Monday, April 30, 2007


Wow...I must say that I am truly enjoying these NBA playoffs...except of course the thorough thumping the Raptors are taking from VinceNETS! Let's take a look around the NBA 1st round and see what the deal is with some of the players and series.

1. Must see TV....Dallas Mavs vs. Golden State Warriors. Despite Chuck Barkley calling it a terrible area...the Bay Area is thriving and going nuts right now for it's Golden State Warriors squad who are up 3 games to 1 on the 67 win regular season powerhouse Mavs. What on earth is happening to tilt this series on it's axis? ATHLETICISM pure and simple...Golden State is giving Dallas shooters...especially MVP frontfunner Dirk Nowitzki fits. His shots are rushed and his timing and rhythm is totally off due to the swarming defence of Warriors. Make no mistake...a Dallas loss would be one of the greatest upsets in NBA history. Don Nelson is showing a thing or two to his PROTEGE Avery Johnson and it makes for great drama. Baron Davis is off the chains...wish he was always healthy. But don't sleep on Stephen "shottas" Jackson, Montae"Most Improved" Ellis, Matt"Born in UCLA" Barnes, Mikael "French guy" Pietrus, Al"Thank God I'm out of Indiana" Harrington, and Andris "worst free throw form ever" Biedrins This team has athletes and they tip all balls in vicinity...rendering Dallas' passing as very ordinary. EASILY THE BEST SERIES IN THE FIRST ROUND.

2. T-Mac is back! Tracy McGrady is ballin' folks...not injured...not icing or resting his back but leading his team to a 3-2 lead in the series. Hopefully T-Mac won't pronounce the series over like he did with Orlando when they were up on Detroit a few years ago...then lost. He has yet to get out of the first round...can you believe that. Karma is a bit*&! Remember when you lied and bolted Toronto Tracy well that's why you haven't advanced to the 2nd round yet. Now that you have Yao on your finally may get there T-Smac. Gotta love Utah's passing. They dissect defenses better than that doctor diagnoses illnesses...what's his name..."HOUSE". They move without the ball better than those people on "Dancing with the Stars". Jerry Sloan sorry Sam I Am took your Coach of the Year award. Not sure if Sam deserves it right now.

3. Lakers are done. Kobe thanks for coming out. Too much offence and speed for the Lake show to compete with again. It's a pity Andrew Bynum hasn't developed yet but watch out people because the greatest center ever...Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is showing him the ropes inside and it's just a matter of time before the Lakers are back at the top of the West.
Is it possible to say that Kobe isn't shooting the rock enough?

4. The Heat sweep is just embarrassing. Are you telling me they couldn't take ONE GAME from the upstart Bulls?....Give me a break. Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning should have retired after the title win last year...but no...they were greedy and wanted more. Of course the odds would have been much better for Miami had the Wademeister not gotten hurt. But gut out one game and show some pride. What an awful way for the defending champs to go out. First time in 50 years the champs were swept in the 1st round. Not a way to end your careers GP and AM. Can't say I'm sorry for Mourning...Hate seeing him flex those stupid biceps after throwing an inbounds pass or something like that. All those people wearing white shirts for nothing. The silence was deafening in Miami at the almost felt sorry for them. Maybe Pat Riley will be forced now to develop and PLAY some of the young talent such as Dorell Wright or Wayne Simien. Mr Riley I know you've won x amount of titles and you are a Hall-of-Famer...but take a need to mix in the youth with the veterans so they can get better and feel what it's like in the playoffs. Finally...IS SHAQ DONE? It sure looks like it.

5. Don't sleep on Detroit as the Pistons lie in wait for the Bulls. Is Scott Skiles team ready for the Motor City Madness? Ben Wallace back to DeeeeeTRROOIIITTT! Damn Stephen King couldn't have wrote a better book! This will be one tough series for both teams. Will the Pistons continue to dominate the Bulls or will the Bulls slay the Piston dragon? Can't wait to see this one.

6. Lebron makes the playoffs for the 1st time last season. This year he gives the Cavs their first playoff those teams with Mark Price, Hot Rod Williams, Brad Daugherty, and Craig Ehlo didn't take out the brooms for an opposing squad...pretty amazing. Are you a witness to Bron Bron's history making feats. This was probably the least publicized and watched series simply because the GILBERTairs were GILBERTless. Plus no Caron Butler...easy pickings for Cleveland. But the last 2 games were close...could have went either way...that's why I'm not sure if the Cavs are ready for that next step...the Eastern Conference Finals.

7. Can Denver dump the Spurs? Melo and AI are trying their best to dethrone the guys with all the rings. Tim(Cookie Monster) Duncan will not let the Spurs go down without a fight. Did you see Ginobili's dunk the other day? I thought those slams were history for the Argentinian south paw. Is Steve Blake not the luckiest point guard in the NBA?

8. Dwight on your 15 footer for next will be unstoppable for it.

9. Is Bruce Willis sober today...what are the odds he's still intoxicated from the Nets/Raptors game yesterday? Will the latest Die Hard be a success? I saw a preview and I must say it looks BAD!(meaning good)

10. I saw Jessica Alba court side at the Warriors/ Mavs game on Sunday. She dating a guy named Cash Warren who coincidentally played on the same high school team as Baron Davis!

11. Who's a worse dresser Don Cherry or TNT's Craig Sager? Let the votes begin.

I really hope that the playoffs continue to sizzle...all the arenas except the Meadowlands are standing room only(can't wait for the move to Brooklyn). The fans have been treated to some high-quality basketball for the most part and the most of the star players have shone brightly this post season. Dirk Diggler where are you?

Sunday, April 29, 2007


the T.J. Ford Offense

As I sit here watching this Raptors/Nets game I am wondering if I have ever seen a worse playoff game in my entire existence on Earth. I mean...I've seen blowouts but this game has been over since the 1st qtr. No intensity from the get-go...just like in game 3...Too many threes for Jersey and way too many open shots for the home squad. Not to mention the Raptors were uncharacteristically careless with the ball...committing 10 turnovers in the 1st half alone.
T.J. Ford is NOT the point guard for the Toronto Raptors. Sorry Brian Colangelo...but he's not the one. I can't believe how careless he is with the ball. The announcers are saying this game is not typical of a TJ Ford game...PLEASE...spare me the team cheerleading routine. Can we say the truth?...TJ isn't ready to run a big-time team. He is Mike James squared. He over dribbles constantly and is out there on an island and sees no one open but himself. Jason Kidd is abusing him at every turn and it is embarrassing. At least use your speed to stay close to Kidd TJ. Take a charge...get a something to spark your team. In the 1st qtr...there were times when Chris Bosh would set the screen and TJ wouldn't even look for his All-Star forward on the roll. Jose "el Saviour" Calderon comes in and looks for Bosh...first with an alley-oop feed and then with a sweet bounce pass inside for a slam. The Raps also didn't establish Rasho Nesterovic or suprise starter Andrea Bargnani inside either. They just kept shooting from the outside...letting the Nets dictate the way they play offence. If Bargnani is in the game and he is guarded by Richard Jefferson...he has to bring him down low and make the Nets pay for the mismatch. Bargnani had that exact mismatch in the 2nd qtr but missed the bunny up close when the Raptors were making a run...and the Nets came back to score and the Raps never threatened again. Was the trade worth it?

Vince Carter came out playing aggressive in the first half...and in the 2nd half it is Richard Jefferson who is hitting every jumper he takes.
Again...go back to my post about this series. I warned of the coaching mismatch in this series. Lawrence Frank looks like the coach of the year while Mitchell's facial expressions and body language show a very BEATEN man. He knows the series is over and has no clue why.
Bosh is again taken out of the game...and I can't for the life of me figure out why. He seems rushed...and he seems intimidated out there. He's not aggressive and sure when he gets the ball...Instead of taking Jason Collins off the dribble he settles for the 18 foot jump shot early on. Another point...I've never seen a team be on the short end of the bounces like the Raptors have in this game.
Not sure if the move to start Bargnani was the right one either. It put alot of pressure on the rook and it seems he wasn't up to task! He was slow on defence and gave up some back door plays to Carter in the 1st half . If he was aware and in the correct position he would have been able to slap away the alley-oop tosses.
Sam I Am is coaching like his hands are tied in an episode of 24. Problem is...there is no Jack Bauer on the Raptors!
What can the Raptors do? J Kidd has willed his team to a 3-1 lead...and you know what as tough as losing this series is going to be for the fans especially...I think this Raptors squad will ultimately come out better and learn something about playoff basketball from this series. Losing to Carter will hurt...and it will hurt for the whole summer and pre-season. In fact it will feel like crap and it's going to be a long summer folks. But think of the a couple years this Toronto team will be one of the best in the me. Garbo get ready quick please we need you.
Game 5 will no doubt be a barn burner in Toronto...can the Raps prolong the inevitable? maybe...maybe not...but it was still a successful season and I really enjoyed watching this young team grow. If I can say another thing. If the Raps have any chance at all to come back...they have to take it one game at a time...but it looks like their hearts have been ripped out after this game 4 loss.

