DNB Has No Re-Cap Due To Flu Like Symptoms

Andrea Bargnani missed this game due to flu like symptoms. So I decided to join him. Well sort of anyway. I have been fighting off a cold and my energy level has not been the greatest. I did start a re-cap but had some things go on during the game that needed my attention. I was wrong about Reggie coming back and Raptors could have used him. Although they did not early as they got off to a 22-3 run to begin this one. I did wirte a great little rant on Flu Like Symptoms it would be a shame not to use it so here it is.

There is no Andrea Bargnani as well as he is out with flu like symptoms. Why don't ever just say he has the flu? I mean do we need a doctor to confirm he has the flu? But regardless this will make it tough for Toronto.

So for the record the Raptors had beat the Mavs without Bargnani and some others and actually played there best defensive game of the year holding Mavs to 76 points. But that would not happen yesterday. This was one of the those classic Raptor Tease games. After 16 years of these things happening you would think we would learn. It is just like some guys are easily drawn to a tease and then totally frustrated by them in the end. But do they ever learn? Of course not because some males do not always use sound logic in these cases. But what all males will agree is the worst thing you can do is end up dating a tease. I have spent 16 years dating one and it is not a lot of fun. No not a girl....this basketball team. They from almost the beginning have given you true flashes of brilliance. They beat the record setting Bulls. If you stop and think about it if you are any kind of fan at all you have had many of those moments where you were really convinced this team was going to do something great. It might have been in an individual game or a stretch of a part of a season. But in the end the Raptors have teased fans with no payoff. About the closest we have got, is getting to second base and were cut off at 3rd by a Vince Carter miss and UNC Graduation. Which reminds me. Ed Davis graduate in the summer if you want to survive in Toronto.

James Johnson is at least early never going to be in a conversation with Eric Williams. But one man's success is leading to another man's pain. I don't think you need to be a rocket scientist to see the writing on the wall for Sonny Weems. It was one thing when Johnson started against his former team in the Bulls. It is another when he has started the 2 games since. Weems led the Raptors in scoring the game before Johnson arrived with 19. Since Johnson has arrived it has been a slide. Just 40 minutes in 3 games and after 12 points and a 4-5 shooting night vs the Bulls. Weems has been 1-8 with just 4 points since. You only need to see the looks on his face to see his disappointment. Weems contract will come to an end after this season and it appears that Raptors have already decided what they plan do in terms of bringing him back. Things can change but it appears indications based on floor time and fact Johnson is starting that Weems may not be in the long term plans.

I had said that if the Raptors were going to not bring back Weems they better be sure. The Young Onez may be a one year fad if this keeps going down this path. The teams emerging star in Demar DeRozan if asked would probably say that Weems is his closest to him on team. Sonny and Demar in the last season and half have been almost joined at the hip. Yes I hear all of you people saying that this is a business and all of that... yada yada. But as much of a business as it may be it is also about people. Look at the Boston Celtics reaction to Kendrick Perkins being dealt, The Pistons protest of not exactly being thrilled with their coach. This is also a people business as well is my point. Raptors better hope James Johnson comes through if they are going to take away the best friend on the team of their best shot at a franchise player in DeRozan. It is just one of those little things that people may see as silly but it matters.

For a team that has a terrible time keeping it's superstars happy you have to be a little more careful than most. Not that is helped all that much for the Raptors with Bosh, Not that it helped that much in terms of keeping their core and adding Hakeem for Vince Carter. Still the fan base has embraced the Young Onez a heck of a lot more than they have Andrea Bargnani. Johnson may in fact be worth the game in shaking up the chemistry in letting Weems go. But people really need to chill on James Johnson. If I were to listen to Leo Rautins I might just think James Johnson was going to be a stop defending superstar for this team for the next 10 years. Why he feels the need to sell certain players to the fan base is beyond me. It has been 16 years and I at least feel you as Raptor fans are smarter than that. I am happy to offer my opinions on players but I am not going to try and sell you on players and act like you know nothing. We as a group are smarter and more educated basketball fans and Leo Rautins in my opinion has not changed as broadcaster to reflect that.

As for the game yesterday the Raptors after a 22-3 lead faded away and by the end of it got blown out out by the Mavericks 114-96. Which was a great thrill for Mark Cuban who was in the house. Cuban is a smart guy and he may not have figured out how to win a title but he is the owner I wish we had. He has the same financial security that MLSE offers. But he lives and dies with his team and you honestly believe he would do ANYTHING to make his team a winner. MLSE claims they want to win but with their corporate image and no real face to it like a Cuban it seems hard to believe. Mark Cuban has no worries about a tax threshold or luxury tax he is always willing to go all in if it means the Mavs can win. That is how he became a Billionaire and that is how he runs his team. Paul Jones caught up with the Mavs owner and you should really listen to this. Cuban seems to love the city of Toronto and I can not recall a time Mavs have been here and he hasn't. Toronto is a great place and you can get players to come here. It just takes the kind of things someone like Cuban has done in Dallas. If you gave the Raptors to Cuban I am sure that he could solve the Raptors issues that have plagued them for 16 years. The amount of confidence I have in MLSE to do it is far less.


