Jawai Gets His First Win In D-League

Well I attempted to live blog it, but that didn't work out so well. Nathan Jawai got his first D-League start, wearing 00 like Robert Parish did back in the day. He would see 31 minutes of action, shot 2-7 but 8-11 from the the line and end up with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals. Former Raptor Luke Jackson would lead the Stampede with 24 points as they got revenge on division rival Utah. Idaho would get the 104-96 win and go back to first in the Division. Jim Kelly was interviewed at halftime and had some things to say about Jawai. He revealed that Nathan is going to be monitored monthly in regard to his heart condition. He did not feel it was a major concern. He said that the Raptors have no specific plan for Nathan and that how he played would dictate if he remained in Idaho. Not from a numbers point of view but from just getting into game shape. He brought up the fact the Nathan is still very raw and new to the sport of basketball. It seemed that the Raptors would be content to have him be there for the near future at least. Kelly expressed confidence in Bryan Gates who is a former D-League coach of the year. The plan is for Nate to remain and have someone from the Raptors check in on him in about 3 weeks was the time line suggested. It seems clear that Nathan's defense is ahead of his offense at this point and after fouling out in his debut he only had 3 fouls on this night. Below is a complete Boxscore.

Boxscore Idaho/Utah

Dino Nation Blog will continue to keep tabs on Nate while he is in the D-League and keep working with the good folks in Idaho at bringing you some information on both Nathan and the Stampede. Idaho has a break and will not be playing for awhile so Nathan should have a chance to learn things and get to know his team better. They will be playing Utah once again on the road this time.

Raptors Have No Answer For Big Cactus

Wow was that something. I mean as a basketball fan I feel good for Shaq, as a Raptor fan I just am left feeling empty. It gets no easier as the Raptors get set to head to Texas for a double dip with the Mavericks and Rockets. I could not help but think if the Raptors could not have an answer for Shaq it would seem logically they will have no answer for Yao as well. Not to say beating the Mavericks will be an easy task. That will be tough as well. Bosh will at least have some support in the home town in Dallas and likely in Houston as well. He sure has not had a lot of it from Toronto of late. The whole issue with Bosh is making me sick. Fans are not helping matters in thinking he is as good as gone. Toronto and Raptor fans need to wake up to the fact that we need to start supporting our guys. If we continue to live in the past it will only help serve to watch it repeat itself. You might say well who cares what I do is not going to change anything. I can not argue or dispute that. However if you turn your back on someone before he has on you that is not helping things at the very least. Just because times are tough is not reason to turn your back on Chris Bosh. He has had a great career with the Raptors. It has not turned into playoff success but he has done more than his part for a long time. He is not Vince Carter or T-Mac or Damon. However the more fans turn their backs on him the more he is likely to head down that path.

Bryan Colangelo no doubt has to do his part and make this team better. However fans need to do your part as well. I think when Jameer Nelson earlier this year commented on the booing of Bosh that should have been a wake up call. If other NBA players notice this how likely are they going to be willing to come here. Toronto has a tough enough time as it is to attract players having a fan base that shows no loyalty to it's star player is not exactly a selling point for free agents to come here. There is already enough stuff you need to fight through to convince folks to come here. Let's not be part of the problem in people wanting to be here. It may be a small thing and I have no idea if it truly matters. I can just say as a person I would not want to come to a place where I didn't feel fans would show me loyalty and have my back. People will point out cities like New York and Philadelphia as examples of fan bases that are extremely tough on it's stars. That is fact no doubt. However it is also fact those cities do not face the challenges of being the only franchise in a different country. New York and Philadelphia are no doubt unique cities but they are part of America.

At some point this needs to end. I mean this is becoming a growing thing to me that I personally find annoying. How many players is it going to take to get driven out of town before people wake up and get it. I find it is unfair to compare Bosh to Vince Carter. Chris has given his all and is always a guy that when he is out does all her can to get back in the line-up. I am just tired of watch fans turn on guy after guy. If some walks away after that point I get it. However while they are still part of this team it makes no sense at all. It would make me laugh how some people were talking about picking O'Neal over Bosh. I mean what the hell is that. J.O was a Raptor for a few months and played no where close to an All Star at any point. Yet some people out there were embracing him and turning their back on Bosh. Insane is the only thing I can say about that.

Here is the bottom line of all of this. Maybe we forget that the fact we even have a team is something to be thankful for. Ask people in Vancouver and Seattle if the would take this team warts and all. I am thinking they would in a heartbeat. I know that in writing all of this I am not likely going to change most peoples minds. But seriously how good do you think this team can be without Chris Bosh? The same people that want to seem him gone will be the ones that will be moaning when the Raptors can not attract someone better and they truly suck. Give you head a shake and realize that CB4 has done nothing to disrespect you or me. He goes out and plays at a level that is of an All Star on more nights than he doesn't. I will go down with the ship if need be. I watched my favourite player get railroaded out of Toronto and yes he was part of it. However so were all of the people that blow with the wind and the trend. Here is my best advice for all of you out there. Just stay true to yourself and do not allow a bunch of angry people or bad history impact on your judgement. I respect Chris Bosh regardless of what lies ahead. I am also confident that his behaviour will be nothing like that of Vince Carter or Tracey McGrady. Listen to broadcasts of other teams and how they talk about Bosh. It seems he gets a lot more respect outside of Toronto than in it. That script is backwards.


Raptors Rewind- High Speed Edition

You can take the title for however you like. Was it a comment on the pace this game is going to be played at? Maybe. It also could be a comment on how you would need to view it. Yes once again the game has been held hostage on TSN 2. I am really out of jokes, out of patience and convinced that no one in this stupid dispute cares about me and the feeling is mutual on my part. So we have a basketball game to cover. If I wanted to make a point I guess I could to a re-cap of the Stampede game which you can also see via the internet. However that is just me doing the same thing. So as always the Dino Nation Blog will do the best possible to cover the game for you. This has been such an awful season one of the worst I can remember. The fact Steve Nash will not play in this game gives me no confidence it will matter. It should but the way this team has been who knows. There have been good signs as both Bargnani and Bosh had great games. It still is laughable to me that Raptors are only 4.5 games back. I am not saying I have changed my mind about the playoffs. I have not but that being said the East really stinks at the bottom. Prior to this game starting I was watching the Wizards and the Bulls. The Bulls sit in 9th place. The President of the United States comes the cheer them on and they come out flat as a pancake on Tuesday. As for Obama he is great. Not in a private box. He was right down on the floor. They delayed the start to await his arrival. That is something. Anyway Suns and Raps heading your way I only have one prediction for this game. What is that? Defense will be a rumour because you will not find an evidence of it here.

1st Quarter

So the Suns win the tip and go to match-up of Bargnani on Shaq. Smart move and easy 2 points. Raps would get a score and Shaq would look to score again and fumble it. What looked to be a shot clock violation and it would end up a jump ball. It was won by Suns and lead to a Shaq dunk. Bosh would respond with a jumper. Barbosa and Bargnani exchange baskets. Shaq attack in full effect making another basket but could not make the foul shot. Raptors have no answer for the many with more nicknames than I can remember. He also has the best Twitter out there The Real Shaq. Shawn Marion and Jose Calderon are not on Twitter to the best of my knowledge but that had back to back baskets.

Raptors would take a 13-12 lead thanks to Bargnani. But Shaq would return after a short rest and he would take advantage again. This was a vintage performance by the big man and Jay Triano had not answer as Jake Voskhul was no better a match up than Bargnani was. The Suns had a 28-23 lead Shaq had 12 points already. Bosh was off to a good start with 8 points. However the storyline of this game seems to be how can the Raptors stop the Big Cactus. Shawn Marion would make a nice floater in the the lane. But Dudley would score. Dudley was acquired as part of the deal that brought Jason Richardson to the Suns. Matt Barnes would get a basket and was fouled by Jake Voskhul. That was Jake's 4th foul in 4 minutes. I mean that is just unreal. Andrea Bargnani got fouled and made a couple from the line. Jason Kapono would make a bucket. Patrick O'Bryant was in with Voskhul gone. He fouled Dudley who made a pair from the line. Bargnani missed one of two from the line. Suns would add a basket and lead by 7 with score 37-30 after one. Nothing looking good for the guys in the alternate blacks. Yes they were scoring but the defense was totally non existent unless you count fouling as defense. If that is true Jake Voskhul is playing GREAT D.

2nd Quarter

Parker opens the second with a 3 pointer from his sweet spot in the corner. Suns respond with an alley opp play for 2. Bosh made a pair from the line. Bargnani with the drive and some lucky gets the basket plus a foul. He would make that and The Raptors had cut the lead to just 1 point. Suns respond with a basket but Bosh would answer that score and the lead would remain at one. Bosh would be fouled and he would have a chance to tie it as Shaq was ready to check back in. Actually it was non shooting but no matter Bosh buries the jumper and were are tied at 42.

