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Daily Raptor Dish - 11.02.10
Bryan's not going anywhere: MLSE
Raptors hold on to beat 76ers
Amid growing whispers concerning the future of the Raptors’ chief architect, Richard Peddie set the record straight.
It was an emphatic proclamation, one that should finally put to rest whatever wild speculation U.S.-based media outlets intend to circulate.
“Bryan is our general manager and he’s not going anywhere. It’s official," the president and chief operating officer of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment said on Wednesday.
Peddie confided that the MLSEL board convened recently to ensure that Colangelo sticks around beyond this season.
In theory, the board could have triggered a clause that carried an option to end Colangelo’s deal following this season.
And perhaps the existence of that option fuelled the rumours that linked Colangelo with the New jersey Nets and even the New York Knicks, teams that are shaping up to undergo some major front-office change.
The truth, according to Peddie, is that Colangelo will continue in his role as GM and president of the Raptors through to the 2010-11 season.
“I’m delighted," Colangelo said. “I appreciate the vote of confidence the board has demonstrated.”
For DeRozan and Weems, the break is going to be in Dallas where the former will be taking part in the first Dunk-In event on Friday to gain entry to the actual slam dunk contest the following night.
DeRozan says his confidence right now is sky high and the fact that he and his best friend, Weems, made their first start together Wednesday night only added to it.
“It’s fun when we’re out there together,” DeRozan said. “We just get out there and run and help everyone out by bringing energy.
“It’s hard to guard me and Sonny when we’re on the wings and we’re coming backdoor like that. You just don’t know which way it’s coming from.”
Three times in the course of about four minutes in the second quarter, Weems and DeRozan took turns throwing down dunks off almost picture-perfect lob passes from Jose Calderon.
It’s that type of athleticism that has Weems predicting big things for the Raptors in the future.
“Right now, I’m looking at it like this is the future,” Weems said. “We are hoping that we can help make this program a winning program.
“We just have fun,” he said. “We’re exciting players. We like to see each other take off. You can’t be all up tight out there playing basketball.”
For DeRozan the slow and steady improvement has almost become his calling card. He followed a similar path at USC before busting out in the PAC-10 tourney where he earned MVP honours.
He says he’s getting close to that feeling again with the Raptors right now.
“Right before the Pac 10 tournament started, I began to feel like this,” he said. “I think we were playing Georgia Tech. Everything just started coming to me. I started figuring the game out, I was quick, and I just ran with it.
“I’m not quite there yet, but almost,” DeRozan said. “We’ve got a lot of games to go. I think it will come at the right time. Going into the playoffs, at the end of the season. It will come when it really counts.”
It was five minutes of furry, a frenetic stretch that saw Reggie Evans run the floor, draw a foul, score a basket and nearly collapse from exhaustion.
Five minutes to make an impression and leave an imprint.
Call it mission accomplished.
The long-awaited debut of Evans in a regular-season game unfolded on Wednesday night, an eagerly anticipated evening that didn't disappoint.
What fans at the Air Canada Centre witnessed was a mere glimpse of what Evans is capable of providing for the Raptors.
Even in that short spurt, which really amounted to a flat-out sprint, Evans showed promise and a style that is so uniquely Evans.
There was rust and a recklessness when the ball was in his hands, but time likely will cure those ails.
So excited was Evans that he paced the sidelines during each timeout with the look of a caged animal in pursuit of his prey.
During most timeouts, Evans kept his head down and barely made eye contact with any of his teammates.
Then came the roar of the crowd as Evans emerged from the bench and began to make the short walk to the scorers' table.
In unison, most of the crowd stood and began to chant: "Reggie! Reggie!"
This Reggie isn't the straw that stirs the drink, a distinction that falls on the shoulders of Chris Bosh, but he stirs emotion, raw, unabashed emotion because he plays with so much passion.
The crowd had to contain its enthusiasm as the visiting Philadelphia 76ers called a 20-second timeout, temporarily delaying the love-fest that would soon ensue.
Peddie quashes Colangelo-to-N.J. rumours
NOT MEANT TO BE
Wednesday night was going to be the first time all season that Jay Triano had his full 15-man roster at his disposal. But prior to the morning shootaround, the team learned Hedo Turkoglu was dealing with an illness in his family and would not be available. So, Triano opted to go with Sonny Weems at small forward in his place. Antoine Wright and Weems have each made two starts for Turkoglu, but by going with Weems, Triano's rotation is less affected with Wright coming off the bench.
Chris Bosh was one of 27 players identified by USA Basketball on Wednesday as candidates for the teams that will represent the U.S. at this summer's world championships in Turkey and at the Olympics in two years. Bosh though has said he has to take care of his contract situation before he'll commit to anything this summer..
BACK IN ACTION
Reggie Evans made the most of limited minutes in his return last night. In five first-half minutes, he had a driving basket, three rebounds, an assist, and even drew a charge on Andre Iguodala. The Air Canada Centre crowd was chanting his name even as he went to the scorer's table to check in.
Raptors hit all-star break on a high note
"Bryan knows he's coming back, and he's going to be our general manager through the remainder of this year and next season. That's official," said Peddie.
Said Colangelo: "I'm very pleased that that's the decision that's been made. And I'm thankful to the board for their vote of confidence.
