I think it's hilarious how both Cleveland and Toronto started their season in the same way but dealt with it differently. Cleveland is still extremely bitter about LeBron James jumping ship and being extremely petty about it, I might add. Chris Bosh leaves Toronto, albeit in a less 'flashy' way than LeBron left the Cavs, but the Raptors basically address the loss and get down to business. This makes me respect this club more and more. By all rights, the Toronto Raptors should have beat the New York Knicks on Wednesday night since the Knicks are in more of a transition than the Raptors. The Raptors did a good job of closing in on a 16 point lead by the Knicks in the first half, going to the second quarter with only seven points to catch. The Raptors took the next two quarters on points alone with New York coming out on top in the end (98-93). It is clear they are still finding their way but have a solid fighting spirit. It's a shame Amir Johnson got into foul trouble and only played 12 minutes on Wednesday because maybe that may have been the difference. Brian Colangelo couldn't have been happy since the club just signed Amir to that 5 year, $34 million contract in the off season. So for these next few games against Cleveland, Sacramento and Utah in the coming week, the Raptors need to stay out of foul trouble, stay healthy and keep fighting.
Cleveland - What should we do? (@ Toronto Friday, Oct. 29, 7pm)
You knew this was coming. LeBron James hooks up with NIKE on a commercial poking fun at himself and the Cleveland Cavaliers were surely to respond. A little clever with a heavy dose of bitterness. The Cavaliers posted an article on their website responding to LeBron's commercial. Here's a taste: "What should we do? Should we admit we made a mistake? That we believed you? That we believed who you said you were? All the way up until the night you humiliated our city and mocked our loyalty on national television?..." The piece then goes onto brag about beating the Boston Celtics without him and how the Heat lost their first game of the season in sweet redemption. Cleveland Cavalier fans have every right to feel upset and the organization has every right to feel frustrated. But in my honest opinion, they need to take the high road and get over it already. This is reminding me too much of high school: the immature break-ups and inability to move on with your life kind-of-attitude. Sure, he hurt you but as our mothers always told us "there are other fish in the sea". Ok, celebrate the fact that you won and the Heat didn't. Carrying around all this bitterness and wasting your energy on what he's doing is no way to get over it and move on - This is what Cleveland needs to do fast before they embarrass themselves even more.
On a side note, the voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers is off preparing for heart surgery and a double bypass. Hall of Fame radio announcer Joe Tait has no specific timeline for a return but the Cavaliers want him behind the mic later this season.
Young Kings in Sacramento (vs. Toronto in Sacramento, Monday, Nov. 1st, 10pm)
When you click on most teams, their home page comes up. Not for the Sacramento Kings. The first page is a celebration, if you will, of the 117-116 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves to start the season. When you get over the splash of DeMarcus Cousins and the "Young Kings Hang on For First Season-Opening road win since 2000!" banner, you actually need to click on 'Home Court' to get to any information on the team. I guess they have every reason to celebrate because with a score like that it could have gone either way. Minnesota Head Coach Kurt Rambis blames silly fouls for his team's loss to Sacramento. To the Kings' credit though, Carl Landry had 22 points, 11 rebounds on the night and DeMarcus Cousins put up 14 points and 8 rebounds. I am sure if Tyreke Evans was in the line-up, it would have given Sacramento that extra push. Evans was serving his one-game suspension for pleading no contest to reckless driving in the off-season. He will be available to play and start for the Sacramento Kings for the remainder of the season. Good thing because the Kings are looking to keep him through to next season by extending his contract. They couldn't ignore Evans joining the company of LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson as the only rookies in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Aside from the reckless driving charges, he really is a good kid. He purchased 13 season tickets and donated them to local youth and special groups in part with the "Kings for the Community" program. With him back in the line-up, the Raptors will need to be on watch when they meet up on Monday in Sacramento.
Not so Jazzy in Utah (vs. Toronto in Utah, Wednesday, Nov.3rd, 9pm)
The Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors have a lot in common. They both have never won an NBA Title, they both lost big names this summer (for the Jazz it was Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Kosta Koufos and Wesley Mathews) and they are both looking for a new identity. With the veteran additions of Raja Bell and Al Jefferson, the Utah Jazz are looking to be a Championship contender - eventually. I say 'eventually' because if you look at their stats, their road record doesn't look too hot and this needs to be strong if they are going to survive the highly competitive Western Conference. Just look at their game Wednesday night in Denver versus the Nuggets. Denver took a 9-0 lead in the first quarter and never trailed after that. But the real clincher for me was the whopping 22 turnovers which lead to 19 Denver points. Not good. Not good at all. But a light at the end of the tunnel, after a 110-88 season opener loss to the Nuggets, comes in the form of reserve forward Gordon Hayward. Utah is lucky to have him. Remember Butler's surprise dance in the NCAA Final earlier this year? Well, in case you didn't know, Gordon Hayward was a big part of that. Plus, he had 9 points and 5 rebounds in his first NBA game with Utah. Not bad for a small fry - if you consider 6-9, 207 pounds small, that is.
Thank-you for joining me. Keep today's discussion in mind when you watch the Toronto Raptors this week. I hope I have provided you some food for thought and armed you with some information to help you think outside the box. Have fun and see you on Tuesday for some more NBA discussions in "Jiggly Bits".