Archive for April, 2007

A Washington Wizard fan gets owned

I’m sure some of you have seen this video floating around, but in case you didn’t, it’s worth a chuckle. Here’s a clip of Mo Pete’s buzzer beater to send the recent Washington game into overtime, from the other perspective.

Thanks for getting ahead of yourselves.

Bulls - Zero Urgency

Did the Chicago Bulls look like a playoff team tonight? Where was that fight that we have come to know from the Bulls? These aren’t the Baby Bulls anymore, these are the legit Chicago Bulls. Sure, the Raptors played a decent game, but good enough to make the Bulls look like that? I don’t think so.

Did Ben Wallace look like he cared tonight? I don’t think I have ever seen him play a more disinterested game than tonight. If you can’t rebound against the Raptors, you’ve got issues, so pull up a chair for Ben in the doc’s office, because he has plenty.

Luol Deng had what can be considered an off night for him (13 points, 7 boards), but he is still one of the most athletic and entertaining players in the league to watch. If I were to create an All-Entertaining Team, he’d be on it with Josh Smith. Even when he was driving to the lane and lost the handle on the ball, he still had quick enough hands to get a grip on it and get up for an angry dunk. Pure talent.

Gatorade Graham must have tried one of the new flavours tonight, because he looked like the player we always talk about him being. He took a couple of charges from Deng (one was legit, I think his second flop was just that, a flop due to slow feet), had good positioning for most of the night and got tough inside, which landed him just short of a double-double. Would have been nice to see him pick that up, but I guess coming just short can provide you with some fuel for the next game (cue the inevitable “disappearance night” made famous by GG any time we give him some cred).

Dear Luke Jackson, welcome back to the bench. MoPete got ejected early tonight and you were still on the bench. GG and Juan had good games in front of you, so it’s tough, but I bet you thought you were going to see some minutes tonight. Luke, the bench is with you.

If Juan keeps this up, he is going to have to square off with MoPete and have a circus shot shootout. It’ll be like the Jordan-Bird McDonald’s commercial from back in the day (that was McD’s right?). Off the scoreboard, off the mascot, off the rafters…nothing but net. Maybe this will just end up something that people talk about forever, like back in the day when Michael Jackson and MC Hammer were supposed to have a dance-off. The fact that Juan has fit in so nicely on offence hasn’t surprised me, I said when he came here that he could play and that he would do well, but his responsibility on D has been impressive. Don’t get me wrong, he hasn’t been absolutely shutting anybody down, but he has done a good job of moving over to double-team, sliding over to fill lanes, knowing which guys to play tight and who to play off. He has used his head on D. Still has a big problem with anybody with a quick first step, but so do a lot of people.

If you want to see a picture of efficiency, all you had to do was watch Calderon tonight. Pretty much an assist every two minutes. Almost 16 minutes, 8 assists. His shooting was off again, but I’m not so worried about that. I don’t think anybody is looking for Jose to come in and light it up. That’s not really his game. He can do it, but his strength is coming in, setting the tempo and moving the ball around, which is pretty much what he did again tonight.

AP has officially moved into the office across from MoPete’s and is putting in the Barcalounger. AP from that right pocket is cashmoney. Lights out from there tonight, but the key to him working in that corner office is the ball movement the Raptors are able to generate. When the Raptors get that ball moving around the horn, it’s tough to cover and by the time it gets to AP, he has all day to set up. This is for a guy who is starting to get a release similar to Dell Curry (the best catch-and-shoot man ever…p.s. did anyone see DC on tv the other night? Eatin’ well man!).

One key from tonight’s game that the Raptors need to take note of is that when you have a team that has one big guy on the boards (Ben Wallace) and you are able to get on him early, get some bodies on him and make him start to wonder why he isn’t getting his usual number of boards, you are going to have success. When you are able to make Ben work harder for his rebounds, there are many nights where it looks like he will just pack it in and wait for the next game. I think getting bumped around a bit by Hump and GG had a bit of an effect on Ben. Something to remember for any game down the stretch.

How to Win a Game With Only 27 Rebounds - A Story by The Toronto Raptors

So, you get outrebounded by 14, you look like a mess for the majority of the game, you’re letting people like Carlos Arroyo pull crossovers on you, you take quick shots at the end of the game when you’re up by a few and yet, you still win the game. How? Because Orlando was THAT bad. Plain and simps.

People are going to talk about how this was a gutty comeback, how the Raptors (read: Jose Calderon) found their composure and pulled out a win, how this team is going to be tough in the playoffs, but let me tell you this. If the Raptors play like that in the playoffs, it’s not going to be pretty.

