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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 06.04.10
Do or die time for Raps
Bosh named player of week
Whatever resolve remains will be put to the ultimate test.
Whatever energy that can be summoned will be desperately needed.
The time has arrived when words are rendered meaningless, when action is required and when execution is a must.
It’s do or die time with these perplexing Raptors, who, despite an alarming loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, continue to control their own destiny.
Six games loom, but the short term is dotted with doom.
Beginning with Tuesday’s visit to Cleveland, the Raptors face three opponents they simply don’t match up well against, going a combined 2-7 in meetings with the Cavs, Celtics and Hawks.
If the Raptors can somehow post a win of any kind in the next three tips, they’ll have some wiggle room. The season-ending schedule that awaits, turns in their favour with three foes that Toronto has simply owned this season.
The Raptors could have done themselves a huge service by holding serve against the Warriors, who escaped the ACC with a 113-112 win.
The Raptors, who trailed by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter, never led past midway through the opening period.
Had Chris Bosh converted just as the buzzer sounded, a sequence that was ignited by Sonny Weems, the Raptors wouldn’t be in this predicament.
Raptors looking for relief from the playoff heat
Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for the period ending April 4.
Both Bosh and Durant tied for the week's scoring lead (31.5 ppg) with Bosh adding 11.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals during a 3-1 stretch that allowed the Raptors to stay in the East's playoff hunt. Bosh recorded 42 points, 12 rebounds and five steals in a 113-112 loss to Golden State on Sunday. This is Bosh's second weekly honor this season.
Pivotal week begins for Raptors
The question now is not about the physical abilities of the Raptors but about their mental sharpness, their ability to put bitter disappointment behind them in the face of coming adversity.
At stake is a place in the NBA playoffs as the Raptors prepare for the most telling four days of their season — a trio of games against accomplished opponents after being sent reeling by a heartbreaking loss.
Cleveland on Tuesday, Boston on Wednesday, Atlanta on Friday — a veritable Murderers Row of Eastern Conference foes. And with the Chicago Bulls breathing down their necks in the race for eighth, the Raptors at least need to show some competitive fire before the final three games of the season to follow.
“We just have to find a way,” said coach Jay Triano.
First, the club will have to put Sunday’s bitter loss to the Golden State Warriors behind them, to forget the shots missed and the defensive assignments blown and for the team’s best player to block out a near-miss at the buzzer that would have stolen the game.
“I won’t let that one play dictate my whole week or whole season,” said Chris Bosh after he failed to capitalize on a Sonny Weems steal with less than two seconds to go in a 113-112 loss to the Warriors.
“Just forget about it and move on.”
Why the playoffs matter for Raptors
In an alternate universe, the Toronto Raptors roll in to Cleveland Tuesday on a six-game winning streak, having played some of their best basketball of the season at precisely the right time, and surging for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
It’s not entirely far-fetched. The Raptors arguably should have won every one of their past six starts, and in fact had to go out of their way to lose three of them.
Head coach Jay Triano has been in the job just over one full season, but he sounded like a grizzled old NBA veteran as he reflected on his club’s last-second loss to the Golden State Warriors at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday.
“We shot 47 per cent against Denver, 49 per cent against Miami, 50 per cent against Charlotte, 61 against the Clippers and 56 against Philadelphia,” he said, the numbers still fresh in his head. “And then we play Golden State, the 30th team in the NBA in opponents’ field goal percentage, and we shoot 39 per cent? How does that happen?
Actually, that’s just part of the story. Chris Bosh, who has been resurgent of late, shot 11 of 19 himself – meaning the rest of the team shot just 34 per cent – but of course it was Bosh who missed the potential game-tying layup as the clock ran out.
But being a head coach in the NBA requires a broad optimist’s streak.
So rather than head into Tuesday’s game – which starts the most pivotal week of the season – lamenting the one that slipped away, Triano is seeing the shot chart as half-full.
“I can’t complain about anything really,” he said before boarding the team’s flight for Cleveland. “We out-rebounded them; we only had 10 turnovers and gave up 12 fast break points. We won every category except shooting the ball.”
Raptors finding ways to stall in playoff drive
The chatter over Bosh shutting it down since the all-star break has died down after his last four games -- he was named the league's Eastern Conference player of the week yesterday after averaging 31.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.5 steals and -- the essential barometer of his commitment -- 13.0 free-throw attempts.
Which lends credence to a couple of the internal theories surrounding Toronto's franchise player. One is that he was convinced by somebody at allstar weekend to avoid injury on a team going nowhere, perhaps even by a New York-based girlfriend. Which is possible.
The other is that his post-allstar sprained ankle took a toll on him; that some of his teammates, Turkoglu in particular, took a toll on him; and that his jump shot temporarily deserted him, making it tougher to beat defenders off the dribble when they were playing five feet off him. And maybe it's all of that, combined.
But the slender strands of hope regarding Bosh come down to this: if Chris Bosh really does have his heart set on being a team's No. 1 option, as he has said, then playing with LeBron James or Dwyane Wade is out. And then, where can he go to be the franchise guy and have a better chance of winning?
Chicago? Not if the Raptors demand, say, Joakim Noah back in a sign-and-trade. Phoenix? Only if it's a sign-and-trade for fellow free agent Amare Stoudemire. New York, with someone like Joe Johnson? Meh.
Maybe, should general manager Bryan Colangelo somehow promise to and manage to trade Turkoglu -- hey, it only sounds impossible -- and somehow acquire one more major piece, then maybe Bosh thinks about it. Maybe if Colangelo can replicate his sell job of three years ago, when Bosh signed the contract he will opt out of this summer, then Bosh will stay.
But only if you are on the right side of that bright line between the playoffs and the lottery. It's a thin sort of hope, but it's hope nonetheless. The playoffs matter.
"Yeah, because you put yourself in a position to salvage the Chris thing," said one source who knows Bosh well. "If you don't, I think you're done."
Before the Toronto Raptors left for Philadelphia on Friday, forward Chris Bosh discussed how his club was aware of the urgency needed for the weekend's two games.
The matches were against non-playoff teams. And they were leading into a three-game stretch that will feature battles against three of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference.
On Saturday, the Raptors won, sure, but blew a 17-point third-quarter lead and needed overtime for the victory against lottery-bound Philadelphia.
Sunday? Sunday was worse. A lot worse. The Golden State Warriors, another bad team with a roster peppered by D-League veterans, beat the Raptors 113-112.
Toronto now owns a mere one-game lead on ninth-place Chicago, and plays Cleveland, Boston and Atlanta over the course of next week. So, yeah, beating the Warriors would have made things a lot more comfortable.
Sunshine Girl - 06.04.10
RF Girl of the Day - Olivia Munn
What’s hotter than a beautiful girl on a motorcycle? How about a beautiful girl on a motorcycle backwards! SUNshine Girl Amanda is 19 years old and enjoys running and doing yoga. She hopes to become a personal trainer. Catch Amanda at the Toronto International Spring Motorcycle Show at the International Centre, April 10-11. Special thanks to Ruff Riders and Royal Distributing