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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 01.04.10
Killer instinct needed
Sonny days for Weems
Playing to the level of their opponent is not a good sign, a habit that has surfaced on previous occasions.
It can’t be accepted and nor can it be tolerated, not when there’s so much at stake.
A win, as coaches and players are used to saying, is acceptable by any means.
The win did give the Raptors a two-game cushion on the Bulls, an edge that is more like three games given the tie-breaker in Toronto’s favour.
In a market desperate for playoff action, fans will embrace the post-season, even it means a meeting with Cleveland and an inevitable one and done scenario.
What will make losing tolerable will be measured in the Raptors’ competitive spirit, assuming they make the playoffs.
That’s why Wednesday marked an important beginning, a time when the Raptors should have been more serious in their approach, especially defensively.
You just knew the Clippers couldn’t sustain their level of play, that shots weren’t going to drop and making stops was going to be difficult.
Rasual Butler was able to make two straight three-pointers from the exact same spot on the floor when no Raptor bothered to put a hand in his face as L.A. would begin the second quarter on a 9-2 run.
Teams pining for the post-season and looking to make that playoff push don’t take teams for granted, they don’t take possessions off and they don’t wait until the second half to seize control.
It’s officially April and the playoffs have unofficially begun for the Raptors
Better late than never for Raps
Sonny Weems, problem solver?
Not exactly the role anyone envisioned for him when he fell into the Raptors’ lap in the Amir Johnson deal, but you could make the case that is what he has become as the season winds down.
By inserting Weems in place of Hedo Turkoglu in the starting lineup, the Raptors have managed to keep this boat afloat, so to speak.
Turkoglu wasn’t happy with the “ball” he was seeing in the starting unit.
Not that it should have come as any surprise that just about every play the team runs goes through Chris Bosh. But coming in when Bosh is normally headed to the bench for a rest allows much more of the offence to run through Turkoglu.
Weems, in the starting five, gives the Raptors more opportunities to get out and run and his athleticism ensures teams have to be accountable for him venturing into the paint, meaning they can’t focus solely on Bosh in and around the basket.
And while it was initially thought that Turkoglu coming out of the starting five was another form of punishment for his off-court indiscretions while battling a flu bug, head coach Jay Triano made it clear following Monday’s win over the Charlotte Bobcats that the changes to the starting five with Antoine Wright and Weems in and Turkoglu and DeMar DeRozan out, would be the case for the remainder of the regular season.
Weems’ play of late has made that possible.
Weems has reached a point in his career where there is some real consistency with his jump shot, another means of keeping defences at least somewhat honest and unable to key in on Bosh as much.
And best of all, opponents so far have been willing to let Weems have those shots.
“It’s automatic now,” teammate Antoine Wright says of Weems’ mid-range jumper. “I don’t even really think the other teams are respecting him, yet. I think they’re still playing him as a driver. He’s done a good job of staying with it and getting his work in and knocking it down.
“He’s really helping this team right now.”
Career game for Sonny Weems as Raptors roll
“We started out the game like we didn’t want to and we knew we had to make adjustments and come out and play the second half correctly,” Bosh said. “There wasn’t much said. We just addressed the problems and came out and provided more of a spark for ourselves.”
With eight games remaining, the question was asked whether a team coming out as flat as it did should be a concern.
Bosh didn’t believe so.
“Nah, not at all,” Bosh said. “It wasn’t like we were down 10 or 12 points at the half. We were down four (five, actually). There is going to be some slippage sometimes and you have to make adjustments. It’s not about panicking. You just have to make the proper adjustments and come out the right way in the second half.”
Bosh explained away the Raptors’ poor first half by suggesting it takes a little longer to get into a game when the opponent isn’t playing for much, but then wisely suggested this practice couldn’t continue.
“When teams are playing loose like that, sometimes they are the tougher team to beat because you have to provide your own energy,” Bosh said. “Against teams like the Celtics and Cavs, we know we are going to have to come out hard so those are easier game to provide our own energy. We have to be aware of that and just respect every opponent we have left.”
With the next two games against two more teams playing out the string — Philadelphia and Golden State — those words should perhaps be left on a chalkboard somewhere as a reminder
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
Aside from the usual jolt of energy Weems has come to provide, his perfect night from the floor – including just the second three pointer of his career – was the perfect spark for a strong second half.
"They were open shots, that's all," said Weems, who had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists as Toronto moved two games ahead of Chicago in the race for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
If only it was that simple.
What Weems provided was the second-half energy the Raptors sorely needed to pull away from the Clippers. Two of his baskets in the third quarter were fast-break finishes that ignited his teammates and the crowd and got Toronto on track. It was the kind of effort the Raptors have come to expect from the 23-year-old Weems.
"Sonny was a guy earlier this year that was going to maybe be a role player on this team but the kid comes back every single night and works on his jump shot with DeMar (DeRozan)," said coach Jay Triano. "He works hard every day in practice, he gives us something we don't have and he's earned a spot in a rotation."
