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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 17.11.09
Winds of change
A defensive stop here and a made shot there, and suddenly the Raptors could be 7-3.
Teams aren't awarded wins on what could have been, but the Raptors are moving in the right direction, even at a time when the short-term prospects for success aren't good.
As they winged their way to the Mile High City from Phoenix, the Raptors brought with them a 5-5 record and the bitter aftertaste of losing a heartbreaking one-point game to the Suns when Hedo Turkoglu's potential buzzer-beater wouldn't drop.
The Nuggets haven't played since last Friday, when they pasted the reigning champion Lakers, and have had the luxury of resting and practising at home.
The challenge for the Raptors is to somehow match Denver's physical nature, keep point guard Chauncey Billups out of the paint and contain Carmelo Anthony.
Tomorrow night, the Raptors end their four-game trip with a game in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz.
The Raptors have been woeful in the back end back-to-backs, but they've become more mentally tough in erasing a 22-point lead to the Clippers and refusing to get rattled in Phoenix.
"There are just some little things that are keeping us from making that step to become a better team,'' Turkoglu said. "We could have a better record, but we're 5-5."
Raptors gasping for air in Mile High City
Chris Bosh: Better, stronger, faster
This is where dinosaurs go to die.
More specifically, this is where Raptors go to die.
It may be some cosmic force at work or perhaps the rarefied Colorado air, or maybe it's just the fact the Denver Nuggets are an extremely good basketball team, but there is no disputing this has been an unkind place for the Raptors.
Just ask Sam Mitchell.
It's about three weeks short of a calendar year since the Raptors made their last foray to the Mile High City, an occasion that marked one of the team's worst performances in a while, the last game in the Mitchell era and the ascension of Jay Triano to the head coaching role.
That 132-93 loss – and it wasn't as close as the score would indicate – marks the seventh largest points total ever given up by a Toronto team and the fourth-widest margin of defeat.
A year before that, the Raptors were spanked 137-105, the fifth greatest number of points they've ever surrendered, and they haven't won in Denver since December, 2003, when Alvin Williams and Jalen Rose each had 17 points and Donyell Marshall had 13 rebounds in an 81-74 triumph.
The reasons are many, actually
Williams returns to Jazz after missing 2 games
On the first play of the Toronto Raptors’ regular season, the ball went up at midcourt and Chris Bosh served notice he intends this one to be a season apart.
Bosh’s first move at the opening tap against the Cleveland Cavaliers wasn’t up, but in – specifically into the chest of Cavs centre Shaquille O’Neal with his shoulder.
The 350-pound O’Neal was pushed off line just enough and Bosh ended up winning the tap.
Ten games into his seventh NBA season, Bosh has continued a more physical approach earned in a no-frills weight room in a former department store on the outskirts of Dallas during the off-season – and the result has been the best basketball of his career.
“It’s really helped me out, I just need to keep it going,” Bosh said of his added strength. “I like the way things are going. I’d like to win more games, but I think that’s going to come in time, so I’m going to try and keep my play to the highest level I possibly can and just continue to be aggressive.”
Nuggets' J.R. Smith looking A-OK ... on defense
Utah point guard Deron Williams plans to play this week after missing two games to be with his family.
Williams returned to practice Monday after missing time as one of his young daughters went through medical tests for an undisclosed condition.
Williams said he had no updates on his daughter's health, instead referring to a statement he made last week when he left the team midway through a four-game road trip to return to Utah. But he was happy to be back with the team at practice.
"It's tough when you're home sitting and watching when you should be there," Williams said. "It's just a different feeling."
The Jazz host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday and visit San Antonio on Thursday. Williams said he expects to be back in the lineup
Well, assuming this defensive upgrade isn't a fluke, this could mean more playing time for Denver's top reserve — so far, Smith has averaged 14.3 points and 27 minutes per game. In previous seasons, Karl has called Smith a "good-bad player." And after Monday's practice, Karl said Smith's minutes are based on just how much "bad" Smith can eliminate from his performances. And with Smith playing passionate defense, "the more he will be effective," said Karl, whose Nuggets (7-3) play Toronto (5-5) tonight at the Pepsi Center.
In previous seasons, Karl sometimes mixed and matched his lineup in the final minutes of close games, putting in Smith for an offensive possession and then, say, Anthony Carter or Dahntay Jones for a defensive possession.
"I think (Smith) will be in more," Karl said in reference to late-game defensive situations. "I definitely won't say all," noting that the coach also likes newcomer Arron Afflalo as a defensive shooting guard.
But the fact that Karl is even having this internal debate shows Smith's progress
Sunshine Girl - 17.11.09