Worst Birthday Party EVER

Chris Bosh turned 26 yesterday. The Utah Jazz crashed his party at the ACC and they trashed the place. In doing this I always try to be optimistic heading into any game the Raptors play. However at the same time I always have a realistic idea of what I expect. Heading into last night's game I expected the Jazz would win. The simple reason that the Jazz execute what they do on offense so well. A good defensive team is challenged to stop the Jazz. A bad defensive team can be taken apart. The Raptors clearly are that team and the Jazz went to work on them. Williams took a part Jose Calderon and proved once again why Jose Calderon is just one of the worse defenders starting at his position in the league. Deron Williams line was a thing of beauty with 18 points, 16 assists, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. He was just one of 7 Jazz players that got to double figures in terms of points.

Chris Bosh was left after this one begging for some help as he had 20 points and just 5 boards and did cut down on his turnovers with just 2. Hedo Turkoglu was not much help he only made an appearance in first half and left with a upset stomach. He had just 4 points prior to leaving. Bargnani did play the whole way but only had 12 points and 4 rebounds with a couple of blocks. Raptors with Bosh included in this got killed on the glass. it was 38-28 on the glass in favour of the Jazz including 14 on the offensive boards for Utah.

The Jazz got so many open looks it was embarrassing. The playoffs are about defense, rebounding and valuing every possession. The Raptors are doing none of that and are in serious jeopardy of not even making the playoffs. The Raptors are having to hope for help from others to handle their business. The Heat, who now sit a game and a half in front of the Raptors, tied with Bobcats for 6th take on the Bulls who are now just 2 games back of the Raps for the final playoff spot. Given the way things are going for the Raptors you have to hope the Heat get the win.

The Raptors play the Nuggets next and given this performance vs the Jazz, which ended in a 113-87 loss if you could not bear to watch the whole thing. Anyway it seems highly unlike to expect the Raptors some how pull it together enough to beat the Nuggets who are battling for 2nd in West with Mavs. This Raptors season will be defined by games Sunday and Monday on the road vs the Heat and Bobcats. If the Raptors walk away from those 2 road games without a win they can pretty much forget about 6th or 7th and will be hard pressed to hang on to 8th.

Regardless of how the regular season plays out the Raptors for yet another season, have fallen short of the expectations that people had for this team. There is lots of blame to go around for that but the ultimate price the Raptors could pay is losing Chris Bosh. If you listen to his comments of late he sounds like a guy that is just begging for someone to give him some reason to believe in this team. Bosh's personal performance has gone down but the play around him has dropped even further. In 7 years in Toronto the one thing that has remained constant in what Chris Bosh has said is that he wants to win. Looking around at the cast around him it is hard to point to anything that helps him do that going forward.

While this season on it's own is important the future of Chris Bosh is more important in the long run. If Chris Bosh joins that list that includes Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter and others that have left town it will be a crushing blow to this fan base. Sports is not as complex a business as it sometimes gets made out to be. It really comes down to this, if you can give fans a reason to have hope you generally will be successful as a franchise. There are exceptions to that rule in teams like the Leafs in NHL, Cubs in baseball that have fan bases that continue to support those teams despite very little signs of hope in their histories. But the Raptors with just a 15 year history do not have that kind of support behind them. Raptors fans have been incredibly loyal but Bosh should he leave would be a devastating blow to that fan base and to that hope. It sounds like a broken record at this point, but if the Raptors do not wake up and do it quickly, they are in danger of losing more than just another season of failing to meet expectations. They could lose much more.


  1. Good piece, as it sums up how most Raps fans are feeling now. The fact that we are in the final push now just fighting for our lives to likely eke out the 8th spot to only get hammered by the Cavs is not exactly something to look forward to.

    Last night was a metaphor for most of this season. There is no excuse to be exposed that badly on D and Vegas only had us as a 3 1/2 point dog. There is so much blame to go around now I do not even know where to start.

    Rather than doing that, what can be done to turn this franchise around? Here are my suggestions in terms of order.

    #1 Hire a proven NBA coach at the first available opportunity. I am not asking for a Kevin O'Neill, as that brand of basketball would put me to sleep, but there has to be some semblance of team defense and the roster has to include the players that can execute it.