That spot is now as a starter, usurping Hedo Turkoglu because of the athleticism and defence the 6-foot-6 Weems brings. It's not something he takes for granted.
"Nah, you never get used to that because you can get pulled out real fast. I'm just glad I get the opportunity," said Weems. "Every day I wake up and I try to thank God every morning for putting me in this position. Last year, I didn't play at all ... now I have the chance to show my talent."
Raptors cuff Clippers after
This really didn’t show up in the boxscore at all but it was shocking and interesting to watch.
What Reggie Evans did to young DeAndre Jordan when they were on the floor bordered on the criminal. I’m talking beat him up, frustrate him, bug him and take him so far out of the game, I wonder if the young Jordan didn’t go home and have nightmares.
In one sequence, Evans kind of roughed the kid up right in front the bench, drew a foul and then sort of bumped Jordan as he walked by as if to say, “hey, kid, I’m not going anywhere.’
Then they go down the other end and Reggie again gets in the kid’s head, another foul is called and quicker than you can say “mismatch of epic proportions” Drew Gooden’s at the table, Jordan’s on the bench and his night is effectively over.
Now, it didn’t really have a huge impact on the outcome but it was pretty cool to watch.
big third-quarter push
Lowly Clippers have the Raptors feeling fine
In the midst of a dreary first half in which the Toronto Raptors were a step behind the road-weary Los Angeles Clippers , the NBA’s institutional door mat, a frustrated Raptors fan said out loud what surely everyone was thinking.
“Come on, it’s the Clippers.”
The Raptors were trailing and their fans, who have had a tough time of it lately, were understandably restless.
The Raptors (37-37) woke in time to dispatch Los Angeles’s other NBA team 114-92, overcoming a five-point halftime deficit and blowing them out in the third and fourth quarters in front of 16,106.
But who would have thought it would be Sonny Weems leading the charge?
The Raptors’ 15th anniversary season has been full of surprises, only some of them good, but Weems, the effervescent second-year swing man plucked from the remainders pile in the off-season, has been one of the most pleasant.
Last night he pitched his towel across the Raptors spacious dressing room over the crowd of reporters surrounding his locker and put it right in middle of the hamper.
Before that he’d made all eight of his field goal attempts, including just his second three-pointer of the season, to finish with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists.
At that point, with the game well in hand thanks to the Raptors’ 66-point second half, Weems couldn’t help but circle his thumb and forefinger like all the real three-point shooters do, much to his own amusement and that of his teammates on the bench.
Bosh, Raptors ride hot shooting touch to win over Clippers
Wednesday night's game between the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers was largely devoid of atmosphere. However, if you were in the right place at the right time, you were lucky enough to peer into the soul of a franchise.
Some context: In 99% of NBA dressing rooms before a game there is a television showing clips of that night's opponent. The television in the Raptors' room, for example, was displaying the Clippers' game against Milwaukee from Tuesday.
Up for the players' consumption and entertainment in the Clippers' room? The Comedy Network.
The Los Angeles Clippers: sports' gift to dark humour that never fails to deliver. The Raptors, despite a far-from-complete effort, found their way to a 114-92 victory at the Air Canada Centre. The win pushed the Chicago Bulls two games back of the Raptors for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.
The Raptors shot 61% from the floor, so they clearly deserved the victory.
"We kept the ball moving," Chris Bosh, who had 34 points and 11 rebounds, said. "Granted, we didn't play one of the stronger defences in the league. We'll take everything we can get right now. It still counts."
Sure it does. The Clippers, though, are truly brutal.
"Bosh hurt us the whole night, but he hurts everybody," Kaman said. "You're going to expect that from him. He got his, but we just didn't do a good job on the other guys. Weems came in and went 8-for-8. That's probably the best game he's going to have all year."
Weems was moved into the starting lineup when Hedo Turkoglu sat with a stomach illness and he has remained there since Turkoglu's return. Raptors coach Jay Triano has said he likes the energy that he brings when he starts. Scoring 17 points was an added bonus.
"I am not sure that Weems will make 8-for-8 again," Kim Hughes said. "He shot and played very well.
Asked about his hot-shooting night, the second-year swingman shrugged and said he just received open shots. But despite his nonchalance when the cameras were on him, as he watched his towels sail cleanly into the laundry basket after tossing them across the locker room, he couldn't help it.
Sunshine Girl – 01.4.10
RF Girl of the Day – Maria Ozawa
Get your April Fools laughs somewhere else, because SUNshine Girl Sarah is no joke. Our girl is 21 years old and hopes to become a certified makeup artist and continue working in the dental field. In her free time, she enjoys hot yoga, which involves cranking up the heat allowing her to increase flexibility and get into tougher positions. Make sure you don’t get light-headed though, we know we are.