Get Free Shots from Toronto Raptors Ramblings: March 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Here's the thing. "Glue" guys win you championships. "Glue" guys make the right passes to the right guys, cheat at the right time on defense and do the 'smart things' that enable them to play better than their talent alone would. A Glue guy by definition has a high basketball IQ and knows when to hustle, if you are lucky he's Charlie Hustle.

So when Garbo goes down everyone will tell you about his intangibles. He can cover all kinds of player (range of defence, brought on by high IQ and ability to cheat a bit to make up for speed, size or whatever the case may be). He can shoot the three, or he can go 1 for 9. He can play with his elbows high, draw the smart charge and realize any pass to Humpty is a green light to 'shoot' so if you make the pass you effectively ordered a shot from Humpers.

He's classic Glue, one might say Uhu (note: while Elmers clearly sticks better Uhu is the superior looking bottle and much cooler to say...much like Garbo). But these Raptors were built by a man who understands a team needs a lot of glue to be able to battle hard every night, play above their collective talent levels, play through an 82 game season and give the fans hope and faith.

So the fall of Garbo, while significant, unfortunate and down right depressing is not the end of these Raptors. We are still battling for THIRD FREAKING PLACE. We dismantled the Heat with a combination of precision shooting and 'give up' mentality the Heat seem to display when they get down and can't hit shots.

Let's rally around what we do have, and when Nani is back, I'd say we are still a formidable "team you don't want to face" in round one kind of team.

Tickets to the playoffs
Go on sale April 14th, unless you happen to be a 'corporate client' or know somebody. I'm in between those two (i.e. somehow my old university counts as a corporate client) so I ended up with Balcony's (purples) for $54 a pop and Red's at $114! a pop for the first two games of the playoffs. Did i need to drop $114 to see a game, clearly no, but it's been a while, so for just one game i'll sit down low. And let's be perfectly clear....the ACC is going to be INSANE. Raptor fans are hungry so make sure you are on your computer April 14th at 9:00 a.m. so you don't miss out on the fun.

The run for 3rd continues, with all kinds of glue to get us there.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Garbo 911

holding our breath.....
Garbo out for year or more.....
Keep your fingers crossed Raptors faithfull....

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Moving on Up

Move of the Game
The GM move of the game had to be our slip and slide from row 7, section 319 down to sultry 110s, row who cares. Of course Balfy, in from the O-Town was extremely paranoid that the security guards were eyeing us up for the boot.

Which makes me wonder how funny it is to be these 'security' guards. Section 110 is about half full going into halftime. After the half you've got an assortment of thugs, punk kids, average looking joe's now filling up the gold seats. Do you really want to start asking everyone for their tickets? Do you even care? What happens when Johnny Richbucks shows up mid 3rd Q and is annoyed you weren't 'guarding' his seat?

I personally think there should be hundreds of 'moves of the game' and everyone should get shuffled down to primo seats come the 3rd quarter. Leave a few open for J. Richbucks if he shows up late, but by in large lets bring the enthusiasm and heart of the arena a little closer to the players when possible.

Games notes...oh yeah, the game. A pretty standard get a 7-9 point lead and ride it all night. Bosh was dominant in the early going, great all game and dominant again to close things out. We could never really put them away, but missing A Parker, Nani and the Hot Calzone I'd say we played just fine.

My Comments from Yesterday were
a) Rasho step up.
played 31 minutes, but unless you watched you missed out his stellar defence on Dwight Howard. A fantastic performance by Rasho.

b) 3's
Without Nani and A Parker nobody stepped up, we only shot 3 of them. Garbo was brutal from beyond and Mo got yanked too early to get up more than 2 (missed both).

c) Humpty
Played 17 serviceable minutes. He's on his way.


Darrick Martin a no no. What the heck happened to the Glory of D-Martin? He got in right before the half and that was it. Very unfortunate from an entertainment stand point.

