I thought, seeing as by the time that I get around to re-capping the game it is already old news at this point, I would do something different. So instead I will take you along for the ride with me for a night of basketball at the ACC. For me that starts with a quick drive out to Burlington and hopping on the Go-Train and getting on the 3:15 train. It makes sense for me to take the train rather than bother with the stress of driving and finding some place to park that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. So hop off the train at Union Station and walk over to the ACC in the comfort of the indoors. I decided to stop at Centre Sports and pick up a Raptors Dance Pak Calender. Yes pretty pathetic that I am getting a calender on February 3rd I know. Anyway from there I go make my way to get my media pass for the night. Nice that I have now been down enough that I know the people and they know me. After that off the the media room to hang up my coat grab a beverage and get ready to try get to talk to some folks pre-game. It is pretty nice to see a lot of the folks I interview in person in the blog. Saw Paul Jones as I was hanging up my Jacket as he was already getting set to get going doing his thing for T.V and Radio. The one thing I have learned is you may see a media room as being a very competitive environment. However it is actually pretty friendly. Everyone is there to do their own individual thing but everyone is friendly and it is a place I now feel comfortable being. At first to be honest there was a bit of "how the heck did I get here?" in me. But now I feel like I belong and that makes it a lot easier to focus on getting stuff done.
There is always a chance to chat with both coaches pre-game for the media. I tend to go and listen in on those but more for just my own interest and to make sure someone isn't a surprise scratch. There was a bit of a surprise when it was learned Jarrett Jack was coming into the game playing sick. It had already been confirmed no Jose, Hedo or Demar. Jack would end up playing and still despite not being at 100% probably took questions from the media post game for a good 10 minutes. Jack will answer pretty much ever question asked of him. I tend to wait till the very end to try and talk to guys. Jack will still answer those questions with as much detail as the first one thrown his way. After he answered what I asked told him to feel better which he thanked me. He is a really polite young man and I have talked about him being a leader for this team and part of that feeling is just getting to see how he acts in the locker room and interacts with his team mates. He was asked post game if he took some pride in the fact Sonny Weems got his first double double last night. Jack has been a mentor for both Weems and Demar to a great degree. He did seem proud of Sonny and how he played. He said he told him to get the boxscore and frame it.
When you try and get stuff pregame it can be hit and miss depending on who is hanging around when the locker rooms are open to the media. Like I always like to try and catch up with Reggie to see how he is doing. I was really excited to do so on this night as he is closing in on returning finally. But unfortunately Reggie was not around when I was wondering around the Raptors Locker room. Who was around was Sonny Weems and Demar Derozan. Ryan McNeil of Hoops Addict was setting up to shoot an interview with Sonny and Demar was heckling Sonny prior to them getting rolling. Demar and Sonny are just constantly taking verbal shots at each other in a joking and playful way. Anyone that follows the 2 guys on Twitter can see how close they are. It is rare they are not doing something together in their off time based on Twitter accounts from the 2. So I asked Demar if I could talk with him for a bit after he was done giving Sonny a hard time. He was willing as he always has been. Will have that for you in the next day or two as we talk a little on the Dunk Off and what he feels has improved for him and the idea of heading to All Star Weekend itself. He may just be bringing Sonny Weems along for the ride if I heard Demar correctly.
So after talking to Demar decided to head back and see about getting some food. Along the trip back I finally ran into someone who I had been trying to meet and say hello. We exchange tweets often but have never happened to bump into one another. Kat or @Raptorspacekat on Twitter and we had a nice little chat for a couple minutes. She then was off to do her bit on Raps-TV and I was off to seek some food. I was out of luck in the food department as the only pizza that remained had veggies and it may not shock anyone that I am much more of a Meat Lovers type of guy. So I just grabbed a pop and sat down with a bunch of folks. Ryan, from Hoops Addict, Holly Mackenzie from The Score and Zack Cooper from the Fan 590 (Have talked to him before but we had never met face to face) along with some others that were around the table. There were a bunch of topics kicking around the table. Not sure if any of it would be interesting for folks in the blog. However it just is to point out what I was saying earlier about everyone getting along. In all honest the Media Business is really not as big as you may think and eventually if you are around enough you will know everyone and vice versa. I guess the best feeling of last night for me had really zero to do with the game itself or who I did or didn't talk too. It was just that feeling of belonging. Best way I can put it is like when you start high school or go to a new school. There is a sense of feeling lost, awkward and feeling like you are an outsider. Last night from the minute I walked in the door till the moment I left did not have a single feeling like that the entire night. That is progress for me not unlike what Demar has been doing on the floor. My progress is far more easy but still it is a process as well. I have come a long way from wondering how the heck did I end up here when I was at training camp in Ottawa. So has Demar come a long way in his growth process as a player and he I think should be ready to get back at it Sunday vs the Kings. He did tweet that he thought he would be ready for Sunday as well earlier in the week.
