Raptors Self Help Required

Everything that could go right for the Raptors last night in the NBA...DID. The Heat, Bobcats and Bulls all lost last night which leaves the Raptors a game and half out of 6th and the same game and half in the playoffs ahead of the Bulls. A change to the starting line-up for tonight has some people saying about time. I see it as a desperate attempt to shake this team up. That being said Jose Calderon who will replace Jarrett Jack in the starting line-up has been arguable the best Raptor of late. Jack on the other hand has been near the bottom of the pile in recent games. If this move was being made earlier on in the season I would see it in a different light. However desperate move or not the Raptors were in need of doing something. The Raps will catch a break in Joe Johnson is not on this trip for the Hawks and will not play. The Raptors will likely be without the services of Antonie Wright for this game as he got injured in the last game of the road trip from hell.

The Hawks the last time they played the Raptors was December 11th and not long before that beat down of the Raptors on December 2nd where they gave up 146 points in Atlanta. That was the highest anyone had scored in the league this year until last night where the Suns score 152 points vs Minnesota last night. For your scoreboard watching consideration tonight the Bobcats face the Thunder (Who visit Toronto Friday) , Chicago plays the Mavericks, and Bucks vs Clippers all will be in action tonight. Miami has the night off and will face in state rivals Orlando tomorrow night.

These next 2 games feature teams that are at the best of times tough match-ups for the Raptors in highly athletic teams that can get up and down the floor. The Raptors will need to correct at the very least 4 things to have any shot to win tonight or Friday.

1. Perimeter Defense- It has been brutal and it must get better. simple as that. The Raptors have been killed consistently by giving up open looks from 3. Here is a simple concept that I have always bought into. 3>2 and always will be. Meaning if you have the ability to make the 3 point shot it is a valuable weapon but the same is true in reverse if you can't defend it. Raptors make a lot of the streak they have where they have made at least one 3 pointer. I am more curious and interested in the last time they denied a team making one.

2. Rebounding- The Raptors are always excused of being a brutal defensive team and with good reason. However sometimes they have played excellent defense only to not finish the job and allow teams to get an offensive rebound. Basically if it were me I would say it is everyone's job to get on the glass. Guard, Forward, Center from Italy....I don't care. The Raptors have said they want to run and push the pace. Well this is not exactly inventing the wheel here but you can't do that without the ball. Get after it on the glass. There is no magic formula to rebounding. It is 99% about effort.

3. Turnovers- Can't have them. From the top guy on squad all the way down the line. Turnovers against Atlanta and OKC will lead to highlight dunks in transition. Raptors must value possession. In the playoffs where the Raptors hope to be come April 14th, every possession is vital in the post season. Well newsflash for the Raptors. If you haven't figured it out yet the Playoffs for you have already started. So start playing like it and take care of the basketball.

4. No I in Team- This team was called by it's coach selfish. They all seem to be trying to do to much as individuals and it is costing them on both ends of the floor. This is by far not a new expression here. But ball movement on offense and communication and help on defense are aspects of playing good team basketball. Kobe Bryant and Lebron James have even learned this lesson that as good as an individual can be. Eventually you can only get so far. Chris Bosh in calling out his team has been criticized by some. But I think it is a combination of him being frustrated and knowing this fact. He won a gold medal on Team U.S.A on a team full of stars. Part of why that was possible is because everyone bought into playing as a team. Basketball has been called the greatest team sport ever invented by some. It can be that and when a team fully buys into a team concept it can be beautiful to watch.

That about does it for me. I am going to be doing some running around today getting ready for the launch of RAPTORS RUN THIS BAR WEDNESDAYS....WHICH STARTS TONIGHT HERE IN HAMILTON. 291 QUEENSTON ROAD....@BROOKLYN'S. If you show up you will have you chance to win 2 tickets to Raptors vs Warriors on April 4th. So happy St. Patrick's Day and come on down if you are in the Hamilton area and watch the game with me. I won't lie the Raptors have not exactly been helpful in the build up to this event but they need a win badly and if they play poorly to be in a place that serves drinks might not be a bad idea. Also great food for you to enjoy as well.


  1. Good luck, James, on the Raptors Run promotion. Myself, I originally planned on a trip to Philly to take in a Raptors road game on the 3rd, but their play of late has disheartened me. Instead, we'll be visiting Boston to take in the Cavs/Celtics game -- I'll consider it scouting for the playoffs, ha!

    I agree with points, especially with 2 & 3. I can accept not having great perimeter D 'cause the other team still needs to make the shots, but when we're giving them second chance points, it's just tough to stomach. I know Demar's your boy, but why does he seem allergic to crashing the defensive glass? It's like he tries to leak out all the time. Is that on him or coaching? Is there an advantage for the wings to sprint up the court first? They always seem to leave it up to Andrea or Chris to inbound the ball after a made basket.

  2. I think no just Demar but everyone is thinking offense first and play D and rebound based on the success they have on offense.

    Thanks for the kind wishes for the Bar Promotion. Excited to give away some tickets to a lucky fan. As for Demar being my guy I like him a lot really nice kid. But C.B and T.J follow me on Twitter. Where is Demar at? LOL I am just kidding.

  3. So, if he doesn't follow you back, he doesn't get to see your @DeMar_DeRozan tweets, right? I could never figure out if people I name drop actually see what I tweet.

  4. Following on impact on the ability to sent DM's or direct messages. Which is how I set up interview with T.J Ford through several DM's