"NBAz in 7 Dayz"

Basketball is my solice, my outlet and the means by which I keep myself youthful. When I was a kid, I used to go to the outdoor courts near my parent's place to clear my head and shoot baskets. It was my time to work out the kinks of my game and personal life. On many of these occasions, my Dad would come along, show me his sky hook and we would often play a little one-on-one. I know I am a better hockey player than basketball player - that much I will admit. But those days on the court with my Dad are ones I will remember because we would feed off each other and have fun. He obviously had the height on me and let's face it, I had speed on my side (sorry, Dad). We would butt heads -still do- but there was something about our roles on the court that would just mesh and those debates about Leafs' line-ups or curfew would just go to the wayside. I think this is what's missing from the Big Three in Miami. It's too personal. Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh are great basketball players - that is a fact. But the climate which made them individually great before coming together in Miami is way different than what they are being afforded now. Let's really dive into this and touch on Laker's Head Coach Phil Jackson's latest comments.

Too Many cooks in the Kitchen

It would be overstating the obvious if I were to proclaim the Miami Heat are having some issues. With Thursday's game in Cleveland, LeBron's return to play his former teammates will not be like Bosh's in how he greeted the Raptors' bench and made plans to go out after. I highly doubt LeBron James will be sticking around Cleveland after that game and heading straight for the team bus. The level of hate and revenge against the Heat and LeBron James is so high in Cleveland that according to ESPN, dozens of extra police will be assigned to the game both in uniform and undercover. The Cavaliers management and the NBA will not only be considering the safety of LeBron James and the Miami Heat, but of of LeBron's family, too. Shirts or posters or any kind of homemade device which show any form of disrespect to LeBron James or his family will be banned. This is serious business. One member of the Cavs management team had this to say about Thursday's game: "Honestly, I'm a little bit afraid. Some people don't care. Their mentality is 'I've got to get this off my chest'. There's so much negative energy around this game. People aren't excited about the game itself. They're just like, 'I can't wait to do something'". This is really sad. The Cleveland Cavaliers have never prepared for an event like this with the amount of security detail Thursday's game will have. According to Cavaliers' Senior Vice President of Communications Tad Carper, the team, the NBA and the Cleveland police have been preparing for this game since the schedule was released in August.

It seems as if there are two choices when it comes to the Miami Heat now: dislike and hate. Two very strong areas to be in. I know booing happens at any sporting event and signs like 'Beat the Heat' are normal. To be honest, though, I never thought I would see the day when LeBron James would only draw applause from the crowd on the road when he makes a mistake. But the real issue I have now is the hits he is taking from those within in the league. Even NBA Team owners and players are weighing in on why the Heat are not so hot right now. "I want them to loose all their games" says Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Tracy McGrady is personal, but more constructive in his criticism: "Both of those guys need the ball, and they don't shoot the ball like Ray Allen. That's why they are having trouble scoring in the half court, because they can't get a rhythm, because one of them is dominating the ball". So Cavs Head Coach Byron Scott can get fined for arguing with a referee and impeding his ability to do his job but people like Mark Cuban can just shoot off his mouth. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and should be free to express it but I think owners are held to a higher standard. Would you want to work for someone who stood up for you when things were hard or someone who publicly criticizes those who came before you? I have to give Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra credit. He has to be thinking his job is on the line because with a roster and a boss like his, there is added pressure. He is doing his best to put a positive spin on things saying that adversity builds a team and disagreements are good. However, tensions are high in the Heat locker room and even if they are not saying it publicly yet, I am sure players are looking for change. Chris Bosh has the best attitude through all this: "We all wanted this coming in, so we're going to have to deal with it and just overcome it". I think a little bumping of shoulders between player and coach are the least of their worries.

Lakers are quietly happy

The one team in the NBA happy about the bulls eye on each Heat jersey is the Los Angeles Lakers. Here's a team who is expected to three peat an NBA Championship and in comes the Miami Heat drama train deflecting some of the pressure. Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson and his team are not out of the woods yet. He is as zen as he always is and but with this being his final year as an NBA Coach, there is an expectation he goes out on top. He's been publicly expressing his frustration lately about the timeline for Laker Andrew Bynum's return. Bynum has been out of the Lakers' line-up recovering from surgery he had on his right knee in the summer. Although Phil Jackson wishes this recovery was going a little quicker, I don't think his coaching style allows for public humiliation of his players. He still believes Bynum is working hard in his rehabilitation and is "a very willing worker. Absolutely no doubt". Bynum has said he expects to make his season debut sometime in December but I doubt after all this time he'll be up to a starting position. He's in practice now and slowly building up the intensity but I don't think his conditioning will be deserving of a starting position. Knee surgery is serious business in any sport and can be career-ending for even the best players. He should be happy he has a leg to stand on and go from there.

Thanks for joining me today. I will see you here on the DNB this Thursday for more "Behind Enemy Lines".


DNB Fridays

Just wanted to make a little announcement. The Dino Nation Blog will be covering all Friday Home Dates for the Raptors for the rest of this season. It has been our privilege to have access to the Raptors last season and now this season. This will allow us to have a more consistent schedule and allow you the readers to know when I am there to cover games. The lone exception to that will be December 10th in which I will be busy hosting some lucky contest winners in the MGD Best Seats in The House vs Nuggets. This starts this Friday with the OKC Thunder taking on the Raptors at the ACC. Here is a list of the dates.

  • Dec 3rd - OKC Thunder
  • Dec 17 - New Jersey
  • Jan 14th - Detroit
  • Jan 28th - Milwaukee
  • Feb 4th - Minnesota
  • Feb 11th - Portland
  • Feb 25th - Phoenix
  • Mar 11th - Indiana
  • Mar 18th- Washington

There will be two additional dates we will be in the house for as well. One in April because the Raps do not have a home date on Friday in April and another to be determined. I am thrilled this could be worked out and thanks to Jim LaBumbard for the opportunity to have a consistent presence in covering the Raptors. I also thank all of you for your support of the Dino Nation Blog and hope this latest announcement will allow us here at the DNB the chance to serve you our readers better.

So it is TGIF for the DNB for the rest of the Raptors home schedule. We look forward to it as I hope you will as well.

Davis is Back And Thoughts On A Long December

Reality is never a lot of fun. Raptors after the high of a surprising 4 game win streak have kind of come back to reality. The loss of Reggie Evans was a major blow to the Raptors. You might on the surface think it is just about rebounds but it is about a lot more. He really had become a leader this season with the lack of any real leader in that locker room. Bargnani is clearly the best player on this team offence wise. He also is likely the most talented overall. But no one is confusing him with a leader. We have spoke many times about Jose Calderon and his lack of leadership in this blog. On the floor he may be a leader in terms of his running of the offence. But off the floor Calderon has never really stepped up and taken that leadership role. The Young Onez are all still growing and learning, and while they may be the most visible in terms of this team in almost sharing the role as the face of the Raptors, Leading this group is still not something any of them are set to take on. DeRozan is actually battling with a hamstring and just trying to get his game right. Johnson has yet to consistently prove he can stay on the floor. While Weems has earned his way into the starting line-up and has been the most consistent of the group. But for Sonny the idea of being a starter is still a fresh one for him to deal with.

So for all of those reasons the leader that emerged for this Raptors team was Reggie Evans. He leads on the floor with his flat out hustle and energy, while off it he is a no nonsense straight forward guy. Reggie is not ever afraid to speak his mind. If the Raptors had a battle royal there is no question who the favourite to win it is. He is the closest thing the Raptors have had to Charles Oakley. He may not have the scoring touch of an Oakley and from everyone you talk with Oakley had a basketball IQ that was off the charts. But in terms of a tough guy that speaks his mind and has respect in the locker Reggie does have that. The fact the Raptors effort was awful without him is not really a great shock or it shouldn't be. Reggie was asked not that long ago why he had not been more vocal and taken this leadership role last season. He said that the fact he missed the first half of last season was why. It is hard to get guys to listen when you are not out there battling with them was the basic reason he gave. Which makes a lot of sense. After the start Reggie has had to this season maybe the fact he has been in there from the start this year will change what he says and how it is taken. But clearly someone who is healthy needs to step up to the plate and lead this team. Although Reggie's injury is not as bad as the one that caused him to miss over half the season. He still is not going to be back anytime soon and think if he played another game in the 2010 calender year I would be shocked.

December is already a challenging month for all teams in the NBA with the fact that the holiday season kicks in. Players just like all of us having shopping for presents to do and planning for the short time they actually do get off for the holidays. But now the Raptors also have this giant void to fill in the line-up. It comes at a critical time as well in terms of the fact the Raptors have a lot of home dates leading up to the holidays. Many coaches will tell you the more they are on the road away from home in the holiday season the better, as it avoids a lot of the distractions I mentioned. It is likely we will see ED Davis finally make his debut with the Raptors in this month as well. Currently in the D-League with the Raptors other draft choice Solomon Alabi. Well until I just got an email from the Raptors he was. We interrupt your originally scheduled blog with Breaking News.