Other notes: Half-time interview by James Cybulski on TSN with Bruce Willis was a disgrace. Willis was obviously intoxicated...ranting with some kid that was sitting beside him. Cybulski asked him about his new Die Hard movie and he was rambling on about the fact that it's the best Die Hard...even better than the first. Then to conclude...Cybulski said thanks to Willis and the idiot Willis says "Yippee-Kayee motherf*&^*er"...a phrase from Die Hard.
Wow...what a shame when Stardom makes these stars make fools of themselves time and time again.
Raptors have not his 100 points once this series. That was never a problem for them this year...until now. The offence and ball movement has gone south for the winter!
At least the Raptors are not Dallas. The #1 seeded Mavs could go down to the #8 Warriors and as bad as the Raps loss would be...imagine being a Dallas fan. Last year the Finals...this year golfing in early May.


Just like Toronto Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell wondered...if Jason Kidd was hurt and dropped 16-16-19...points...assissts and rebounds respectively...what would happen if he weren't injured? Do you realize what it takes from the guard position to record at least 15 in each of those three categories in the regular season...never mind the playoffs? Obviously Kidd is a future first ballot Hall of Famer...but the game on Friday against a bewildered Raptors team has surely cemented Kidd as one of the best PLAYERS in the history of the NBA. With that Fantasy owner's dream game Kidd joined only Wilt Chamberlain(1967) and Fat Lever(1985) as the only players to record at least 15 points...15 assists and 15 rebounds in a single playoff game. Rafael Araujo couldn't accomplish that in a full season when he was in a Raptor uniform for Pete's sake. Short of taking Kidd out ala Nancy do the Raptors stop the best rebounding point guard since Oscar Robinson? He gets out in transition better than the cast of hit show "Prison Break"...and he seems to make the right plays and find the best available player shot-wise almost every time he touches the ball. His name is KIDD but he is treating the Raptor playoff neophytes like they are kids.
Toronto got off to a horrendous start on Friday trailing 9-0 with only 2 minutes and 9 seconds gone in the game. 3 of Jersey's buckets were in the paint and they killed Toronto in points in the paint simply because the Raptors refused to play any kind of defence. Remember Jerseys big men are Jason Collins and undrafted skinny big man Mikki "Mikey Dread" Moore...we're not talking about Shaquille O'Neal or Alonzo Mourning here. But it's not those two that are doing damage's the guard tandem of Kidd...Carter and Jefferson.
One thing that is apparent in this series is that the Raptors dearly miss Jorge Garbajosa's toughness and smarts in the paint. Plus the Spaniard's ability to step outside and drain 20 footers and 3 pointers would have helped to spread New Jersey's defence out and created room for Chris Bosh inside.Speaking of Bosh...where the hell is our 2-time All-Star? CB4 is averaging 12 points in the series...and scored only 11 in Friday's loss. When is he going to get decisive on the court? He needs to make up his mind quickly when he gets the ball. Either or pass...but he seems a step behind right now. Only if and when BOSH starts to play big will the Raptors have a chance to turn this series around. He'll need to score at least 30 joking about that!
I said this before in previous posts. The Raptors have to realize what playoff basketball is about. Toughness and maximizing possessions. It also means NO LAYUPS and NO AND-1 LAYUPS! If the Raps are going to foul they must foul hard because the lack of toughness they have showed in this series is appalling. Bosh got a foul 50 seconds into the game and it seemed to set the tone for Toronto. They were passive from that point on and it was a layup line led by Vince Carter, RJ and Kidd the rest of the way. Mo Pete...who started the 2nd half in place of Joey "Lost in Space" Graham...tried to show some toughness late in the game as he took down Jefferson and was called for the flagrant...But that was way too late to help the Raps! knew coming in...was destined to break out in this series after flubbing his way through the 1st 2 games.
One more thing. TJ Ford...will you pass the rock. What's with your point guard scoring 27 points and taking 22 shots...2 more than Bosh and Anthony Parker combined? That is not the solution for winning in the playoffs if your Sam Mitchell. It seems that TJ doesn't make enough of an effort to get guys the ball in pick-and-rolls situations...I've seen him look off Bosh...and Bargnani several times this year...and it makes me sick to my stomach. We signed this guy to be a PASS FIRST point guard. The way he's playing now...he may as well be Mike James. They play the same game. Jose Calderon has been averaging one more assists than the so-called starter in this series and that is non-sense.
As for Kidd...I thought the whole injury thing before game three was a total PSYCHE job by the NETS. Deep down they know the Raptors are a better team than them...So in game one they throw Toronto off by wearing their alternate red jerseys...they lose game 2 and pull another trick out of the bag by claiming Kidd had a sore knee and according to head coach Lawrence Frank...was a "Game-time decision". Baloney. Kidd would play if one of his legs were falling off! "Injury gate totally took the Raptors mindset down a couple notches as even a thought of playing a team without their best player would have made any team overconfident and passive in the ballgame. The ploy worked and now it's up to Toronto to re-gain home court advantage. The Raptors will win tonight...I am confident in that...they are due for a "RAPTOR TYPE OF GAME"...because the first three games have been not even close to the way they can play....give alot of credit to Frank who I mentioned in a previous post "Be Careful What You Wish For" seems to make life difficult for opposing star big men like Bosh. A loss tonight and it is over for to say this is the biggest game of the season would be a severe understatement. A must win if there ever was is this game 4.

Other playoff musings:
1. Just finished watching the Bulls dethrone the Heat...terrible performance by Miami...especially down the stretch...Wade had 7 turnovers in the game andShaq had 16 points. Key stat Ben Wallace wen 7-of-8 from the line including 6 straight makes from the stripe. WOW!
2. Golden State is for real...Still the best series so far in the playoffs.
3. Despite Kobe's 45 in game 3...the Lake show is going down in 5.
4. Spurs are still my pick to win the West...with the Suns right there.
5. Gilbert Arenas learn to be humble. who cares if you are on the cover of a video game...your team needs your support.
6. Utah/Rockets series is getting nice...both teams have won their home games...series tied at 2.
7. The empty seats at the Meadowlands is embarrassing for the league and shows why the Nets are moving to Brooklyn.
8. Pistons/Bulls should be an incredible series with Big Ben facing his former team. My pick...Bulls in 6.
9. Sam Mitchell needs to get the upperhand because Frank is outcoaching the Coach of the Year.
10. No more excuses...Toronto needs a game from Andrea Bargnani. He needs to BRING IT!!!!



