I do not get to Toronto very often so I always try to make the most of it. I had a chance to get over and see the Score new set up on King St. I got to spend some time with Scott from Raptor Blog and talk some Raptors and basketball stuff. Scott is really a bright guy and I enjoy my conversations with him. He has been great to work with in making this transition to the Score Sports Federation. Hopefully it works out to be the success that we both would like it to be. Time will tell and I look forward to whatever chances may come from that.
But my real reason for being in Toronto. First and foremost it was to go to a game with the blog's contest winner Brett. I was able to meet up with Brett and he was able to find me with no troubles. From there we headed in to the game and I had the great thrill of introducing him to a few folks that you all will know. Jack Armstrong, Matt Devlin and Paul Jones were all kind enough to take a few minutes out of the crazy rush that is pre-game to say hello and meet Brett. I am grateful they were willing to make the time. I hope Brett knows now why I have nothing but praise for these guys as they truly are great people and always willing to lend a hand. So thanks to them for doing that.
At halftime of the game we got to hook up with Steve AkA Raptorman. He also was nice enough to not only provide the tickets but also gave both Brett and myself T.J Ford bobbleheads and a T.J Ford trading card. There was a photo of us taken. I am sure Steve will get that to me and I'll include it in a blog in the future. I was going to take some photos with the other folks but honestly it was so busy prior to the game I just thought I'd rather let them spend a minute or two talking with Brett.
The seats were great and if you ever are looking to get some tickets to check out a game yourself go see Steve at Raptorman.ca. I have been grateful to be his guest twice and can say he is a great person and really at the core is a Raptor fan first and does a great job at getting other fans matched up with seats to see a game. If anyone ever asks me about where to look for tickets for a game I send them his way.
So thanks to Brett for being a very happy and easy to get along with contest winner. He made the experience of doing the contest be a positive one for me and it was cool to get to meet a reader and thank them personally. I hope in the future to be able to get to know more readers in what ever ways I can come up with. I do my best to get to know as many of you as I can. It is because of the kind nature of people towards me that has made me want this to always be a goal of mine. So with that we can say it was a successful venture for the Dino Nation Blog. I thank everyone that played a role in making that so. So the game itself. T.J Ford's big return to Toronto.
Calderon shines in the Match-Up with T.J
If this was a boxing match last night and round 1 of a scheduled 3 rounds, Jose Calderon won round 1 by a 10-8 margin. I am willing to give credit where it is due. Calderon was at his best and had a solid night at the office running the Raptors. Calderon had 11 points, 14 assists and only 2 turnovers. Meanwhile Ford had just 4 points, 4 assists and was just 2-8 shooting. T.J for whatever reason just did not have a good night at the office. Calderon made it clear why many feel he was the right choice to be the starting point guard on this team. I even saw a much better effort on defense from Jose. It seemed clear that he even though he likely will not say it understood that this was more than just another game. So give Jose all the praise and all the credit he deserves it.
I was pleased to see that the majority of fan cheered T.J and it was nice to see. I was convinced that I may be the only on at the A.C.C that would cheer. But to my great thrill I saw a lot of Ford jerseys in the house last night. Some with the old Raptor colours and the number 11 and some with the Pacers Blue and Yellow and his new number 5. As great a person as Jose Calderon truly is, T.J Ford was never the evil to that good that Jose represents. T.J is a good person to and he does many good things as well. They both are guys that want to play and want to win. They just have very different ideas in how you accomplish that goal.
Big 3 Era Over?
After all the drama of what the crowd would do about T.J Ford. There were some changes to the Raptor Line-Up. Andrea Bargnani returned to the bench and Jamario Moon was back in the starting line up. Jason Kapono would replace Anthony Parker who is said to have been out with an ankle injury. But there was some buzz that it was thought he might have been traded. But to this point nothing to say on that topic. There were 2 trades in the NBA yesterday but Parker nor the Raptors were involved. This will likely be an ongoing dance as we move forward. Parker and his expiring deal are definitely a chip for Bryan Colangelo to use if he sees fit.
After the performance of Jason Kapono in the starting line-up it sure did not hurt the idea of moving A.P. Kapono is always going to be a defensive problem in the sense he just will never be that good a defender. But if he can score like he did last night I think people will be more forgiving of his defensive short comings. 25 points and 11-16 shooting will make people forget a lot. Kapono did get a block too. So there is your defense.
Jay Triano is going to be looking to see how this roster can be used to it's best advantage. So what we can expect as far as the roster goes going forward is up to debate. I would suggest that Jose Calderon, Chris Bosh and J.O will all be in the starting line-up. But the other 2 spots are clearly up for grabs. That may not be the worst thing in the world. Joey Graham and Jamario Moon have seemed to get the message from the coaching change. We have seen both at least attempt to improve in their effort and results since Sam Mitchell was let go. Joey with the more positive results to this point.
A Much Needed Win
Some will say that the Pacers are not a good team and the fact the Raptors won this game is not really a big deal. I can see that point of view. Both teams at times looked pretty bad last night. But given all that has gone on it was a win this team badly needed and I think it will help them focus on what is still a very challenging rest of December ahead. We can always find good and bad in every win and loss. It is just a matter of looking for it. After 5 straight loses I am happy to just accept the good for today and move on to the next game in New Jersey.
As For The Nation Speaks... Not So Much.
Well I tried but not enough mail to make it happen. I had a poll and the majority wanted to have a mailbag feature. But the response was not there to make it happen. I still will respond to the comments and do what I can to make the readers a part of the Dino Nation Blog. I think it is important and will do my best to give you chances to have your say. I had a comment that I did not post suggesting that I was doing this feature as some form of an ego boost for me? I totally disagree with that. I mean by wanting others to share their thoughts and make it a part of what I am doing speaks to the fact I am willing to hear other points of view and give them a forum to express it.
I have done my best to build relationships with a lot of folks. I do that because I want everyone to feel a part of the Dino Nation Blog. I take the time to read a lot of the forums I mentioned in asking for you to send in your thoughts to me.
When it comes to ego and all of that. I think we all have an ego and pride. But at the end of the day I am always grateful for people that read the Dino Nation Blog and always will be. Sometimes I try things to make people feel more a part of this blog and that is done for the benefit of you the readers not me. I am just doing the best I can to take advantage of the chances that come my way to not just benefit myself but everyone connected to the Dino Nation Blog. That is why I came up with a contest to have a reader join me for a game. It is why I am always willing to help others in any way that I can. It is why I reach out to folks to come and do interviews here. So if that suggests that I have an ego and think to much of myself. I would think that my actions have always pointed to the opposite of that. I think that I have done the best I can to make everyone feel a part of the Dino Nation Blog and feel welcome. I am always going to do my best to keep to that mission. There will always be people that look to be negative and sit back and make judgements about you when you put yourself on a public stage. I am aware of that and accept that fact. No one is going to be able to please everyone. Not the Dino Blogger not any of my guests or the folks that make up the Raptors as well.
So I will always remain focused on doing the best I can for folks. I will always be grateful for everything be it big or small that comes my way. I will always do a job with this blog that allows be to look in the mirror and say I have done my best to do something good with the stage I have. No matter how big or small it is or may become. I think I have done a good job in just over a year of doing this and am happy that over that time the majority of folks that read seem to agree. As for this idea of the Nation Speaks. It is as I have always said up to you folks if you want it to happen. If you are willing to contribute to making it happen. I am happy to provide the chance for it to happen. I am always willing to hear from you with your thoughts on anything to do with this blog.
So that is about it for today. I thank all of you for reading. It is always great feeling to have people enjoy what you do and rewarding for all the time and effort that goes into it.