Breaking News-Ed Davis has been recalled from the Erie Bayhawks. In 2 games with them Davis averaged 10 point 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in just 17.5 minutes per game. Davis is expected to practice on Tuesday with the Raptors and be on the active roster vs the Wizards on Wednesday.

So back to what we were talking about which ironically was Davis. My main concern in terms of him is that some fans may have over blown expectations for him. It is important to keep in mind this a kid that missed the end of his college season and all of training camp and pre-season. While his father is a former NBA player and all it does not mean this is going to be easy for him. Just like it took Demar DeRozan time to adjust to the NBA. In fact still is adjusting to a degree. Ed Davis is not going to come in and be able to set the world on fire and make you forget about Reggie Evans. It is going to be a lot of learning and growing and mistakes. But thanks in part to the trade the Raptors made and now the injury to Reggie there is going to be minutes for Ed Davis to start that learning process. The same eventually will be true in terms of Solomon Alabi who is comparison to Davis is very raw.

Regardless of this latest bit of news, December is going to be a tough month for the Raptors, and they will be a team looking for someone to fill in for Reggie as the leader. Who will step up to the call and do that might be interesting. It also might be a large step in the growth of some young players on this roster. It is going to be an intriguing month to see what happens with this team. A chance to take steps in the development process. But with the latest 2 losses, it was a good reminder as to what this season is all about. Goals of the playoffs in the unspectacular Eastern Conference are really unlikely, and if on the slim chance, and I do mean slim chance it would happen, it would be considered a major bonus and a minor setback. The bonus being playoff experience for this young group. The set back would be a lower pick in the draft. But on the plus side that Miami pick is not looking as horrible as it once did, with the Heat 9-8. Regardless, Raptors and playoffs should not be in the same sentence at this point. Growth and development are what this season will and has to be about.


Life Without Reggie Begins

So no Reggie Evans today and Zack Cooper(Fan 590 @Zcooperstown) won the Twitter race and was first to post no Peja as well today. Raptors are in tough, as the Hawks have always been a team that seems to be built to exploit the Raptors weaknesses. Not that is was the intention to do that. But when you think about in the past the Raptors minus the dominant Center the Raptors were constructed a lot like the Magic. That is a team the Hawks have been built to beat for sure. Regardless the Hawks, as I wrote in the preview have just always got under Raptors skin in a lot of ways. What will happen this year? Will start to find out today. But a little info about Reggie's injury he has sustained a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot (also known as a Jones fracture). I asked on Twitter for someone with medical background what that means recovery wise. Was told 6-8 weeks. Not sure if that is on the money but gives you a ball park. Bottom Line Reggie is not coming back anytime soon. As for who replaces Reggie...Not Amir? Joey Dorsey set to start.

1st Quarter

Marvin Williams opens the scoring after both teams had failed possessions and Weems answered right back. Bargnani the score plus a foul and Raptors lead 7-5. Mike Bibby 3 and here we go again with Bibby. Bargnani looking good early and working down low and scoring. Weems also off to a good start coming off perhaps his worse effort of young season. More Bargnani with a slam and Raps an early 15-14 lead in a back and forth affair at the ACC early on. Jose with the hook-up for Joey Dorsey with the slam. Al Horford the calm reply and it is 17-16 Raps. Bargnani has an early 9 points and looks really good some rebounds too. Hawks were getting things done as well offence wise and had a 20-19 lead. Horford quietly getting it done and he was off to a nice start. Foul magnet in effect for Amir Johnson and he gets 2 quick fouls and is back to the bench. Raptors putting up a game fight early down 27-23 to Hawks.

2nd Quarter

Crawford another Raptor killer of note with just a crazy 3 ball. He made shots like that when he got 50 against the Raps as a Bull. Bad memories there sorry about that. Raps were staying scrappy though and a steal and Barbosa score would make it 32-30 Hawks. With 7:28 to go in half and Bargnani the score and draws foul on Horford and with and 1 he gives Raps a 35-34 lead. Josh Smith gets teched up and these are the undisciplined Hawks I know. Hawks would re-take the lead thanks to a few calls that some claim were questionable. Joe Johnson three makes it 43-38. Hawks looking to build a bit of an advantage. They were starting to a Kleiza miss and Hawks score and a time out with Raptors down a touchdown on Grey Cup Sunday in Canada. Amir Johnson back on the floor and scores out of time out. Raps were the best way to put it is fighting to hang around down 52-46 at the half.

3rd Quarter

Bargnani a decent half with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Joey Dorsey with an unconventional 2 in the post to start the 2nd half. If Raptors were going to get serious about winning this game they need to start playing some defence. Hawks had an 8 point lead and were getting lots of open looks. They start hitting them and this game could slip away fast. Mike Bibby a big 3 and nails it the lead was 10. Hawks score again and lead was a dozen. Triano to late on trigger calls a time out trailing 63-51. Raptors were as Randy Savage use to say in the "Danger Zone" and if they did not find a way out fast this game was going to be over for them. Raptors had had stopped the bleeding but a once 1 touchdown lead was now 2 on Grey Cup Sunday. Actually maybe they had not. One thing was for sure they can not buy a bucket here in the 3rd. Marvin Williams 3 and the lead was 18 and memories of the 4 game winning streak were long gone. Al Horford scores and lead is 20..Triano calls a time out. Like closing the barn after the horse left 15 minutes ago. Another Jay Triano halftime speech to throw out as this team's effort in the 3rd has been non existent. After we add up the damage it is 77-57. Raps down 20 for you math challenged people.

4th Quarter

How bad was it? How about 3/17 and out scored 25-11 in the 3rd. Rewind you mind to the Wizard's game...yeah like that. Only good thing was Bayless was getting some extra PT and taking advantage of it. Yet with Raptors down 22 they put Jose back it as Tim Chisholm (TSN Web Writer) on Twitter for what? There was no reason for him to be and it was excellent time to let Bayless get some extended minutes and learn the system. Demar was in for what was in effect garbage time. If he has a sore hamstring why? That being said he was getting a couple scores could for his confidence. I mean no one is being fooled into thinking Raptors have a chance here. Jay Triano doesn't really think we are stupid here right? Raptors had no effort and Twitter was giving you instant reaction to what people thought about it. Raptors were now down 3 Touchdowns on Grey Cup Sunday 94-73 with thankfully only 2 minutes to play. 96-78 is your final score.

Josh Smith had a triple double. The Raptors effort in first game with out Reggie Evans was beyond pitiful. Reggie brings a lot of the fight to this team but they honestly have to fight individually and as a group. One guy should never have that much of an impact. Be they named Bosh or Evans. Raptors will have to find some answers before they play the Wizards on Wednesday. A month in the books and Raptors finish the first month of the NBA season including a couple games in October at 6-11. Anyone that was starting to think this team had a chance to make the playoffs after that 4 game winning streak this was your reality check. This one for the Raptors as well will see how they respond.

Hawks Land At ACC

The Hawk might not be a rival of the Raptors but they have been annoying over the years. Remember last season and 50 point beat down they laid on the Raptors. One game at the ACC few years ago it was Jose Calderon that took a goon elbow to the back of the head. There was also Al Horford taking out T.J Ford. Oh and who can forget those wacky Atlanta score keepers that had a big role in a couple games down in the ATL. All this on top of the fact that if you built a team in the past designed to beat the Raptors they were it. Athletic and physical with lots of shot blockers and 3 point shooters. If you are a Raptor fan and don't hate the Hawks just a little not sure how that is possible.

The Basics: Atlanta 10-7 (Hawks better on Road at 6-2) Raptors 6-10 ( Home Record 4-3)

When Last We Saw Them: Raptors lost a game to Boston and more importantly lost Reggie Evans to a broken right foot. Raptors were taken to task by Rondo early and never could recover despite a nice 3 point shooting effort.

Key Match-ups: Mike Bibby is one of those players that in his career has been a Raptor killer over the years. He always has to be accounted for. When he lines up against the Raptors he turns into Reggie Miller or Ray Allen in terms of 3 point shooting. Also Al Horford will NEVER get a Christmas card from the Dino Blogger but even I admit he is balling for the Hawks. In last season's playoff when the rest of his team rolled over and played dead it was him still giving 100%. Lastly the Raptors need Amir Johnson to step up starting for an injured Reggie Evans. This is a team match-up but the battle on the glass will be key to watch for the Raptors as they begin life without Reggie for what will be an extended period of time.

Other Things Of Note: All Horford is averaging career highs in points, assists, FG% and FT%. He really has become quite the force for Atlanta. Hawks as a team are shooting lights out at 48% from field and Horford is leading the way shooting 60.6%. Hawks are on a rare afternoon back to back after playing at MSG yesterday and getting a win over the Knicks also with a afternoon tip time. Hawks also have a new head coach in Larry Drew and he sure seems to have a different approach from the Hawks last head coach which is good because it was needed.

In Case You Missed It: Welcome to Year 4 of the Dino Nation Blog. Yesterday was are anniversary and I made a video and wrote a bunch of stuff. Also do something creative and show us why you deserve Raptors and Nuggets Tickets for the MGD best seats in the house. You have till Tuesday at Midnight to get your entry in to DinoNationBlog@Gmail.com. For details on how to win check here.


