OKC Win Or Bust?

I think we are all guilty in the media be it blogging or the established media of using terms like "Must Win". However, I really can not think of a better term for tonight's game in Oklahoma City. The former Sonics turned Thunder have only won one game on their new home floor. They are looking at the Raptors as a chance to get win number two. The next team to come to town is Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavs. Not looking like a winnable game for any NBA team these days. The Raptors should remember that the Thunder do have talent as last year's rookie of the year Kevin Durant is not chopped liver. Russell Westbrook is turning heads as well. Not to mention Jeff Green who was a stand out in the Big East at Georgetown in his college days. However they are a very young team and that explains in part why they only have 2 wins. The Thunder last tasted victory on November 29th with a win over Memphis 111-103. There lone home win came way back on November 2nd against the T-Wolves 88-85.

The damage a lose could do to the Raptors could just be the final straw. The Hoops call in show on Raptors TV and the fan 590 showed you how this fan base is feeling. I had called in and expressed my personal dismay at this team and it's lack of emotion towards the losing. Paul Johnson and Sherman Hamilton responded to my comments by saying the players are programed to not get to high or to low. That it is a long season that is 82 game season that is long. These things are true and generally I'd agree that players should remain calm and not get to emotional. But the point that I was making was in two parts. First is why fans get so frustrated and express that emotion in booing and other forms. They want to see that the players they are cheering for care as much as they do. But the second part of what I was saying was that emotion was needed now. Reason is that we have reached a point that this season is truly hanging in the balance right now. It is not about the season being 82 games long at this point it is about having the games beyond December still mean something. Eric Smith the normal host of the show seems to agree on that point. He wrote yesterday that this current road trip is the season for the Raptors. I think I said in a lesser way that same point yesterday. The Raptors must at the very least split this 6 game trip. In fact going 4-2 at least might be required.

Chris Bosh Life Is A Two Way Street

I am a big fan of Chris Bosh as a person and as a player. Some of the crazy talk of trading Bosh and people taking shots at him is uncalled for and not logical. However the fact that they booed him the other night is not wrong. They have that right. Chris needs to understand it is a two way street. He called out the fans near the end of last year. He wanted you to make more noise and make the A.C.C a loud and tougher place to play. I supported him in making that statement. I thought it was a good idea on his part to call on the fans to do more. However that can be a two way street and just as I supported Bosh in his quest to get us as fans to do more, I support fans right to send him a message. It is not that the majority of fans have turned on Chris Bosh. That was the fans expressing to Chris that we need him to lead this team out of this mess.

I will say that Bosh was right in what he said yesterday. I am sure he feels worse about what is going on than any fan does. However we are expecting you to lead this team. Show us that emotion inside. We want to see it. Bosh recently has made some statements that have concerned folks about him and his future here. I honestly don't think Chris Bosh is thinking a bit about 2010 right now. He is thinking about how he can turn his season in 08/09 around. The panic nature of Raptor Fans needs to end. It is not logical to say that Damon left, T-Mac left, Vince left and so will CB4.

The more things get talked about the worse they become. I mean all the talk of the Ford vs Calderon debate did not help make the situation go away. In fact it poured gas on a very small fire that would end up burning out of control until it became a choice of Ford or Calderon. If the media and fans continue to focus on this idea of Chris Bosh and 2010 they will be pushing the topic and in the end could have some small form of impact on it. If this team was winning there would be far less talk on this topic and Bosh would not be as upset as he seems to be.

Back To The Task At Hand

This may point out just how bad the Raptors rebounding has been. The 2 win Thunder have averaged more rebounds than the Raptors[41.1(OKC) 38.8 (TOR) ]. The Thunder have been able to provide scares to a few really good teams like the Suns. But when they play lesser teams they have not been able to step up and bring that type of performance. That has been the focus of the Thunder heading into this game. The Raptors will look to get this road swing off on the right foot. Tomorrow night the Raptors face the Spurs and that will be a very hard win to get even if Raptors were playing well. If the Raptors were not in the struggles they have been I don't think anyone would be concerned about losing to the Thunder. But given the mood around this franchise more than a few fans have suggested what if the Raptors lost to the Thunder. Over on Raptors Forum, They are having folks betting their avatars and if they lose they must have someone they can't stand as their avatars for a week. That is one of the more fun posts I have seen all week. The majority not just on Raptors Forum but everywhere are posts on trades that will never happen, Bashing Bosh, Bashing Colangelo and a general negative tone. Imagine what will be getting posted if the Raptors were to loss in OKC. I try not to think about it. But needless to say if the Raptors lose thing game I think all bets are off for everything. Bryan Colangelo I think would be forced into action sooner rather than later.

Nathan Jawai Back On The Floor

You will forgive Nathan Jawai if he is happy during all this doom and gloom. He has been force to sit on the sidelines all season. He finally was able to get back on the floor and practice with his team. I expressed my best wishes to Aaron Fearne about the news of Nathan's return. He is going to come visit with us some time in the new year and give us an update on how Nathan is making out. But Nathan was speaking for himself yesterday and here is a link to what he had to say.

Jawai From Practice Dec 18th

Maybe there is a lesson in Nathan's return for everyone to remember in all of this craziness. Just to play or watch the game of basketball is a joy in itself. We get caught up in the winning and losing and everything else. But Nathan Jawai yesterday was just happy to be able to be out on the floor and able to play. Some times prospective gets lost in all of this madness. But if the Raptors were to loss tonight I don't think any words from anyone is going to calm down Raptor Fans frustration. I feel that frustration as well. The nice thing is if you are afraid to watch and don't get TSN 2 you won't have too. The Raptors finally return to regular T.V on Saturday on The Score vs the Spurs. The weather outside here in Hamilton in truly frightful a Raptor win would be more than delightful. If you are snowed in as well. Here is a favour you could do for me. tell some friends about the Dino Nation Blog. They can read up and get to know the blog. Not much else to do on a snowy day.


  1. At least Raptor fans still care. We are upset they are not performing. We have not reached the lows of Leaf fans that treat the team with total apathy. That being said, a loss tonight could change that.

  2. James,
    I do not necessarily agree with the must win tonight. If we play well enough to build on the game then we will be fine. OK has a great young core and are much better than their record indicates.
    A must win? No. A game we MUST SHOW UP FOR? Definitely.

  3. Rap fan or no Rap fan their is no excuse for the way this team is playing...They should be much better than they are showing.