Mo Pete cannot seem to capitalize on these opportunities. Mo Pete can't even hit a shot from his office anymore, i'm starting to think someone stole his swingline stapler. For those of you unaware of Mo's office (baseline 3 pt land) you need to get up to speed.

Juan Dixon is so much better than Fred Jones i'm not sure when to stop expressing this. With timid Fred we had exactly one Raptor who didn't like to shoot in any circumstance. I'm happy to report with Juan, we're all on the same page again.

Nugget of Leo....apparently it was Leo's bday and it was being celebrated with all the Raptors in a little Cafe style restaurant up in Yorkville. Thanks for the tip from DCup, but we didn't have time to get up there and snap some good photos for the blog, certainly a let down. Hopefully we'll get some in the near future.

Happy birthday Leo. And thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We've Got a NANI DOWN!

Nani is down, repeat Nani is down.

Andrea hit the emergency room table last night in Toronto and is OUT.

Andrea Bargnani will miss a substantial part of the rest of the NBA regular season after having an emergency appendectomy early this morning
- Toronto Star


Apparently this type of surgery knocks you out for a month. If I tally that up....Uh oh. April 21st, perhaps our first playoff game. That means

a) Rasho has to step it up on both ends of the court. He won't replace Nani's shooting but he had at least better start waxing that glass. Nani has long surpassed Rasho at rebounding and we need that from Rasho the king of the 'tip'.

b) Replacing those three's. Who will jack up the 8 three bombs produced by Nani? Nobody. At least nobody should. You can't just replace a lights out big man who stretches the floor by bringing centres out to the three point line. You can't. Having Mo Pete start to jack 7 three's a game (old school, i know) is just not the solution. Hopefully the Raps continue to play smart, extra pass, shoot when open hoops and not force the extra points.

c) Humpty Time? Can the Hump step it up and play 20 minutes a game? I would say unlikely but who knows maybe this injury gives somebody a chance to step up....

All in all this is bad news, Nani needed the 'down the stretch' experience to feel what real dog fights are like in the NBA. Looks like his first taste of that is going to be in the first game of the playoffs.

The good news is the Knicks and Nets are truly in a battle of futility. It's quite something to watch. Oh and i saw Vince Carter ranked 15th on somebody's NBA MVP list on on that rant later.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wonky Widgets

Don't mind the weird crap popping up all over my blog. Just testing out some tools and brininging you with me.

Halftime of the Knicks's a close game for now, let's hope we dominate the second half.

Second half....Balfy claims "we are going on a losing streak". Well we're at two games. Not quite a streak yet, but a sad effort today in New York. Getting humped by the Knicks is always unacceptable. Always.

Good thing these March Madness games are so amazing.


Cool Widget

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Brutality in Motion

Now that was a thorough beat down.

What the heck....
TMac was only booed for the first few minutes.
Yao Ming faced some boos to counteract the Yao mani in Toronto.
Chris Bosh was nowhere to be seen (sauf collecting some boards).
Mo Pete showed why we need Parker back.

All in all not what I was expecting or hoping for last night at the ACC.

The end of an era
Let's start with Mo Pete. I've stood up for Mo through good times and bad cause he's a streaky kind of guy, he's got heart and he's always been able to play d, finish on the break and get back into his groove with the 3 bomb. But Mo has entered the contract year slump of slumps. He started the game and the second half and was quickly yanked forcing Juan Dixon (6'3) to cover T-Mac (6'9), giving up all kinds of heigh. Mo, listed at 6'7 was always our shut down man and i'm unclear as to where his D has gone.

TJ needs the pressure of a hot Calzone
T.J. unfortunately had a let down game, and Mitchell was hesitant to go to D Martin. But Darrick Martin has solidifed himself as one of my favourites. I have no clue what his game looked like 4 years ago, but regardless of that I feel it's better now on IQ alone. He knows when to shoot, and shoots shots in his range. TJ has not played well withouth the pressure of a hot Calzone to eat into his minutes, Mitchell might consider giving those to D Martin if he can keep that kind of play up.