Thursday, April 26, 2007


A recent NBA General Managers poll suggested that Dirk Nowitzki be named MVP over his former teammate and drinking buddy Steve Nash.'s survey gave Nowitzki 109 points to 82 for the leader(Nash) of the fun in the Sun team(Phoenix). Now I come from what I call the "Golden Age" of basketball! What's the "Golden age" you ask? Well that was a time of Magic, Michael, Larry, Julius, Charles, Moses, Dominique, Isaiah, Dumars, Aguirre, Dantley, English, Pippen, Ewing, Olajuwon, Robinson, McHale, Parrish, Drexler, etc...etc...etc...You get the point. In the mid 80's to mid to late 90's the quality of basketball played was probably the best the NBA has seen in it's history. The SHOWTIME Lakers, The Detroit BAD BOYS, The JORDANAIRS, The BEANTOWN BALLERS were just some of the monikers that were given to the best teams in the most popular sports league at the time. The NBA was king then and the players were so good and the respect factor for each other was tremendous. All the ballers knew what each other could do on the court...but each team was determined to stop the other from doing what they did best. There were defensive stoppers such as Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars, Dennis Johnson(passed away recently), Charles Oakley and Doc Rivers amongst others who made it a point to shut down opposing team's best player or players.
After the "Golden age" had passed...the NBA was desperate for "THE NEXT ONE" to come along...Specifically someone to re-place and carry the torch from Jordan...but that next wunderkind never came along....It was supposed to be Harold Miner(Baby Jordan), Grant Hill, Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter, AI, but none of these de facto "MJ's" ever panned out.
Still unable to find that missing ingredient to bring the league's popularity back, the NBA decided to pressure the underclassmen in college to join the league(Michigan's Fab 5 come to mind)...and when that wasn't good enough they decided to pillage the high schools across America for talent...bringing in such names as Garnett, Bryant, O'Neal, McGrady, Harrington, Stoudamire, Chandler, Curry, Lewis, Miles, Livingston, Brown, Ellis, and of course James and Howard. The NBA has since required players to have at least one year of college experience before entering the NBA Draft...Hence Greg Oden and Kevin Durrant at Ohio State and Texas respectively. I still think the rule should have been 2 years in college...because that would have given the kids more time to develop physically, mentally, skills wise and fundamentally!
This rounding up of all the North American talent has forced a real drain in quality ballers still left in college and so March Madness no longer feels the same, looks the same or plays the same.
So where is the NBA now in terms of talent? Well the talent is there but the skills are lacking.
Solution: bring over more Europeans because they know how "to play the game". Euro ballers are all the rage in the NBA these days because all the talent has been "sucked" out of the North American System. So guys like Nowitzki, Stojakovic, Bargnani, Garbajosa, Parker, Pavlovic, Nachbar, Nocioni, Ginobili, Parker, Thefalosha, and many more have become and are starting to
be a force in the League. So where is this argument going u ask and what does this have to do with Nash vs. Nowitzki for MVP? Well Nash isn't European but he is not known for his foot speed and Lateral quickness...I think we can all agree there. He plays pretty good team defence though. Due to the influx of shall I say "slower-footed" European players and "less skilled and fundamentally lacking" North American ballers...the NBA has changed it's overall policy on "Hand-checking" and has added zone defences to improve scoring. Hand checking is the art and skill of the defender being able to use his hands and forearm in the open court to guide his opponent one way or keep him from getting to the paint. If you're a guard have free reign to get to the basket because if the defender so much as breathes on you(slight exaggeration)...the refs call a foul. That's where Nash comes in. Make no mistake...I love Captain Canada...and I think he is one of the best point guards in the game...not sure where he ranks all-time. But just remember this...Jordan played in the era of hand checking and no zones and averaged 30-plus while being manhandled on the outside and inside the paint. Ask yourself this question...In this era of "no hand checking" what would Jordan average per game...40...45 points. There would be no way to stop him outside of tackling him to the ground. Back to Nash and Nowitzki for that matter...Both can get to the hoop at will with limited foot speed and lack of jumping ability because the rule changes have allowed for less athletic and less fleet-footed players to flourish. Having said that. Steve Nash has won 2 consecutive MVP awards. Jordan won it twice in a row as well. The only players to win the Maurice Podoloff trophy three times were the great Bill Russell and the amazing Larry Bird. tell giving the MVP to Nash...are u saying that he is on the same level or higher than Russell, Larry Legend, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan(2 in a row), Magic Johnson(2 in a row), Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar(2 in a row) and even Tim Duncan(2 in a row)? As good as Nash is...I don't think he should be put on that pedestal yet...and remember all those players won NBA titles. Nash is close but not that close.
Dirk had a tremendous year...his team won 67 in the League and is one of the favorites to win the NBA title. Politics will come into play amongst the voters and that's why
Dirk will win the MVP this year...not so much because he was that much better than Nash...but because by giving Nash a 3rd consecutive MVP...the voters would be ultimately saying that he was better than the player who most consider to be the best of all time...MICHAEL JORDAN...and I'm not sure if the League is ready to go down that road because if the playing field was level and the rules the same for those in the "Golden age" and players now there wouldn't even be an argument to ponder.



Wednesday, April 25, 2007

RAPS win one for the GIPPER...actually they get one for SAM!

Oh the Raptors needed that win know why...they needed to win the game for their coach Mr. Sam Mitchell. They couldn't let Sam accept his coach of the year them up to center court to share in the award and then lose! That wouldn't have followed the wonderful script that has become this most wonderful of Raptor seasons. By winning game 2...the Toronto Raptors... and we can no longer call them the Craptors like in year's past...have assured the faithful fans of at least one more home game. There are 3 guaranteed things in life...death...taxes and another home playoff tilt. is grand!!!
Now let me tell you...the game was uuuuuugggglllllyyyy in the first one could get on track and the score(36-33) at the break was indicative of EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF BASKETBALL. The refs don't call as many fouls and they let the players battle in out in the trenches...Bosh said it after Game 1...It's a war in there! It's mainly the physicality that is ramped up a few notches come playoff time! They say Football and Hockey are physical games...but let me tell you they have nothing on Basketball when it comes to the playoffs.Now in the west you got the Suns racking up 126 points last night...and even the other Eastern conference team that won last night...the Bulls...they scored 107 on the Heat...The Heat look done by the way. Too much Gordon...Deng and Hinrich!
You would think that the Raptors...who averaged 99 points a game would at least sniff the mid 90's a couple times in the series...we will wait to see. If this Raptor team can get in sync offensively they will be able to release themselves from the shackles that the NETS defence has on them. But one thing from last night's game is that I think the Raptors know how GRITTY and DIRTY you have to get to win in the postseason. I liked the ANGER Jose"El Saviour" Calderon showed towards Jason Kidd when he was hacked after the whistle was blown and Jose was trying to finish the play. Tempers were heightened but cooler heads prevailed. That's the kind of toughness the Raps must bring for however long their playoff run lasts. The lessons learned in this playoffs will ultimately make this team stronger and trust me...the Raps will be a title contender within 2 years...especially if B.C.(Bryan Colangelo) can pick up a key slasher or a legitimate rebounder. Just in case you didn't think Bosh learned something about toughness after his less than spectacular outing in game 1...check the replay of the block on Richard Jefferson in the 3rd qtr...He sent the ball straight downwards(see pic above) was like a wrestling it the BOSH PILEDRIVER. You knew the The 6-11 Texan and Raptors franchise player was going to bounce back after game one...His 44 plus minutes were just what Toronto needed as Jersey had to double him several times and change their coverage...thus leaving Anthony Parker(brilliant all-round game) and Mo Pete outside to jack up threes. Ironically it was T.J.'s three with 2:45 left that turned the tide for Toronto. Coupled with the 7 freebies he and Parker buried in the last minute which allowed the Raps to take the game. But the end was not without one more scare...because had Bostjan Nachbar drained the corner three with 9 seconds left to tie it...who knows how the game may have turned out. That guy Nachbar has game folks...He would look oh so nice in a Raptor jersey! Damn...he's dunked more than Vince in this series...and who's a former slam dunk Champion again?
Speaking of "his babyness". Mr. Carter continues to jack up outside shots at an alarming rate! He hasn't realized yet that he needs to be aggressive and get to the hole. Lets hope he continues to shoot at a 30% clip(13-for-43 shooting) for the rest of the series.
One more key for the Raps...a friend of mine mentioned that Sam should have went with Rasho Nesterovic more...He played only 23 minutes but his presence inside was felt and he hauled down 8 rebounds from the center spot...just what the Raptors needed!
Joey Graham...still not ready for Prime time folks. Joey please WAKE UP!
It is clearly evident that both teams have still not played their best basketball...shooting in the low 40's does not mean the offences are flowing...but one of these teams are due for a break out and game 3 in Jersey may be the time. Who knows how many people will be at the Continental Airlines arena...Team spokespeople say it will be a full house...despite it not being sold out yet. A playoff game between Vince Carter and his old team should be a must-see event...but the Jerseyites have better things on their minds...I hope for the Raptors sake that the arena is not sold out because taking at least one of those games will put the Raptors in the drivers seat after losing home court advantage in the first game.

