Get Free Shots from Toronto Raptors Ramblings: October 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mitchell Mind Games

Although this encounter was a victory, I think we have shown it as an example of what not to do.

Was Mitchell just playing mind games? I think all twelve players had hit the court by halftime and only Garbo hadn't scored yet. Good thing Philly is more like a preseason game anyways.

Garbo note: The crowd gave Garbo some serious love with a huge standing O, followed by a Gar Ba Hoo Sa chant for a good 30 seconds. We love Garbo (who pregame was also given his NBA All First team rookie award along with the Nani).

And speaking of the Nani, he gets two quick fouls and YANK. Banished for what seemed like 1.5 quarters or more. Just like last year we have no idea who is going to get the minutes so everybody got them. But who got way too many you ask?

Carlos Delfino. What in the world was he doing on the court all game? He played 30 minutes of mostly uninspired basketball. His stat sheet looks harmless enough but right from the pregame he looked nonchalant, which clearly irked me.

Play of the game. Nani for 4. Down the stretch, Philly closing in. Nani drops a 3 + the harm. Although the real play of the game was probably Anthony Parker dropping a 3 after the Sixers had closed it way too tight. Tough to tell...a few plays of the game and TJ could even earn consideration from some crunch time drives (note to TJ: when you are trying to eat clock and get a shot low in the clock, stop waiting for 5 seconds. try 8. i realize MJ waited till 5 but MJ could get his own shot every time where as you have to pass it quite often).

Bosh gets benched? Was Bosh injured? Has he not earned the right to play the last 3 minutes, let alone 9 minutes of the game? Sure he was hoisting a lot of crap and forcing a few thing but down the stretch we were playing Ford, Parker, Nani, Delfino, Kapono. Were those guys so amazing that we didn't need any boards? (note: i later hear Mitchell say Bosh "ran out of gas"....really he didn't have two minutes in him...

Although i sound annoyed in the face of a V (which is some serious tough love game 1), we did show signs of depth (even without playing our real lineup) and this game is clearly hopefully is no indication of upcoming minutes played (minus Ford & Parker).

Mitchell is still in tryout mode so lets hope he gets Delfino into the 16 minute range on the asap and gets Garbo and co back on track to success. We know the guys who are going to take us there so lets get to it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

NBA 2K8 vs. The Best of the Best

When NBA 2K8 said ‘we’ll send you our game to try out, will you post a little ad widget’, I said as long as you know if the game sucks that’s what I’ll be writing (and not posting your link). No problem.

But since all the new NBA games are good, if not unreal I couldn’t just do an EA vs. NBA 2K8 vs. Live. Those are like comparing apples to apples. They all have a zillion buttons and features and surreal graphics. So the question really is how does this game stack up against the all-time great?

(apologies for the random 'end if' messages everywhere we had a little widget explosion on my blog if you use I.E.)

NBA 2K8 vs. Double Dribble

In 1987 Konami released one of the finest hoops games ever. In a nasally computer voice the words “Double Dribble” echoed out of my NES thousands of times. This addiction all culminated in a matchup vs. Clint Williams, a self proclaimed DD star at my school. We played our championship game on a 55 inch wood paneled t.v. and it was a bloodbath from the get go. Clint was totally and utterly dominated because (amongst other things) he didn’t even know about the automatic 3 pointer. It was like playing a child. Today I would be some kind of kind wunder on a video game circuit….and yet maybe things didn’t turn out that bad after all.

Though I’ve logged about a thousand less games of NBA 2K8 give or take a few games here’s the run down.


NBA 2K8: $44.99

Double Dribble: $3.99 (buy now price on Ebay). Given you probably have to buy an NES that’s another $38.00 on Ebay, so we’re up to $42.00 total.

Advantage: Double Dribble

Game Modes / Options

NBA 2K8: Do you even have any idea what you can do with these new systems? Do you realize all us fantasy sports geeks have barely even scratched the surface of true glory (read: geek-dome)? Do you even know what’s going to happen to divorce rates / cheating if this ever gets marketed properly?

Today, right now, you could be having live NBA 2K8 drafts to create your own teams in your own league, GM the thing and play it. Good god. I feel like I’m watching Cirque du Soleil on Mushrooms.

Sure you might say ‘there are too many options’ and that’s fine, but it’s 2007, you better get used to it or you won’t know how to set the VCR in 20 years from now. Keep up people.