Nani on D?
The other bright spot was Nani, who played 30 minutes covering Yao Ming. I was surprised Rasho only got 13 minutes but the Raps offence was so pathetic we really had no choice but to get the Nani in there, who made some spectacular plays once more, but also through a number of brutal brutal passes. His defense was better than expected on the 7'6 monster so can't complain about him too much.

So in summary.... Parker and Calzone were missed and Bosh can't not shot up for big games. Yao Ming gets the ball and either scores or finds open guys. You have to decide if you'll let that guy beat you. That open guy was Rafer Alston all night (who drew some boos himself) and he converted again and again. Likely the best game he's played all year if not this decade.

When Houston is hot and you aren't, look out. Raps have to win a big game soon.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Game Preview
Welcoming back to Toronto, the Houston Rockets! Back by popular demand this is one of the strangest games of the year at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. If you have never experienced the Houston / Raptors matchup in Toronto let me break it down for you.

Toronto has a massive Chinese community and Yao Ming is a hero. There will be 11,000 Chinese folks in attendance, most of whom attend only one game a year (yes..this one).

Yao Mind...ladies man.

Toronto has a massive ability to hold a grudge. I'm talking ex-high school girlfriend you bump into at a bar when you're 30 and you're thinking "gee, i can't really remember how that ended, it wasn't great but's been 13 years...i'm freaking 30'. That followed by an awkward conversation, a 'you gave me an eating disorder' a walkaway, then a return slap beer toss. You know...that old story.

Well after T-Mac turned down our max offer to go play with Orlando let's just say we've had trouble eating our Nachos and cheese. Since T-Mac dumped us he and Vince get the annual Boo treatment. And i'm talking every time they touch the ball. Last year at the game the Raptors gave a shout out to a community leader (Dr. Tac Mac) to which my buddy Tav bellows out ("Tac Mac....that's too much like T-Mac....BOOOOOOOOO".....incidentally the crowd loved that one).

The Grudge: Year 6 (The 2 most hated NBAers in Toronto

So picture a game where T-Mac is driving (huge booing), followed by Bosh blocking the shot (huge cheers), Yao gets the rebound (11 year old girls shriek YAO MING, YAO MING!!), who passes it back to T-Mac (massive booooooos rain down), back to Yao (YAO MING, YAO MING!!), who misses (Raptors fans cheering). It's very confusing and disjointed and well, we never miss this game.

Yao Ming!!!

If this was the only game you ever went to you would have absolutely no concept of what was going on, what were wrong with the fans here, nadda.

Luckily i've broken it down for all 11 of our readers.

Oh yeah, game breakdown. Anthony Parker and Calzone are both on the bubble. Looks like Parker will play (key to defending Tmac) and Calzone will sit (not as key the way TJ is playing, and I love seeing D Martin pat himself on the back when he does anything like hit a shot).

It should be a great battle, we have 17 games to go and could take 11 of them if we keep on trucking like we've been trucking. We'll have a tough time with Yao and a worse time with T-Mac. These are known issues. It's Battier who i'm worried about (shutting down Bosh and draining wide open 3's). Hopefully Parker is playing and can contain T-Mac, Nani can get 8+ boards and everyone hits there open shots). Prediction Raptors 107, Houston 104.

p.s. T-Mac LOVES being booed. He always steps up and can't figure out why we still do it. Vince on the other hand CLAIMS it doesn't bother him and then he usually puts up a stinker. It's really the underlying difference between the two, and if TMac had Vince's back (not 'I have your back man' but litterally they transplanted backs, TMac would have dominated the past 5 years, a la Kobe instead of being so up and down).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Best Game of the Year....But even a better photo album

Unfortunately i missed last night's Rapshow pummelia of the dirty Knicks, only catching highlights and the regular reports on the game. Sounded like a rough first half followed by Raptors domination. TJ seems to be stepping up, but let's hope the Calzone injury doesn't make him too comfortable (read: start driving 1-4 again).