Some playoff musings...
1. Saw Phil Jackson frantically scribbling on his clipboard diagramming a play on it last night with his team down 20 plus and Kobe on the bench...Phil my man...drop the clipboard and sit back and watch as your team gets pummelled by Nash and the FAST BREAK CREW...It's futile for the Lakers because the Suns are dialed in! Both he and Kobe gotta miss Shaq tons and I don't think either of them will win a title again as long as they stay in LA!
2. Bulls take the series in 5. Wade not the Wade of old...Wallace 3 blocks in the game. Luol Deng WILL BE an All-Star in 08!
3. Can Denver drop the Spurs again to go 2-up on Timmy and Tony?
4. Warriors are playing like Warriors...but Dallas will make adjustments and bounce back to take game 2. If not...this series is done. But it is MUST SEE TV! Don't miss it.
5. Bob Hill fired from the Sonics after a terrible injury plagued season. Not his fault that Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis were out for significant stretches...but I don't think Hill fits the team.
6. Sebastian Telfair may be dropped by the Celts for another gun possession incident. When will the knuckle heads learn? Who speeds around New Yawk with a loaded gun in their car while driving with an expired Florida license plate? Telfair does.
7. Leandro Barbosa is very good. The "Roadrunner" or "Brazilian Blur" or "One Man Fast break" dropped 26 points again last night. I really think he deserved that 6th man award. Don't you?



Tuesday, April 24, 2007

VID'S MOVIE TRASH TALK: Pride, Starring Terence Howard and Bernie Mac

PRIDE(2007) Lionsgate Films
Terence Howard
Bernie Mac
Kimberly Elise

Terrence Howard is amongst a generation of great black actors. Along with Don Cheadle and Jeffrey Wright, Howard has taken the screen by storm with stellar performances in both Crash and Hustle & Flow. So why does this rising star take on a formulaic screenplay that is rife with monotony? Perhaps he was just looking for another gig, or perhaps he thought the idea of black men swimming in a movie was original, in and of itself. In the end, I think we should just chalk it up to bad judgment. I must admit that when I heard that a movie was coming out about an all black swim team, I thought that this might be as funny as the Jamaican Bobsled team in Cool Runnings. I was wrong on many counts. Not only is Pride not a comedy (well, not intentionally anyhow) but it lacks all that is required in a good sports film. It is as if director Sunu Gonera refused to incorporate one iota of originality into his directorial debut. The movie’s premise is as old as film itself. Terrence Howard plays Jim Ellis, a real-life swim coach assigned to the Philadelphia Department of Recreation.
He takes a swimming pool that is in shambles, adds water, chlorine, and a handful of black teens and creates "Pride". He has to deal with the racist adversary Bink, played by Tom Arnold, and Bernie Mac who plays the cynical custodian who is eventually enlightened by the transformation of the teens. We’ve seen it all before. Had this movie been about any other race of people swimming in a pool, it wouldn’t even be a movie.
I’m sure the real life story of Ellis is far more interesting than this trite piece of pedestrian rubbish. Ellis was recently asked by the Philadelphia Enquirer about the authenticity of the movie. Ellis advised that his name was the only thing that was truthful about the film.
When movies about sports are done well, they are full of awe and inspiration. Movies such as Rocky, Raging Bull, Eight Men Out, Cinderella Man or documentaries like When We Were Kings or Hoop Dreams. But this type of movie just perpetuates the myth that if it’s in the sports genre, it must be insignificant and dumb.
Terrence Howard should choose his movies more wisely and Sunu Gonera should find a more suitable profession.



Well the cat is out the "SAM I AM" Mitchell has done the what was unthinkable in winning coach of the year. He beat out the Susan Lucci(18 failed Emmy nominations for All My Children) of the NBA...Jerry Sloan(has never won coach of the year)
and also Avery "Little General" Johnson(last year's winner) from the regular season's best team...the Dallas Mavericks. Rumours trickled out that Mitchell would win it over the weekend and late yesterday evening from various sources. But today the NBA has confirmed that we have the "best" coach in the NBA. Of course that's not what coach of the year means...but it does give Sam props for getting this team to record 20 more victories than last year! Quite the accomplishment for any head coach in any sport. Commissioner David"THE BOSS" Stern will grace the T-Dot's presence tonight to present Sammy with the hardware! All those players who said he was the worst coach last year in the SI poll are eating crow now, huh. What a bargain Sam is at $1.9 million. But his days of shopping at Walmart are done he's sure to get a bump up to at least double that amount after winning COY!
The question is Mitchell going to be the Raptors coach next year or will he be in some other locale such as Charlotte, Milwaukee, or Minnesota amongst others that may come open after this current season.
Don't be surprised if Sam bolts. He has to feel disrespected although he will never say it publicly that Raptors President Bryan Colangelo didn't offer him a contract extension before the season.
Deep down you had to believe that Sam knew if this team just played the system and trusted each other they would taste success. They did that and look where the team is now.
Coach of the year winner...2-time All-Star in Chris Bosh...Atlantic Division Champs...home-court Advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs...Probable rookie of the year RUNNER-UP Andrea Bargnani...and probable Executive of the year in Bryan Colangelo. This team has climbed up the ladder pretty quickly and will soon be legitimate title contenders by adding one or two more key parts...such as a legitimate rebounder and glass cleaner...or a slasher type small forward in the mode of Charlotte's Gerald Wallace.
Mitchell has to be the first LAME-DUCK coach to win the COY award! He holds all the bargaining chips now...and ultimately it will be Sam who determines where he will coach next
season. He will command in excess of $4-5 million now...and if Colangelo low-balls him...there will be plenty of teams looking for a coach who is determined...can relate to his players and has brought his team to the playoffs in the first year he's had a legitimate roster! From being around the team and coaches I get the feeling Sam likes the city and I'm sure he likes the direction the organization is going and enjoys coaching the players he has...but don't think that all is cemented as far as the Raptors coach is concerned. This Raptor team really like each other. They are a close knit bunch who play unselfishly and that's hard to find nowadays in the ME-ME National Basketball Association.
But coaches need to get paid too! Don't forget...rumour had it that Colangelo still would like to bring in his man...Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni.
The Air Canada Center is going to be so off the chains tonight you won't be able to hear the person sitting next to you...I can guarantee you that.
What will Sam do?...stay tuned.




"Vid Singh is a freelance journalist and movie critic in Toronto"

The section will be called VID'S MOVIE TRASHTALK! Look for exciting movie reviews that are to the B.S!

Monday, April 23, 2007


I was fortunate enough to attend the Raptors first playoff game in 5 years at the Air Canada Center on Saturday...and I must say the atmosphere was more than ELECTRIC! The place was bumping from the minute the Raps came out for warm ups and culminated in a tremendous crescendo of BOOS when Vincent Lamar Carter did his customary pull up on the rim in front of the Raptors' bench just before tip-off. The nerve of that guy...I was sitting in section 103 row F(great seats but I'm broke now-any donations?)...just behind and to the left of Nav the Superfan and his guest Ms. know...mother of Vincent.
Anyways the Raps lost which of course you all know by now...and are down 1-0 in the series...the world is about to end...the Messiah is coming...No just kidding...but here are some of my observations from the game:

1. Raps definitely suffered from nerves early taking too many jump shots and not getting to the paint of the free throw line enough in the 1st qtr. The first foul on the Nets didn't come until less than one minute left in the 1st qtr...when Carter fouled T.J. Ford on a shot attempt. THAT IS NOT THE WAY TO WIN PLAYOFF BASKETBALL GAMES.

2. Who in the hell decided to allow the Nets to wear their alternate Red uniforms. Doesn't the NBA have some governance on this. It seems to me that New Jersey pulled a FAST ONE on the Raptors...because the Nets should have been told to wear their grey or blue unis for the game. Even Richard Jefferson gave it away by thanking the Toronto fans for wearing red to support them. It made absolutely no sense to have the fans in Red...the home team in white and the visiting team in red to match the fans...EMBARRASSING...WHAT WAS THE NBA THINKING?

3. Despite playing well in the first half and scoring pretty much at will...T.J. Ford still has a lot of trouble running the Raptors offence. When he scores too much...the rest of the team does not get involved offensively...the ball does not move and open shots...the Raptors' specialty are hard to come by. T.J. PASS THE ROCK PLEASE...treat it like a hot potato and MOVE THE BALL.

4. SAM I AM GAFFE #1...Chris Bosh took too long to be aggressive. He was passive from the outset...letting the NETS intimidate and physically punish him inside. It didn't help that coach Sam Mitchell kept the 2-time All-Star buried along the baseline for the 1st half and only when he had Bosh flash to the high-post did he get movement and some forays to the hoop by beating one-on-one coverage.

5. Why do we make Mikki Moore and players of his ilk look like All-Stars and future Hall-of-Famers? For goodness sakes play some D Toronto. It's FREAKIN' Mikki Moore...They guy looks like a toothpick on steroids. He should not be getting key rebounds in crunch time. BOX THAT UNDRAFTED BALLER OUT. Throw him some what you have to do to distract him from the glass.