Speaking of not pretty, let’s get to the game. If I was in the Magic front office, watching tonight’s game from my booth, I would be looking at my colleagues saying, “If we don’t have a true point guard after next season, let’s go knock on this Calderon guy’s door and back up the dump truck filled with money.” Chuck and Leo touched on it a bit, but the Magic don’t have a true point guard and that’s why they have so many turnovers. They can’t execute a play, they have guys running all over the floor, making the wrong cuts, just out of sorts. If you had to sit and watch Jose come off the bench, settle things down and bring the game back into reach, it had to hurt. Here they are with NOTHING at that position and the Raptors have two legit starters there. That’s a big kick in the crotch.

Jose’s like a fireman. People are starting to get nervous, losing their heads a bit, trying anything to put out the fire without really thinking and then he calmly comes in, done it all before, executes a strategy, gets it under control, then leaves the scene. Nice game from him tonight. But seriously dude, what’s up with getting put on the highlight reel by a Carlos Arroyo crossover? Remember how I was talking about your D? QED. Also, I didn’t think I’d live to see the day where you had more than twice as many turnovers as TJ. 5 turnovers in 18 minutes? FIVE? Yikes. If you’d played a full game tonight, you just might have challenged Jason Kidd for that 14 turnover game against the Knicks in 2000.

Now, saying that Jose had a good game, doesn’t necessarily mean that TJ had a bad game. Given, he was a little reckless at times, but still ended up with 16 points and 8 assists, not a bad night, especially considering that he played good D. But what was up with his FT shooting? Here’s a guy who’s 83% from the line and he drops 3 of 8 tonight? That’s showing you’re not completely into the game. When you’re a good free throw shooter and you suddenly go cold, you’re thinking too much instead of just relaxing and playing the game. I hope TJ was watching when Jose came in and slowed it down a bit, because it seemed like a lot of the Raptors were still tired from last night (I don’t know why) and couldn’t get down the court with him. A time and place for the speed TJ.

Although Orlando managed to beat Toronto on the boards, but their turnovers wiped out that work. If you’re getting rebounds and getting points off them, that’s great, but if every other time down the court you turn the ball over, what’s the point of banging inside?

Hedo Turkoglu. Where did he come from? Guy just decides he’s going to turn the clock back? WHA? The guy was cash money tonight. Couldn’t guard him. He was even giving a little bit of flava after scoring in the 4th. Whoa, let’s hold on dude. Just because you have one good night, doesn’t mean you can start throwing up signs.

Oh well, the Raptors kind of got away with a stinker tonight. Anybody want to put money on Sam saying, “A win is a win” or “We got the W”?

Sam mystifies me

Okay, I didn’t even think the Raps were going to be in this one when it came down to the wire, so I will give them credit for that. They hung in there and stuck around long enough to have a chance at the end of the game.

So here’s my question. On the Raptors last two trips down the court, they went with TJ. No problem with that. He can easily handle anyone on Miami 1-on-1, so if you can get a guy on isolation, you’re set. But you just sat the guy on the bench for a long stretch. He had been cold shooting all game. I know he got a great look on the dribble drive, but that’s the point. He had a great look (isolation on White Chocolate) and couldn’t hit the shot. He was cold all night Sam.

So then you have another shot at the end of the game. You have Jackson, MoPete (who also just came off the bench), AP…all guys who can hit the three. You put them on the court precisely for that reason. Yet, again, you go to TJ for the 3. You go to the guy who is cold and is now thinking too much. Why? I’m not sure. You have Jackson out there who has looked into it (told you he has some game), AP who has hit tons of big 3s, hell, MoPete might even run back to half and hit one from there, just because he’s comfortable from there.

Don’t get me wrong, those weren’t bad plays, they weren’t forced shots, so I can’t get on TJ about that, but Sam, if somebody is having an off night (2-13 by the time the game was over…2-13!!!) and their name isn’t Kobe, draw something up to go to someone else, especially when you have a floor full of shooters.

Let’s not make too much of Luke Jackson’s night. Chuck and Leo were ready to give him the key to the city. My favourite point of the game was near the end when Luke had an open look from 6 feet away and Chuck said, “Oh, he HAS to take that shot”, then Luke dished inside to Bosh for an easy 2. After that, Chuck and Leo were talking about how great of a play it was and the vision he has. GUARANTEED, if Bosh had missed or bobbled the pass, they would have been saying how Luke is rusty, how he needs to take that shot, it’s confidence, blah blah blah.

