1 Down. 40 To Go.Hope is alive in Raptorland once more and 41 wins is the target.
The expectations for a healthy Raptors team is the playoffs, regardless of the pessism that is generally 'out there' (I'm talking to you Bruce Arthur). This team has quality role players, a lightning fast guard and a superstar big skinny man.
25 games to 'come together', get in shape and find out if Bargnani is going to play any non garbage time minutes and then it's go time.
(Quiz: Who makes the most money in this picture? Wrong. If you look closely (really really closely) you can make out Samuel L in the first row, far left).
Last night's home opener was a glorious affair. You could feel the nervous first-date excitement in the crowd, a desire to be able to actually hope again. And we can. Right out of the gates the Raps were all over the now leotard-less Bucks. Good times and $12 brews were once again rolling at the ACC. Stern was in the crowd to promote international ball, and while on Stern let's applaud him for banning the wearing of tights by grown men, who should just instictively know not to do this. Although there are endless heckle opportunities when Bogut struts around in leotards, it's just plain disturbing to look at.
So what did we learn from our home opener:
The World Championships were HUGE for the Raptors
Calzone has some swagger. If the Zone can provide that kind of game off the bench TJ is
a) going to have to stay sharp and
b) holy crap we have not one but two actual point guards
The Blue Chip is ticked. Bosh screemed right at me last night when a ball was tipped out of his hands underneath the hoop. Not your Vince anguish noise but a loud, angry, KG-esque i'm going to destroy you sound. That's the chip this team needs and I'm pretty sure getting benched on team U.S.A. got this thing going (note: I can't be sure he was screaming at me. I think it was more with me).
Bargnani is either slow, has slow reactions or both. Hopefully it's just deer in headlight syndrome that will pass with time. But when Bogut (not the need for speed kind of guy) blows by you it's gut check time. Even if it's game two. I'm hoping it was some front row eye candy that distracted him so let's let it slide for now and prepare to rejoice when his offence and reaction time make the flight over from Roma.
Other random nuggets....
This looks like a team. 7 players scored in double figures....Rasho and Garbajio can cover big men, so Bosh is free to swat away from the help side...Fred Jones lined up a monster dunk and instantly sold 500 jerseys.....Parker, Jones and Mo fill lanes and have no problem hoisting it up...Mo actually thinks he has a shot at the all-start team, which means he's cocky this year too....Mike James is gone and the extra pass is alive and well, maybe passing is contagious...Charlie V came back to a loud ovation (louder than TJs)....the mini dance pack gets me every time....and last but certainly the most useful nugget from last night is that a dirty pouter (poutine) tastes better when the Raps are laying the spank down.