Bad Break For Raptors In Boston.

I was busy working for The Score last night so I am watching the game the morning after. As you can tell by the title I am well aware of what happens in this one. If you are not and missed the game as well it will become obvious by the time were done. Celtics looking for revenge and they will do it with Rajon Rondo who was a game time decision. He will play was the decision.

1st Quarter

First possession of the game for Raps is a turnover and first for Boston is a K.G basket. He would score another before DeRozan would get Raps on the board. But a bad mistake by Demar on D leaves Ray Allen open for a 3 an early 7-2 Celtics lead. Ray Allen was not done as he starts 3-3 from 3 point range and is torching the Raptors as he has done in the past. Boston had a huge early lead 19-5 over the Raptors. Alley to a very big opp that is Shaq and Rondo hooked hum up for the easy 2. Boston was still up big 22-9. Rondo was tearing apart the Raptors with easy lob passes for his big guys. Calderon with a confident jump cuts lead to 10 briefly. When Rondo hit the bench for a breather his Celtics were up a dozen with the score 28-16. Once the dust settled it was 31-20 Celtics after 1.

2nd Quarter.

Given the events of Sunday and fact Rondo is playing and wasn't Sunday are the 2 driving forces behind this lead. Bayless learns fast...pass it to Bargs and he hits for the east 2 on the jumper, Erden from Turkey has worker out better then the Raptors Turkey venture in Hedo. Bayless a drive and score and with the and 1 and cut lead to single digits at 40-31 Celtics. A Kleiza would get Raps within a touchdown and that would cause Doc Rivers to call for a time out. Raps kept coming a nice hook-up for Bargnani from Bayless. Then a drive and Bayless missed lay-up but Amir cleans up on the glass and makes lead just 3. Fact make that 1 as Bayless made a pair at the line. Celtics finally get it together and get a basket. Pierce follows up the K.G slam and lead was back to 5. Rondo was making it look all to easy as he was lob passing the Raptors to death. The Celtics ball movement in this game was spectacular. Jay Triano need to find answer to Rondo he called for a time out with Raptors down 6. Out of time Demar DeRozan comes to life with a jumper. On defensive end a steal and drop off for Jose for the 3 that he makes. Raps briefly closed to with in 3. Celtics were getting Kevin Garnett easy looks and he was making them. Bargnani nails a jumper and Reggie takes one on the numbers and will shoot 1. Missed it though and the lead was 4. Weems got blocked by K.G earlier and forced a missed lay-up had been a rough night for Sonny. K.G draws a foul at end of the half. K.G would make both and have a 6 point lead after 24.

3rd Quarter.

Calderon hits a basket and Shaq answers with score and 1 that he actually made. Turnover and another Celtics score. 1:40 in the Celtics lead was 11 with the score 65-54. K.G was having his own personal slam dunk contest. Both teams had a bad case of the sloppies at the moment. Teams had 7 turnovers between them so far in Quarter and Celtics had a 12 point advantage. Reggie Evans limping off with what at the time it was thought to be a sprained foot. We would learn post game it was a foot fracture. More bad news ask a basket the Raptors were credited for was taken away after video review on Shot Clock Violation. Raptor all the sudden were down 16 and with out Reggie Evans with score 74-58. Peja came off the pine to nail a 3 but Raptors were still in a deep 15 point hole. Raptors were shooting 2-17 in 3rd and Boston had a 21 point lead and Jay Triano finally decided to call a time out. Back to his old time out habits. You are not Phil Jackson and the Raptors are sure not the Lakers. Sorry was talking to television and Jay Triano. When the music stopped after 3 it was 86-67.

4th Quarter

Honestly the Raptors were not coming back in this one they would cut the lead to 10 but you never got the feeling they could win. Despite all the 3 point shooting of Peja and a little Barbosa on the side. Raptors were trying 3 ball their way back into this one. While it was an impressive display the chances were not high the Celtics were going to blow a 19 point lead. Ultimately they would not losing that basketball game 110-101. The loss itself was not a big deal. If you were honest with yourself prior to this game you knew the Raptors chances were slim. However the loss of Reggie Evans is a huge one for this team. He was a leader in the locker room and leader on the floor on the glass. This could be very ugly with no Reggie on the boards. Another game against Boston and another foot injury the irony is painful. Technically the last time was in Hartford not Boston But still a tough night for Reggie that will lead to tougher nights ahead for the Raptors.


DNB State Of The Nation.

"3 years to be a Champion it's a long time". That is what Andre the Giant said about Hulk Hogan's run as WWF Champion prior to Wrestlemania 3. I am not saying the Dino Nation Blog is a champion of anything, but we have been here for 3 years. What many folks may not realize is the Dino Nation Blog was really born out of some pretty sad emotions. I had just had a birthday and was really feeling depressed about life in general. I had one of those moments in life where as the Lebron James ad says "What Should I Do?" The answer was this blog. My media career had been put on the shelf because of having to care for my mother. I really didn't know what to do with my life to get it back on track. So I thought the thing I love to cover the most has always been covering basketball, and long before I ever set foot in the Raptors locker room I was a fan of the Raptors. Maybe I can do that and start one of these blogs that seem to be becoming popular. This all happened at around 2am in the morning. So that is how the blog started. One last shot at doing what I love to do, with what I love to do the most, basketball and the Raptors.

Maybe that is why I tend to be very emotional about these kind of things and the relationship I have tried to build with readers. If I listed all of the things that have happened since that day it would take far to long. The fact, a guy named Scott Carefoot came along and gave me the opportunity to partner this blog with The Score. The fact, I now have access to some Raptor games as a part of the media thanks Jim LaBumbard. The fact that I have interviewed people in Raptors Media like Jack Armstrong, Paul Jones, Matt Devlin, Eric Smith and many others. All people that I respect and now hopefully respect me too. Not to mention interviewing players like T.J Ford, Demar DeRozan, Reggie Evans, Stephen Curry, Sonny Weems even Chris Bosh. It all seems pretty amazing. Former Raptors like Jerome Williams and Charles Oakley too. I have been on Radio Shows in Montreal and B.C and was even on The Fan 590 as a guest with Zack Cooper. I am not sure if I thought any of this, or all of this would happen. Now we are working with a company like Molson's makers of MGD to give you readers of this blog tickets to a Raptor game. All from an idea that I had at 2am in the morning. Taking my own personal bias out of it, that makes for a pretty amazing story even if it had not been about me.

I don't think that I expected one thing that has happened most of all. I touched on this on my Birthday in the blog. All of the people that I have got to know that are Raptor fans and readers of this blog. I never expected to make friends out of doing this blog at all. However, thanks to social media and all, that is what has happened. Getting to know all the people I have, has been an unexpected joy and a source of motivation to keep working hard. As much as I truly love doing this it wouldn't be the truth if I didn't say there were some days it is hard to do this. Sometimes based on how the Raptors are doing, or sometimes just because there are not enough hours in a day. On those days I think of many of you that have taken the time to express how much you enjoy and appreciate what I have been doing. Each time you make the choice to come to this blog it not only helps in terms of the blog's success in terms of a bottom line of hits and revenue and what not, it helps motivates me.

I will be the first to admit, that in terms of writing I am never going to win an award. I am sure the number of times that I have massacred the English language are many. However, the way I attempt to write is how I would speak with you as if we could have a conversation everyday. Eventually the future of this blog likely lies more in audio and video. I think anyone that has heard the interviews I do would likely agree with that, it makes total sense. Holly Mackenzie is a brilliant writer and I respect what she does a lot. My background is more in radio and television. But till the day comes I am doing a radio show or a t.v show, this blog is my home. This year has been a bit of a struggle to kind of figure out what the future of this blog should be. I think the days of it being my own personal thing are likely coming to an end. I even added some staff to the blog in an attempt to acknowledge that. It was not an easy choice to make. When you have built something up all on your own to let go of that even at little is far from easy.

So I finally decided that I would add both Anas and Danielle to the blog. Things did not work out with Anas but I still consider him one of the great people I have got to know from doing the blog. Danielle has the same background as me in terms of education. So blogging was something new for her like it was me. She has been reliable and has been a joy to work with. I think she is really starting to get the hang of things and anything she has not got the hang of is likely my fault. But to know I can count on her to do a professional job on things she is asked to do means a lot. She has a love for basketball as well and I felt would do well at this. I was actually surprised she took me up on the offer to do it. She has a resume media wise that is very impressive. I thank her for her contributions to the blog and am grateful to have her for as long as we can. I felt it was important to have a female as part of this blog. I have a great deal of respect for women in general and women in the sports field especially. It is not the easiest world to be in for a woman and you need to have thick skin and a great amount of talent to be.