Jason Kapono would make a mid range jumper and Raptors were back in front. Raptors had started the quarter outscoring the Suns 14-5. We had a Suns feed of the game and a guy made a half court shot that he made under handed. He won $77,777. Shaq makes that per game I believe and he got a score after the excitement during the time out. Grant Hill beats Kapono and scores with an and 1 foul shot. Suns back in front 47-44. The Raptors would pull back to with in one. But Shaq would score and Bosh would foul him. Shaq would have the rare convert of a 3 point scoring chance. Suns were back in front and if Raptors couldn't stop Shaq it was a safe bet they could stay there. Shaq continued to abuse a defenseless Bosh with a slam. Bosh already had 2 fouls and did not want to pick up a 3rd. Marion has a score the other way and Raptors were hanging around down 2 points. However back to Shaq and he had 23. Jose Calderon would answer. Suns were diving all over the place including Shaq and they were doing the little things that team do that need a win. It was that hustle that would lead them on a 6-0 run to take an 8 point lead. Barbosa had a drive and score and Suns had largest lead of the night at 10 points with score 64-54. Suns would get it up to a dozen until Bargnani would hit a 3 pointer to cut the lead to 9. Shawn Marion a basket, a steal leading to a Parker basket. The Raptors would end up with an 11-0 run. Raptors defense was awful but the Suns were equally as defenseless. This was ABA like with score 68-67 Suns at the half.

3rd Quarter

Raptors would take the lead only to see more of what they saw in first half with Shaq scoring. Bargnani stepped inside and made a lone 2 pointer. Calderon would make a jumper and the Raptors lead 73-70. Grant Hill would score. Only to have Bosh answer at the other end. Raptors offense has been re-born. Bosh would split a pair a the line. Grant Hill would pass it into Shaq and he would score. Hill had 9 assists and Shaq had a massive total of points. Shawn Marion would give the Raptors lead back after Suns had tied it at 76. But more Shaq and it was tied at 78. The big man had 29. Marion had 18 for the Raptors and Bosh had 16 and Bargnani 18. Could the Raptors 3 be able to counter the Big Old School Superman? Well Bosh would pick up his 4th foul and that would not help things. Shaq would score again and head to the line. He made the free throw and had 32 and the Suns lead 81-80. Jason Kapono would respond with a 2 point jumper. Barbosa back the other way and the Suns lead was 83-82. Shawn Marion was having a night in front of his former fans. He would make another basket and had 22 points to lead the Raptors.

Raptors lead it 84-83. But Suns would score out of time out. But A.P would make a corner 3 pointer. Raptors lead it 87-85. Grant Hill ties it up at 87. A Marion miss in the lane lead to another Hill basket the other way and he was fouled by Jake Voskhul who had now 5 fouls in 6 minutes. So Hill's five straight gave the Suns a 90-87 lead. A steal would lead to a dunk for the Suns and a 5 point lead. A Bargnani travel and Raptors may have got into a fight that they can't win. Naturally Jason Kapono makes a 3 pointer to make me look bad. Suns would get a score and Grant Hill was looking for another and got called for the offensive push off. But Matt Barnes would eventual get to the line and make 2 shots. Ukic would drive and score the Raptors were down 4. The score after 3 was larger than a lot of final scores you'll see in the NBA. Suns 96 and Raptors 92. If you like offense this is the game for you.

4th Quarter

The Suns got a basket plus a foul from Amundson. But Andrea Bargnani answers with a 3 pointer and as it was stated off the top if you expected defense in this game you would be sad with this game. Suns were starting to pull away with a 7-0 run that would have a Jason Richardson 3 pointer have the Raptors looking for a time out. Bosh would find Marion out of the time out for a dunk. However Amundson would score again he was 7-7 and had 15 points. Marion was fouled but missed his first and made his second. Matt Barnes would score and the Suns were pulling away up by 12 with score 110-98.

Calderon would get fouled and head to the line where he has missed only twice all year. No logger jinx he made both and it was 110-100. Suns just give it to Shaq why not. The big man would score again and had 38 points his career high with the Suns. It was 116-110. Shaq would foul Calderon and that was an easy 2 points for Jose from the line. Shaq with a dunk and he has 40 points and the Suns were just to much for the Raptors. He scored again and he had 42 and the lead was 120-102. The Raptors tank was on empty and it was showing as it was 122-104 as Shaq was fouled and Bargnani had fouled out. Bargnani had 21 points and 6 rebounds on the night. Shaq meanwhile has 44 points with a rare 2-2 effort at the line. Shaq was looking for more with an ugly hook it would fall but Jason Richardson had a massive put back. Shaq would get 1 more point before leaving to massive and well deserved cheers with 45 points and 11 rebounds. The Suns would out run the Raptors 133-113. A boxscore with lots of great lines for a lot of folks but none bigger than the man who was the Star of "Blue Chips".

Suns/Raps Boxscore

So the Raptors fall in what may have bee the best chance they had for a win on this road trip. If you consider the Suns played the night before and had no Steve Nash. The Raptors now travel to the lone star state home of CB4 to his home town of Dallas to face the Maverick and a tilt with Yao and the Rockets after that. Given what we saw tonight good luck to the Raptors in stopping Yao. Meanwhile Nathan Jawai made his debut with the Iadho Stampede and 8 points 6 rebounds but had 6 fouls and 4 of them were offensive fouls. The Stampede lost to Utah. Idaho will play the same Utah team tomorrow. I will likely check it out and give you an update on Nathan's progress. Former Raptor Luke Jackson is also on the Idaho Stampede. But turning back to the Raptors it is not going to be easy to find a win on this road trip. The offense ran out of gas and the defense well there wasn't any.

Random Thoughts For A Friday.

I am feeling a bit punk today so I think I am going to keep this brief today. Just 10 random things that are like totally unrelated but were things I felt like talking about.

At the top of the list. Obama is going to check out the Bulls tonight. Imagine to have the leader of the United States a basketball fan. While here in Canada basketball can't bump curling and gets stuck on a network I can't get and majority of people are in the same boat. Sucks.

Go Blue. My Michigan Wolverines cling to hope of making the NCAA Tournament with a win over ranked Purdue. No this is not chuck checks in. But I like Michigan as well. Having said that I think Wolverines are NIT at best.

From K.G to Blake Griffin. Even King James got banged up last night. An injury bug has infested the sport of basketball.

15 teams are getting an NBA handout/bailout? Raptors have no comment. Please don't tell me MLSE took the money. They will just use the Leaf price ticket increase they don't need it. Yeah like I know what MLSE books say. But teams that are on that list for sure. Sacramento, Indiana and Milwaukee just look in the stands and you will see my evidence.

I am excited for March Madness. Maybe it is working all the live blogs doing college games for The Score but I am pumped up for March Madness it may be the most exciting tournament in a long time.

I want to thank the Toronto Sun for breaking the news that Shawn Marion thinks it is cold in Toronto. I know this was probably just as shocking for all of you as it was for me that a guy who went to school in Las Vegas, played in Arizona for most of his career and came from Miami. So the fact he finds it cold in Canada is a true shock to all.

The excitement of the new run and gun Raptors is kind of unexpected. Steve Nash may not play so could the Raptors catch a break and win 3 in a row? Anytime you think this Raptor team will do something expect the opposite. You will be right more than you are wrong.

Twitter is becoming a big thing. I am not sure if I get it. However It is cool to have the support of folks on Twitter. I guess I am suppose to twitter about that? Best twitter feed there is? The Real Shaq. It is so funny. It also makes me not feel so bad if I have a typo.

Hockey Trade deadline is coming 12 hours of professional broadcasters trying to fill time. This has become a sport in Canada as well. It really is over the top. Still all the best to the Hockey folks at being able to do it. It is the craziest day in Sports broadcasting in this country.

It's funny I couldn't wait for this season to get started. Now in some ways I can't wait for it to end. It has been a long season and a painful one as a fan. That being said I still work hard win or lose. So I thank everyone for hanging in with the Dino Nation Blog. After a season like this I think everyone in the media should thank the fans. I mean seriously I may not always agree with some of the things fans say or do. But I respect the passion and dedication of the folks out there that love the Raptors.

That is about it. If you every had a sleep and snore Ernie you will get this last line. Yawn.....I feel sleepy...I need a nap. I only hope that after the nap that " I FEEL GREAT ". Here is hoping you feel better than me and see you later tonight with a recap of Raptors and Suns. Oh I did promise a link to Stampede game.

D-League Game Links

There, now I am done.


Nathan Jawai Is Off To Stampede

I had mentioned a feature we were going to be doing for the Dino Nation Blog. It was and is a feature series on the Idaho Stampede. It is said in life you have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good. I say this because on the day of the first interview that is part of this feature, Nathan Jawai was assigned the Stampede about an hour prior to the interview I had scheduled to start this feature series. So it took the scheduled conversation with Steve Brandes the President of the Idaho Stampede to a few different places than I had planned. But it makes the conversation all the more interesting for you. We talk about Nathan as well as getting to know the Idaho Stampede, which no doubt many Raptor fans will be doing to follow Nathan's progress. His first game should be on Friday. Jim Kelly of the Raptors scouting staff will be in Idaho to help the Stampede be aware of what the Raptors are looking for Nate to work on in his time with them. There is also talk of the D-League as a whole, that actually just announced they will be expanding to Portland,Maine. It was a very interesting conversation that I hope you will enjoy.

