucks back into this game as the Bucks hit 11 threes. This was a ugly loss, just too much Michael Redd and too much Will Solomon in the deciding minutes.
For a Bucks perspective, check out Brew Hoop The Raps are at Washington Wednesday night.
Photo credit: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
January 5, 2009
D12 dropped the DX on Sunday.
I caught this in the last minute of Sunday's Raps-Magic game. Chris Bosh had been shooting free throws and the Toronto hecklers kept taunting Dwight Howard with "HOOOOOOWWARRD.....YOU SUCK!" Dwight Howard in turn, dropped the ol' Degeneration X Suck It. Watch closely:
Shoutouts to raptorsrecap.ulmb.com for pulling that video for me.
January 4, 2009
Marcus Camby of the LA Clippers didn't suck
Last Week: 16.5 pts, 19 boards, 2.8 blocks
He had a couple of 20 board games against the Detroit Pistons and the Phoenix Suns. The Clippers still suck but Camby has been a beast on the boards.
Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers didn't suck
Last Week: 35.5 pts, 5reb, 4assts, 3 stls
Kobe had 40 against the Jazz as the Lakers have been rolling over opponents.
Shaquille O'Neal of the Phoenix Suns didn't suck
Last Week: 23 pts, 11 reb, 2.3 blocks
The 52-year old is still chugging along and still putting up all-starish numbers as the Suns have won three in row.
Troy Murphy/Danny Granger of the Indian Pacers didn't suck
Last Week: Granger 26 pts, 5 assts, 4 reb and 1.8 steals, Murphy 13pts & 15 rebounds
The Pacers combo combined for an average of 39pts and 19 rebounds for the young Pacers squad.
Detroit Pistons didn't suck
The Pistons have won 7 in a row knocking off some bad teams last week in the Sacramento Kings and LA Clippers. Rodney Stuckey was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week including a 39 point performance against the Kings.
LA Lakers didn't suck
The Lakers have won 5 in a row and were 8-2 in their last 10. With the Celtics slumping, the Lakers moved up to be the best team in the NBA. That Phil Jackson is one smart cookie. Check out this silky smooth pass by Pau Gasol last week against the Jazz:
Photo credit: (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
BREAKING NEWS: SAM MITCHELL SIGHTING.....SAM MITCHELL SIGHTING.....
I couldn't help but post this and shoutouts to ballerblogger.com for the find.
I was watching this YouTube clip of Tony Parker's buzzer beater against the Sixers from Saturday night and then I heard this familiar voice at the end of the clip. Who was it? Sam Mitchell doing commentary for NBATV.
The 26-7 Orlando Magic came into town as winners of 9 of their last 10 games. The Toronto Raptors were winners of 3 of their last 10. Normally, I would think this would be another L for the Raps but I had new outlook on this game. It's 2009 and the Raps are 1-0 for the new year. Today's starters for the Raptors looked a little different: Anthony Parker, Will Solomon and Jamario Moon were all starting with Jermaine O'Neal and Jose Calderon sitting out due to injury. This meant more run for Will Solomon and Roko Ukic at the point guard position.
First Half Pleasure & Pain
Pleasure - The G's were Money
The Magic had an early 17-14 lead on the Raptors seven minutes into the game but the Raptors guards put an end to it. The combo of Anthony Parker and Will Solomon went 6 for 6 from the field as the Raptors went on a 20-5 run from that point. Roko Ukic came into the game in the late first quarter hitting a shot and extended the Raptor lead to 15. By the end of the first, the guards (Parker-Solomon-Ukic) were 7 of 8 from the field and the Raps led 34-22. Raps had the hot hand shooting 66% and their defense held the Orlando Magic to only 40% shooting.
Pleasure - Andrea Bargnani
I don't know where this Andrea Bargnani has been, but I like it. More confidence, more swagger...we should have seen this a long time ago. Bargs played some decent defense on Dwight Howard and he also hit a big three to get up 38-26 on the Magic.
Pain - The infamous Toronto Raptors lead blowing
Dwight Howard started to get get things going with big dunks down low and had 18 points by mid second quarter. Jameer Nelson started to hit shots and knocked the Raptors lead down to only 6. Hedo Turkoglu continued the run and hit a jumper while Jameer Nelson hit another shot to get it down to a one-possession game. The Raps were lucky enough to have Will Solomon hit a jumper in the closing minutes of the second to put the Raps back up by seven. The Raps were up 56-49 at the half and were on pace to a 100 point game...which usually leads to Raptor wins.
Second Half Pleasure & Pain
Pain - Magic Eight Ball, No...More like Magic Three Ball
The Magic wouldn't go away and stayed in it with the three ball. Rashard Lewis came into the third quarter and hit a three and then the three ball came from everywhere. Everytime the Raps would double team Dwight Howard, there were open bodies on the three point line waiting for a shot. Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson, Courtney Lee all hit threes and then with 40 seconds to go in the third, Dwight Howard came down with the ferocious jam to take the lead 78-77. At the end of the third, the Magic were 12 for 26 from three point land vs. the Raps 2 for 9 from three point land. The Magic finished with 15 threes in the game.