Double Dribble: Multiple games lengths, 4 teams (with both black and white players), 3 skill levels and 1 player or ‘vs.’ mode. The huge upside here is your game is started within 21 seconds of firing up the NES. The downside is if you play one player you can’t choose the Celtics.

The classic battle of too many options vs. too few. Like I said…keep up.

Advantage: NBA 2K8


NBA 2K8: I still don’t know how to play. When I Googled the answer I felt a lot better that the gaming nerds were also complaining about this. How do kids get lit today and remember all these buttons? Kids today…a smart bunch.

Double Dribble:
Offence: A – Pass. B – Shoot.
Defence: A – Steal/Block. B – Switch Player.

Unless you are a real hard core player the new system means you lose to anybody who owns the game (or when you travel cross systems). You can still become a Double Dribble ninja but it’s more like a Wii in that anyone can play.

Advantage: Double Dribble

Playability – The Money Shots

NBA 2K8: How can Chris Bosh miss so many gimmees? Am I hitting the shoo button wrong? There is nothing more annoying than working inside for a good shot and randomly missing a lay-up with Bosh or a dunk with Bargnani. That was the one downside of NBA 2K8. This game is super fun. Make it easy, make it hard, they give you the choice. And you can use the right ‘pad’ to do some sweet Bosh fade aways.

Double Dribble: I was having lunch with Tav and as soon as I mentioned this post he said “The three point shot off the glass from the top right”. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. But it’s no gimme either. You really have to work to learn that shot. Once you do though, nobody can beat you going left to right again (note: I slaughtered Clint going both ways…honestly he was terrible).

Let’s re-enact me doing this 5 minutes ago from a site that let’s you play this online!!! Are you freaking kidding me? More on this in a moment.

Down 2-0 early to the Celtics

Notice where my guy (top right out of bounds is shooting from). note: this shot goes in...again and again.

Advantage: Tie.
NBA 2K8 is complex and all but it’s also ridiculously great. Then again, Double Dribble had the three (and don’t forget the block). After 1 quarter I was up 18 – 10 on 6 for 8 three point shooting.

Just kidding. See below.


Double DribbleHuge points for innovation, great slow motion dunks but lacking variety.

– Signature move after signature move. It's not new, but it's good.

: 2K8


Double Dribble: In 1987 a widget was only found in your Econ 101 books. But i kid you not, you can play the entire game of Double Dribble online right now. I swear. I can’t believe this. The cost section was all wrong, although playing on a computer is never the same. This widget leads you to a full game. Give it a try, see what you've got!!

Click to Play!

NBA 2K8: First the widget appeared not to post. Then i discovered it just wouldn't show up in Firefox. So I checked I.E. and guess what!? It blew up my right nav because it was so wide!

That was painful. Go to to see it yourself or email me and i'll send you the widget destruction code.

You can’t have a winner when it comes to comparing two different eras. We’ll never know what Wilt vs. Shaq would look like. And we don’t need to. Double Dribble has all those timeless memories, the Clint Williams’ of life, the computer run up score drubbings, the nights wishing you were cooler and not playing so many games….but it’s probably best left in the dusty confines of NES heaven. Where lots of classics should stay. Amazing in our hearts and minds.

But if they ever have an old timers video game league…somebody give me a call.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We're Back Baby. Topic 1: Why John Hollinger sucks, not the Raptors

An entire summer free of Ramblings? I don’t even know where to start so how about what I learned this summer. I wrote a fat camp blog on and learned 3 things that impact you:

1. Keeping under 500 words is TOUGH (editors note: post one did not achieve this goal)

2. Mainstream sites aren't keen on ‘borrowing’ stuff from the web such as photos. I even needed ‘express consent’ to post a picture of a buddy at a stag doing a keg stand (which I claimed to have received).

I’ll never weigh 165 pounds again. In fact if I ever get below 180 again it’ll likely be due to sickness…and I’m getting comfortable with that (this may not impact you).

John Hollinger and his PER – La Grande Blague

Mr. Hollinger Predicts
Raptors: 39-43
Tied for 2nd Atlantic
Tied for 9th in Eastern Conference

i.e. he doesn’t think we can even make the playoffs! Feel free to read his ramblings here

John's theory is that everyone just happened to have careers years and they are all doomed to fall back down to earth. It was a blip in the PER radar. This is the kind of crap people used to say to justify why Nash wasn’t the King. People around him were just stepping up.