6. Raps need to work on their zone offence and the way to do it is to penetrate the seams and drive and kick to the three point shooters. GET A GOOD COLLEGE COACH NEXT YEAR to be on the staff...because more and more teams are playing zone in the L. It's not going away so it's time to get a jump on the competition.

7. SAM I AM GAFFE #2...Raps get the miracle three from Anthony Parker late in the game(12 seconds left) to cut the Nets lead to 3...they are down 4 with 10 seconds left and instead of going for the quick two and then try to foul the Nets quickly they go to Parker again and he misses a 24 footer......Raps then foul Jason Kidd who misses one of two free throws. Now if you had gone for the quick two you could have still tied the game with a three with 5 seconds left...instead the decision to go for the 2nd three mean GAME OVER.

8. Raps looked a little awestruck in the game because for most of the players it's their first time in the playoffs. Lets hope they don't get spooked tomorrow when they see the TNT crew down at the hanger. Actually if Craig Sager(sideline reporter) is there his gaudy suit ensemble will have them either running back to the bench or wake them up from their slumber. Gotta love Craig...but not necessarily his style of dress. By the way this will be the Raptors first U.S. national TV game in several years...since the Carter days for sure.

9. Nice to see the GREAT BILL RUSSELL and CHOCOLATE THUNDER(Darryl Dawkins) at the A.C.C. for the game. The NBA gets it right all the time by flying these legends around to attend these games...thereby connecting old fans with new ones.

10. WHY IS MS. MICHELLE CARTER here in Toronto. Now I can understand that she loves her Vince. But seriously why is she here. I'm not saying she can't watch her son play in Toronto.(by watching at home in New Jersey or Florida or wherever the hell she wants) but it makes no sense for NAV BHATIA(Hyundai dealer with the baseline seats) to bring Michelle to the game. He also brought her to a game a couple weeks ago and it seemed to jinx us as we lost the final couple games of the season and fell short of setting a franchise high for wins. Plus why would a mother want to hear her son getting booed...cursed and criticized all game. She says she understands why the fans boo and that they didn't want Vince to leave. TRUST ME MICHELLE...MOST FANS HATE YOUR SON LIKE NO OTHER...not because they didn't want him to leave but because HE QUIT ON THE TEAM! Mama you are a bit delusional these days.

Other musings from the playoffs so far: Please if you get a chance watch the Mavs/Warriors series. Great game last night between the 1/8 seeds. Golden State has so much athleticism it's scary. They are going to give the Mavs a tough series and may win it. Their victory last night was amazing. Baron Davis could have been one of the best PG's ever if he wasn't so injury prone.
B Diddy was getting to the tin at will and his crossover was killing cats...whether it was Devean George...Devin Harris or Jason Terry. Davis is so strong that he was pretty much overpowering
the bigger George. His third quarter shooting display in which he buried 3 threes and scored 17 was akin to some of the great perfomances of playoffs past.
I am not really interested in the Heat/Bulls series. Wade is not right. Shaq is trying to take charges and Kirk Hinrich is mouthing off....what is the world coming to.
Wizards/Cavs is a doozy of a series. Bron Bron needs a challenge.
Rockets/Jazz isn't as entertaining as I thought it would be...although T-Mac is playing like a few years ago when he was a top-5 player in the L and he may finally get out of the first round!
Lakers/Suns...too much Barbosa for the Lake Show to handle. Does Kobe have UNLIMITED range or what?
Pistons/Magic....BORING is too kind a word! By the way...I hate the Pistons Jerseys! Damn they ugly. Time for a change Mr. Davidson.
Spurs are in DANGER. The Nuggets can match up at all positions and it just seemed like they intimidated and physically punished the Spurs all night. Did you see the crossover Melo put on Ginobili and then finished with a monster two hand? Damn that was peeeerrrryttyy!
AI is killing anyone who's trying to check him.

One last note...looks like Sam Mitchell will be named the NBA coach of the year tomorrow before the game. WOW! What a turnaround. This guy was this close to being canned after the 2-8 start. He deserves the accolades though. Great Job Sam! Let's hope the Raptors feed off the award presentation and go out and whip the NETS butts in the game. A win is MANDATORY for the home squad. Go down 0-2 and the series is toast for Toronto.



Tuesday, April 17, 2007


The Raptors have tied a franchise record for wins at 47...with a chance with a win tonight over Detroit to set a new franchise mark for wins in a season. The team as you know added several new players this season as well as the #1 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. After going 7-1 in the pre-season...the Raptors stumbled out the gate in the regular season to a dismal 2-8 start. Since then the Raptors have gone 45-25 and have the best record from January 1st onward in the entire Eastern Conference...better than the Pistons(Deeee-troit Basketball)...better than the Bulls(Big Ben Country), and the Cavs(Bron Bron where you at?).
Have they overachieved? Many so-called "experts" down south(American writers) didn't think the Raptors would win many more games than last year's 27. But did these pundits and critics actually do their homework to see what missing ingredients wereadded to the Raptor pot? Remember they still had an All-Star in Chris "son of Noel and Freida" Bosh....but added alot of parts in the off-season as well...
I really don't think they realize how good of a player Bosh is. He is crazy...of course we Raptor fans see it game in and game out. He basically can't be guarded by smaller players(he'll power over them) and he can't be covered by bigger players(he's use his speed to beat them to the basket)
Personally I don't know if I would call it an overachieving team...although they have won more games than I thought they would. I figured they would win any where from 35 to about 42 wins...possibly finishing in the playoffs with a 42-40 record. My thinking was because the team added several new players...that CHEMISTRY would be a serious issue. Anthony Parker(Euro Jordan) has fit in with the team better than that glove on O.J.'s hand. Jorge Garbajosa(the Porno Player) is like a male version of Mother Theresa...bringing blessings, good will and prosperity to the Raptors and Andrea "Il Mago" Bargnani is touted to be better than Dirk at this stage in his career...this from Dirk "Diggler" himself!
Kris Humprhries...has been a poor man's Dennis Rodman...snatching rebounds out of the sky like Willie Mays did fly balls in his heyday for the Giants. To think we gave away Hoffa for him.
I stress gave away...Hoffa has scored all of 64 points this year and has pulled down...or shall I say lucked upon 61 rebounds...FOR THE SEASON. This deal was so was rumoured that Bryan Colangelo was offered George Clooney's part in Ocean's 13 for his ability to orchestrate a heist.
Now I have criticized one and only Terrence Jerod Ford various times this year for dominating the ball and playing like he's the only dino on the floor at times...missing cutters, wide open teammates and dribbling like he was auditioning for a spot on the Globetrotters...but he has played better towards the latter part of the season...and I definitely thinks he takes his cue from Jose "El Saviour" Calderon because when he sees Jose finding open cutters and spot up shooters...T.J. has no choice but to dish the rock as well...If not he would be sitting on the bench with the coaches. Charlie V...who we got TJ for...had an injury filled it looks like Colangelo won that trade so far. We will wait to see in the next couple of years if Colangelo got away with the cardinal GM sin..."Don't trade a BIG for a small"!
Rasho Nesterovic gives us a legitimate big man...who can clog up the paint and take up space. His value is to the team is huge because he allows Bosh to GET HIS in the paint. Rasho has enabled the Raptors to play tough against teams with back-to-the-basket centers at various times during the season. Great pick up again by the son of Jerry! We loved you Bonner...Eric Williams...mmmmnn...not so much. Sam Mitchell...what can I say..."Now Guys" himself would deflect all the attention to the team and Colangelo...but you know what...Sammy did a tremendous job this year...he introduced a system of ball movement trust of teammates and sharing the basketball...and he kept the team together after a tough start and a couple hard losses during the season. But in years past when the Raptors would fold like a cheap you know what when faced with adversity...they stayed with their gameplan and pulled out win after win...especially in 2nd games of back to backs where they would usually lose. Sam has been a calming influence on a bunch of young players and "veteranized" NBA rookies. Great job Sam...and can't forget the rest of the coaching staff...Jim Todd, Jay Triano and Alex English for some great x's and o's work.
What a season this has been? Tons of injuries but this remarkable team was truly RESILIENT.
Now they go into the playoffs on the weekend with home court advantage and possibly a Vince Carter and New Jersey Nets match up. I didn't want I said in a previous blog...but it would be a blessing for the NBA...ratings would be spectacular here in Canada...a true rivalry in the Eastern Conference...One that will see the Raptors dispatch Carter once and for all...or one that will see the big WHINER leave town with a series victory over the team where he made himself an NBA must see attraction.
Overachievers or make the call?