Thanks to Jinny Giery the Head of Public Relations and Game Operations for helping put all of this together. Dino Nation Blog is going to continue on as planned with the feature on the Stampede and as we do keep taps on Big Nate and his progress. Nathan has also been special to this blog as I did a lot of work in the summer getting to learn his story and have had Aaron Fearne his coach and mentor as a guest several times. It should be fun and the Dino Nation Blog looks forward helping you get to know our D-League cousins so to speak. In the interview it was mentioned about how you can watch D-League games online. Some thing Raptors Fans have become experts at. So I will provide a link tomorrow so if you care to watch Nate play you can. You can find the links for D-League games on the their website

You can expect more on the Stampede in future editions of the blog. They are leading their division and the defending champions. Given the Raptors season and how it has gone I can only say...Go Stampede. Go Idaho and Go Big Nate. Obvious, I still love the Raptors as well but it has been a hard season to love them for Raptors fans.

The Run and Gun Raptors?

I have calmed down after yet another slap in the face to basketball fans. People are bit encouraged by the Raptors play of late. Shawn Marion in just a few games has had more of an impact than J.O had his brief time here. If Marion had the same term of contract as O'Neal it would really be reason to celebrate. Marion is a legit option on the wing and has helped this team in one of it's weakest areas. The Raptors have been a bad to horrible rebounding team and Marion has helped change that. He has also been part of the offensive make over that Raptors have been attempting to make. Unfortunately it all maybe to little and far to late. Imagine if when we first heard about this trade possibility and it happened at that time. It is logical to conclude the Raptors may have been able to change their short term fate. However, all of that being said, this team had to fight back and beat the T-Wolves and won a game in which the had been soundly embarrassed by the Knicks the game prior. The Suns are having there own issues and fired Terry Porter. The Suns had changed their identity and tried to be more of a half court team. Now they want to go back to the running roots they had under Bryan Colangelo. Based on these facts alone this should be a fun game to watch. Oh but wait where is it on? Well I said that I was not going to talk about that. But I think you can guess and if you need a clue here is one from wrestling. If you not down with that we have TWO words for ya. Suck it!!! Is exactly how I feel about things with that whole matter. What this game will tell us and this entire road trip is if there is any reason to be excited about that Raptors at all heading down the stretch. The Suns, Mavericks and Rockets are all decent Western Conference teams and provide a huge challenge for the Raptors.

To be honest the Raptors comeback was nice and lots of great things including the play of both Bargnani and Bosh. However once they got down a ton to the T-Wolves that was it for me. If the Raptors did that against a quality team there is no way they come back and no way they win. They come out with any kind of performance like that in the next 5 games they are toast. It is as simple as that. I guess if I had confidence that Shawn Marion was here for the long term I would be more optimistic about what I am seeing. Bryan Colangelo says or suggests that he is going to look long and hard and keeping Marion. It is not like Shawn does not like Toronto as well. I knew that heading into this deal. However is there not a team a lot closer to winning that will want Shawn Marion? Perhaps there is. I guess what it will come down to is money in the end. If Shawn Marion is interested in money the Raptors may have one of the more attractive offers he will find as a free agent. However if cash is not part of the choice and it is about winning I am not confident that Marion will remain. In a pie in the sky best case the Raptors would make the playoffs and lose in the first round. However more realistically they are a lottery team. For a guy that has less time left in his career than what he has played it does not look promising. Also there is the whole issue of Bosh. What is his future and is he going to be around. Marion would need to think that Bosh was going to be here in the long term as well. I don't think he or anyone can know the answer for that one. All the people that think they know say that Bosh is gone. Not exactly inspiring to sign on the dotted line.

That is an issue that Bryan Colangelo will face with everyone he attempts to bring in though. The Bosh question will be one for anyone that considers the Raptors. Irony is a funny thing. Bryan needs to build a team around Bosh to keep him. However the fact he may leave will make that job more difficult. This may all be solved if Bosh were to say he is not coming back. That makes the challenge even greater for Colangelo. For the people that want to push Bosh out the door you need to answer this question. Who comes here to this franchise without him? Andrea Bargnani is not going to have players lined up at your door to play with him. It is not a knock on Andrea it is just the reality. A guy that is just starting to bring his game to a level that is acceptable is not getting any free agents excited. The fact he is European isn't for any North American based players as well. Andrea Bargnani as the face of the Raptor Franchise is not something he is ready for. In fact, the heck with him it is not something I am ready for. Think back to when Bosh was handed the keys to the car from Carter. It took him time to grow into that role. Some who hate on Bosh still question his leadership to this day. Andrea Bargnani who has proven to have a fragile confidence is going to lead this team in a post Bosh Era? Not a chance in hell. At least not now.

Blogger MVP and ROY Rankings

I have missed voting two weeks in row. My bad. I was putting together interviews for you folks so I am sure you won't mind. But I will still post the rankings despite my lack of filling out my ballot. My mind remains unchanged, as I have Lebron James as my MVP and O.J Mayo as my rookie of the year. Here is what the collective group thinks.

MVP and ROY Rankings

So that is about all for today. I am going to be starting to work on a feature for the blog today. It is something I hope you will enjoy. More details on that to come. Hopefully it is something you will find interesting. But that is a wrap for this morning.


Basketball and Raptor Fans Deserve Better

I am going to be honest. I have no desire to write a recap of the Raptors game from tonight. The Raptors got a win over Minnesota and it is the 10th straight over the T-Wolves. They had to come back after a pitiful performance early. Bosh and Bargnani tied for the scoring lead with 26. In the end it really doesn't mean a whole lot to the grand scheme of things. I mean no disrespect by this. If the Raptors are able to beat the Suns maybe there is reason to get excited but will see about that Friday. Raps for the record win it 118-110. Joey Graham left the game with an injury. I will post a link to both the boxscore and the Recap if you want more details that I would normally provide myself.

Raptors Recap

Raptors Boxscore

So that is a very short look at tonight's game. I have another thing that I want to talk about which I started talking about when I was totally driven of the deep end by the fact TSN actually had a game on the main network tonight. But almost fitting it was delayed by curling. Please spare me on educating me on how things work. I know how they do and understand that believe it or not, curling is a major property for TSN. It also draws great ratings. I know that will be shocking for some. However it is the truth. That being said I don't care. Why should I. After all has TSN cared at all about me or any of you with this TSN 2 mess? They have been deadly silent on the issue. It is clear that they have no desire to treat basketball with any form of respect. I feel sorry for the fine folks like Jack Armstrong and all of the other folks that work hard on the Raptor Broadcasts. Even Rod Black who to be honest I am not a huge fan of.

So here is the thing. I love basketball and that would be fairly obvious to you all I would think. You do not invest all the time and work that I have even long before the blog joined up with The Score if you did not. I am guessing if you are here reading this, you at the very least like basketball or may even love it as much as me. I think you would agree that being a basketball fan in this country is not easy. Turn on the shows that do the highlights and the main thing you will see is hockey. It is something you are forced to accept being here in Canada. NBA's recent trade deadline got all of a 30 minute show on Raptors T.V and nothing from any of the other networks. Yet in a few weeks we will see day long coverage of the NHL trade deadline. I am not trying to take away from the hockey people getting their due. Personally do I think that is insane? Absolutely. However they do it because enough folks are watching it.

I actually like a few people in Hockey broadcasting. James Duthie is a great guy who I got to know in my brief time at TSN. He is a super guy and does quality work. I also have had fun with Doug McLean on the Game Plan as he co-hosts with Jack Armstrong. I even listen to she show when Jack is off covering the Raptors. Doug has mentioned me in referencing when Basketball is coming on the show. I take it as compliment, in the sense that I am representing folks that listen that want to have basketball as part of that show. The truth is there was a time when I considered myself a hockey fan. I have always loved the Buffalo Sabres and they have been around longer than the Raptors. That may not make the Dino Blogger very popular with Leaf/Raptors fans. But so be it. I grew up listening to Rick Jenneret. People talk about Chuck Swirsky being a homer. But Rick is maybe even more so. When I was a kid he was broadcasting to me. But you want a reason why I am not a Leaf fan? Check out what they did on the other side of MLSE today. Raised ticket prices on poor suffering Leaf fans. That is how they treat the Leaf Nation. Raptors prices did not increase. Reason why is pretty simple. The folks at MLSE can not be certain that Raptor fans will just show up. In the case of the Leafs, for ever person they push away, they will have 10 people willing to jump in that seat and gladly pay insane prices to watch a team, that is heading no where fast. I like to think and hope that Raptor fans, will always be smarter and learn from what goes on down the hall. It is clear if the day comes that the Raptors reach a level that fans do not hold this team accountable we will all be screwed.

