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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 08.01.10
Mental toughness key for Raps
Feschuk: Frosty Florida trumps frigid Toronto
The Raptors are justifiably feeling good about themselves, but at the same time they realize that being good simply isn’t good enough.
The team enters Friday’s very winnable tip against the Philadelphia 76ers having won seven of its past eight games to climb to the .500 level.
The Raptors survived a three-game stretch against Boston, San Antonio and Orlando by going 2-1.
Jose Calderon is back and healthy, and Andrea Bargnani is disproving his legion of doubters who felt the perimeter-happy power forward turned centre couldn’t defend the post.
As strong as they’ve looked at times, the Raptors acknowledge the work that lies ahead in cleaning up areas that will ultimately help define this team.
To a man, the Raptors know the schedule has been favourable.
“Our confidence is good right now," Hedo Turkoglu said. “It is still not where we need it to be, but we are .500 and looking forward to getting better.”
Mental toughness remains a concern, an area that is bound to improve once former 76ers power forward Reggie Evans is able to suit up in a regular-season game, which now seems more likely to be after next month’s all-star break.
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
Toronto isn't alone in its status as a sub-zero NBA outpost. There are pro-hoops hinterlands far less appealing than Hogtown, among them Minnesota, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Auburn Hills, Mich. – a fact often overlooked by U.S.-based surveyors of the scene.
But Canada's club is sensitive to the idea that, say, a free-agent-to-be from, say, Texas, might find himself a little sick of January on Lake Ontario's icy shore. So this week, the club spent most of its week in Florida, chartering from Toronto on Monday morning and not departing the Sunshine State until Thursday afternoon, even though their only must-attend business there was a Wednesday game in Orlando.
The team enjoyed a complete day off Monday, practised on Tuesday and after their two-day mini-vacation, lo and behold, the Raptors defeated the defending Eastern Conference champion.
"It's been nice," said Jarrett Jack, the Maryland-raised point guard. "The weather's been, uh, difficult up in Toronto. I think that was the idea – get people out of the snow a little bit. You can get comfortable. You don't have to worry about coming in the night before, dealing with the jet lag."
Raptors finally get it together
Lots of questions here and there about DeMar DeRozan and where he is in the development of an NBA rookie, lots lately on why he doesn’t play in the fourth quarter very often.
The reason? From this angle?
He’s not ready.
Yes, he’s been better lately shooting jumpers and he’s looking a wee bit more comfortable offensively and he seems to be a bit more aggressive rebounding, although there’s still lots and lots of work to do in that regard.
Watch him closely sometimes. He’s going to the offensive glass but sometimes mis-timing jumps and he’s not a very good rebounder in traffic at the other end, either. His tendency to leak out drives coaches batty.
Defensively, he still gets caught up in screens too often and loses his man every now and then.
But, all in all, he’s coming along. Those are typical rookie gaffes and not at all unexpected.
76ers focus on defense as Raptors visit
Toronto (18-18) has improved defensively in that span, allowing 92.6 points per game. In their first 28 games, the Raptors gave up an average of 108.6 points.
"I think we are just figuring out how to play together," forward Chris Bosh said. "We are finally getting it on defence and rebounding a lot better. Everything right now is clicking for us. We just have to keep it rolling."
Toronto has also limited its last two opponents to less than 42.0% shooting while recording back-to-back wins. It needed every bit of that defence to hold off Orlando for a 108-103 road victory Wednesday night.
Tonight, the other team with the ball at the Wachovia Center will be the Toronto Raptors, who will bring a pick-and-roll game - the same scheme that the visiting Washington Wizards used Tuesday in coming from behind to hand the Sixers a 104-97 defeat.
Toronto revolves around 6-foot-10 forward Chris Bosh, an all-star who is averaging 23.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.
"We're getting ready for Toronto," said coach Eddie Jordan, who didn't have guards Allen Iverson (knee) and Royal Ivey (personal reasons) available for the 75-minute session. "A lot of pick-and-rolls. They space you out. They have a lot of three-point shooters. They like to get you in rotations. You have to prepare not to be in rotations. Stick with your guy."
Sunshine Girl – 08.01.10