The PER meets the BOE

I won’t argue that the PER isn't a nice stat to have, hats off for developing one number to compare all players Mr. Holland, although if you could apply this to fantasy predictions I would find it much more useful.

I do believe it’s great in conjunction with the SG’s VP of Common Sense to validate the results which clearly Holland doesn’t always bother himself with. When Hollinger heard that Paramount Pictures landed Tim Burton and a cast of Nicholson, Close, Bening, Brosnan, DeVito, Short, Jessica-Parker, Michael J. Fox, and Natalie Portman he had the Box Office Efficiency (BOE) through the roof. As close to a sure thing as you could get! The problem is BOE + BOE doesn’t = BOE Gold (the other problem is Tim Burton without Johnny Depp or animation is disaster on a Rob Babcock type scale). Result: Mars Attacks.

The Raptors are more like Melrose Place
When Aaron Spelling parlayed the 90210 formula into Melrose Place it wasn’t a BOE studded cast, it was just tweaking the formula and putting together a solid cast of characters that could follow the nucleus (Heather Locklear) to gold. It was the right time for that type of show, the imitators weren’t there yet and the Bev had proved it could work.

The Raptors briefly tried to imitate the Suns last year using the Run and Gun but it turns out you need to have athletic guys to pull that off. Go figure. So what did we do? We looked at our talent and saw something that could work given our cast. It had worked for the past 8 years in International play vs. this EXACT type of competition (i.e. Team USA / NBA players).

Selfless point guards (accurate 3 games out of 4 plus or minus 1 point guard).
Smarts i.e. knowing your role.

This wasn’t rocket science it was genius. And soon lots of people will try to copy it.
We had the Euro players, the ability to play decent defense and ridiculous offensive execution, based on effort, brains and efficiency to help us win games. It’s not like these guys are playing over their head individually. In fact as soon as TJ gets into “I can take these guys 1-4 by driving hard and throwing it over my head" mode you can see the massive breakdown. Luckily so can Sam, sound buzzer, enter Jose.

If you want to trash the Raptors focus on Bosh / Garbajosa’s injury potential as hurdles and the 'emergence' of the East (I have my doubts). And of course ignore BargNANI nation’s emergence, the resurgence of Rasho and the 3 pt magic Kapono may just add.

I ask you, how hard was it for Andrew Shue to ‘act’ when all eyes were on Heather L? Seriously, this guy couldn’t act his way out of my grade 9 drama class and he enjoyed years of success. Our only real Shue is Bad Joey, who will hopefully cede way to good Joey this year (17:1 in Vegas). Bosh is Locklear and forces your eyes to him which leaves our supporting cast to zing the ball around until we find open shots. Is our cast really coming back ‘down to earth’ from this? Did Anthony Parker and Garbo just have a lucky season after years of success overseas? Is Kapono going to stop being able to hit wide open shots after 3 years of 47% shooting from long range? Is Nani going to get better or worse?

Hawks and Bobcats to Beat out Raptors for Playoff Spot
Really? Once I saw how bad we were I was Interested to see who would be taking our spot in the playoffs. And now I demand that If Hollinger is going to outsource his predictions to India then at least he should have to review them. Maybe I can start a company that reviews outsourced stuff, we’ll call it “Common Sense Buddy”. CSB.

Ranting and Rambling:
I shouldn’t spend an entire post trashing someone else. The guy is out on a limb. But I couldn’t help it. Washington 13th, Raptors 9th it’s just plain wrong. On hustle alone Atlanta will lose 5 games that they would win with Raptors like hustle. And that’s the point. I know this because I’m a basketball fan and I watch games. Maybe Atlanta’s rookies will propel them to the next level but we’ve been saying that for years. The reality is the Raptors went into last year WAY under rated and it looks like it’s happening again. Luckily for us, I think that’s the way they like it.

Random Research Note: I had my Virtual Assistant in India check out the shows that Marcia Cross (red headed bitch from Melrose place, more recently from Desperate Housewives) has appeared / starred in over the years! Somebody get this girl on their show, her BOE is through the ROOF (clearly her BOE is up there).

Shows: Cheers, Who’s the Boss, Murder She Wrote, Knots Landing, Melrose Place, Seinfeld, Spin City, Ally McBeal, CSI, Desperate Housewives. How’s that for a BOE!

Bottom Line: The only way we win less than 40 games is major injuries to multiple guys (or Bosh for 20+ games). The most likely way we'll win 48 games is coming up soon, and the drea like scenario of 55 games I'll save for December.