The fact that this organization can have the balls to raise prices, in an economy that sees people losing jobs and earning less is truly beyond words. However why should it shock Raptor fans really. I mean this season we have watched MLSE sit back and do nothing while TSN and Rogers go to war over TSN 2. The main victim in that dispute is the Raptor fan base. Where is MLSE sticking up for us? To busy selling condos and building Maple Leaf Square to care much about it. They would likely disagree with that. I would understand that. However where is the statement from Richard Peddie on that issue? He was sure quick enough to get out there and spin away as to why Leaf tickets were increasing. He gave a justification of rising costs and upgrades to the ACC. Funny how the Raptors do not have these same issues. I mean Raptors play in same build. Bring in the same lower Canadian currency. Maybe I should be quiet now, or they may re-think things and raise Raptor prices as well. MLSE talks about wanting to win Stanley Cups and NBA Titles but ultimately they are about the bottom line and making money. Some will say that is the way they should be. I am not out to say they should not be concerned with that. However they could learn a lot in the way it comes to dealing with fan bases for the franchises they own. Would it have been so difficult to make a public statement that said something on the TSN 2 issue? I mean am I the only one that finds it totally hilarious that Rogers sponsors a segment on TSN through it's Raptors advertising? You know Rogers did you know? Here is what I know, it is that instead of listening to your fan base you ignore them. Dino Nation Blog, Raptor Blog, Raptors Republic and a bunch of other sites that you can find in the directory on this site, this is your fan base talking to you. We are the people that care about this franchise and actually want to see it succeed. The readers of these blogs care as well as the people that write them. It is a touch of irony that all of us depend on the franchise in a way to create our content. However we also offer you a public service in seeing what your fans think about this team and you. At the very least could you make it a bit easier to do that without having to scramble to find your product? Some how the people in the blog community manage to get along with each other. Ironically the two partners that will broadcast the Olympics in 2010 and 2012 can not agree to broadcast Raptor Games. I mean it is pretty simple to fix this. If you have the guts to raise ticket prices on your fans in the worst economic times since the great depression have the guts to do this. TSN 2 mess gets solved right away with a very simple action from MLSE. If TSN and Rogers can not agree it is fine. Just make the suggestion the when the Leafs T.V comes up to be renewed that you may consider taking games elsewhere. Tell me people are not falling all over each other to make a deal if that was thrown out there. After all TSN and Rogers are much like the Leafs fans they can not afford to walk away from the Leafs. It would be a disaster for TSN or Rogers to be without the Leafs. However no one has the guts to do that at MLSE it would appear. They choose to sit and let the Raptor fan base suffer. Again they may disagree but show me the example where they have publicly done anything on this issue. It just doesn't exist. Not even a simple apology to Raptors fans.

See that goes back to my point about Hockey. I use to enjoy hockey but thanks to the complete over kill of the media coverage, a general decline in the sport in my view, a season long lock out that cost fans a entire season, it has all lead to me having little care or regard for the sport. Doug McLean once said on the Game Plan that I was anti-hockey. It was done in fun, but I guess there is some truth in it. However it is the media that has made me that way. Starving me of coverage of basketball and other sports I enjoy, to have more hockey coverage. I make no apologies for how I feel. I also understand that it is rare for a Canadian to feel that way. It is not that I am against hockey at all. I am cool with it and if people enjoy it I do not hold it against them. I know people that do drugs. That is not something I have done but hey if that is what you want to do I am not going to judge anyone based on that. The sport of hockey is almost a drug in a way. Look at any Leaf fan and tell me they do not suffer from an addiction.

It goes back to what I said at the beginning of this. I love basketball. I am very proud that I have started to turn that love into a job for me. Part of that job in my view is to stick up for and represent all of you out there that love it to. I will always do whatever I can to make more people become fans of the sport. I will defend all of those that already do. There are a lot of different opinions that exist out there. About how the game should be played. What players are good. What players are bad. How to fix the Raptors. Who is better Kobe or Lebron. However at the end of it all. Even though we may not always agree on any of these issues and thousands more. Here is something we all must come together and unity around. It is something that I have often said is at the core of what this blog has always been about. To stand together as a united group on one single issue. Well two actually. We love basketball and hopefully, despite all that has gone on, love the Raptors.

If we can agree on that. Here is the next step to that which in part we are all already out here doing. Make people fans of the sport. Do whatever you can to make that happen. I invest countless hours into that one purpose. I bust my butt to bring guests to this blog. Some will say that sure but you are doing that for you. Part of that is true. However the more people we have that care about basketball as much as I do fighting to bring everything I have to expanding the sport. That is a good thing. The one thing that everyone I deal with in working doing this have a common love of basketball. It is cool in this country to be a proud fan of hockey. Well I am proud of being a fan of the game invented by someone that was from this great country we call Canada.

So for the TSN and MLSE it is time to wake up and treat everyone that loves this sport of basketball with common decency and respect. We have taken to much B.S for far to long. You can do all the stupid things that you have done. However it will not change the simple facts that:




I am sure the rush to create 12 hours of useless T.V for the Hockey Trade Deadline will make it impossible for you to address this matter. However it will still be here and so will we the sports minority of basketball fans.

Raptors Rewind Delayed By Curling!!!

This is the final insult. TSN has really done it now. I mean the TSN 2 mess was bad enough but the to have the Raptors delayed for Curling? I mean give me a break. I mean what the hell is going on. I am personally insulted and I have had enough of this nonsense. This season has been painful enough. To have TSN screwing the Raptors at every turn is not helping matters. I know the old T.V explanation for this so I won't waste the E-mail to TSN to complain. Here is what they will say to you if you decide to complain.

It is our policy at TSN to stick with live events until they reach their conclusion. We are sorry that you were inconvenienced by this and thanks for you concern.

That is a basically the response I got two New Year's Eves ago when TSN did the same thing in favour of a stupid bowl game that I can not remember the name of. I am tired of being insulted as a basketball fan by this network. MLSE, David Stern or somebody please do something to make it clear to this network if they wish to remain a broadcaster of the NBA they need to show the sport the respect it is owed. I am tired of this nonsense. I feel bad for the people that work hard on Raptor broadcast it is not their fault. So I tell you what there is an e-mail over on the right. If anyone at TSN that is behind all of this cares to explain, why you have insulted basketball fans the way you have, feel free to e-mail. I can not promise you it will be an experience you will enjoy. However an explanation, in fact forget that, try an apology to all basketball fans is required from you.

This is beyond insulting and it is reaching the point of total disrespect. Fans are the innocent victims of all this, stupid suits that only look at ratings books. If you do not do your part to promote the sport and the programming what do you expect. Why bother pretending you give a damn about basketball. It is clear the people making the choices do not. Crystal Clear!!! These are just my personal thoughts but I can bet that you will find in comment boards and blogs all over the Internet what folks think about you. I can assure you they do not keep the language to a broadcast level. If you feel the same leave a comment and share your TSN love with the world.

Meanwhile the game is on finally and the T-Wolves are putting it to the Raps. This has been a season to forget but thanks to TSN you will have less evidence to remember it. Some how I am not grateful of that fact.

Mirage Or Reality...Will Find Out Tonight

The Raptors truly have become like that box of chocolates that Tom Hanks spoke of. You truly to never know what your going to get. That is probably the biggest reason I have had no confidence that this team can put together a run to make it to the playoffs. All that being said, no matter what happens in these last 20 plus game sit will mean something. Tough choices lie ahead for all involved in this organization and it begins at the top with Bryan Colangelo. Next season will define this Raptor franchise for many years to come. That will all be tied to the future of Chris Bosh which is in serious doubt. Is he going to stay is he going to go? It has become the focus of this season already. No matter what lies ahead I am going to stick behind Chris Bosh. He has given all he has to this franchise and been loyal to it. I want him to remain and I hope that he will. The way some of tried to devalue his importance to this franchise is just silly. I mean is he Lebron James or Kobe Bryant? No he isn't but that does not mean he is not a very talented player. The thing I think that gets lost for Raptor fans is listen to what people say outside of Toronto. Chris Bosh is respected around the league and the fact that so many people are talking about him moving is a product of 2 things. First that Chris Bosh is a 4 time All Star that is clearly talented. The second is that the Raptors are struggling and that makes him the logical choice to be talked about.

This Off-Season will be the most important and interesting in the history of the Raptors Franchise. It is going to change the direction of this franchise one way or the other. Forgive me if I am not ready to embrace the idea of a team built around Andrea Bargnani. I have seen that movie in Dallas with a better actor in the lead roll and it has not worked out so well. I also don't get how people are so fast jump on board with some players. Andrea Bargnani for 3 years has been up and down and is finally getting to the point of being somewhat consistent. You have Joey Graham who you can just add a year to that and have the same answer. Yet the bandwagons for both are filling up fast as can be. I will stick with guy that has been a 4 time all-star and has shown improvement in almost every season he has been in the league. CB4Life hopefully here in Toronto but still I will always respect Chris even if it isn't. If there is anything you have learned in reading this blog, I hope it is that I am loyal to people and remain so. It may be an old outdated concept but it is not something I am willing to give up. However if Bosh does leave it will make it very hard for me personally to invest myself in the next face of the franchise. If that ends up being Andrea Bargnani it will be very easy not to get invested in him. I just have not really been a big fan of him. I don't know if it is because of his inconsistent play of the past. If it is the fact he is a European and I can't get into that. I mean there are some European players that I enjoy. Tony Parker is a guy that I like. Although if you didn't know any better you would swear he was North American. Whatever the case is I just don't seem to get into Andrea. But there will be lots of time to talk about the off-season when it gets here and it is going to be longer from what we have been use to.