    #2 Bosh is gone, so start working on the sign and trade that will gut our defensive liabilities and bring in some capable young talent. We are going to have to be a roster that plays team ball and does not rely on a superstar, although Bosh is not at that level, and never will be. He is and always will be a second tier star player, who can not win on his own.

    3. MLSE has to evaluate if Colangelo is once again capable of blowing up this roster with a different emphasis on their play. I do not have much hope here, as Colangelo has never built his roster for playoff success, just regular season and hope for the best in the Playoffs. Having said that, I am willing to give him another chance, but would have no problem if he was replaced.

    Bottom line is we could be in for another 5 years of ineptitude, meaning that this soon to be 20 year old franchise will still have little to show for itself for playoff success, which to me, should be the ultimate goal.

    The best thing for the Raptors would be to miss the playoffs, because only then will the changes above either be implemented, or at least be under review. By making the playoffs in a weak Eastern conference, Colangelo will be able to do his usual snake oil sales job to the board and convince them the season was a success.

  2. I actually wanted BC to blow up the team last year. All I have to say is that his vision is an experiment that didn't work. The best replacement I could come up with for Bryan is Dennis Lindsey (currently the assistant GM with the San Antonio Spurs)

    #1 I would have a defense-first vision.
    #2 I would hire Bruce Bowen as an assistant coach, to teach them how he used to defend.
    #3 S&T Bosh for a bunch of young pieces and draft picks (possibly DeJuan Blair)
    #4 Fire Sale (or as Stephen A Smith said about helping the Knicks a few seasons ago "anybody who could have been contaminated by the situation they were in, get rid of them")

  3. The comment above says it all, however I truly do not think Jay is the culprit here.Its clearly the players..If it is not then the orchestration of this team was poorly orchestrated from day one. I really think the Raps organiztion needs to re-address the staff at the top.If anyone for a second thought Hedo was the savior or reasons for Bosh potentially staying..They have to bee out of their mind.
    I agree the Raptors should not be in the playoffs, its quite simple they are not a contender by any means. The only advantage the Raps have to going to the Playoffs is revenue. I think many are sick and tired of hearing lets hope we get to the playoff. Yea then what?

  4. I appreciate all the comments.Covering this team everyday I feel everyone's pain I honestly do. No one is more so then me. Not just as a fan but as someone that tries my best to make a bit of a living based on peoples love and passion for the Raptors and basketball.

    Nights like last night are painful both personally and professionally I guess is my point. I guess my biggest concern is that people reach the point they become disinterested in Raptors. That is not good for me or this franchise.

    Obviously as much as I am frustrated I can only imagine that for Chris, Jay, Bryan they all share in that frustration and some way some how they need to turn this around. This as I have been writing is more then about this season it is about the future of this franchise and it's ability to grow and expand in Toronto Area and across this country.

    We are all hurting as a fan base, as people that make a living providing coverage of this team and The Franchise itself. THESE ARE TOUGH TIMES and hopefully we can survive them and be better for it on the other side.

  5. I dunno, even worse than Bosh leaving is 3 huge remaining contracts of Jose, Hedo and Andrea. I doubt that anybody is going be dumb enough to take any of these 3 stiffs. I does not look good at all folks...

  6. Funny I mentioned those very contracts on Radio in MTL last night that is some serious committed coin. Maybe it was on Score Live Blog it has all blended together.

  7. One constant is all of this is Chis Bosh has been here 7 years and the teams have been awful. He is a second or third tier star in the league that can't play defense. Get rid of him. Totally useless player who is extremely selfish and does not play team ball. Looking at the Jazz and the way they move the ball should be clear to all how a player like Bosh can make your team so bad. Let someone else suffer with his me my first attitude.

  8. I disagree with a ton of that. Chris has been a stand up guy his entire time with the Raptors. He was on Team USA that alone speaks to the fact he is Not a 2nd Tier or even 3rd Tier talent.

    I also disagree he is a selfish player. What have the pieces around him produced? Not a lot is the answer. He is a multi-time all-star and not one single person on this roster beyond him is even close to being considered an all-star at this point.

    I personally refuse to throw this guy under the bus. He has not done well since returning from his injury. Prior to that he was having a career season and this team without him is looking at a high lottery pick without question.

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