Wednesday, April 11, 2007

PACMAN...more like DONKEY KONG!!!!

Finally...the NFL has put it's foot down to halt the spiralling and out of control behaviour of many of its players. Adam "Pacman" Jones met with commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the various brush ins with the law that Jones has had over the last few months. Goodell and many others have been troubled by the indiscretions of his league's players and said that he wanted to protect the integrity of the league. How is he going to achieve suspending the Tennessee cornerback for a full season and I must say that I agree with this verdict. This young man was headed in one of three possible directions...either JAIL or charged for MURDER. His family had tried several times to get through his thick skull that he had to stop associating with bad company...But Pacman lived his life like a character in a video game...unfortunately he ran out of quarters this time...GAME OVER Pacman! He will be denied a paycheck during his forced hiatus from the league and have to stay out of trouble during the year he's not playing....then he will have to apply to the NFL to be re-instated before he can even try to step back between the lines. Hopefully he will take this time and re-think his position in life and in the game. He must cut off the bad influences and negative associates in his life immediately or he risks losing what he cares about the most...FOOTBALL.

Also suspended...but for half the time(8 games) is the Bengals receiver Chris Henry...who's had so many brushes with the law in the last couple years that it's a miracle he hasn't been on America's Most Wanted Yet.
The funny thing...actually not very funny...Maybe odd is the better that the two were teammates at West Virginia! What in the hell was their coach teaching them...was it football or a course in crime apprenticeship ?
The new commissioner is more David Stern than Paul Tagliabue...his predecessor! He is a man who is determined to get rid of the bad apples in the league and if it means losing some of the talent in America's most powerful sports be it! He is undaunted in his pursuit of a certain decorum for HIS players in HIS league.
The players must realize that the NFL is a privilege and not a right...You can' t live by the rules off the field...then you won't get to make millions off of it.
It's also Ironic that Jones' latest altercation came during this past NBA All-Star weekend in which a shooting victim was paralyzed. The NBA has always suffered more of a backlash than the NFL when their players have run afoul of the law. The disdain for NBA players after the brawl in Detroit was felt throughout the league...although the altercation was an aberration between two teams that historically disliked each other. NBA players have been involved in shootings...drug possession and other transgressions...but for goodness sakes...NOT MURDER.

In the NFL...names like Rae Carruth, Ray Lewis and Tank Johnson have been involved in killings and serious gun possession charges and major drug trafficking. Don't forget Bam Morris' bust for a trunk full of goodies in the 90's. But in years past while under Tagliabue...the league would wait until the courts settled matters before handing out penalties...hence NFL players were not tainted by a few bad how all NBA ballers were put down for the criminal infractions of some of its players. By the time Tagliabue would lay down the law the player(s) would have pled their way to lesser charges or the charges would have been dropped altogether.
The NFL's reputation has almost always gotten off scot free but it seems the time has come for change and Mr. Goodell has drawn the line in the sand. Pacman say goodbye to $1.3 million...while Henry will lose up to $230,000. But I'm sure both of these guys will be missing the thrill and rush of NFL competition and camaraderie more than the greenbacks taken away from them for the boneheaded and life altering decisions they have made. These choices have ultimately served to threaten the length and scope of their careers in the NFL.




Over the last few the Raptors' playoff position and first round opponent has come closer to being finalized...there is alot of talk going around about who the Raptors would be better off facing in their first round playoff series...their first taste of the postseason in 5 years. If the playoffs were to start today...3rd place Toronto would be facing the faltering 6th placed Washington Wizards who of course have lost All-Stars Gilbert(Agent Zero) Arenas and Caron Butler. Now that match up seems like the best-case scenario for the Raptors as far as I am concerned. You say why? Well for the obvious reasons...First...the Raptors absolutely handled the Wizards this season taking the season series 3 games to 1...the clincher being that thrilling overtime game(123-118 Raptors) on March 30th where Michael Ruffin played the part of Santa Claus by throwing a gift to Morris Peterson and the Raptors who won it going away in overtime. That was an incredible game...and that Peterson three was in my opinion the play of the season in the NBA. Name me one better?
Even with Arenas and Butler...The Wiz were pretty much easy picking for the Raptors this season. Bosh took care of things in the paint(notching 37 points and 14 rebounds in that final game) and T.J. Ford and Jose "el Saviour" Calderon did a tremendous job from the point guard position.
Now that they don't have Arenas and SHOULD be an easy ride for Toronto against a Washington team that would feature Antawn Jamison and possibly Deshawn Stevenson as their one-two punch...Not quite Shaq and Wade or Deng and Gordon or Billups and Hamilton.
But this is still the NBA and the Raptors still have to go into a potential Wizards series with a true killer instinct by trying to put Washington out of their misery as fast as possible. Winning it in 5 games or less would be the best case scenario so the team could rest up for the 2nd round.
The Raptors are 1 1/2 games behind the Bulls for 2nd place in the East but it's going to be difficult for Toronto to catch them because the Raps have a tougher schedule remaining...
being that 2 of their final 4 are against the east leading Pistons. So more than likely Toronto finishes in 3rd as long as they hold off the Heat who are struggling with Mr. ALL WORLD Dwayne Wade back in their lineup. With that scenario...the Raps in 3rd...guess who's creeping up on the Wizards in the 6th spot? None other than Vince Carter, Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and the New Jersey Nets.
The worrisome thing is New Jersey is starting to really play well...Jefferson has averaged 31 points in his last 2 ballgames...Carter is scoring 30.5 in his last 4 including a season-high 46 points 16 rebounds and 10 assists in a 120-114 win over the Wizards. Kidd has also been torching teams averaging 11.2 assists and 10.5 rebounds over his last 4. In the 120-114 win over the Wiz...both Carter and Kidd had triple doubles becoming the 1st teammates to accomplish that feat since Michael Jordan and sidekick Scotty Pippen did it back on January 3rd, 1989 against at that time...the perennially bad Los Angeles Clippers. For all you Jordan lovers...MJ had 41 points...11 assists and 10 rebounds in the game. Pippen pitched in with 15 points...12 assists and 10 rebounds.
So Jersey is hot(6-4 in their last of 2 in a row)... and we know the Raptors are hot too. The Raps/Nets season series ended up at 2 games apiece with both teams winning their games on their home courts.
But Jersey could conceivably catch the Wizards and own the tiebreaker with them by virtue of a 4-0 series sweep. That would set up a 6-3 match up of the Raptors vs. the Nets and that folks is a scary proposition for me. I don't like a Nets/Raptors playoff series one bit. I hear people on various blogs and postings saying that they would enjoy and root for this series to come to fruition so they can boo Vince. Well the Nets right now are in playoff mode...showing tons of energy and determination because they know what's at stake and have been there before.
The problems as I see it are: Jason Kidd usually torches the Raptors...Richard Jefferson has had some of his best games in his career against Toronto and Carter would like nothing more than to stick it to the Raptors and their fans by downing his former team in the playoffs. The boos raining down in the A.C.C. would be heard from here to Hackensack, New Jersey but I don't think this would effect Vince at all. He would get so pumped up for this series it's unimaginable. Also take note...Lawrence Frank...the Nets coach knows how to limit the production of superstar big men his team faces. Bosh has had trouble a couple times this year against the Nets...especially on the road. In the 1st meeting he scored only 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting...and in the 3rd meeting(he missed the 2nd due to injury) he went 3-of-9 for 12 points...both games in Jersey. Bosh redeemed himself in the final game against the Nets dropping 25 in the 120-109 Raptor win.
So what do all these numbers mean? Well since the Raptors would have home court advantage...I would give them the slight edge simply because each team this year has shown a propensity to win at home. But in reality Vince Carter's ability to drop 50 points on a given night is what scares me about the Nets...and RJ is no slouch too...especially when he's getting to the tin for layups and dunks on the fast break. The Carter revenge factor is huge and I'm not sure the fans' booing wouldn't spur Vince to play with more fire and conviction...something that another former Raptor, Tracy McGrady seems to do when he comes back and plays in Toronto.
Don't get me wrong...I think the Raptors are a much better team this year than the Nets.(No Nenad Kristich). The Raptors play a team game...move the ball to get open better team defence...have the best one-two point guard tandem in the league...and are probably the deepest team from 6-10(bench) in the NBA!
But let me jog your memory for a second...think back to January 8th 2006. Raptors hosting the Nets...Mo Peterson gets tossed from the game because Carter playfully slaps him in the face and he retaliates by hitting Carter back...the ref(Steve Javie) ejects Peterson in one of the most ridiculous plays ever seen at the A.C.C. Fast forward to the end of the game and Toronto leads it 104-102 and instead of going for a two to tie it and send the game to overtime...Carter buries a deep trifecta with .1 seconds left from about 4 feet beyond the arc in Jose Calderon's grill to win the game 105-104! He fluked that shot off and had the nerve to say it was his best game winning shot ever..."That's definitely number one," Carter said. "The atmosphere, the emotion, the hostility in the arena, it was a fun game."
Having said that...this series would be an exciting one for the NBA from a marketing standpoint. It is one of the only true HOSTILE rivalries in the league but I wouldn't wish for it simply because Vince Carter is always a crazy EYES CLOSED FADE AWAY THREE-POINT SHOT away from winning a ball game and breaking Raptor fans hearts one more time!