You want to know what Luke was tonight? TIRED. Dude played almost 19 minutes, but he looked like a blow-up sex doll, mouth wide open and walking like his feet had magnets in them and the court was made out of metal. I mean, he looked like you do on a great day of sex in the summer in an apartment with no air conditioning. But let’s give him some props, he did have the shot going and looked comfortable in the offense. Nice to finally see him get some action. The Raptors should put up another 10-day, just because they wasted a few games with him on the bench. The Raptors system (if there is one) isn’t tough to learn, he should have been in earlier. Still need to assess if there is a contract in there for him.

Anybody want to take a guess what the rebounding situation was tonight? 39-48 in favour of the Heat. Not a blowout, but not in the Raptors favour. When you at some point in the game decide that you are just going to start jacking 3s from everywhere on the floor, you have to at least be able to rebound. When you are 33-87 from the floor and 6-20 from 3, you HAVE to be able to rebound.

So why exactly where the Raptors launching so many bombs when they had managed to get the game close again? Down the stretch, four points down and here they are playing h-o-r-s-e. When they did manage to go inside, we had to suffer through Rasho trying to drop baby hooks over either Zo or Shaq. This coming from a guy with the vertical of a tree stump. Yikes. When they actually made it to the rim, those shots had nothing that was going to get them to drop.

Anyway, back-to-back, let’s see what happens tomorrow night.

Dudes, that Hoffa thing was an April Fool’s joke…

Wow, it’s nice to know so many people still love a good Hoffa story, but seriously guys, the whole Hoffa thing was an April Fools joke. The post was done just before midnight, but was listed as April 2 on some other sites. Um…so yeah, Happy belated April Fools!

Speaking of fools, Miami tonight at 7:30.

Hoffa to appear in Brazilian edition of Playgirl

I know, I couldn’t believe it either when I heard it, but then with the way things have been going for Hoffa, can you really argue with the guy? Next year is his contract year and since there is no way in hell he is going to get another NBA contract, I guess he is exploring his options.

Here is an excerpt from Hoop and Harm magazine:

“It is not a big deal for one to be naked in Brazil, so for me, it didn’t really matter. I was actually flattered that they asked me.” Rafael Araujo, who now plays for the Utah Jazz is no stranger to new things. Coming out of high school, “Hoffa” made his way to BYU, where after hardly knowing any English, he completed his degree in 4 years.

“I was always proud of that, but I think I will be even more proud of this photoshoot. I think I live up to my the Brazilian Beast nickname.”

The image of Hoffa running around the court for the Raptors was initially laughable, then just painful. The image of him doing it now for the Jazz makes me feel badly for Jerry Sloan. The fact that he has that team clicking like he does with Hoffa on his team is a miracle. I don’t know about you guys, but there are some things that just ruin a good day. Today was a good day. Then this came along. I really should have chosen something else to post on April Fools Day, because this started as an April Fools Day joke, then I just made myself vomit. Hope you had a good one.

A little more analysis from tonight

So the last post didn’t have as much analysis as it did just comments on things from the game, so here is a bit more analysis for the technical types.

So we were talking about the basics in one of the last posts and let’s go right back there. The Raptors shot almost 90% from the line, outrebounded the Bobcats by 14, had their bench outscore the Bobcats bench, moved the ball around the perimeter (which created open looks) and had their All-Star come out early and dominate. That’s a winning recipe no matter who you are playing.

I do have to say this for the Bobcats, they managed to hang around for most of the game and if they had a legit go-to guy on that team, they could have created a few problems for the Raptors tonight. I also liked that they weren’t afraid to get tough with the Raptors, contesting layups (knocked down AP), trying to block dunks and clogging up the lane, forcing anybody going in there to think twice. With all of the cap room they have to work with, if they can convince players to go there (or in Gerald’s case, to stay there), they could start to put something good together. But then again, Jordan is about to get involved, so wait for the whole thing to blow up and for him to book it out of there once he starts to feel the heat.

I’m not getting tired of giving Hump his respect, so here it comes again. 13 and 8 rebounds. 4-9 from the field. 5-5 from the line. 1 block. 23 minutes. Now that’s a line. That’s a night. Once again, can I state that this is the guy we got for Hoffa. Let’s take a look at Hoffa’s line from tonight: DNP. Yup. That pretty much sums it up.

Our PG situation is great. It’s like in football when you have a hard north-south running back and a shifty guy. Thunder and Lightning. Although in the Raptors case, it’s more like Lightning and Sunny Day. Obviously, TJ is Lightning, where you wait for flashes of briliance, but are also terrified at the same time and in the end, never fully appreciate its beauty. Jose is Sunny Day, pretty much just gives you a warm feeling, nothing exciting, but you know what you are going to get and you like it. Wow, I just came up with that, I’m going to go have a drink.