Randy And D.J On The Raps

Randy and D.J who have been guests here get into a discussion about Andrea as well and talk about the past 2 games against the Knicks:

They also talk about the deadline and more NBA stuff is you want to check that out here is the link. So there is some love for them as they will be doing their thing on Court Surfing tonight.

Raps and T-Wolves Match-Up

I will be watching to see if the Raptors can make it two in a row. Here is the preview of this classic. The Raptors were 110-102 winners in Minnesota not that long ago. The T-Wolves are a team with out their best player in Al Jefferson. Kevin Love matched against CB4 is a huge advantage Raptors. This perhaps can be a jump off point for Bosh to get back in the flow after his knee injury. Here is your breakdown of the match up stats wise.

Dino Blogger Talking All Star Game For T.O In Industry

Lastly after the All Star Weekend was a complete dud it puts the article in a new light. Yesterday Eric Smith shared his thoughts on All Star Weekend and he was not impressed as well. That being said it has not crushed my hope that the Weekend should come here to Toronto. That was the topic of my article in The Industry Magazine which is a urban culture Magazine that I write on basketball for them. In this article you can find quotes on the topic from Chuck Swirsky, Jack Armstrong, Eric Smith and Scott Carefoot of RaptorBlog fame. But they also cover Music and the entire Toronto urban experience. So check out the Dino Blogger on pages 17-18, but check out the rest of the Magazine as well. Lisa and the entire crew at the Industry have a great magazine and are working hard at it.

Some Blog Notes:

Raptor Rewind will be a tad bit delayed, as I am going to be covering an NCAA Game for The Score doing the Live Blog of Florida and LSU. Even if it is just for fun, I think we will have a Dino Nation Blog NCAA Pool. I will put something together. Also be happy your a Raptor fan. Raptor tickets remain the same(according to Fan 590) but the Leafs tickets cost more. I can not imagine they had much choice at MLSE to not raise Raptor prices. However you want a reason I am not a Leafs fan that is a pretty good reason why. People are struggling out there and MLSE just keeps raising prices on the poor Leaf Fans. Just be thankful we were able to escape without having to pay more. Given the season for the team and TSN 2 debacle even folks at MLSE could see raising Raptor prices was not the right move. If they could only see that getting games on T.V is we would be getting somewhere. I mean they do I know but they have done little to act upon it. God forbid any Leaf Game was not broadcast there would be riots in the streets. In part because that is the only way the average fan can afford to see them. All this sports is a business stuff SUCKS. It may be true but I don't have to like it.


Dino Nation Blog Heads To D-League

Last week the Raptors acquired Patrick O'Bryant as part of a minor move at the Trade Deadline. O'Bryant was a draft choice of Golden State and spent some time with the Bakersfield Jam who are the affiliate of the Warriors as well as the Orlando Magic. Head Coach of the Jam is Scott Roth and I had a chance to talk about O'Bryant and also got into some things about the D-League itself.

Some interesting stuff on not only O'Bryant, but the D-League as a whole. Thanks to the folks with the Jam for helping set this interview up. The Raptors, if you didn't know, are now affiliated with the Idaho Stampede. In the future I will attempt to talk with them as well. Nathan Jawai who I mentioned in the blog earlier today may wind up there playing for them. Time will tell on that. O'Bryant seems like a guy that could offer some upside if he can figure things out. Raptors will hope he does and not become a guy stuck on potential like a Jerome Mosio anyone remember him? If you don't it is not a sin. But he was a guy that you would hear a lot about his upside and potential and it never worked out for him. Here is hoping things work out better for Mr. O'Bryant. Thanks to Coach Roth for his insight on Patrick and the league he coaches in. The D-League is something that has opened up doors for a lot of guys, and I would say has been something that has been successful to this point for the NBA. The Raptors have talked about having a team closer to home that they could run in perhaps Hamilton or Buffalo someday. It would be cool for me if it was here in Hamilton. Several teams in the D-League have went that route. Running their own exclusive NBDL franchises. L.A Lakers,San Antonio and Oklahoma City all have their own teams with a single affiliation. It is something the folks at MLSE have looked at doing in the future, at least there has been talk that they have.

Dino Blogger Chats With Eric Smith

Eric Smith stops by for a visit here at the Dino Nation Blog. He has been a big help to the Dino Nation Blog in many ways. The one thing that is obvious is when he pops by to visit and talk with us here. It is always great to have Eric as a guest and I am always happy to have him visit. Today's chat was interesting. Thoughts on Raptors win this past Sunday, Chris Bosh, Shawn Marion, Jay Triano and some other good stuff for you listening pleasure.

It is great to get Eric's take on things. He is a hard working guy that has done a lot of great work covering the Raptors over the years. I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Eric. He is always willing to share his thoughts and interact with the fans. I hope he enjoys being a guest here as much as I enjoy having him as one.

Big Nate Speaks

One of the guys I have taken a great interest in on this Raptor Roster is Nathan Jawai. The Dino Nation Blog was one of the first places to tell you about his amazing story and that is something I am proud of. Ryan McNeill over at Hoops Addict had a chance to catch up with Big Nate for a chat. Here is a link to that interview.

Nathan Jawai Interview in Hoops Addict

Dino Blogger In Other Places

Some of you might be aware that I write for a couple magazines beyond just writing the Dino Nation Blog. Here is a link to my latest effort in T.O Sports Magazine. I talk about all that has been going on with the Raptors and it leads me to going back to one of my old dreams or wishes for the Raptors that I just can't seem to let die. I also have an article in the Industry Magazine that talks about Toronto as a future home for All Star Weekend. Eric and a number of others are quoted in that article. When it hits the website I will hook you up with that feature as well.

It maybe a day off on the Raptors schedule but the Dino Blogger is hard at work today. I am going to be doing another interview later today gathering some info on the newest Raptor Patrick O'Bryant. I am going to talk with Scott Roth who is the coach of the Bakersfield Jam in the D-League and coached Patrick there. Hopefully he can give us a look at what type of player he is and what he brings to the Raptors. We may also get into a little bit about the D-League itself and what life is like as coach in that league.


Raptors Rewind- Redemption Song

Bob Marley wrote the reggae classic that titles the rewind today and it talks about much higher level things from basketball. But that being said, the Raptors need to restore some pride and just play with energy and effort. No win will come without those elements being a part of it. Everyone had to feel the sting and pain of Friday's loss to the Knicks. It really requires little set-up from me for this game. If this team can not show up today it really will make a bold statement as to the direction of this team. Even the broadcasters for this team had little idea what to expect. It is the 10th anniversary of the ACC. In the very first game played there Vince Carter made on of those highlight dunks that were common place back then. I have a photo of that dunk that hangs in my bedroom on a plaque. The Knicks have not won at the ACC in 5 years not sure if that matters much. This is going to say a lot about this team today. This is not about getting back in the playoffs it is about who is part of the future and who is not. Late word that Marcus Banks will not be available today. Back trouble is the reason.

1st Quarter

Knicks win the tip and miss but get a second chance and Al Harrington makes a 3 pointer. A steal and Harrington has 5 points before the Raptors can respond. Bosh would get a basket and AP would follow that up with another basket. So it was 5-4 early and that is much better than 9-0. A.P got another and something we never saw at MSG, a Raptors lead. In fact the Raptors would answer the Knicks 5-0 run with an 13-0 run by the men in the white shirts. Everyone was getting in on the action. Chris Duhon would nail a 3 pointer and David Lee got a score plus a foul but he would miss that. Raptors lead trimmed quickly to 13-12.

Bargnani air balled a 3 pointer and that was not a good sign. An easy pass inside to Al Harrington and he scored in the paint. A.P would back it in on Chris Duhon and score it. Raptors were fighting at least early and that was already more from what we saw on Friday. Still the Knicks were getting scores almost as easy as on Friday and that was a concern. A.P had 9 points already and he had 0 in the entire game on Friday. Shawn Marion was having a tough start though. He attempted to back in and score and had two chances and could not. But the Raptors would get back to back baskets to take the lead back. Calderon would make it 3 straight scores with 2 of the last 3 being made by him. Raptors lead 21-16 and Bargnani was fouled and split a pair. Larry Hughes checked in and missed his first attempt as a Knick. Shawn Marion would get a score in transition Raptors had a 24-19 lead and this was a much better effort. It would have been hard to imagine a worse effort though right? Chris Wilcox the other new Knick checked in and he dunked it home right away. But Bargnani after the earlier air ball, he nailed a 3 pointer. Chandler who was big on Friday got things rolling for his Sunday with a spinning move in the lane to score. Nate Robinson gets that swat he had Friday returned to him as Bosh swatted him. But the Knicks would not be discouraged and would erase the Raptor 5 point lead and tie the score at 27 to close out the first quarter.