Which Raptors Show Up Today?

Inconsistency... definition - See Toronto Raptors. They say that all young teams are inconsistent but the Toronto Raptors took it to the extreme in their last two games. They beat the Chicago Bulls that were good enough to beat the Miami Heat the next day. Only to lose to Steve Nash and former Raptor Vince Carter in a game that was a blowout after the first four minutes if not sooner. Trade deadline is in the rear view mirror and the only help/hope the Raptors brought in was James Johnson. While the Knicks landed Carmelo and Nets who the Raptors will see in London England next weekend landed Deron Williams. You add all this together with a struggling Calderon that has lost his confidence to score. While Andrea Bargnani can score like Dirk, but he sure can't defend like him, or rebound like him most nights. Demar DeRozan continues to trend upwards but has the odd set back like he did on Friday as he got into foul trouble. Jay Triano post game blamed that on him being a step slow on defence. Something he said the entire team was. But as bad as this season has been the Raptors have shown flashes of brilliance. One of those flashes happen in Dallas taking care of the Mavericks in Dallas, something they had struggled to do for the better part of the decade. That was good news then but it probably will mean bad things today. Mavericks likely will be reminded of 84-76 loss heading into this one. When was the last time Raptors played defence anywhere close to that? It was a trick question the answer is that was the lowest point point total for an opponent this season vs Toronto.

The Basics: Dallas 42-16 (20-8 on Road) (2nd in NBA) Raptors 16-43 (5-22 in 2011)

When Last We Saw Them: We learned that V.C still sucks for most Raptor fans. But he also wins be it with the Suns, Magic or Nets and he did just that again in returning to Toronto. The Raptors as mentioned earlier were out of this one from almost the start. The only lead they had all night was 2-0. That says it all doesn't it?

The Match-Ups: When you play the Mavs it begins with Dirk and can you stop him. Remember the Peja Stojakovic era if you blinked you missed it. How about the Tyson Chandler Era? Oh wait that never happened did it. Jokes aside why are we mentioning them? The Mavs starting front court has Chandler at 7 foot 1, Dirk at even 7 feet and Peja at 6 foot 10 that offers a significant challenge to the Raptors who will need to deal with all that height. We have not even mentioned Jason Kidd who given how the Raptors point guards have played of late it, would not be surprising to see him turn back the clock. But the one true advantage the Raptors will have is DeRozan vs Beabois. DeRozan can win this match up without to much trouble if he is on his game.

Other Things of Note: It is #RTZ night at the game. What is that? Ryan explains to you for any of you that may not be familiar with it. It was nice to see a almost full house on Friday for Steve Nash. Attendance has been down and you only need to look at 43 losses as the reason why. Mavericks enter today on a 5 game winning streak and are trying to hold off the Lakers for 2nd place in the West entering play today. Lakers will be in action earlier in the day and I will be live blogging it for The Score Mobile and .com if you want to see a playoff re-match with the Thunder at 2:30 pm. Regardless of what the Lakers do it will be an important game the Mavs. Catching the Spurs might be out of the question as they sit 6 games behind them for first in the West. Raptors are in Ping Pong Ball standings and for those that follow that Raptors are a half game better than the Wizards. If the lottery was held today the Raptor would have the 5th best chance to win it behind the Wizards, Cavs, Kings and T-Wolves in not particular order.

Where is it on? Sportsnet 1 (Come on now, tomorrow is Hockey Stupid Day In Canada or as you may know it The NHL Trade Deadline Day did you real expect the Raptors on a main network? The Pre-Trade Deadline show is already on now I think so not a chance)

Bonus Note: It would appear Reggie Evans may just be back. Reggie just tweeted the following:



Could that mean anything other than a Reggie Return? It would fall in line with what he told us in the DNB as he said he needed a few practices with team to be ready to return. Raptors can sure take any help they can get. So you might hear some REGGIE REGGIE...Today at the ACC.


Have You Gotten Your RTZ Night Ticket Yet?