Okay, I’m back. So yes, if there was a game where the two PGs could show their differences and how they both work, it was tonight. I agree with Jack, I have no idea how he saw Rasho on that sweet pass in the lane, it was a thing of beauty. I also liked how when TJ was on the break early in the 3rd, he drove the lane, saw nothing was there, pulled it back out, went inside to Bosh and then let Bosh play hi-low with Rasho. That’s good basketball. On the other hand, Jose is finally looking comfortable again. His shot was back and he was making his usual sound decisions. You have to feel good going into the playoffs when you have these two guys making good decisions and using their differing styles to the team’s benefit.

Bosh. 9-16, 6-6 from the line, 16 rebounds, 5 assists. We really do take him for granted. He can take on just about anybody in the league and he is starting to really get tough on the boards. Maybe the hair is giving him more attitude, but he looks like he wants every loose ball out there. That sort of hard work is rubbing off on the other Raptors as they are getting to the loose balls first and battling a little better inside. Leading by example.

Now, let’s hope the Raptors keep it going Tuesday night. All of these games are important. I would also love nothing more than to stick it to Zo again. That guy actually does a lot of good community work, but when it comes to stuff relating to the game of basketball, he’s like school in the summertime…no class. I can’t believe he was even trying to act big when his team was getting slapped the other night against the Raptors. Dude, look at the score board and shut up.

Yeah, like we didn’t know playoffs were coming…

Okay, so it is a momentous day for the Raptors. Returning to the playoffs for the first time in a while is a big deal, so there is something to be happy about. Let’s all celebrate that we will have another excuse to congregate and drink while cheering on the Raps.

Alright, celebration time is over. Come on people, we knew a while ago that the Raptors were going to the playoffs, the pressing question is where are they going to end up in the seeding? There are interesting playoff matchups looming, so down the stretch, these games are going to be important, especially the road trip. No disrespect to the Bobcats (and again, what is up with those unis? THAT was their 3rd jersey?), but these are games the Raptors are supposed to win. All of the commentators tonight were talking about how well the Raps were playing and how good they looked tonight, but come on guys, it was the Bobcats near the end of the season. They have nothing to play for. Once again, not wanting to disrespect anybody (especially a Raptor), but when Hump beats you off the dribble and then goes AND 1 on you, Mr. Okafor, you have clearly packed it in for the season.

So let’s start with something different today. Most of the time, the mics at court level pick up some grunts, taunts and stuff like that, but today they picked up some gems from Sam. When Sam was giving the ref a hard time today, at one point, the mics picked up part of his conversation, where he said, “…you want to talk about it after the game? OK, send me a note.” Personally, I found this hilarious. 2nd year ref and Sam is all over him. On a more technical note, the mics also picked up when Sam got on MoPete with 7:30 left in the 4th. After MoPete passed up a shot and the Raptors ended up blowing the shot clock, the mics picked up Sam saying, “Hey Mo! Shoot it! You’ve got a 6′9″ on you. Take his ass!” Now that is priceless stuff. Nice work to the crew for picking that up.

To echo Sam’s comment, he was right, Mo should have taken the shot. But I guess when you have had as inconsistent of a season as he has, you just aren’t always thinking that you can hit what you usually hit. With 5 minutes left in the 4th, Mo picked up a steal and took off on a break. When he got into the paint, he ended up letting a floater go instead of taking it strong. It was a serious case of hearing footsteps. There are two cases of where when you are having a tough season, you start thinking too much instead of just doing what comes naturally.

We actually had a Luke Jackson sighting…and while I want this guy to succeed, he took what has to be one of the roughest first shots I have ever seen. Jack and Chuck talked about the rust, but yo, check for the clay under the backboard, because that was a straight up brick. I will give him this, he did play some good D in the last minute against Anderson…man, I really had to stretch for a compliment there.

Jack and Chuck talked about Slokar being one of the happiest guys they have ever met, how he isn’t a glass half-full guy, he’s a “glass completely full” kind of guy. Yeah, well let’s look at his life. He has courtside seats to 82 Raptor games. He gets to play in the NBA once every five or so games, but only in ones where nobody will care what he does. He gets to hang with the Raptors. He gets about $5,000 to watch an NBA game from his courtside seat. Yeah, if I were getting even part of that, I’d be the happiest guy too. I’d be Sammy Mr. F’ing Bo Jangles Davis if I got part of that.

In closing, Larry Tannenbaum. WHAT WAS UP WITH THAT MICHAEL JACKSON 1983 ZIPPER JACKET? I was waiting for him to grab his crotch, have his eyes turn yellow and then have the rest of the MLSE crew come in behind him dancing in tandem. Yikes.

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