2nd Quarter

Joey Graham with a driving hook to score to open the quarter. Shawn Marion would follow that up with a score. Roko Ukic makes a 3 pointer and Kapono as well from long range. They storm out to a 10-0 run to start the second quarter. Chris Bosh still look rusty he missed an ally opp feed but Raps would keep possession and he would continue the run with a jumper. Chris Duhon would make a 3 pointer off a Knick offensive rebound to end the Raptors 12-0 run. Score was 39-30 for the Raptors with just under 9 minutes to play. J-Rich made it back to back 3 pointers. Knicks were looking to make it 3 straight from 3 pointland but Chandler would miss. Marion would get the basket on the offensive glass on the other end. Nate Robinson got his first basket of the afternoon. The Knicks had clawed back to down 41-38. Andrea Bargnani would make a big 3 pointer to double the Raptor lead to 6. Duhon would answer for Knicks with a 3 pointer. Raptors lead it 44-41 just past the mid point of the second.

Better ball movement leads to an A.P mid range jumper from the corner. Al Harrington answered that score. Steal for Knicks leads to a Harrington 3 ball in transition. Knicks had tied it up at 46. Andrea Bargnani from the feed by Jose get a basket to put Raptors back up by 2. David Lee is fouled by Bosh and makes 2 from the line and tied again at 48. Knicks missed an easy one and A.P would score in transition. However Al Harrington was hot and he made another 3 pointer to give the Knicks a 51-50 lead. Bargnani was fouled and missed one his first and made his second. All tied again at 51. Marion would toss a ball away and Raptors would turn it over. Larry Hughes an air ball was not exactly making the Raptors pay. Jose would hook up Bargnani for another score. Calderon with 7 dimes in the half to this point and that is a welcome sight on the stat sheet. Raptors lead was just 2 with the score 53-51. Chris Duhon with a drive and score out of a time out. Shawn Marion got an easy score in the paint off a Bargnani feed. Bargnani would keep it for himself the next time and score. Knicks shooting had gone cold. Al Harrington had a break away dunk at the end of the half. But he could not beat the buzzer. So the Raptors lead at the half 57-53 at the half.

3rd Quarter

Bargnani had 16 in the first half. Marion 8 points and 9 rebounds. Bargnani adds to that total to start the 3rd with two more. David Lee missed on 2 attempts on 2 possessions to start the Knicks offense. Marion fired up an air ball. Al Harrington barely caught rim on 3 pointer but Chris Duhon would hit a 3 pointer on a second chance opportunity. Shawn Marion would drive and score. Chris Bosh would hit a jumper and The Raptors lead the Knicks 63-58. Al Harrington just keeps shooting and this time he makes a 3 pointer. That is the way Mike D'Antoni wants his players to play and Harrington is taking full advantage. Calderon would find an open look off a Parker pass for 3 points. Raptors lead it 67-60. Al Harrington would get a drive and score for the Knicks. David Lee got his own rebound on his miss and put it home. Nate Robinson would get hammered by Bargnani and head to the line. He would make both and the Raptor lead of 7 had been reduced to just 1 in quick fashion.

Nate Robinson throws down an alley opp dunk that was more impressive than his entire dunk list at the All-Star game. Raptors finally would answer and take the lead back that they just lost. A.P would score another and he was playing much better today going 7-10 from the field. David Lee was fouled and sent to the line. He would split a pair. A.P was fouled and he also split a pair. Raptors lead is 72-69. Shawn Marion would earn a basket with hustle. Calderon missed a 3 pointer and Marion would get a pass from Bargnani. Joey Graham would make his way to the line. Raptors have built the lead to 6. Knicks would respond with a David Lee basket and he had a double double of 12 and 10. But Raptors got an answer and they would follow up with a Parker basket. He had 22 points and you wonder why A.P can't to this more consistently. However the Raptors will take it and not complain up 8 on the Knicks late in the 3rd quarter. Robinson forced a jumper and missed it. Bosh had his attempt blocked and he is still struggling to get back in the flow. However the Raptors had lots of help to make up for him on this day. A.P is on fire with another jumper. He is 11-14 and has 24 points. Al Harrington could not beat the clock at halftime but to close the 3rd he would making a long 2 point jumper. Raptors still had an 82-74 lead to take to the fourth quarter despite that.

4th Quarter

Knicks shooting only 40% from field. Raptors a solid 51%. Knicks were only in this game thanks to 10 of 19 shooting from behind the arc. Joey Graham with a nice drive and score to open scoring in the 4th. Robinson would rebound his own miss and score on the other end. Al Harrington would make it back to back scores for the Knicks and they were down a half dozen. Chris Wilcox one of the new Knicks had a slam to cut the lead to 4. Jason Kapono answered for the Raptors and they lead 86-80. Kapono would add 3 maore to that as he would find a look from behind the arc. Jefferies would get the score on the feed from the other new Knick Larry Hughes. Marion would hook up CB4 for the basket plus a foul after a timeout on the floor. Bosh despit having a though time scoring had a double double in this game. Bosh would make the free throw and Raptors had a 10 point lead up 92-82.

David Lee would have a reply for the Knicks on the other end. Nate Robinson would get fouled and look to cut more into the lead. He would make both and it was 92-86 for the Raptors. Roko Ukic would get a basket for the Raps. The Knicks had a quick answer. Raptors were still up 94-88 with 6:46 to play. Bargnani was fouled and at the line. He made both and the lead was back to 8 points. Nate Robinson would get a kind roll as his runner would eventually fall. Shawn Marion matched that with a basket for his side. Calderon would make it back to back baskets and deliver the pizza. It was 100-90 for the Raptors. Marion tried to make a steal or block and got poked in the eye. But it was the Knicked heading to the line on a Kapono foul. They would only manage to split a pair. Bargnani would drive and draw a foul and get to the line. He made both and was 7-10 from the line on the day. Nate Robinson would score and make the lead 9 points once again. Shawn Marion working the offensvie glass gets a basket and Raptors lead 104-93 with just 3:43 to go.

Nate Robinson would throw it away. However the Raptors would miss and Al Harrington would score in transition and was fouled and made the 3 point play. Raptors lead was 104-96. A.P would get called for an offensive foul and no one other than the Knicks liked that call despite it being the right call. If things were going better this season you would have confidence the Raptors could close this out. However they have not been so many Raptor fans will hold thier breath down down the stretch. Robinson would drive and score and Knicks were now down just 6 with 2:30 to play. Marion would miss and Chris Duhon had a chance to close it to 4 baut mised. Bosh the rebound and Bargnani would take and make a key 3 pointer. Raptors lead was 107-98 and they now should have this on sealed up. Bargnani would get a big block after a Bosh miss on the other end. Big game for Andrea in this one. Andrea was fouled and at the line making both and that was pretty much it. Couple more free throws and a Robinson lay up would mean nothing. Raptors take it 111-100.

Raptors had 4 players with double doubles. Marion, Bargnani, Bosh and Calderon. Parker the other start had 24 points. This is much more of what fans want to see. I know that I have been saying it and a lot others as well about Shawn Marion being only here for a short time. However watching him play in a few games now I am starting to hope I am wrong just a bit. He has been a lot of what the Raptors need in a lot of areas. I still say the chances of him staying are slim but it sure won't be based on his play. Andrea Bargnani lead the Raptors in scoring with 28 points he had 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks as well. That is the kind of line worth of a former # 1 pick. Does this fix all that went wrong on Friday? Well no it doesn't but does it give reason to hope this team can be fun to watch the rest of the way. That it just may do that. However the Raptors can take some small form of redemption in this boxscore below.

Raps/Knicks Boxscore

Raptors took a deserving beating from everyone after the loss in New York. However let us give them some credit for a great effort on this day. In a season of lots of disappointment the good games often get overshadowed by the doom and gloom of a season gone wrong. This was one of those good games. It may not change much and this team still has almost impossible odds to make the playoffs. However on this day in this individual game they were very good.

Sunday Afternoon Chance To Restore Some Pride

We could talk a lot of technical basketball stuff but really what would be the point. This game coming up in a few hours comes down to one simple word for the Raptors... Pride. I hope we see some or this could get ugly fast at the ACC. When you have people throwing around terms like worst lost of the season, low point of the season and some even going a step further and saying not just this season but in franchise history. Everyone to a man is upset and disturbed and some out right pissed off. That would include the newest Raptor Shawn Marion. He was not afraid to chime in with his thoughts on the way his new team performed on Friday. Good for him. Forget about playoff races that may not be realistic and pretty much everything else. Just go out and play basketball.

I think we will see an improved effort from this team. If we do not it is going to be a very month and half for everyone connected to this team. Jose Calderon really can be the person that can help this along the most. He really needs to see how to take advantage of his new team member in Shawn Marion. He has missed taking advantage of the Matrix on several occasions in the first couple games. Marion to his credit has been pretty good in his first two games. He did have a double double in the course of that debacle in NYC.

It is a light week ahead for the Raptors with just 2 games next week so no reason not to bust your tail out on the floor this afternoon. The Raptors will also have a couple new options to be concerned about as both Wilcox and Hughes should be all legal and good to go to suit up for Knicks this afternoon. That is perhaps something the Raptors can take advantage of as the new guys get adjusted to the high tempo pace of Mike D'Antoni.

