Things just don't get any easier for the Raptors as Yao Ming comes to town. That will be followed by a Sunday visit from Superman. It just is going to be hard to imagine a way the Raptors can stay in the hunt for those playoffs. I took some time yesterday and just looked through the schedule and tried to guess what the Raptors Record should be for January and February of 2009. Being realistic the best I got was they will go .500 and that is not good enough at this point. The Raptors schedule does shift for March and April but it would take a run of just total perfection or close to it to see the Raptors make the playoffs. That is the reality of right now. Could a trade change that reality? I am not sure it may take a couple moves to make a difference and I don't think the Raptors have a lot of assets to make that happen. The one thing they should not do is risk their first round draft pick in 2009 to make that happen. The Raptors really need to add a young player that can have an impact out of this years draft.
Making trades is not easy as well. I mean in a world of ESPN Trade Machine and Real G.M Trade checkers you can play G.M to your hearts content. Not to mention video games in which my version of the Raptors on NBA 2K9 is off the charts. Even though in today's world of video games and tech devices life may seem like a video game it is not. Bryan Colangelo has to deal with real people that have all the same concerns he does. They have fan bases and an organization to answer to for the moves they make. Colangelo has no doubt seen the desire of the fan base for change but it is not easy to make it happen. It is no different than wanting to go out with an attractive women that is great but it still takes her wanting and accepting to go with you.
Game Notes For Rockets And Raptors.
Houston has a few folks that Raptor Fans will remember. Tracy McGrady was the guy Toronto booed before they booed Vince Carter. We also saw Rafer Alston a couple of times make his way through Toronto. But the big news in the off-season in Houston was they went out and brought in Ron Artest. They have needed him even more than they realized as Shane Battier as had an injury plagued season. But Ron Artest has had some decent numbers with 16.1 points per game and 5.5 rebounds. He had a game right around that to close out 2008 with 15 points and 5 boards.
The Rockets have even called on the cookie monster for some help. Dikembe Mutombo does sound like the cookie monster. He may actually be older as he is in his 40's and just never seems to retire. He is like a throwback to Robert Parish, who stayed in the league well into his 40's and played in other places like Charlotte after his days in Boston winning championships. Also beyond basketball Mutombo is a great human being he built a hospital with his own money back in Africa. That is truly a fantastic thing and he deserves a lot of praise for that. Why and if he still can contribute on a basketball roster at this point is something I am not sure of at this point.
The Raptors meanwhile have minor injuries to both Jermaine O'Neal and Jason Kapono who both sat out against Denver. They are listed as game time decision at this point for tonight's game against Houston. Andrea Bargnani had a truly amazing performance in relief of O'Neal on New Years Eve. So if O'Neal is ready it will be interesting if Jay Triano just automatically inserts him back in the starting line-up. Maybe Andrea could have back to back performances with his name getting called? Jason Kapono and Anthony Parker have both struggled of late. But A.P did show signs late in that game. He had lost his spot in the starting line-up in part to an injury he had. So that will be another choice for Triano to make should Kapono be available tonight.
This is another game on TSN 2. If you are in the Toronto area and you are still shut out. Maybe make a plan to join the guys at Raptors Republic for their Raptors Party and Philthy McNasty's. It is a way to beat the TSN 2 blues on Friday nights anyway. I am going to get down to one of these Friday Night Events in the new year. It is one of my resolutions I hope to follow through on.
Eric Smith was at shoot around and had some thoughts from Triano, Bosh and Parker on tonight's Game.
The Rap- Update From Shoot Around
So that is it for today as the Raptors will try to shock us all and break a 3-game losing streak. It will be no easy task for sure. Find out how they did in the Raptor Rewind tonight.