Pleasure - AP
Anthony Paker finally got it going, he had 14 points by mid third quarter. I've never seen this guy dunk so much until this game, the Magic just didn't defend him at all. He finished with 26 points going 13-15 from the field.
Pleasure - Raps actually maintaing composure
The Raps didn't seem to get rattled when the Magic came back. They kept their ground and actually played well down the stretch. Jamario had played great defense and got some key defensive boards. Andrea Bargnani was all over the place, hitting a three to get the Raps up by ten and then stole the ball and took it to the basket for a layup. And then when he got doubled, he dished it to Bosh for the dunk.
Pain - The Magic fought back
Dwight Howard had a big game (he finished with 39 points) and got it going in the 4th. Stan Van Gundy put in JJ Redick to get the offense going and he hit threes. Then Rashard Lewis hit another big three, his 6th three of the game.
Pleasure - Toronto clutch down the stretch
Bosh hit both free throws with 2:27 left to tie the game at 101. Up to the fourth quarter, the Raps were 18 for 18 from the free throw line. Bosh was key at the end of the fourth, grabbing key rebounds and hit a crazy almost And-1 circus shot (thanks to hoopdoctors.com)
Pleasure - We Will, We Will Roko U
Roko Ukic was important at the end and it was actually the first time fans got to see Roko in a decisive portion of a Raps game. Roko hit a key jumper in the closing minutes to seal the win as the Raps won 108-102.
For a Magic perspective, check out thirdquartercollapse.com The Raps are at Milwaukee tomorrow night.
Photo credit: (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
January 3, 2009
....Raps worked it all around the clock.
I guess the Raps played a full 48 minutes of good basketball. Wow. A Raps blowout? Hassan Adams got minutes?
I don't know....Yao, TMac and Artest all played. The Raps were short J.O. and Jose Calderon and the Raps still won against the Houston Rockets. That is just nuts.
The Raps either played a really good game or the Rockets just played a really bad one. I think it was a little of both. Andrea Batgnani took advantage with his speed and shooting ability against Yao Ming. With Andrea being a three point threat, it drew Yao out to the three point line, opening opportunities for shots down low. This led to an early 14 point lead over the Rockets. Former Raptors, Rafer Alston and Tracy McGrady were non-factors with a combined 12 points.
Jose Calderon left in the first and came back in the second quarter but then left soon after with a strained hamstring. The Rockets were able to make a run as Carl Landry hit a jumper to get within 2. Ron Artest had a hot hand for the Rockets and had three threes in the first half with his third three bringing the Rockets to within one point. Will Solomon get some extra run with the Calderon injury and had nice pass to Joey Graham down low with the easy layup. Raps as usual played a good first half and led by ten, 48-38 at halftime.
In the second half, Bargnani used his speed against Yao, beating him down to the Raps offensive end, getting some easy opportunities. Jamario Moon had a nice open slam with one minute left in the third quarter. Toronto built up their lead 68-49. Jake Voskuhl played some great defense where his defensive plays led to some great shots. The fourth quarter was just garbage time and the Raps emptied their bench. Every member of the Toronto Raptors roster had at least one basket. The Toronto Raptors just blew out the Rockets, 94-73.
The Houston Rockets were a horrible 28 for 82, shooting only 34%
Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh eached scored 19
Every Raptor had at least one basket
Jake Voskuhl had a good defensive game: 3 pts, 8 boards and 1 block in 17 min of action
Hopefully 2009 leads to more of this type of Raptors basketball. Orlando is up on Sunday in Toronto.
January 1, 2009
Well at least it wasn't a 39 point loss and no head coach was fired. The Raps were without Jason Kapono (thigh injury) and Jermaine O'Neal (knee injury) in the starting lineup last night. Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker filled the gaps for the Raps who were playing their first home game after their 6-game Western road trip. Denver head coach, George Karl was going for his 900th career coaching win.
The tough part about coming home for the Raps was having to go against the Chauncey Billups and the Denver Nuggets shorthanded. Nene made his return to the Nuggets after missing their last game due to injury and came out strong. The Raps played a good first half against Nene's Nuggets and were only down three at halftime. In the third quarter, Jose Calderon hit a three to go up on the Nuggets by one and then hit another three later in the quarter to get up three. The third quarter remained tight until Denver made a push to go up by eight at the end of the third. Andrea Bargnani who has been up and down this season, performed well filling in for J.O at centre. He had 11 points in the first half and continued to hit shots in the second half. In the fourth quarter, Anthony Parker found Joey Graham for the open layup to get within two with only 4 minutes left. And then Chauncey Billups, Mr. Big Shot hit a big shot three to get up by six on the Raps. In the final seconds, Anthony Parker hit a three to get within four but the Raps couldn't get any closer as the Nuggets won 114-107.
Denver had 7 players in double figures
All of the Raptors starters were in double figures
Andrea Bargnani broke out with 26 pts, 6 boards and 5 blocks
Bosh had 24 pts and 11 boards
Nene led the Nuggets with 21 points and 7 rebounds
The Raps have another tough home matchup as they face the Houston Rockets Friday night.
Photo credit: (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)