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.


  1. Just like in San Antonio, the Raptors get it done without "global star" CB4 doing much of anything. I know he's coming back from injury and everything, but it isn't like he had surgery. My God, what happened to the player from early November? He looks like a corpse out there. We want to give this guy 30 million more than the next highest bidder? Pay him the same as Lebron and Kobe? Put him in that league? Really?

  2. Bosh is coming back off an injury and in less minutes from what he usually plays he got a double double. Raptors have the option to pay Bosh up to 30 million more. Personally I still believe in Chris and think he deserves the cash. Is he Kobe or Lebron? No but given his position he is never going to be.

    But to the Raptors ever have a snowballs chance in july of getting a kobe or Lebron here? Highly unlikely. Chris Bosh would not be the worse offender of getting a big deal in this league by any stretch. Check out the money Arenas is making to write a blog like me. You want to start bashing guys not being worth money start there.

  3. Bargnani is better than Bosh.

  4. 4 time All Star, proven track record for Bosh. I am not buying that at all. Bargnani had a great game and his having a positive season. Bosh has had many seasons of improvement and is a 4 time all star in this league. Even Bargnani himself would admit he has a long way to go to be considered on same level as Bosh.

  5. Use a poll and you will see.

  6. A poll is opinion not fact. But thanks for the suggestion. Maybe at some point we will do a poll on this topic. However it only would serve to represent opinion.

  7. The point is being missed - the problem is that we are paying guys who are good players superstar money. Just because a guy is good doesn't mean you should overpay for him - especially by 30 million. If there's anything the New England Patriots have taught the rest of professional sports, its that.

    Remember, somebody somewhere thought it was a good idea to give guys like Shawn Marion and J.O. 22 million a year. The GMs in this league keep repeating the cycle - they pay the guys who are stars (like Bosh, Marion, Jefferson, Redd, Bibby, etc.) superstar money (like Wade, Lebron, Kobe) and thus cannot afford to add championship pieces as they arise. Consider what B.C. did this year. He had Ford and Nesterovic making a combined $16 million per year, I believe. He added J.O. for $22 million a season and did not leave himself enough cash to find a quality backup point guard. The question to ask yourself is: Was J.O. worth 6 million more than Ford and Rasho? Leaving Ford out of the equation completely for a moment, I'd say he upgraded our center position by about 10% over Rasho. I mean, the guy was slightly better than the poor Croat, its not like he improved the position by leaps and bounds for us. Rasho made 8 million, J.O. 22 million. Did we get our money worth?

    We are about to do the same thing with Bosh. Bosh is closer to being in the same league as guys like Boozer, Jameson and Pau Gasol than he is to being in the Lebron category. If we pay him the max, plus 30 mill extra, that realistically leaves us with enough money to sign one more elite player. The rest of the roster will have to be cobbled together with one or two decent starters (Calderon/James Posey types), role players (Morris Peterson types) and glue guys (Robert Horry's and Sam Cassell's). Who will that other elite starter be? Its like you say James, the free agent line is not long to come to Toronto. Do we want to end up like New Jersey, who had a "Big Three" of so-called superstars like Carter, Kidd and Jefferson (Kidd may have been legit)? Do we want to end up like Washington did, with a "Big Three" of Jameson, Butler and Arenas. This might be enough to get you out of the first round, but no further. Then you are stuck with these guys for life, unless you are willing to trade them for fifty cents on the dollar just to rid yourself of their horrific contracts. I believe this is how we acquired walking corpses like J.O. and Marion in the first place. (Maybe a little harsh on Shawn).

    In the end, we have to pay Bosh a lot of money - no doubt. But we should pay him as if he were the team's second star - not the ultimate building block in the mold of Wade, Bryant or James. The ultimate building block has yet to arrive. Maybe we will draft him in the future. Maybe we will lure a superstar in free agency three or four years from now. But we've got to be in a position to take advantage of signing a real superstar when the moment arises. We can't afford another season like this one, where we had 50 million tied up in Kapono, J.O. and Bosh.

  8. First off Football is not basketball and basketball is not football. The way you build a basketball team is nothing like how you build a football team. I am not going to get into the details of why I think it is pretty obvious and the most glaring is the size of roster. 15 in basketball and with all the players you can carry in football 50+

    Is Bosh the best player on this team as it is constructed? I say he is. Do you have any hope to attract a greater talent than him that you do not draft? I say it is highly unlikely. Guy is a top 10 to 15 player in the league and that is a max deal or close to it.

    It is nice to say what you are saying but it is not realistic. Teams pay for the value of a player at the start of a contract and not the end. It is cool to say look at guys like Rasho and Shawn Marion at this point but it is about the market value when they sign.

    Your way will not work and look around this league and show me the team that wins a title with out paying to much for someone. Problem is players will play for a discounted rate with contenders or the hot team which throws the whole system off to a degree. But it the Raptors world they must take advantage of the one thing they do have going for them which is cash. That being said with the state of the team unless that improves Bosh will not stay for any amount. He wants to win.

  9. In answer to your question, I can only offer up Basketball's version of the Patriots - San Antonio. We'll take Michael Finley - but we're not paying him a max deal (Dallas). We'll take Parker and Ginobli - but no max deals there either. The max deal if for the superstar - Duncan. Other teams that won titles without overpaying? L.A. Detroit won a title without overpaying. They didn't give Billups a top contract, nor did they pay Ben Wallace the top dough. Look at how Cleveland is building.

  10. This chit chat is just about making the playoffs. Forget the championship. Canada is not important in the basketball world, this is not the NHL. A Canadian-based franchise will NEVER win the NBA championship (against 29 American franchises). NEVER. And if the Raptors ever put a strong group of players together, the American establishment will never let them win it all. Kind of obvious I know but I just wanted to make sure the word "championship" is not used in this blog when it comes to talking about plans for the future.

  11. For Miguel A lot of the players you are talking about are older players looking to win Rings and Cash is not on the front burner. For Bosh and anyone his age Money is and should be king.

    Stephen A: Blue Jays won two titles is baseball. Canada is always important to basketball without us there is NO GAME. A Canadian invented this game after all. Given the state of this team there is no reason at all to talk about a championship at the moment anymore than there is in Indiana, Sacramento or a long list of others cities. You need to be a contender first before you can start talking titles. Raptors are not even a playoff team at this point which is a step backwards. As for the NHL remark no Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since 1993. So it is not like Canada has any advantage going for it in that sport.

  12. No doubt money is king. It was for Richard Jefferson. My point is that we should let somebody else pay them a foolish amount. Sign Bosh for something approaching max money. Not 30 million more than the next highest bidder. 6 field goals from the elbow a game and 8 made free throws are just not worth it.

    In other news, do you have any scoop on how Will Solomon was in the Raptor dressing room? Does anyone care that he's gone. For some reason, it always looked to me like he was hated by his teammates. Nothing to base that on though.