As for the future when it comes to adding more people to the blog it likely will happen. I am just very particular about doing it. I am not going to let what I have built be impacted in a negative way by anyone. Not just for myself but for all of you. If people are going to work here they have to have same passion and caring that I do. Not just for basketball but for you the readers. I want people that put you first. If people want to come here to show off what they know, and in the process belittle you the reader, that is not going to fly. One thing I have tried my best to do is make the Dino Nation Blog welcoming to all fans, be it the diehard fan that knows a great deal about the sport, to the casual fan that may not be the most knowledgeable about the sport, but still loves it all the same. In the end in some ways The Raptors /MLSE, main stream media and bloggers all are in the same business or should be on one thing. Helping grow interest in the game that is basketball. That should be everyone's mission, and if it is not that, I really don't know why you would bother. People often are surprised that I tweet freely about my total lack of interest in hockey. In 3 years of doing this blog that has only grown. While I am not foolish enough to not realize that hockey in Canada will always have it's place as number one. I also feel that basketball should not be afraid to demand it's place and not have to bow down to hockey to do it. Basketball is a great entertaining sport and the fans of it are no less passionate or patriotic in comparison to hockey fans. Be it in this blog or where ever else I will always have a passion of doing my small part in sharing my love and passion for the sport with others. In the hope that they to will see the reason why basketball is a great sport based on it's own merits.

I have found this past year both rewarding and frustrating. I am never satisfied. While I take pride in everything that I have been able to accomplish with your support and my hard work. I also am frustrated that I can not do more and do better at times. I truly am my worst critic when it comes to everything. While 99% of the time I am projecting confidence and doing my very best to promote this blog and grow it. I also privately am constantly trying to think of ways that I can improve, and also this blog can improve as well. I think the thing that I will always fear most of all is complacency. It is my greatest enemy and it is the enemy of anyone that desires to do great things. While one of the expressions my father hated was 110% I do my very best to give my 100% to this blog and all of you. I truly look at this blog as my last chance to make my dreams and goals for myself happen. I do that now knowing that I have a lot of people that will root for me and support me in that mission. But I also doing that with the full knowledge that it will be me that makes it happen. The long hours that I invest in this is my dedication to that and to you. While like every year in the past I have no idea what lies ahead in year four of doing this. I know that it will involve me working hard and pushing myself to my limits.

Know that everything that I am doing is done with you the readers in mind. I want to make this a place that you are proud to say you come everyday. I want it to be something that you can take pride in as much as I do. While the Dino Nation Blog may never truly reach the size of an actual nation. I along with your help and support do my very best to grow it and develop it into something that we can all be proud of. It is something that I truly want to see grow and succeed to even higher levels. Whatever success I have begins with 2 things. My hard work and dedication and your support. So for those of you that have supported us over the last 3 years it is only right to thank you at this time every year and throughout the year as well. I may have started this but it is all of you that keep it alive.

Revenge Rondo Or Not On Minds Of Boston.

R-E-V-E-N-G-E that is what tonight will be about for Boston. After having a 8 game win streak vs the Raptors snapped last Sunday. Reggie Evans claims it is about revenge for the Raptors as well. Raptors have lost 4 straight in Boston. But with all due respect to Reggie that doesn't fly. Celtics felt embarrassed after losing to Thunder with no Kevin Durant then losing to the Raptors that most in U.S had pegged being worst in the East. That is a lot more motivation for them. They also were without Rajon Rondo who was obviously more hurt then I thought, as he still has yet to play with sore hamstring suffered late in the loss to the Thunder. His status with a sore hamstring remains up in the air. Delonte West will not be playing and could be lost until the playoffs for Boston with a broken wrist. Ultimately if the Raptors can beat the Celtics a 2nd time within a week and extend their winning streak to 5 games Rondo or not it would be somewhat impressive.

The Basics: Boston 11-4 (1st in East, 6-1 at Home) Toronto 6-9( 9th in East, 4 Game Win Streak)

When Last We Saw Them: Raptors had little trouble beating a Sixers team that was tired and on the 2nd half of a back to back. It was a positive debut for Jerryd Bayless and Reggie Evans had his first double double of the season and a career high in rebounds with 22. It included a Raptor record for rebounds in a half with 15 in the first half and 10 in the First Quarter.

Key Match-Ups: Shaq is coming off his own double doubles recently vs Atlanta and Nets while he has fit in very well with his new team in Boston. He had a fast start in the game on Sunday only to eventually foul out with a lot of time left in the 4th. Who and how the Raptors choose to guard him will be vital. If Rondo is in he would be the biggest issue for the Raptors. Bayless and his defensive skills might help the Raptors finally keep this guy under control. Ray Allen is always someone that needs to be watched for his ability to make clutch 3 point shots. While the Celtics biggest concern is likely how to deal with Bargnani who may be on one of his best streaks offence wise of his NBA Career. He is averaging during this Raptors win streak 27.2 points a game and shooting 56.3% from the field.

Other Things Of Note: Boston has won 2 straight since losing to the Raptors. They blew out the Hawks and then returned home Wednesday and were less impressive in a win over the Nets. Raptors all-time record in Boston is a pathetic 8-20. Did you know Andrea Bargnani is now 3rd on Raptors all-time list for 3 pointers made? He recently passed Doug Christie and now only has V.C and Mo-P in front of him. Odds are he ends on top of this list are high. Odds he makes top 10 on list for rebounds is low. For the last time the Raptors won 2 straight vs Boston you need to go back to 2006/07 season. Where the Raptors actually won 3 straight vs Boston that season with a win in December 2006 and 2 in January of 2007. It is also the last time the Raptors won the season series with Boston.

In Case You Missed It: We are into week 3 of our ticket giveaway with MGD. Here are the details on your latest chance to win a pair of Tickets to watch a game with me in the MGD Best Seats in The House on December 10th vs Denver. Also my Score schedule and Raptors schedule are once again not working in harmony so the Re-Cap of this one may again make that will have to be delayed. Also on last thing are weekly DNB Chats kind of fell off the map. Looking for a good time to have them so please vote and let us know what works best for you?


"Behind Enemy Lines"

I am impressed. Whether his agent told him to say it or not, I am impressed. Jaryd Bayless is saying all the right things: being positive about the city of Toronto and being genuinely excited to be a Raptor. The club needs this kind of energy and new blood. Not to say that because Peja Stojakovic has been a pro for 12 years he's old news but Peja is acting a little more realistic. He's already proven himself in the league and knows this may be a short-term stay in Toronto. But with Jaryd Bayless, he is looking to set down some roots and grow as a player. I don't think Raptors fans should go overboard with enthusiasm but be very excited things are looking up. Let's look to this week when the Raptors play Boston, Atlanta and Washington.

Friday, November 26th - Toronto Raptors @ Boston Celtics

  • The last time these two teams met was in Toronto - Sunday, November 21st. The Raptors scratched out a 102-101 win.
  • The Celtics were without Rajon Rondo due to a hamstring injury and is currently day to day. Delonte West is also out of the Boston line-up with a broken wrist.
  • During their last meeting, the Raptors' bench outscored Boston's 31-21.
  • The Celtics allowed their highest scoring quarter against them this season during their last meeting with the Raptors.
  • Andrea Bargnani did well versus Boston in their last match-up with 29 points, with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce only getting 19 points a piece for Boston.
  • Key to this game: The Raptors played like they cared. Boston didn't and may have walked in a little overconfident.
Sunday, November 28th - Atlanta Hawks @ Toronto Raptors

  • This will be the first time the Hawks and Raptors will meet during the regular season.
  • The Hawks are coming off a 107-101 loss in overtime to New Jersey. They will play the Wizards and Knicks before meeting Toronto on Sunday.
  • The Hawks started the season 6-0 but lost 7 of their last nine games (currently 8-7 on the season to date).
  • Six players from Atlanta's roster have been named to the 2011 All Star Ballot: Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford. For the Raptors: Andrea Bargnani, Demar DeRozen and Linas Kleiza.
  • The key to this game: get Atlanta's big three (Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford) to force their shots (during their last game versus Boston, Atlanta's big three shot 20 for 50 from the floor).

Wednesday, December 1st - Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors

  • This will be the second time the Wizards and Raptors have met during the 2010-2011 regular season. The Wizards currently sit at 5-8 on the season.
  • November 16th Toronto was in Washington and lost 109-94.
  • Andray Blatche and Gilbert Arenas had 22 and 20 points on the night respectively. The Wizards also out-rebounded the Raptors 47-36. For the Raptors: Andrea Bargnani 16, Linas Kleiza 15.
  • The Wizards have two players who remain sidelined indefinitely: John Wall with a sprained left foot and Yi Jianlian is out with a bone bruise in his right knee.
  • The key to Wednesday's meeting: REBOUNDING. The Raptors need to take the lead on this and watch their transition game.

So a little food for thought as you devour these games in the coming week. Have a great weekend and see you on Tuesday for "NBAz in 7 Dayz".


Raptors Keep Rolling.

So, while I watched the Miami Heat lose their 3rd straight, you were likely watching the Raptors try to win 4 straight. Adding a couple new people to the fold in Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic. This is a game that Raptors should feel they can win and have to win. Raptors took care of Sixers in Philly on the strength of a strong performance by Andrea Bargnani.