I did get home in time to see the most entertaining 4th quarter / double overtimes I've seen in a long while. Phoenix at Dallas. Look at the score by quarters. It was truly a wild ride. My favourite sequence started with about 1:20 to go in the game, one announcer is trashing Nash, giving Dirk the MVP and telling us how Nash's numbers were okay but really he didn't do enough. Over the final 54 second of the game Nash drops in 10 pts, including drawing a foul on a 3 pt play, getting a key defensive rebound and getting fouled and of course hitting the game tying 3. Little Stevie Nash....just picked up a couple of MVP votes right there.

And while I was going to go on and on about overtime and all the great moments, i was hit with the best photo gallery i've seen on Flickr in a long time, that being random ball players out with clingy nba chicks at parties. A lot of girls on drink number 13 in these shots and a lot of washed up / never been / never will be's still soaking up the love.

Just enjoy this. Take your time. Look around.

And let's give some props to Toronto's one and only rep on this list, Juan Dixon. But really ladies of Toronto, no JYD or Oakley shots? Open up your computers and get those things on here.

And while were at it, although this is good times, is this the best that you can do? We know what really goes on behind NBA closed doors...I'd like to see someone work on the "R" version of this gallery.....

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Life and Time of TJ Ford

Somedays are diamonds, Somedays are stones. And rains.
But on this glorious daylight savings day we got a glimpse of future All-Star TJ Ford, with very few glimpses of TJ 'I can't believe that was the decision you made' Ford.

With 18 seconds to play in regulation, raps needing to score TJ went to his favourite play, 1 on Seatle, which turned into drive, lean into the defender, huck it sideways. Sound familiar? Bosh grabs the rebound and gets blocked, A Parker grabs that board, gets it to TJ under the hoop who wisely finds the wide open Nani for a 4 point play! Giddyup. Game ends up going to overtime after Ray Allen rebounds his own miss for an easy elbow jumper.

In overtime TJ takes over with his drives, open looks off the high post and smart passes. For good measure he even grabbed the critical rebound in OT to seal it.

The bottom line is we dominated so many aspects on the stat sheet but just got slaughtered on the boards and those second chances almost killed us. 31-6 or something crazy on second chance points. Luckily we gutted this one out, taking over down the stretch and maintaining our 5 game division lead on....the Knicks??

Amazing. Can we look back 2-3 weeks to Vince Carter talking about how New Jersey would make the playoffs they just took the hard road again to get there. How they would 'get it done'. Ha ha. The Knicks are now chasing us.

Life is good.

Games notes....Nani was sweet as usual....AParkers first game back also a success...the ACC was packed, lunch box day was clearly a hit. Although if you see the lunch boxes they actually made Bosh look like a hunch backed Raptor by photoshoping and moving his head away from his body, pretty eerie really. If someone has a photo please send it in! Oh yeah...and Mo Pete played 5 minutes as Juan Dixon stepped into the prime time minutes and shots....could this be the end of Mo Pete in Toronto, it sure looks that way.......

Friday, March 09, 2007

How Good Is This?

Salary Cap: 53 million

How good is our future looking? When Colangelo went out and signed the unknows I thought (maybe even wrote) if one of these guys works out to be very good, if Nani is better than expected and if TJ can improve his jump shot and get smart we might actually have a solid base. And of course Bosh getting better and better is just a fact.

