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Old 10-29-2008, 09:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
Dr. J. Naismith
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Default Today in Raptorland - 10/29/08

It's show time

Toronto officially embarks on its 14th NBA campaign tonight in Philadelphia, with arguably its best starting lineup. But there are too many question marks to punch a ticket to the second round, their minimum goal.

"We want to get better and move up, but playoffs are a whole different season," Bosh said yesterday at the Air Canada Centre. "(Philadelphia and Toronto) is a tale of two teams who made improvements and must take a bigger step than last year. But it's on paper. It comes down to defence and rebounding. If you can't stop the other team, you won't win."
Sixers feature new dimension

From a basketball perspective, the rivalry between Philly and Toronto was forged when Allen Iverson and Vince Carter exchanged 50-point playoff games in a seven-game series that wasn't decided until the final shot.

The direction and fortunes of each franchise since that monumental matchup in the spring of 2001 have taken different twists and turns with neither club reaching such giddy levels.

Both teams enter tonight with the expected optimism having each addressed an obvious need.
Door open for Dalembert?

The notion of Samuel Dalembert returning to the Canadian national men's basketball team next year isn't dead, but the Philadelphia 76ers player is not yet ready to play for coach Leo Rautins.
Praise for the Celtics

The road to the Eastern Conference final for any NBA team will go through Boston, an Atlantic Division rival the Raptors play four times this season.

"One team deserves the ultimate respect and that's the Celtics," centre Jermaine O'Neal said. "We think we are better than most of the teams we play, but those teams probably say the same thing about us."
New details in Isiah episode

Officers who responded to Isiah Thomas' home after a 911 call reporting an overdose on sleeping pills found a man passed out on the floor and gave him oxygen until an ambulance arrived.

Authorities have not publicly identified Thomas as the victim, but a person familiar with the case has confirmed it was the former Knicks coach and NBA star. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because of privacy concerns.

Life lessons learned in school of hard knocks

He had grown up with a mom and a grandmother and a brother but no father and when his own daughter was born, he vowed then that things would be different.

They had to be. Others depended on him now.

"Me having my daughter at 20 years old really put me at another level," the 30-year-old Raptors centre says. "All of a sudden, it wasn't about me any more. It was all about her and raising her and making sure that Daddy does the right things and Daddy makes her proud so that when she looks back 10, 15 years from now, she can be proud of what her Daddy did and accomplished and made for her and her kids and her brother.
Be blissfully optimistic, but beware

But as Mitchell was saying the other day: "I keep telling the guys, `Don't come to the arena thinking Jose, C.B. and Jermaine are going to carry us. The other guys have got to step up. ... We're going to need that fourth and fifth guy. Who are those guys going to be on a nightly basis? I can't tell you."

In other words, Colangelo's saying he's put together a winner here. Mitchell's saying, not in so many words: Hang on a minute, boss ... I've got three reliable players, one of whom, O'Neal, is coming off four seasons of surgery-plagued misery and still wearing a knee brace. And those three guys are surrounded by an assortment of enigmas who may or may not come to play in tonight's season opener in Philadelphia and beyond.
Celtics pick up where they left off last season

Paul Pierce scored 27 points as the defending champion Celtics followed an emotional ring ceremony and banner raising with a 90-85 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night.

LeBron James scored 22, but missed a driving layup with 41 seconds left and two free throws in the last 11 seconds.
Thomas passed out on floor: Source

Thomas has denied being the victim, and Hall again criticized the ex-coach for saying it was his 17-year-old daughter, Lauren, who required treatment.

"As parents, you try to protect your kids; you don't say they did something when it was you who did it," Hall said. "We know the difference between a 47-year-old man and a teenager.''


The first was between Jermaine O'Neal and Raptors president Bryan Colangelo before the June 28 draft. Another conversation was between Toronto head coach Sam Mitchell and the team's newest centre a few hours later. The third was a call from Colangelo to Mitchell to compare notes on their conversations with O'Neal, a 12-year NBA veteran at just 30. But he was coming off an eight-year run with the Indiana Pacers, the last four of which had left him prematurely aged in body and spirit.

"I told Sam that in my entire career, it was probably the most remarkable conversation I've ever had with a player," Colangelo said. "He covered every issue you could think of and articulated in a well-thought-out manner. And [Sam] had just got off the phone with Jermaine and was about to tell me the same thing."
Raptors expect short bench for opener

The Toronto Raptors will roll into Philadelphia tonight standing 13 strong.

Or 12. Actually, it's more likely to be 10, given the current injury situation, and may even be nine, depending on Jason Kapono's knee.

In any case, the Raptors will tip off their season against the resurgent Philadelphia 76ers with only those who are healthy and available and no more, a situation that Raptors president Bryan Colangelo says won't change, given the club's lack of room to manoeuvre under the NBA's luxury-tax threshold.

At least not for now.

Raptors Game Day

Who's hot? Andrea Bargnani showed good offensive form in the pre-season, scoring 14.7 points per game on 48% shooting.

Who's not? Moon showed why it took so long for him to break into the league in the pre-season, connecting on just 24% of his field-goal attempts.

Back strain won't keep Young out of Sixers' starting lineup

The 76ers' Opening Night starting small forward will be . . .
Thaddeus Young.

Maurice Cheeks waited until yesterday to say that publicly, not because Young hadn't earned the job, but because the coach wanted to see him on the practice floor, to be certain the back strain he suffered Friday was no longer an issue.

Champion Celtics will have company

It wasn't even close a year ago, as the Boston Celtics led the Atlantic Division from start to finish, winning the title by 25 games over second-place Toronto.
But things could be different this time around. It could be argued that all four of the Celtics' division rivals are better than a year ago.

So expect Boston to "only" win the division by 15 or 20 games this time around

Jawai waits heart result

The Club found irregularities with his heart during routine testing earlier this month and a spokesman says the former Cairns Taipans player is still waiting for more test results.
Sunshine Girl - 10/29/08

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