Two things about the start of this one. Bargnani was playing like a guy that knows no one on this team can guard him. While Reggie Evans was rebounding for Bargnani and himself with 7 rebounds in like the first 5 minutes of this one. Raptors with a 15-6 early lead and we even have a Jose Calderon steal and easy score as part of that. Jose with the Uno...Dose Etc and Raps are rolling early . Reggie was even scoring a little to go along with his ever rising rebound numbers. Sonny Weems wants in on the party, the turnover and SLAMMAGE. Raps already with 8 points off Philly turnovers and huge lead 30-16. Reggie Board count is at 10 and were not out of the first Quarter. Bayless in and nails a 3..Raptors up HUGE after 1 with a 33-18 lead. The Raptors would win the second quarter as well by 4 points and take a 19 point lead to the half, 15 as not been so popular since Vince Carter when we liked him. 15 points for Andrea Bargnani and a Raptor record 15 rebounds in a half for Reggie Evans. Raps were taken advantage of a team coming off an OT loss the night before.

The Sixers would make a bit of a run and Andre Iguodala slam would cut the Raptor lead to 14. One of the changes in Jay Triano that I have noticed, beyond colourful language at times, is better use of time outs. He takes one after that easy slam and it was a good one. Raps still had a 76-62 lead and were still well in command to this point. Raptors were a bit sloppy but the Sixers were not taking full advantage of it. Cue Reggie Evans? No Really. He got board 17 then on the offensive end the basket and 1 at the line. Raps lead was back to 19 with the score 81-62. Reggie was in range to threaten Marshall's team record of 24. Raps were moving the ball well all night. The latest example Weems a drive and kick out to Barbosa for the open 3 and the Raptors were up 87-67. A little slippage at the end the 3rd and Raptors took a 87-71 lead into the 4th. Pizza was looking probably at the ACC tonight and so was a win.

Oh Iggy Pop and he did to open the 4th. Babosa answers but then a Meeks 3 and Sixers had lead down to 13. Bayless with a 3 then a hustle play and a basket in transition. He had 13 in his debut. But Philly was getting their offence off as well but still down 13. The 4th quarter was not pretty to this point but Raptors were doing enough to stay comfortably in front. Andrea an ugly miss and then a turnover on a travel, the Raptors lead was just a dozen. Raptors had about 6 more minutes to survive to get this win. They were the much fresher team having not played since Sunday. While as mentioned last night Philly was taken to overtime and eventually lost. Raptors defence was leaky and that is being kind. With under 5 to play the lead was down to 10. Raptors got lead back to 12 on an Amir bucket. They had several chances to build on that but could not. Iguodala would head to the line with 3:40ish left and make a pair at the line to make it a 10 point lead again. The Sixers had never led in this one. Sixers had their chances to cut it to single digits but just could not break through. Both teams were struggling to score with 2:30 left. Bargnani would hit to make the lead a dozen again. Reggie Evans a big offensive board and Weems the score Raps were up 14. Reggie Evans also had 20 boards...by the time the dust settled he had 22 boards a career high for Reggie. But most importantly Raptors got a 106-90 win.

To put this is some perspective Reggie had over 50% of the Raptors rebounds in this game. To think he almost was a Bobcat. Many have assumed Reggie is very much in play with his expiring contract. However, can the Raptors really afford to trade him? Not to mention the leadership he has been showing. He called that meeting after that awful loss in Washington. Maybe Reggie Evans might be a Raptor a lot longer than some expect him to be. Someone tweeted to me imagine if Reggie was healthy last year. You just might have a totally different Raptor reality. Chris Bosh might not be Like A Bosh in Miami. He might still be a Raptor or maybe he wouldn't be. But considering the Raptors fell just 1 win shy of the playoffs, it is a safe bet this Reggie could have earned them at least 1 win if not a lot more. Did you see Jason Kapono tonight? He was inactive and clearly Reggie is MORE than ACTIVE!!!

The RoundBall Review Blog

Remember These Guys?

Well they are back sort of. Unfortunately no longer in Video Format. The site that they were created from now charges to make videos and that is just not in the DNB budget at the present time. We hope you will still enjoy their brand of comedy in a written format. NOTHING they say should reflect the opinions of the Dino Nation Blog, The Score or anyone else Joey G might claim they represent. So with that I give you The Round Ball Review blog.

Reduced to a blogger. Now I know how Stephen A Smith must feel like. This sucks worse then when Chris Bosh ended our friendship by sending me a DM on Twitter that said... Sorry Joey but I checked they won't let you back into the U.S.A. Something about Obama and basketball. Peace Out. After all the times we chilled together. After all the great times we had. After I tried to hook his Grandmother up with an illegal cable box so she could watch him play basketball. I mean really did I not at least deem a phone call? A well though out heart felt e-mail? This sucks. So I am glad he is sucking and hope the Heat trade him to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut. See how you like it there pal.

Hello Raptor fans. Unlike Joey I embrace this chance that James has given us to reach out to all our fans. This is a new chance for us to keep you up to date on the Raptors as part of the Dino Nation Blog. I am J.B by the way. I noticed Joey never mentioned that off the top. Anyway the Raptors after a rough start have started to win some basketball games and have made a good trade for the future. I will miss Jarrett Jack. James told me he is a very nice guy and was always good with the media. But excited to see what Jerryd Bayless can do.

Well at least some things have not changed, you are still sucking up to James. In fact I blame you for this. Maybe the reason we don't have the money to produce the show was your over priced salary. I on the other hand will be bitter until fans demand we are put back on the air. I think we should start a telethon or something to get us back on the air where we belong. Save the Round Ball Review. I mean seriously. Maybe I will just go take a job on NBA TV Canada. They likely have seen my work and would pay big bucks to have Joey G on their network.

Joey you realize that NBA TV Canada is just the new name for Raptors T.V. The same network that you unsuccessfully begged to be on last season on Raptorspace. So I am thinking your chances are slim to none. But the big story as you sort mentioned off the top in the Miami Heat and their early season struggles. What is your take on that Joey? Why have the Heat struggled so badly.

Simple...IT IS 100% Chris Bosh's Fault. LIKE A BOSH. Maybe the guys at The Basketball Jones will have me on their show. They do a T.V show now I am sure they can use someone of my talents. I could replace that guy that says WHAT'S UP GUYS. I mean really how hard is that to do? I could do that and more. J.E Skeets and Tas Melas need to give me a call. After working with you it would be a joy to work with some people with actual talent.

You are referring to Matty O. He does more than that, he is a producer and writer for the show as well. I am sorry to Matt. He seems like a nice guy. We don't want to offend anyone in this blog Joey. Congratulations to TBJ on getting on to T.V here in Canada. I think it is great for basketball fans across the country. I know James would say the same and he has even had Tas in the blog a few times as a guest.

I can see working with you is still going to be difficult. Like a marriage to Tony Parker maybe it is time I file for divorce. But it sure has not hurt the Spurs at all. Who needs Tony Parker when you have THE RED ROCKET. Matt Bonner is on fire. I need a new favourite NBA player to be my homie maybe Bonner is the ticket. He is trying to become a Canadian as well and is married to a girl from here. We could have long talks riding on the subway it would be great.

There is something wrong about that. I just don't see that working. Matt is a simple kind of humble guy. While you, have the biggest ego of anyone that I know. In fact your ego might be even bigger in comparison to Lebron James. It would be a close call. I don't envy Mr. James having to go back to Cleveland. People are very angry about how he left and that could be a tough situation to deal with. I hope nothing bad happens.

If I was Lebron James I would just blame Bosh. Say it isn't his fault that Bosh was the one that wouldn't come to Cleveland or he would have stayed. But forget about that, what about when Bosh comes here in February. I Joey G am endorsing that Toronto Boos Chris Bosh so loud that his Grandma can hear it on T.V. He Screwed Me...I mean US over. You must stand up for what is right and Boo him louder then Tracy...Louder then Vince or you Raptor fans have lost your respect from me. Do it for Joey G, Canada and Canadian Cable providers everywhere. On second thought screw the cable providers I still don't get Sportsnet 1.

So is this going to be your thing now? Blame Bosh? Everything that will go wrong will be his fault. Is that what I am hearing? I understand everyone is upset with him but the answer to every problem can not just be to Blame Bosh. That does not make a lot of sense Joey. Not that you ever do make a lot of sense.

It is my new found answer to all life's questions. Scalpers can't sell Raptor tickets...Blame Bosh. Triano is still the coach...Blame Bosh. Andrea Bargnani still can't rebound..Blame Bosh. The leafs still suck...Blame well wait the Leafs have sucked long before him. But what the heck....Blame him anyway. You got a D in Geography...Blame Bosh. Why? Because he didn't even know where Peterborough was. You got fired...Blame Bosh. Why? Because you spent to much time on Twitter calling him a lame loser that can't rebound.

Some how I don't think Chris Bosh or blaming him is the answer to all of life's questions. But that will do it for Joey and myself. If this was not so bad that James fires us, we will be back with more thoughts and opinions on the Raptors and the NBA. It is great to be back here on The Dino Nation Blog once again. For the folks that missed us we thank you and and as we always use to say on the T.V Show...Good Bye Raptor Fans

Also get us back on the air. We will be having a Paypal account to take donations to get us back on the air. It is almost Christmas time and the spirit of giving. Can you think of a more noble cause to give to then us? O.K so maybe you can... but still give to us anyway. I can not take this writing thing for much longer. I need to have the world see my handsome face. I need to be on T.V. I need to be loved. Only you the readers of the Dino Nation Blog can make this happen.