Well all of that has been exceeded (minus tj IQ, but life isn't perfect). Nani is poised for very goodness if not greatness. Parker is solid. Not your uhu kind of glue but the industrial stuff. His 'average' defence and 'okay' three point shooting we saw early are now key strenghts for our team. Rasho, a potential huge dud with that contract, is doing exactly what we need -- playing competent minutes at center. Is $8 million a lot for that? Sure, but Rasho fits perfectly in our system and the pile of overpaid dud centers out there is large. Calzone, i don't even need to remind you how much I love this kid, and at $2 million...mamma. Garbo might get critiqued for his stats, but only if you don't watch Raptors games. Another huge glue guy, 6-10 and he runs the floor, defends anybody and takes charges like Nani takes three's...and speaking of Nani...

Nani's stats since the All-Star break:

30 Min | 47% FG | 46% 3pt (2.5 made per) | 76% FT (down from 83) | 6 Reb | 15 pts

What can you say about this kid? You can say "thank God we didn't draft Morrison". This would have been the biggest miss in Raptors draft history (okay...Amare is pretty good). Regardless if he even maintains his post all-star pace we're golden. If he improves, look out. He's the Kelly Taylor of the Raptors. Hot from day one but poised to really just break out into a beauty in two or three years from now. Can't wait for those College years!

2006 Nani

Future Nani

With $48.5 million on the books for next year and the cap poised to move into the $55 million dollar range we'll be looking at a $6.5 million dollar man. Will we use that on Mo Pete? Knowing Colangelo we'll do whatever is going to make us win.

Once the dust settles we'll be sure to discuss what opportunities are out there......

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hola Winning. Better than Losing.

The Raps started the game down 10-0 (2.2 minutes in) and ended giving up 16 straight, but thoroughly dominated the game.

The losing streak is over, put that in your sandwich Chuck, I’m calling it at 3:43 of the third. To be fair to the Grizzlies, they really do stink. Mighty Mouse told Leo they are actually not too bad, which is incorrect.

Wide Open...
is good and Miller loves wide open three’s. Loves them. Oddly enough the slough and duff Raptors were dropping off him to ensure he’d get a few of those. As someone who plays hoops (but really this observation is so obvious experience is not required) I must say when you are covering the three point gunner (in our league that’s the infamous Bruce Arthur) you can’t give them any room. Bruce isn’t exactly Zippy Andale out there, he kind of just finds his spots and jogs to them. And while my defence isn’t Bowen-esque if I give him even a couple of feet, BLAM, in my eye. Shooters don’t need time to shoot. You can’t leave snipers open. It’s pretty simple really. Sloughing down into the lane only works if your man can’t shoot and I’m still not sure how the Raps routinely don’t adjust to the other teams sniper. I just know it’s going to kill us come playoff time.

Break time...
Raps are off until Sunday so a win heading into the break is just what the Dr. ordered. And with the Knicks and Nets active we are likely to actually increase our division lead. That’s Raptors Basketball baby!

Game Notes…Colangelo is GM of the year. Forget overhauling our entire team, bringing in a bunch of unknowns and hitting triples on all of them, with a homer on the draft pick. Getting rid of Araujo for a hustling, offensive rebounding Humpty was unbelievable. And now, at the deadline making the only move by dumping the Former Slam Dunk Champion, who was just a tit, to pick up Juan Dixon….spectacular. Juan tonight was everywhere and loves to score. WE love scoring so it’s a perfect fit.

Oh yeah, and Nani had another of his amazing touch passes from the three point line. I think Nani could average 5 assists a game at some point in his career…if he didn’t like to shoot so much.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Raps have the day off to think about what they've done, feel some shame, and then come out and bleed all over them.

If you aren't a hockey movie fan that last sentence might be a tad confusing.

Today's post is about rankings. Who needs Stein rankings or any other power numbers when you could just rely on the trusty Pizza Pizza rankings? As you all know the Raps need 100 points for free pizza, which was dropped down to a 'random' number in our more recent dark years. I.e. when you are averaging 90 pts a game it's not a good idea to have a promotion that surrounds our team's ineptitude. So there would be nights the number was 85. Beautiful.

Now how about that Battle of Ontario....