Sunday, April 8, 2007


If you would have told me before the game that Raptors would have destroyed the tough as nails Bulls...I would have called you a fool. But that's just what the Raptors did by throwing down a beat down on Chicago to the tune of a 103-89 final score. That final was closer than the game truly was as the Raptors showed an Eastern Conference power what time it really was!
The Raps took it to the Bulls tonight...despite some questionable refereeing...especially by long time veteran Bob Delaney. Early in the ballgame he decided that Mo Pete's hard foul on Kirk Hinrich...who was going in for a breakaway layup...was a flagrant 2...and came with the"your outta here" hand signal to toss Peterson out of the ballgame. Now as a referee you have to do your homework when it comes to knowing the reputations of players in the league. Everyone knows Mo is not a dirty player...except Delaney...who treated Peterson as if he was a member of the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons teams back in the early 90's. In no way should Mo have been thrown out...because he was clearly going for the ball as the replays showed. Hinrich's fall made the foul look worse than it was. By giving a Flagrant 2 on that the NBA saying that players should not play hard?...Should Mo have just let Hinrich score the layup? I really would like to know what the league's stance is on good tough basketball. At various times the media and some fans scrutinize athletes for not playing hard...but when players try to show effort and hustle in a totally clean manner...they get penalized by the Zebras and Ultimately the league. Things were so heated that security had to calm down Peterson's supporters(his Mom and other peeps) after the play...because they were giving the business to the refs and rightfully so!
Unless David "the RULER" Stern rules against it...Peterson will have to sit out Monday night's game because of the rush to judgement by the referees!
Despite the setback...the Raptors used the Peterson tossing as inspiration...dispatching one of their toughest opponents in the last 3 to 4 years. Remember up until the Raptors edged the Bulls 112-111 back in February...they had lost 15 straight to Chicago. This win also breaks a streak of 7 straight wins by the Bulls in Toronto. Safe to say...the Bulls curse is officially over.
I was at the game and let me tell you that the Air Canada Center was buzzing from the get-go and hit a crescendo when they were introduced as the "Atlantic Division Champions".
It was almost a playoff atmosphere down at the hangar and the home team did not disappoint.
Anthony Parker brought his A-game tonight...notching a career-high 27 points as he drained 6 trifectas. He showed the league that he is LEGIT and opponents better know that they cannot leave MR. Europe MVP alone...especially beyond the arc.
Also impressive was Joey Graham...firstly by his defence on Luol Deng(held to only 13 points). Joey harassed him and contested his shot from the get-go and stunted the Bulls offence...because as Deng does the Bulls offence. When he got any daylight...Deng was also closely shadowed by the nearest defender. Ben Gordon(27 points) was spectacular as always hitting tough jumper after tough jumper...but no one else really did any damage for Chi-Town.
It seemed like Scott Skiles game plan against T.J. ford was to limit his open lanes to the hoop especially after using the high-screens set by Toronto's bigs. Chicago did a pretty good against Ford...who struggled going 1 for 8 from the field...but did manage 7 helpers in the ballgame.
Late in the 3rd Jose"el Saviour" Calderon came on and did what he the offence and get guys involved...Calderon tallied 8 assists in only 15 minutes of tick. Still don't know why Sam doesn't play him more. Ford is faster but Jose looks for cutters better than T.J. There were several times on the pick and roll that Ford didn't even look for Bosh cutting down the lane. I absolutely lose it when I see a wide open cutter not get the rock!
The Bulls pretty much doubled Bosh most of the game and tried to defend him with a too slow veteran(P.J. Brown) and a too young and green rookie(Tyrus Thomas). This of course was not even remotely successful as the 2-time All-Star notched his 8th straight double dip...pouring in 22 points and 11 rebounds.
This team is different folks...and I can give you 3 reasons...First they play good team defence and contest shots. I haven't seen this good a defence from the Raptors in recent history. The only time the team played this hard defensively was when Kevin O'Neil coached the team and h when Charles Oakley was cracking the skulls of guys like Tyrone Hill and Jeff McInnis.
Toronto is also showing tremendous perseverance because even when they get down...they continue to play hard throughout the game. Teams think the Raptors will fold and run away when they build leads on the Raptors but they are just so tough this year. Especially from the 3rd quarter on...because they continue to run their sets and they continue to look for the open man and spread the floor to find their 3 point shooters. This team is simply a JOY to watch. I think most I do...have to pinch themselves when watching the 2006-2007 version of the Raptors because we haven't been used to this caliber of basketball. Maybe in the West...where they get to see the Suns...Mavs...Spurs etc...they are spoiled...but here it's a welcome style of ball that Toronto is playing this year...and I love it.
This was a true statement game for Toronto. I hope the rest of the league is paying attention to this squad... I think no team in the East can overlook Toronto...Detroit...Cleveland and now the Bulls notwithstanding! The Raptors are for real NBA. Remember they are winning games without Andrea Bargnani and Jorge Garbajosa...two of their key players. Apparently Garbo was in the building...watching the game from the locker room and no doubt inspired his teammates before the ballgame.
Check it. The Raptors are one of the hottest teams in the league right now. They are 8-2 over their last 10. Only the Mavs(8-2 also) and the red hot Spurs(9-1) are as hot or hotter in their last 10 ballgames.
So next up is Kevin(the Big Ticket) Garnett and Mike "I want the hell out of Toronto" James as the Raptors play the 2nd of a back-to-back and face the Minnesota Timberwolves) at 8 pm(TV-Raptors TV, Radio-Fan 590)
Good luck fellas


Friday, April 6, 2007


Well the Raptors did their part...downing the awful Philadelphia 76ers and well it was up to Vince Carter and the Nets to live up to their part of the bargain by losing to the surging Chicago Bulls...
It was Mission accomplished tonight as the Toronto Raptors have claimed their 1st division crown in the Franchise's 12 years of existence.
Well it's about time! Bryan Colangelo has officially turned the Raptors from LAUGHINGSTOCK to LEAGUE POWER...well not exactly a power...but they have now accomplished 2 of their 3 goals...
First make the playoffs...DONE...Then clinch the all they have to do is keep winning to ensure home court advantage in atleast their 1st playoff series...and it looks good right now for the team to accomplish all three...provided they stay focused till the 82 game sked is done.
Philly played tough until midway through the 3rd...and then it was all Raptors... as Toronto went on a 15-0 run to end the 3rd frame. Again, Jose "El Saviour" Calderon steadied the ship with some solid point guard play...then it was up to TJ to make things shaky for the visitors...but in the end Toronto took it 94-85.
As for the Nets...well they put up a stinker on a night where a win would have showed that they still had some fight left in them in a season rife with injuries and inconsistent play.Vince Carter scored 21 but no other Net scored over 11 points...what a shame and oh how the mighty have fallen.
The Raps have now won 43 games...16 more than last season...with 6 games to go. The 16 win improvement is the best in the NBA this year...again indicating that this is a team on the RISE!
The team is also 4 wins shy of the team record set in 2000-2001 back when Carter was still TRYING when he was on the court for Toronto. 2 more wins and this season will be as successful as 1999-2000...the first year they made the playoffs...even though they were swept by the Knicks in that 1st round series.
It's truly history in the making in the T-Dot...but the team is not resting on it's laurels as home court is still on the radar.
Good luck Raptors and Congratulations.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007


IS IT #23? If not tell us who's your baller of the century and why?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

RAPS not yet ready for primetime!!!!