O.K that is not happening. I do encourage people to donate to a worthy cause over the holidays if you can afford to. But we are not that cause. This is going to work Joey, you just have to have some faith in the people that support us. There are more things to life then just being on T.V. I am happy to be back in whatever form it is. I think it is just great to be back and have a chance to entertain and inform all the great fans we have out there. Thanks again to all of you.

More important then being on T.V. Tell that to Chris Bosh. I miss you Chris forget all those nasty things I just wrote. I want to take my talents to South Beach and chill TOO!!! Call me. SAVE ME CB former 4 you are MY ONLY HOPE!!!

Raptors vs Sixer In Rematch From 7 Days Ago

Since these two teams last met the Raptors have been on a roll and made a trade. Toronto entered last Wednesday in a tie for last in the East with Philly. Raptors would win and have not lost since with wins over Houston and Boston. Tonight is also the debut of Peja and Bayless. There was some talk that Bayless may take #4 upon his arrival to the Raptors but has decided to go with 5. The CB4 legacy safe for now. Well other then what he did to trash it leaving for Miami and all. Raptors sit a full 2 games in front of Philly heading into this one at the ACC. So win or lose the Raptors will not drop to the basement in the East. That being said Philly is definitely one of those "Winnable" games that the Raptors must get this season to remain competitive.

The Basics: Sixers 3-11(1-7 on the Road) Raptors 5-9 (4-4 vs East)

When Last We Saw Them: The Raptors shocked the NBA with a 1 point win over Boston. A Paul Pierce fade away did not fall and the Raptors pulled out the improbably win over Boston. This was after letting Boston erase a lead that climbed to 11 points. But the Raptors would find a way to pull out the win as Amir Johnson hit free throws to force Boston into having to score with 2.7 seconds left which they did not.

Happy to be here: Both Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless expressed their happiness to be in Toronto. Odd right? They just came off a team, that when they left was tops in the Western Conference. But truth is that they had little to do with that. Peja is happy about Toronto's Serbian community and his wife is Greek which also has a strong community.Sound all very Hedo like. Let's hope the play from Peja is not the same. From Bayless, it was all talk of opportunity and a chance to be part of this young core. Will it be long before the Young Onez had a 4th member to the group? If you listen to Jerryd chances are not that long. He also is said to be a solid defender at his position by most. Something the Raptors have lacked for a LONG LONG Time. Isn't that right Jose, Jarrett and T.J? Finally the Raptors may have an answers to stopping elite point guards.

Other Things Of Note: IGGY's Back. Andre Iguodala (who did not play last week) returned to the Sixers line-up in a 2 point loss to the Wizards who welcomed back John Wall. Iguodala has always been a Raptors killer since entering the league. His last game vs the Raptors last season he lit up the Raptors for 33 points. The all time series between these once heated rivals is at 30-28 in favour of Toronto. Raptors hold an edge in all the team stats this season with the exception of 3pt % and A
assists. Philly who struggled shooting the 3 ball last year under Eddie Jordan have improved this year shooting 35% from 3 point range under Doug Collins to this point. Peja if he plays a role, should help the Raptors poor 3 point % which is below 30%. Remind me again why that 3 point streak is important? Which for those that care sits at 956 consecutive games with making a 3.

Key Match Ups: Jose Calderon avoided Rajon Rondo but will not be able to avoid Jrue Holiday tonight. If he gets matched up on Holiday that could be ugly. But maybe this is where we get to see Bayless shine in his debut? Will see. Andre Iguodala will make it a long night for whoever is on him. That we would assume for the most part will be Sonny Weems. While for the Raptors, as it was shown the last time these two teams hooked up in Philly, have a huge advantage with Bargnani. The Sixers have no one capable of stopping him and it showed in that last meeting.

In Case You Missed It: Yesterday was my birthday. Late gifts are always welcomed. But I was so touched by all the birthday greetings I received that I felt the need to write this. Also you are running out of chances to win our Contest for The Best Seats In The House with MGD. Check out your latest chance to win tickets and join me for Raptors and Nuggets on December 10th. Congrats to our Latest Winner Mary Anne who I believe is from Toronto. If not my bad but congratulations to her and Good Luck to all of you that enter.

Looks like I will be working another game for The Score tonight so good luck to the Raptors and your re-cap might be a bit delayed.


By now you are saying James..I suck at trivia and I can't even find my car keys some days. But mission 3 is TOTALLY different. Only thing the same is what you win. Still a pair of Tickets to the MGD Best Seats in The House Box with me for the Raptors hosting the Denver Nuggets on December 10th. By the way if you have facebook please go check out the MGD page to have other chances to win stuff.

Mission #3- Free Style

Do we want you to Rap? Maybe. Ok let me explain. Our goal each day in the Dino Nation Blog is to both inform and entertain you. Some days are better than others but we try our best. That is what you will need to do to win this round. entertain us.

In whatever way you choose. Make A video, Rap, Write a Poem...Sing Like A Bosh whatever you come up with. Be creative and come up with something. Whatever you come up with send it to Dinonationblog@Gmail.com by Next Tuesday at Midnight!!!. Now I am not telling you how to do it, but will give you some guidelines as to what will make a successful entry with a chance to win.

  • #1- Show us you love the Dino Nation Blog- In this contest you might have guessed and I have made it no secret that we want our loyal readers to have the best chance to win. Same applies for this. So whatever you come up with it should show your love for the DNB.
  • #2- Show us your love for The Raptors- Obviously we cover the Raptors so we want people that are cheering for them in our box. So doing something on why you want to see Carmelo Anthony or the Birdman probably is not going to cut it. Beating them is another story. So show your passion and love for the Raptors.
  • #3- Why you?- Obviously we would like everyone to win but the box only holds so many people. So why should you be the one we pick. So don't be afraid to do a little SELF PROMOTION. I am never shy about promoting myself and the blog and the winner of this round of our contest should not be as well.
  • #4 Do what you are best at- Whatever your entry is, play to your strengths. If you can't sing don't sing. Do what you are good at and let that shine through. If you are funny be funny. If you are good at art do a poster or something.

Lastly sucking up to me is not going to cut it. I am glad people like me and I like you all as well. But in the end it will be the most entertaining entry that follows the guidelines above that will win. But most of all...JUST DO IT!!! You can't win if you don't play the game. After this you have only 1 shot left at tickets and do you really want to risk that? Of course you don't.

So you have your assignment so get cracking you have 1 week to create something that will win you these tickets. I am counting on you folks to make this a tough choice so DON'T LET ME DOWN!!!

Please note any entry we reserve the right to use it in the Dino Nation Blog as part of the promotion of this contest. Also a reminder that the winner and their guest must be over the age of 19 to enter. The winner will be chosen based on the things we have laid out in this blog. Good Luck to all who enter.


Thanks For The B-Day Love Dino Nation

Dino Nation:

I honestly was going to leave my birthday alone in the blog. You reach a certain point where a birthday is just a reminder that you are getting old. Working doing this blog, it is not lost on me the fact that everyone is younger than me for the most part. I am still out here doing what I love trying to get ahead in an online world where most people are way younger. I barely knew who Drake was...I still do not understand where this "Dougie" dance came from? Did John Wall invent it? I have no idea. In a few days I will have all my thoughts on the past year for the Dino Nation Blog. It has kind of become a tradition. They never draw a lot of hits but it nice to sit back and reflect on where the blog has been and where it is going.

But main reason I am writing this is all of you. One of the great joys for me in doing this blog has been getting to know so many fantastic people. Not just people in the media and players on the Raptors roster but all of you. The people that read the blog, that follow on Twitter and support this blog and myself. So to have so many people taking time to acknowledge that it is your birthday and taking that minute to make me aware that they care is humbling. I mean who the heck am I? How the heck does someone like me have over 1000 followers on Twitter? If I added up every friend I have had in life it would never come close to 1000.

But that is the thing that I have tried to do here. Is make you all feel like you are not just readers and hits on a website. But people that I consider as my friends and like an extended family. That is one thing I have always wanted this place to be. I am happy to say almost 3 years done, that I feel it is that. I am happier to say, that I have made the effort this year to meet so many people. As some of you know I care for my mother, and that prior to the blog being around led to me kind of being closed off from the rest of the world to a point. But thanks to this blog and all of you that is no longer the case.

I am grateful to so many that it would be unfair to single people out. But to all of you that have taken the time to get to know me. I thank you so very much. It is truly the best gift that anyone can ever receive. I work as hard as I do based in part on that. I truly bust my butt for all of you folks not only to advance myself and my dreams and goals but to take all of you along for the ride.

So once again to all of the people that took the time to wish me well on my Birthday...I say Thank You and wish all of you the same if not more.