On thing is a must for the Raptors above all else. A fast start, without that the ACC will get ugly quickly. I have a feeling it will not take long for this crowd to get ugly if they do not like what they see. Given all this fan base as gone through it would be understandable. From TSN 2 to some of those train wreck like we saw on Friday it has not been an easy season to be a Raptor fan. I won't make the mistake of saying it can only get better from here. Or that this is as bad as it can get. I have thought that a few times earlier in this season only be be proven totally wrong.

It may not mean a lot in the grand scheme of things but for everyone connected to this franchise I hope the Raptors can find some way to pull of a win today. It is badly needed for all.


A Low Point In Franchise History

I have watched just about every Raptor game that has ever been played in the NBA. After last night's game and effort, I struggle to think of a worse game. We have seen some bad ones this season. The loss in Denver that cost Sam Mitchell his job. We saw them loss to the Thunder. A brutal loss to Memphis. But this one was the worst of them all. Here is why I say that. This team has said they still consider themselves in the playoff race. I have not agreed with that. However They have said it and they get their star player back. Playing against on of the many teams they must pass to make the playoffs. They come out with an effort like that? 9-0 run and it just got worse from there. I mean how on earth can anyone think Jay Triano can survive this and be the coach of this team. Paul Jones who is a regular guest on the Dino Nation Blog often has said this is a results based business. He is right and the results for Jay Triano have been bad. I wanted Jay to be a success because he is a Canadian and a good guy that deserved a chance. I never took into account how hard it would be to get promoted with a team that you have been with 7 years. It is hard for you to gain respect of folks when they have thought of you in a certain way for years.

That being said this goes beyond Triano and it goes right into the core of this team. Chris Bosh has always busted his butt for this team. I am not jumping off the Bosh Bandwagon. However this team is not taking this personally and it is part of Chris Bosh's job not only to perform himself but to make the people around him rise to higher levels. It has seemed that the opposite has happened. This team and it's lack of performance has pulled Bosh down. He started the season like a rocket and he has fizzled as the team around him has. The future for Bosh seems very bleak to remain a Raptor. There is 30 million reasons for Bosh to remain a Raptor. However the way this team is playing around him may out weigh any amount of cash. Failed relationships with Ford and J.O as duos to lead this team to higher levels make you wonder a lot of things. It just has not worked out well. Bryan Colangelo is really going to have to do the selling job of his life to keep Bosh at this point. For those who say to trade Bosh and start over, I say with what exactly? Andrea Bargnani? You are going to build a team around him? Good luck with that.

T.J Ford Revisited

Speaking of which if this team is going to run, that is the new plan right? Why did we trade T.J Ford? If the goal was always to be a running team why did we have to move Ford? If I am starting a team that is going to run and push the basketball I am taking T.J Ford as my point guard. Jose Calderon is not a running point guard. It is against his make up to take the risks required to run that style of offense. He can not be the guy to lead an offense that is designed to look anything like the Suns. So if Bryan Colangelo always had this plan to be a running team and it was going to head in this direction why would he choose to unload Ford? It makes little sense to me. He could have done a sign and trade for Calderon with him coming off the season he had. He said himself he took no less than 16 calls about Calderon at last year's deadline. The thought was T.J was traded because of 3 things. His attitude which in all honesty this team lacks. Did T.J handle not being a starter well? No not at all. However he would not handle this team performing at the level it has. He would demand more and expect more. Ford whatever you think of him has a lot of heart and pride. There was not a lot of that last night was there? Second was the fear of injury. Ford has had his bumps and bruises this year with Pacers but he has played more games than Jose. You took a risk on a guy with a bad knee so I am not convinced health was part of the reason. T.J Ford will always have some level of risk given his history. However no one can predict what will happen in future. The risk on Ford was the same as it was the day he walked in the door. Third was money and the fact you could not afford to keep both T.J and Jose under contract. This was a real concern. However many basketball people say point guard is the most important position. You want proof look at how hard the Magic worked to bring in 2 point guards when Jameer Nelson went down. So maybe things could have been worked out with Ford and Calderon. I think the Raptors did not even try to make that happen. There was a problem but is it any worse than the one this team faces now? I don't think so.

What is Ahead?

What can we expect from this team on Sunday? I have no idea. I did expect they would lose to the Knicks. But in the fashion and way that they did? Not a chance. I was really floored sitting at my laptop stunned at what I was watching. Any amount of words I typed last night or today, can not sum up how utterly disappointed and disgusted I was with this basketball team. I do what I am doing cause in part I deeply care about this team and franchise and it having ultimate success. This has been a season that has tested fans on so many levels. There is a real anger and frustration in this fan base and it is justified. It is up to the people running the show to fix it. Do not complain when fans boo. You have earned those boos. It up to you to make people want to cheer and at this point that is a tough task.


Raptors Rewind- The Mecca Massacre

So the Raptors and the Knicks finally get a chance to face off. They had not seen each other since the second game of the pre-season for the Raptors. But both teams look a lot different from the rosters on that night at ACC. Some holding out hope for the Raptors and the playoffs see this as a big home and home series.O'Bryant will be available for the Raptors and Wilcox was dressed for Knicks. Larry Hughes was there, but not available. Knicks were still in the playoff race and technically the Raptors are as well. But technically is the key word there.

1st Quarter

Raps win the tip and Jose Calderon takes a 3 pointer and misses. Knicks would score on first possession and it would set off a 9-0 run and Jay Triano is forced to burn a time out. The Raps shooting 0-4 to start the game. Bargnani missed what should have been an easy score. It took over 3:20 until Jose Calderon would finally score. The Knicks answered quickly and lead 11-2. Andrea Bargnani would hit a 3 pointer and Raps had scores on back to back possessions. Bosh miss a turnaround and David Lee got the rebound and the score on the other end. Al Harrington the easy score on the inside and Knicks were all over the Raptors up 15-5. Raptors a turnover and Toronto was shooting 2-10. All the talk of what this meant for this team and this is what they come out like? Playoffs? Give me a break.

Knicks continue to pour it on with score 19-7. Bosh checked out 0-3 in his first 6 minutes of action in quite some time. A lousy effort and a Calderon jumper bounces over the basket and out of play. Shawn Marion would get a basket next time down on offensive glass. But David Lee was having a hot start as he scored again. Calderon answered with a basket only to have Al Harrington nail a 3 pointer. It was 26-13 and Raptors were getting smoked. I mean this is just a joke, the Raptors defense is even worse than usual if that is possible. Bosh back in after a time out and he gets easy score in the paint in his second tour of duty on the floor. Joey G had a couple baskets but they were still down big 30-19. David Lee would go right at Bosh and score. Lee was not an all star and Bosh was but Lee was looking to make a statement against the returning Bosh. Wilson Chandler with a 3 pointer and Raptors were getting beat down. Bosh would get to the line. But it was already a huge climb back for the Raptors despite him making both at the line. Lee would score again the other way. Joey Graham a spin and score. Nate Robinson had his own spinning score and Graham would turn it over. This was seriously a brutal performance in a season that has seen a lot of them. A Nate Robinson 3 ball would make it 42-22 after 1 quarter of play. That is no typo. This was not funny it was a huge embarrassment.

2nd Quarter

Kapono with a 2 pointer and Chandler responds with a 3 pointer and he would score again. Seriously could we just forfeit this game it was 47-24. Raptors had back to back air balls. Ukic had the first I honestly missed the second air ball shooter. Joey Graham was 4-5 and that is par for the course to what I always say, Raptors suck and Joey good. The knicks lead was 51-26 and we are just over 2 minutes into the second quarter. Banks had checked in for Ukic and he missed a 3 ball but his caught iron. Nate Robinson won the dunk contest right? He was looking like a 3 point contest winner on this night as he hit another 3 pointer. I mean this is rare to say in any game but not even half way through the 2nd quarter this game is over. I mean it Raptors are done.

Offensive fouls and turnovers and just a general mess. Nate Robinson has another 3 pointer and I have a massive case of apathy setting in. Nate Robinson blocked CB4 and I am done. Seriously what are we going to talk about for 2 and half quarters? Knicks are up 24 with the score 58-34. Kapono makes a jumper off the Marion offensive board. David Lee is seriously good I will make that point. He scores again. I mean seriously this team is just getting a butt kicking and they have their star player returning in what they have said is a huge game for them? This is unacceptable. There has been a lot of debate about booing or cheering this team. Based on tonight if I was heading the the ACC regardless of performance I would boo this team for the first 2 minutes. The Knicks 62-36 lead at this point was lots of ammo for my point. Shawn Marion has been ok with 10 but it is hard to see anything good in this mess. Knicks were making it rain with 3 ball in the MSG. I admit checked my email, but seriously what am I going to type that I have not said already? This says it all 75-50 New York Knicks.

3rd Quarter

Raptors allowed the Knicks to shoot 58% and 10-20 from the 3 point line. Al Harrington comes right out and scores and just adds to the beating. Teams were trading baskets and at this point Raptors can ill afford to do that. A stop of any kind would be a major accomplishment. Andrea Bargnani had a couple scores but this game was way to far off the rails. Sure the system the Knicks play can allow teams to get back in games but not when your down 30 points which the Raptors were 86-56. The Knicks were making the Raptors look like a D-League franchise. Another wide open 3 for Wilson Chandler and the Knicks have a 91-58 lead. I serious could not do this in a video game. However this was reality and a very painful one. Hope is just not even in sight for anyone connected to this franchise. Jack Armstrong summed it up quite nicely. He said that this was unacceptable for everyone connected to this franchise be it a broadcaster, fan, coach, player or management. I totally agree with Jack Armstrong. I mean the Knicks are an improved basketball team. However they are not this good. They lead at this point 98-60 with still 4:20 to play in the 3rd quarter.