"I've expressed my commitment to this city and this franchise and the fans, and hope it's an even longer-term scenario in the future. For now, to take this step ... I'm very pleased."
Peddie said Colangelo does not have an option to escape his deal before it expires, which is good news for fans who understand the need for steady leadership in the coming off-season, when franchise player Chris Bosh plans to test free agency. As for an extension to Colangelo's current deal, a pact signed in 2006 worth about $4 million (U.S.) a season, Peddie said the time isn't yet right.
"We like Bryan. I still believe we have two of the best general managers in hockey and basketball (in Leafs GM Brian Burke and Colangelo). I wouldn't trade either of them for anyone, and I know my way around the leagues," said Peddie, CEO of MLSE, which also owns the Maple Leafs.
"But right now our focus is on getting through this year, making some noise, and we've got plenty of time to talk about extensions."
Evans finally checks in
It is a relative embarrassment of riches for a Raptors coach, something few have had and something Jay Triano is learning to love.
He looks down the bench and sees long, quick, athletic youngsters, kids who will defend and hustle and disrupt opponents because they have the skills and the desire.
They are not plodding, they are not offensive specialists, they are guys who can turn games in many different ways and Wednesday night, it fell on Sonny Weems to pull one out for the Raptors.
Weems was called on to slow, if not stop, lightning-quick Philadelphia guard Lou Williams and that's just what he did, forcing a couple of late-game turnovers as the Raptors greeted the NBA all-star break by pulling away for a 104-93 win over the Sixers in front of 16,651 fans at the Air Canada Centre.
After the Sixers – behind 14 fourth-quarter points from Williams – had wiped out a 23-point Toronto lead to tie the game with just more than two minutes left, the Raptors finally buckled down, with Weems taking control.
It led to an 11-0 run to finish the game for the Raptors, who have now won eight straight at home and enter the break with a 29-23 record.
Hot Raptors roll into all-star break on winning note
The chants of “Reggie, Reggie” rang out around the Air Canada Centre before Reggie Evans had even stepped onto the court for the Toronto Raptors.
The stir was created after Evans, who had yet to play a single minute of the regular season, made his way over to the scorer’s table early in the second quarter to check into last night’s NBA game against the Philadelphia 76ers .
And when Evans responded by scoring a basket, hauling in three rebounds, making a steal, dishing off an assist and then stepping in front of Andre Iguodala to take a charge for another Philadelphia turnover, his name was once again serenaded by the Toronto faithful.
It only amounted to five-plus minutes of court time but the moment was not lost on the Raptors, who responded by building a solid lead and then holding off a late charge by the 76ers for a 104-93 victory.
“It felt real good,” Evans said of his ACC welcoming committee. “I guess the fans appreciate hard work.
“We’re doing good as a whole right now so the fans got a lot to cheer about.”
76ers' joy ride comes to end
It is possible Reggie Evans might be a little shy of game condition. Five minutes of action usually does not tire out a professional basketball player. Yet...
"Coach subbed me at the right time," the Toronto Raptors forward said after his team's 104-93 victory last night. "I was done. I thought I was about to pass out. My chest was burning real bad. I felt real good when I came out. I was just tired. I was exhausted. When I took that charge, I wanted to just lay down for a minute."
Note that Evans said, despite feeling drained, that he felt good. It was easy to tell.
Done with his limited workload for the evening, Evans exchanged smiles with his boss, Bryan Colangelo. Evans' grin was more toothy -- Colangelo, the Raptors' general manager, can be conservative with his displays of emotion - but they were both definitely happy.
Read more: Hot Raptors roll into all-star break on winning note
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Last night's 76ers loss to the Toronto Raptors had more turns than a soap opera.
In the first quarter, the 76ers and Raptors looked to be mired in a back-and-forth battle. A few minutes later, it was a Toronto dunk fest. Just after halftime, the Raptors appeared to be heading for a blowout; 20 minutes later, the thing was tied at 93. A minute after that, the Raptors had peeled off 11 straight points.
At the final buzzer, Toronto defeated the Sixers, 104-93.
The loss snapped the Sixers' winning streak of five games, sending them into the all-star break with a record of 20-32. Toronto improved to 29-23.
But last night's twists didn't end with the game's end. Power forward Elton Brand was clearly miffed.
"We weren't down enough to switch what we've been doing in a five-game win streak, you know what I mean?" Brand said.
Brand, who scored 21 points in Tuesday's win over Minnesota, did not start the third quarter and sat the first 10 minutes, 12 seconds of the period. Sixers coach Eddie Jordan went with a small lineup, starting guard Royal Ivey instead of Brand.
In the first four minutes, 41 seconds of the third quarter, Toronto's lead grew from 50-41 to 65-44.
"So, that's what we did and we paid for it," Brand continued. "We were down too much to fight back, even though we almost did."
With 10:53 left in the third, Toronto star Chris Bosh, who finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, threw down a lefthanded slam in transition that appeared to send Toronto on a breakaway path toward victory. In that quarter, the Raptors built a 23-point lead.
Sunshine Girl – 11.02.10
SUNshine Girl Nicole is so pumped up for the Olympics she feels like ripping off her shirt, and we aren't about to stop her. Nicole's favourite sports at the Games are snowboarding, hockey and curling. She hopes to become an elementary teacher.
|RF Girl of the Day – Alessandra Ambrosio