With Much Love


"NBAz in 7 Dayz"

It is my fault Jarrett Jack was traded. It is also my fault LeBron James left Cleveland. Oh and if the rumours are true about Steve Nash, you can blame that on me, too. I know it is a major coincidence but I feel as if I need to fess up and absorb some of the fall out. Starting with LeBron James. Earlier this year, I bought a LeBron James jersey for my nephew's 4th birthday. I was debating between LeBron and Chris Bosh but I had a stronger suspicion Bosh was on his way out and opted for the Cleveland jersey. LeBron bolts and my nephew will likely never wear that jersey since his father carries much disdain for Mr. James. So now, with Christmas fast approaching, I was going to redeem myself and purchase a Jarrett Jack jersey for my nephew. I'm thinking this is a safe choice, right? No dice. Good thing I waited. At least Steve Nash has been safe so far (that's the jersey I bought my other nephew this summer). All of the above is obviously my attempt at finding the humour in player trades because really, at the end of the day, it is all business. Something had to change with the Raptors and the move happened to fall on Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks and David Anderson. Do we trust Brian Colangelo's decision to make this trade? We are going to have to whether the answer to this question is yes or no. I think Raptors fans have a special attachment to their team since they have personally invested their allegiance to the red and white through scoring slumps and lack of championships. You throw your support behind a team who lost their biggest star and made the decision cheer this team on and they lose another rising star. I am sure Jarrett Jack will be well received in the New Orleans Arena, along with Marcus Banks and David Anderson. I am also sure adding Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to the Raptors' line-up will do more than add to this team's 'young core and increase this team's financial flexibility' as Brian Colangelo said on the viability of this trade. You have to believe it or else you will live with the unsettled feeling this team is rebuilding in what could be the last season until 2011-2012. Yes, an NBA lockout seems imminent. Let's talk about this, the Miami Heat and the safety of toddlers at professional basketball games.

A Looming Lockout

"I think it's highly probable that there will be a lockout and that's what I am preparing for because I don't see anything else right now" - NBA Player's Association Executive Director Billy Hunter on the probability of a lockout next year. What is he instructing his players to do? Save their money. I don't think with the salaries they earn they will end up on the streets or starve. Let's be realistic. The production staff, arena staff, those running concession stands are the ones who should be saving their money. These are the behind-the-scenes men and women who help put on the NBA show and this is their bread and butter. But Billy Hunter's job is to look out for NBA players' best interests and rightfully so. The league is asking for players to take a collective pay cut of $700-$800 million and wants a hard salary cap to replace the current one which allows for exceptions. However, the players are saying the current system works, evident in record revenue and ticket sales and strong TV ratings. The players also claim the total of negotiated salaries has dropped for three straight seasons. Both sides are claiming they want what is best for the game. Realistically though, if no movement is seen by either side come the playoffs, a lock-out is pretty much a done deal. Both Hunter and NBA Commissioner David Stern say they need to see something in the works by the All-Star break. However, at the rate they're going, they'll be swapping BBQ recipes instead of ideas.

More Heat in Miami

I feel very concerned for Miami Heat President Pat Riley. The coals on his coaching fire must be burning watching the drama unfold in front of him. On the other hand, talk about pressure for Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra. Think about it. You have the NBA coaching experience of Pat Riley looking over your shoulder and the 'three kings' trying to rally the troops in front of you. But his is where my sympathy ends. With 1:16 left in Monday night's game against Indiana, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James leaped for a defensive rebound. They missed and the ball went to Indiana. Not the kind of play you are looking for from a couple of guys who came out yelling and pumping their fists amidst fire works before the season started. This is how Coach Spoelstra explains it "Sometimes you have four or five games where nothing seems to go right". This is true. However, when the 'three kings' came out with guns blazing and in our face about being the best without even scoring a point yet, a 'things just aren't going right' explanation doesn't cut it. They got themselves into this mess and they need to dig their own way out.

A Toddler dies after falling at a Lakers game

This is truly a sad story and raises many questions. On Sunday night, the family of a two-year old boy was posing for pictures in a luxury suite at a Lakers home game. The parents allegedly paused to look at the photos snapped and two-year old Lucas Anthony Tang managed to climb over a clear safety barrier and fell about 30 feet to his death. I have been in a few luxury boxes in my time and most of them have a room for socializing and seats for watching the game - both of which are separated by a glass door which can be locked. So I am wondering how a two year-old manages to break free unnoticed and scales a safety barrier which is clearly bigger than he is. According to Michael Roth, owner of the Staples Center (home to both Lakers' and Clippers' games), the luxury boxes have tiers of seats. These seats are fronted by concrete walls and on top of these walls are glass barriers. He says the barriers vary in height but its lowest point sits about the the height of an adult's waist. Should there be an age or height requirement for these luxury boxes? Maybe. Should the parents have kept a closer eye on their child or even left them at home with a caregiver? Sure. Whatever mistakes were made though, it should not have been punctuated by a loss of life. Both the Los Angeles Police Department and the Staples Center are conducting their own investigation. Let's hope the Tang family can find some peace soon.

On this note, hug your niece, nephew, grandchildren or children a little tighter tonight - you just never know when tragedy will strike. See you on Thursday for "Behind Enemy Lines".


Ed Davis Is A Bayhawk

This from the Dino Blogger's I told you this would happen file. Ed Davis has been sent to the Erie Bayhawks joining Solomon Alabi who the Raptors sent down there just recently. The stay for Davis is likely to be shorter as it is being called a "Rehabilitation/Conditioning Assignment". However no timetable is laid out on when he could appear back up with the Raptors. The recent trade made by the Raptors, in theory, as Jack Armstrong mentioned here in the Dino Nation Blog, could open up minutes for both Davis and Alabi on the Raptors down the line.

Here is an interesting trivia fact. The Raptors have sent 5 players in total to the D-League in the past. Obviously Davis and Alabi are two. Who are the other 3? Nathan Jawai, P.J Tucker and Pape Sow, if you knew that answer you are clearly a true Raptors junkie. Jawai to Idaho, P.J to Colorado and Pape to Arkansas.

The only time Davis has suited up for the Raptors and got out on the floor was way back in Vegas Summer League where he had mixed results.

Bryan Colangelo had this to say about this latest roster move in the press release.

"This is a great opportunity for us to gauge where Ed is physically with regard to his knee and his overall basketball conditioning. This is a perfect example where the D-League can be used as a ready-made and convenient tool in getting an injured player back on the court"

The Raptors might also be hunting the D-League for a 3rd point guard to fill out their roster. Post trade the Raptors have 14 on the roster and it should be noted while in the D-League Alabi and Davis remain on the Raps roster and are listed as in-active. Not long after Davis was injured I said that both he and Alabi would be on the Bayhawks at some point this year and that is now in fact the case.

Is Calderon The Man or Auditioning?

The one thing I will say about Jose Calderon is he is at least a survivor. Some how, some way, he has been able to do that here in Toronto. After his rookie season it was pretty clear the Raptors did not have faith in him to be the man. How else could you explain the trade for T.J Ford that sent Charlie V packing to the Bucks. Ford was brought in to be that guy. Which he was for the most part until he was injured in Atlanta. That opened up the door to Jose Calderon. To his credit he performed well in the absence of Ford and took his game to another level. Perhaps the best play of Calderon's career came in that stretch. It also came in a contract year for him. So one way or the other Jose Calderon was going to get paid. When Ford would return he would feel he deserved his job back. Based on his play prior to his injury he felt justified. In the game he was injured Ford himself had perhaps one of the best nights in his NBA career.

It created a dynamic in which right or wrong Ford was painted as the bad guy. T.J was not shy about saying that he felt he deserved to be the starter and eventually he was put back in the starting role. Some would say at the suggestion of Jose Calderon. Jose has always been labelled as a team first guy and this was the ultimate action in him earning that label. T.J would not regain the form he had prior to his injury. In fact to this day T.J Ford has never really got back to being that guy. So while Ford would continue to profess that although he liked Jose and they got along that Ford saw himself as the starter. Jose kept tight lipped on the issue and would just go back to his role as the back-up.

The seed to all of this was planted before Ford's injury though. In Game 6, a must win for the Raptors, it was Ford sitting on the bench watching just like us see Calderon throw away the Raptors chance to extend the series to 7 games vs Nets. That was how the season would end with the supposed starter sitting on the bench watching his back-up cost the Raptors the series. Injuries played a role there as well. Not only Ford but Calderon both were injured in that series. The only other playoff series these 2 were a part of was the series vs Orlando. Heading into the series most experts were saying, the Raptors had the best two point guards in this series and that Nelson the Magic's point guard was a distant 3rd. By the end of that series with the exception of the lone game that the Raptors won in Toronto it was Nelson that had out played both.

All of these events took place under Sam Mitchell. It was Mitchell that made the choices on minutes and who was the starter and who wasn't. It seemed clear by the end that T.J and Sam's relationship had gone south. The Raptors would not have Mitchell in place when Ford would return in his first game after he was no longer a Raptor. Mitchell was fired just days prior to Ford's first meeting with his former team in Toronto. T.J would claim that his motivation was not the same coming back because things were different with the Raptors. In other words without saying it, his goal was not as much to stick it to Jose, as it was to stick to Mitchell. Why such hard feelings? No one really knows the exact answer to that. But when Mitchell once stated that Jose Calderon was the type of guy he would want his own daughter to date, that spoke volumes to his opinion and perhaps bias on the issue.