Knicks hit triple digits with just under 3 to play in the third quarter this is just the worst game I can recall in the history of this franchise. If you have a better answer leave it in the comments. I can not think of one. Jason Kapono hits a 3 point to pull the Raptors to down 26. The score is 101-75 after 3 quarters of play. This is the scary part. The Raptors have 1 more quarter to play and 4 more quarters on Sunday. Awful just does not seem to be good enough.

4th Quarter

Nate Robinson opens the 4th quarter with a 3 pointer and that was the 14th of the night for the Knicks. Wilson Chandler a dunk and this is just a pathetic effort on defense. 108-77 is the score. Bosh has not really been a factor in his return. Shawn Marion has a double double. That will make recent guest Randy Urban happy for his fantasy team. However beyond that I can't think of anything positive to say. Which honestly why should you based on what is going one.

Gallanari the fellow Italian makes a 3 ball and why not. Larry Hughes would have a 3 except he is not eligible to play. Least the Knick dancers would inspire a little HELLO from Jack. But it was Good Bye and really early for the Raptors. 111-84 for the Knicks. No hustle no desire and Raptors are just lumbering around on defense and it was truly awful. Mike D'Antoni had a huge smile and why would he not. His Knicks were bringing it and the Raptors were just waiting for the buzzer to go off. Patrick O'Bryant wearing number 13 checks in for the Raptors for his first action. I am not going to judge him to hard because honestly what can he be expected to do in a game like this at this point. Nathan Jawai was also out there. But Big Nate would miss a easy one in the paint. It was 121-94. Wilson Chandler has a career high 32 for the Knicks. He goes on a long list of NBA players that can make that claim. A blank star on Chris Bosh's face as this game goes final and thankfully so with the score 127-97.

The brutal boxscore below:
Raps/Knicks Boxscore

I got nothing more to say. Well I have one more thing. If you didn't think it was over before tonight, I think it is clear that it is now.

A Game On T.V That Everyone Can See...What A Concept.

Wow a game on T.V that is a real break through in this modern world we live in. The Raptors will have a home and home showdown with the New York Knicks. You will be able to watch both games on T.V as well that is truly thrilling is it not? Seriously it is pathetic how basketball fans have been treated this year. I have talked about it for a long time. The product on the floor this season has been bad but this cable war has made it even worse. I do not want to hear one person complain about ratings for basketball for the next 2 years at least. That is how long it is going to take to repair the damage that has been done by this mess. If you can fix it at this point. That is just a guess but T.V people complain about ratings but you have no base to do that for the next little while after you have insulted fans of the sport. I have said it all when it comes to this topic. It is not about who is to blame anymore. Wake up at MLSE and see what this is doing to your fan base. You need to do something to erase this ugly chapter in the broadcast history of this team. It is the insult to the injury of what has been a hard season.

Knicks Are On Right Path

No more Thomas and a clear direction, and play in New York, has lead to a thing that had been long lost for Knick fans.... HOPE and it has nothing to do with Obama. I questioned if Mike D'Antoni could bring his system to New York and make it work. Well so far so good and the Knicks are doing a solid job leaving the Thomas Era in the rear view mirror. Donnie Walsh was able to unload more of the bad of Thomas yesterday and brings back a solid guy in Chris Wilcox. He was going to be a Hornet but winds up a Knick. Even if they do not get that Lebron James guy in 2010 the Knicks are heading in right direction regardless of that. The days of Knicks getting attention because of Spike Lee and short guy stealing dunk contests are coming to an end. Nate can take his little green ball and dribble it on the bench or elsewhere cause change is coming to the Knicks and his little side show is no longer required. Spike Lee can stay because for a fan to have stayed loyal through all of this he deserves too.

In fact Knick fans are almost like Leaf fans in thinking the team has done to well this season. In that race for 8th of teams that are clearly flawed why not the New York Knicks? It sure seems a lot more realistic to me than the Raptors. If the Raptors want to change my mind, if that is possible at this point, it would take a convincing sweep of the Knicks to even make me consider. Chris Bosh is coming back for this series and even he understands that the slim hope the Raptors still hold for playoffs requires him to be out there. That is why I stick behind Chris Bosh while everyone is trying to run the guy out of town. I have had many conversations about Bosh with folks. Some think he can't be a player that can be a franchise guy. They are convinced he is leaving in 2010. I have been of the opinion that he has been loyal to this franchise he has busted his butt and given a lot to this team through tough times. I respect that. So if that means I have to be the last one on this train so be it. I was last one off the T.J Ford train and many out there said Jose would replace T.J it would be easy for him and he was going to be an all star. How is that working out for you? Not so hot right? I find it funny that so many folks have shifted over to my side of things. I was the guy saying all this last year. So forgive me if I don't welcome you all with open arms. But the addition of Shawn Marion will force Jose to become more aggressive on offense. If it doesn't really what is the point of all this talk of running. He even said he needed to improve his defense. The newsflash will be if he actually can.

Bosh meet the NYC Media

It will be interesting to see how Bosh handles the 2010 question that you know will come from the New York media win or lose. I would be shocked if Bosh did anything but what he has done all along which is take the high road on the issue. I know this Raptors media relations Guy Jim LaBumbard won't have him sitting behind a Knick back drop like Lebron did earlier in the year. Leave that for someone to photo shop it. The reality of an image like that is not a good thing. This will be the first meeting between the Knicks and Raptors as crazy as that seems at this point in the season.

Bosh and Marion Combo

It will be interesting to see if Bosh and Marion can have a better on court relationship than that of Bosh and O'Neal. The bar is pretty low in that regard. It just never seemed to gel with O'Neal and Bosh. It felt like an arranged marriage that both parties tried to make work but just could not. Marion may offer a better option for Bosh. However it is likely all for not. The chances this is anything but a spring fling are great indeed. I am not convinced that Marion will remain in Toronto beyond April 15th. However if some kind of amazing duo were to emerge from all of this it would be something that Raptors would have to consider. The question really is ultimately is would Marion? Seems highly doubtful and I don't think the Raptors can afford to over pay for Shawn Marion.

But let's not put the cart before the horse and see what we have with this combination. I did like that Marion was talking about the lack of communication on defense. That is something that the Raptors need to improve on. Talking on defense and making that talk result in action. Marcus Banks wants to be useful on this team and get minutes all he needs to do is play defense. That would be something this Raptor team could use badly. It is no secret that Jose Calderon is not getting it done. Roko Ukic could turn into a decent to good defender. In between that time there is a role that Will Solomon was suppose to fill that is open for Banks. Solomon was suppose to be a guy that could play some defense and score the basketball. He did little of that here. Good luck to the Kings with him doing it for them. Patrick O'Bryant comes to the Raptors and he is another 7 footer. He feel out of favour in Golden State and spent time in Bakersfield with the Jam of the D-League. He signed with Boston and has had little time on the floor with them. He will be another option the Raptors can try to use in the front court. Play defense, rebound and know your role and it might work out for O'Bryant. But let's be clear I am not holding my breath.

Jay Triano Is Doing A Good Job?

I have heard this said by a number of folks that I respect and I am confused. What has Jay done that has been so great? I mean no offense by that truly. I wanted Jay to be successful just as much as anyone. Bryan Colangelo has been full of praise for his choice to take over for Sam Mitchell. So what has he done other than shown us that Joey Graham is a capable player when nothing is on the line. He is given credit for Bargnani and his improvement. However is that not more a product of the work he put in during the off-season? He has been better but has shown slippage of late. Maybe I am just not as advanced as these people to see it. However to me it just seem that it is more of the same and refs not making calls is not the problem with all due respect. The problem is that Jay Triano is not a new voice. There is nothing he can do about that. However I think this team needs a new voice in the room. I think they need it in a coach and on the roster as well. The Raptors need someone to shake this whole thing up. Mitchell pushed this team and demanded more. Not saying that firing Sam was wrong. I think that he was still pushing but no one was listening anymore and that is a death sentence for a coach. However it was the right message. This Raptor team needs some tough love. It is clear they have been to willing to accept defeat and make excuses as a group. I am not pointing the finger at any individual for that but it seems clear to me. Give me an Eddie Jordan that did the impossible with a team that suffered injuries and battled through and until this season Jordan was able to make it work some how.

Sam Mitchell never let this team use injuries as an excuse and I think Eddie Jordan is of that same school. He may not be the favourite pick for many for this job. In fact he may not be on many lists out there. However he is at the top of mine. I would have Jeff Van Gundy in the mix as well but for now I think he enjoys his role on T.V. Jay Triano may in fact have the skill and ability to be an NBA head coach. I just have a hard time thinking it can be here with the Raptors unless you do a total house cleaning. I guess that is possible. But if the core remains Jay has to go in my opinion.