This was a game the Raptors could have and should have won. Why didn't they you say?
Well I can give you a myriad of reasons why the team from the T-Dot flopped in the biggest game of the season. Some of you may be saying the biggest game...with strange looks on your faces.
A win in this game for Toronto would have practically assured them of home court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs...instead the Raptors will have to hope they finish with a better record than Miami...since the Heat now own the first tiebreaker(head to head games) with a 2-1 series win over Toronto.
The Raps looked very lethargic in this one...from the get-go. I wonder what they were doing in South Beach last night...hopefully they stayed away from Ocean Drive! Although Toronto looked like they enjoyed a little of the night life at the have to give them some they kept themselves in the game by playing poised down the stretch. Toronto was consistently down by 7-10 points throughout this T.J. Ford couldn't get the offence going...and his offence was non-existent going 2-13 from the field with 4 points. Late in the ballgame(end of 3rd) Sam Mitchell subbed in Jose "el Saviour" Calderon...and he seemed to rejuvenate the team offensively by MOVING the ball and getting players the rock where they could do damage against the Heat. Jose started the 4th as the Raps clawed back. He hit a three with 7:01 remaining to make it a 6 point game...Then with 4:13 left...Luke Jackson, who played a great game(10 pts) , drained a three to cut it to 2! We'll get back to Jackson in a minute. But Bosh struggled late...uncharacteristically missing 2 easy shots down the stretch that would have put Toronto in the driver's seat! He knew it he smacked his hands together after bungling a layup inside with 3:18 left. But CB4 did clean the boards with 11 rebounds in the ball game. A telling stat...the Raps lose the rebounding battle and lost the game. Usually when you get beaten on the glass you go down to defeat in the NBA.
So lets take a look at what happened down the wire...Jose was doing well...keeping the Raps close...44 seconds left...Mitchell subs him out for Terrence Jerod...with the Raps down two. T.J. then misses a jumper with Toronto down one with 20 ticks remaining, after sitting on the bench for most of the 4th and part of the 3rd. He had J-Will one on one...and no help in the paint and he pulls up for a J... I think he could have got to the tin...but that's the way the Raps use T.J. down the stretch most of the time.
Back to Jackson...who played 19 minutes in the ballgame...more than Mo for Pete's sake...damn what did Mo do to Sam in the off season that has put him behind Dixon, Graham and now NBDL graduate Jackson in the depths charts? Your guess is as good as mine. But Luke played a phenomenal game...not forcing shots...making fundamentally sound ball fakes and drives to the hoops...that included a lefty dunk with 8 seconds left to cut Miami's lead to 1. Jackson was on the last day of a 10-day contract but rest assured this former 10th pick overall will be signed for the remainder of the season and will be eligible for the playoffs or my name is Fred Funk! I like his game...In fact I liked his game from his Oregon days when he balled with former Raptor Fred Jones and Luke Ridnour. He's got tons of game...and he's crafty....just the kind of player the new style MOVE THE BALL FOR THE BEST AVAILABLE SHOT RAPTORS like.
Back to the game...
So with 7 tics left the Raps are down three...and T.J. hoists the trifecta...that doesn't go...Raps lose it 92-89 and possibly lose home court in the first round although with a few wins and some Miami losses they could still get their first playoff series in 5 years to start in the T-Dot and not on the road.
In summary...what was Sam thinking when he subbed Jose out with 44 seconds left? Calderon had ONLY led the team back when T.J. wasn't getting the job done. You could see that Pat Riley's game plan was for J-Will to stick to T.J. like Elmer's glue to balsa wood every time he turned the corner. This is why Sam should have stuck with the Spaniard...The offence was moving the ball...everyone was getting touches...Instead he brought back in the American and the Canadian Team lost the ballgame. Don't get me wrong...I love the speed and quickness that T.J. brings to the Raps...but I also love the way Jose plays quarterback in the Raptors offence making sure all the receivers and running backs get the ball where they are supposed to and at the times they are best suited to make a play. Being a former point guard I can truly say that the position is as much about CHANGING SPEEDS than just being faster than the opposing point guard...and most of the time Jose does that to perfection. Once T.J. learns to DECEIVE his thrusting forward then pulling back...he will be an unstoppable force for the Raptors!
One positive...Toronto held Shaq to 16 points but couldn't pull it out...Sorry to say but Sam I am lost this crucial game for the Raptors...
Next up...Dwight Howard and the struggling Magic Wednesday night. 7pm in Orlando(TV-The Score) Must win game again...Raps need to bounce back and show they are for real. Orlando will want revenge for a 92-85 beat down at the hands of the Raptors on March 21st. The Magic are also trying to hold off the Pacers and the Knicks for the last playoff spot in the east...Should be a dandy.



Monday, April 2, 2007

THE VC curse is finally over Raptor Fans!!!!!

The Toronto Raptors Basketball team has returned to the playoffs for the first time in 5 years and the one person in the world I know is cursing and throwing a tantrum somewhere in the New Jersey swampland is Vince Carter. Thanks alot Vince for everything! Since you bailed out on Toronto a couple years ago...we have gotten one of the best GMs in Basketball in Bryan Colangelo and all he did was bring his good luck and charm to get us the number one pick overall last summer. Now although we should have picked Andre Iguodala 3 years ago...I'm sure most people will say that Andrea Barnagni...AKA Il Mago will do just fine. We got rid of Rafael Araujo and got a serviceable big man in Khris Humprhies who dropped 13 points and 8 rebounds last night...and has averaged 8 rebounds a game over his last three...It would take Hoffa atleast 5 games to get 8 rebounds in total. Gone are perrenial whiner Eric Williams and Matt Bonner...a crowd and fan favorite but in their places is our legit big man...Rasho Nesterovic! Damn...sounds like a steal to me. Rasho is no Shaquille O'Neal but his 7' 0'' 270 lb body will be a blessing come playoff time when the game slows down and maximizing possessions becomes paramount.
Tony Parker...great signing...Jorge Garbajosa another great signing...despite being lost for the year. The lessons that Garbo has taught his teammates about professionalism, positional defence and hustle in his time before the injury is incalculable. We can' see it with the naked eye, but Garbo's influence will rub off come the first best of 7 series. Terrence Jerod Ford is coming around...passing out dimes(assists) like he's handing out turkeys at Thanksgiving! Over the last 10 he's averaged 9.6 dimes per game...that's close to Steve Nash territory...and that's damn good! Although I still feel that Jose Calderon runs the offence smoother and gets all the players on the floor involved in the game faster and more consistently.
Juan Dixon has been a blessing in disguise. Personally I love his game from Maryland onward...but I didn't think he would mesh this fast and this well with his new teammates...but his professionalism is apparent.Not sure if you saw the game last evening...but Dixon showed me that he is a real team baller. There was a time in the 2nd qtr I believe where he had a chance to put up 2 consecutive shots and he passed them both off to Mo Pete for a couple long jumpers...he missed the first and buried the 2nd...My point is that most players would have taken the shot but Juanny recognized that Mo's not been getting his fair shake at PT(Playing time) since he's come over from the Blazers...and it was a great gesture by him to get Mo Going in the ballgame. Kudos to Mr. Dixon who has always played the right way.
Now if Vince was here he wouldn't have wanted to pick Bargnani...he would have suggested some other asinine master wanting the inexperienced Dr. J to be our GM...
and remember that when we had the 4th pick overall that would turn out to be a 2 time All-Star and one of the best young players in the game...VC wanted to trade the pick for a veteran player. One thing we can give Rob Babcock credit despite being an awful GM...he had the common sense and intelligence not to listen to the worst player/GM wannabe in Raptor history.
What must the Nets fans be saying now?...We feel your pain Jerseyites but we can't say we didn't warn you that Vince was not a leader...but a follower. Soon you Jersey/Brooklyn supporters will be booing the crap out of Carter when he leaves for Orlando or Charlotte or wherever he is rumoured to be going!
As for the Raptors...2nd overall in the East is just 2 1/2 games away...and with that we would easily be guaranteed home court in the 1st round...but this team can reach that fact if they win say 7 or 8 of their last 9 and Cleveland and Detroit start to fumble away their lead we could be first would be something. Probably not going to happen but this 2007 Raptor squad has made believers out of many...and come playoff time I wonder if Mr. Carter will be watching from under his blanket...peeking out every few seconds...wishing he was still here. All he had to do was play ball hard and play to win every single night. Too bad that was just too hard for Carter to do.

Go Raptors Go