So what type of guy is Jose though? While Ford was direct and maybe all to honest about his desire to start Jose would stick to the do what is best for the team mantra. Calderon would leave Toronto after the season with his contract set to expire with that being his party line. However, in the first interview he did upon returning to Spain he would be singing a much different tune. That he felt that he deserved to be the starter. That he wanted to be the starter and this left the Raptors in a tough position. Ford was already being paid like a starter as the Raptors had extended his contract not long after acquiring him. If Jose thought he was a starter he would want to be paid like one as well. The Raptors needed to make a choice and they picked Jose. Signing him to his deal for slightly more then what Ford was earning. They then flipped Ford to the Pacers with Rasho and a pick that turned out to be Roy Hibbert. For Jermaine O'Neal and a pick that turned out to be Nathan Jawai. While Ford and Hibbert remain Pacers, Jawai is out of the league and J.O did not even last a season with the Raptors.

Jose since the trade has had numerous injuries and his play has never reached the level of where it was when Ford was out. It became so much of an issue it led to the Raptors signing Jarrett Jack who not only could challenge Jose but happened to be good friends with the star player in Bosh and his college team mate. Just like Jack had done in Indy to Ford, he would do the same to Calderon in Toronto. Jack had out played Ford to earn the starting role with the Pacers and then came to Toronto and did the same to Jose Calderon.

It seemed very clear that Jack was the guy the Raptors wanted to keep. Jack showed leadership and became a mentor to some of the Raptors young players. Something that Calderon, despite his team first attitude, has failed to do as Raptor in his entire career in my view. The Raptors tried unsuccessfully to trade Calderon to Charlotte. The Bobcats at the last minute backed out and it would appear that the Raptors could not find another place to move Jose. He didn't help matters with a terrible pre-season and a less then thrilling beginning to the season . The worm started to turn in the past few games and the dreaded point guard controversy was back in vogue. But before the blogs and talk radio could get the debate rolling Jack was packaged up and sent to New Orleans with Banks and Andersen. Jose once again survives and becomes the USPG. What does that mean? Undisputed Starting Point Guard. Some fans are already wondering how long before Bayless, acquired in the trade with New Orleans, will change that status for Jose. If he is any kind of Raptor, it will be sooner as opposed to later.

So what ultimately does this mean? Is Jose now the guy or is this just an audition for him to play his way out of Toronto? The Raptors have 2 draft picks and a boat load of cap space and with all of that you would think they could use some of it to get a quality point guard. I remember when Kenny Smith on TNT few years back referred to Calderon as nothing more than a good back-up in this league. Now I am not saying Kenny Smith is right about a lot of things. But on this one he may have hit the nail on the head.

Jose Calderon for whatever you may think of him good or bad this next point is fact. Since Calderon's arrival in the league the position he plays has evolved and not in his favour. The speed of point guards in this league has increased. Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Tyreke Evans Derrick Rose and a few other names you could add are all blessed with speed. Calderon's lack of defensive quickness, and is lack of ability to fight through screens makes him easy to expose for these guys. Just like the center position has evolved and the Shaq and D-12's of the world have become rare exceptions to the rule, the point guard position is changing too. A point guard with Jose's skill set on the defensive end of the floor is doomed to failure. He has never been a good defender and at his peak his offensive skill set allowed that to be over looked. But on a Raptor team that is trying to change it's image and become at least more of a two way team that can play on both ends it would appear Jose Calderon does not fit in that.

So the off-season and perhaps the play of Jerryd Bayless may determine what becomes of Jose Calderon. For the moment he is the Undisputed Starting Point Guard. It is a title he has earned perhaps by default. The fact that he himself was untradeable. In addition Jarrett Jack was not playing to the level, that could allow Bryan Colangelo to not follow through on his ultimate plan, of getting the Raptors a ton of cap space for the New CBA have made it so. So if your thoughts on Calderon are similar to that of mine, you need to see that this might just be short term pain for a long term gain. Jose Calderon is just not the long term answer at his position and the fact he is here and Jarrett Jack is not does not mean Jose is. It speaks more to the fact he has a contract that far exceeds his talent level and that the Raptors based on that could not move him. So as crazy as it sounds Calderon fans and his haters may want the same thing for different reasons. Jose Calderon to perform well. The haters because it can be an audition to get rid of him once and for all. For the fans of him a chance for him to establish himself and become the starting point guard going forward. But for those people I would not hold my breath waiting for that to happen. Jose at this point is what he is.

DNB Scavenger Hunt Clue 3- He is the only person responsible for the Video "Like A Bosh" to appear in the DNB.

We have had 3 clues for 3 different guests so far. You have till Tuesday at Midnight to send us one clue with one correct link to an interview with that person in that clue. Email them to Dinonationblog@Gmail.com for your chance to win a pair of tickets to sit in the MGD Best Seats in the House Box with me for the Nuggets and Raptors on December 10th. You can't win if you don't enter so make sure you do. Good Luck to all. All successful entries will be added to the mix and a random winner will be drawn.


Bargs Big As Raps Sink Rondoless Celtics

Not that the Celtics will ever admit it but did the fact they played the Raptor play a role in Rondo being missing in action? Barbosa was reporting back for active duty and based on the Raptors trade he really didn't have much choice. Gone was Jack, Gone was Banks and the Raptors were left with only Jose. Peja and Bayless will make their debut vs Philly so the Raptors were 11 deep with Barbosa their only real option at back up point guard. Celtics came in off an embarrassing loss the the Thunder minus their best player in Kevin Durant. Everything was set up for a Boston Massacre of the Raptors. But it seems fitting to say, that on any given Sunday, or in the case of the NBA any other day of the week, anyone can win.

It sure started off the way one might have expected. Boston got the first 5 points and took a quick 5-0 jump start with little Nate in for Rondo. It would continue as Robinson was playing well in a rare chance to make a start and before the Raptors got a chance to realize Jarrett Jack was gone they were down 22-9 and the ugly beat down was underway it appeared. Raptors were being lead in scoring by Reggie Evans at this point and no that is not a joke. Raptors would find a way to the lid off the basket and at least stop the bleeding but it was the Celtics leading 31-23 after 1.

Bargs would hit a 3 early in the 2nd Quarter and he was BALLIN. Screw Like A BOSH where is LIKE A BARGS. That would spark the Raptors and before the Celtics knew it they were in a basketball game. A Reggie Evans free throw gave the Raps their first lead 43-42. The Raps and Celtics would swap the lead a few times. Bargnani will still not rebounding with just 1 but he was getting a lot of trips to the line. A lot of those being and 1's as well. when the dust settled on the first half it was Raptors leading 61-58 and Bargs and Nate Robinson the games high scorers with 18 points a piece.

The Celtics were playing defence very Raptor like. After a Doc Rivers/K.G verbal beat down at the half the Celtics would surely pull it together. Not so much the plucky Raptors refused to give up the lead. They couldn't really get away from Boston but they would keep a 1 to 3 point lead for a big portion of the 3rd. Celtics would take the lead on a pair of Shaq free throws a rare event. But a couple of Jose free throws would give the Raps the lead 73-72 and from there the Raptors would build a lead it got as high as 9 points. Raptors would end the quarter with a 7 point lead and an 82-75 lead after 3.

Raptors would continue to keep it rolling and it was 90-79 and Raps were cruising to an unexpected win. But this is the Raptors do you really think they were going to make it easy? That wouldn't be the Raptors. A turnover here a Ray Allen 3 there and the once 11 point lead of the Raptors would be gone in a flash. Raptors would get stuck on 94 and were firing up nasty air balls and Demar had perhaps the ugliest and it was a rough day for Demar today. Boston would pass the Raptors by and took a 98-94 lead. Finally Amir Johnson at the line would get scoreboard off 94.

Hope in the live blog I was doing for The Score was fading and it appeared so were the Raptors. Raptors would hang around though and with 21.3 second left were down 101-98. Weems would settle for a quick 2. Raptors need to foul now and hope for a miss. No they wouldn't they got a steal instead and whistle blew with 2 7 seconds left what was the call? A foul sending Amir to the line. Wasn't on Shaq though he fouled out early in this one with still about 8 and change to play I think. Amir steps to the line. makes the first and were tied....2nd counts as well..Raptors LEAD 102-101..WOW!!! But Boston had one last chance. Pierce a fading jumper......BUT NO IT DOESN'T FALL. Raps get the win.

The Raptor get the 102-101 Win. Calderon in his debut as the undisputed starting point guard was good not great with 11 points and just 2 dimes but actually played a little D today. The Classic Bargs 29 points and just 2 rebounds line. Amir with a more tradition big line with 17 points and 11 rebounds and game winning point at the line. Demar and Kleiza struggled with 6 points and 2 points in that order. Reggie Evans was 1 point shy of a double double with 9 points and 16 boards. Raptors are on a roll to welcome their new team members winners of 3 straight. Boston meanwhile is on a bit of a mini slide.