So all this hustling around then it was time to head upstairs the press box and get ready to watch the game itself. In general the Raptors would pretty much survive to get a win over the Nets. The plan heading into the game according to Jay Triano in the post game was to just have Jarrett Jack go hard for as long as he could and see what happened. He would end up battling through and having a good night. The Raptors had another drought to start the 2nd Quarter as they did in Indiana. When asked about that disturbing trend Triano seemed to think the different rotations based on the injures could be the cause of that. Whatever it is the Raptors need to solve that before they start playing good teams again.
There were individual successes but this was not that pretty of a win but it was a win and as I always like to say that is all folks will remember a month from now. The Raptors will face the Nets 2 more times and they will look for a better effort than this one but the same result. The Raptors continue that streak of winning when they hold teams to under 100 points with a 108-99 win at the ACC.
As I mentioned on My Twitter last night I walked by Vanilla Ice on my way back to my seat up top after bailing out on his halftime show. Did not ask him for an autograph but I am told people did enjoy what he did at the half. I'll take there word for it. Also as many know that read this blog I am NOT a LEAFS FAN. So Ironically when I was leaving of course I walk by Matt Devlin talking with Phil Kessel and the Newest Leaf Dion Phaneuf. I just kept my head down and kept walking. But next time I have Matt in the blog I will try to remember to ask Matt about his meeting those 2 guys for any of you poor Leaf Fans that read the Dino Nation Blog.
Another thing that came out of last night is that CB4 is going to be coaching. No he is not taking over for Jay Triano and becoming a throwback player coach like a Bill Russell was back in the day. Chris will be coaching against Kevin Durant in the Rookie/Sophomore game. Bosh is set to coach the Sophomore side in the game. It looks to be a very busy weekend back home in Dallas for CB4 and I would imagine with it being in his hometown you should get to see a lot of CB4.
On to Post Game in the Locker Room. You have all likely seen the Post Game media scums on Raptor-TV or on the various sportscasts. The media scrum is quiet the experience as everyone try to get their recorders and microphones in position to answer the various questions that everyone has. The biggest of those is the one those is the one that goes around CB4. It is quite the experience to be in that organized chaos. In a previous visit this season Bosh turned around before he started answering question and for a brief second I thought I was going to catch a CB4 elbow to the head. It all moves pretty fast as the media will move from one guy to the next based on who played well on the given night. On this night Bosh, Jack, Weems and Wright drew the crowds.
After that it is all done and I head back to catch a train and head home after a long day and hopefully a productive one. I hope you enjoyed this rather than going through the blow by blow of the game. I had written a re-cap but thought this might be more interesting. I like to share these experiences with you because I look at getting access for the Dino Nation Blog as trying to represent you folks in what I am doing. At the core of what Media is suppose to be about is representing the people and gaining info for the masses. However when you work for a network or newspaper you are also doing what you are asked to do by who you work for. In the case of the Dino Nation Blog there is no really people to answer to other than you the folks that read it. So I try to represent you and do what I can to take you along for these adventures with me.
Any experiences that I have had is based on 3 things in my view. the first is my own personal hard work and effort. The second is having people have faith and belief in me to be professional and work hard. But the 3rd is you folks that have supported this blog and made it something that is worthy of getting these chances. So I thank you for that and I do my best to pay you back with my hard work and trying to help you come along for the ride with me where ever I end up going be it the Raptors Locker room or anywhere else.