Brief Background of the RTZ:

The RTZ came together when fellow Raptors fanatics, Natasha Alibhai, and Joel Reilly approached the team to see if they were interested in an idea where we brought together fans and gave them a voice. With the rapid integration of social media and sports these days the perfect opportunity presented itself to create stimulating conversation between some of the most rabid NBA fans around. This community of Raptors fans has banded through Twitter as well as Facebook. Using the hashtag #RTZ, this like minded community was formed to support our Toronto Raptors and for the first time ever, the team has been kind enough to let us host a social media night at a game. Tomorrow night at 6:00pm, we want true Raptors fans to unite as one for our first #RTZ Tweetup.

The first 30 people to purchase tickets (Passcode: RTZ) will be welcomed courtside for pregame shoot around. Postgame, all attendees will be invited for a meet and greet with a Raptors player. Each purchased ticket also gives you a RTZ t-shirt, a chance to win tickets at a future game, a chance to be moved to platinum seats during the game and lots of giveaways.

So act quickly because the big day is tomorrow. As an individual who was fortunate to join the RTZ crew for a game this season, I can tell you that you'll really enjoy yourself and met some great people as well as hardcore fans in the process.

For more info you can contact Nat and Joel on twitter at: @Nat77 and @JoelReilly or @rtzfans. You can also check them out on Facebook or tumblr.

Cheer Nash, Boo Vince and Raptors Meh!!!

I have been to my fair share of games at the ACC as both a fan and covering games. That being said I can not recall a more weird vibe for a game at the Air Canada Centre. Vince Carter was announced and if you thought Toronto had moved on to hating Chris Bosh, think again as the boos rained down as they have for 7 years now. But right after those boos there were cheers for the greatest basketball player that Canada has ever produced in Steve Nash. That set the stage for the night. The Cheers for Nash would fade away but not the Boos for Vince. But Vince Carter seems to feed of it and Alvin Gentry post game said he was booing at Vince during practice to prepare him for this. It got a laugh from the media but VInce has done this a time or two before and most times with great success. Tonight would be one of those nights. It would getting going early as well.

After the Raptors got the opening bucket a long alley opp from Nash to Carter and it was on like Donkey Kong with Vince and the crowd. Yeah that is a dated reference but Masetro Fresh Wes did halftime so were kicking it a little old school in the blog. Frye a wide open three pointer on the Nash dime. Spin and the fade and Vince Carter scores a great move that got no love in Toronto of course and Suns were off and running up 9-2. This continued to go south on Great White North night at the ACC with another open Frye 3 and it was 17-6 Suns. Bargnani an aggressive move on Frye draws contact but only 1 of 2 at the line. Suns were up a couple touchdowns just 6 minutes in this one with score 21-7 Suns. V.C with a three and Raptors offence what there was of it came from Bargnani scoring 10 of Raptors first 12 points. James Johnson the only other bucket. Another Frye three and Gortat score inside and it was 29-12. Time out Triano but it was far to late as V.C with a slam not long after the T-Dot time out. Nash the miss but not rebounding and Gortat with the put back. When the dust settled the Raptors dug a huge hole down 35-14 and honestly they would be hard pressed to dig out from that. Vince Carter had 11 in quarter and had lots of help. Bargnani had 12 in quarter and had next to no help.

Jerryd Bayless in the game and got it rolling early with a basket then draws a foul to get to the line. Vince Carter was resting as Bayless had a quick 4 points. So was Steve Nash and with no Aaron Brooks yet the Suns were without a legit back-up point guard. Pietrus another three ball and Suns had a 40-20 lead in the early moments of the 2nd. DeRozan would get fouled and finally get on the board at the line. He would struggle with foul trouble through out the night. Steve Nash I believe has never lost at ACC since returning to the Suns and you had the sense that trend would continue tonight. Nash had 7 assists in that first quarter by the way. DeRozan got a two handed jam but the Raptors were behind 22 with the score 46-24. Suns were up 23 when the unfamiliar number 25 checked back in but a different number and that beard did not trick the fans from booing V.C some more. On the broadcast they had some comedian with Jack and Matt and we needed some jokes beyond the Raptors performance on the floor that was brutal. I didn't get that luxury being at the game live. Nash to Gortat for the slam to make the lead 59-38 with under two to play in the half. Vince finally missed something with about a minute to go. Sonny Weems got rejected to close the half taking a long jumper and that kinda summed up the first half for the Raptors. It was 60-42 for the Suns and Raptors had 9 turnovers and no sign of defence at all.

Even the Maestro Fresh Wes halftime show lost some of it's lustier for me after watching that first half. The Raptor showed more effort busting some dance moves than the team did playing defence in the first half. Raptors started the 2nd half on a bit of a run with a DeRozan score and then a rare Bargnani slam dunk and the lead had shrunk to 12. Time out Alvin Gentry to get his team re-motivated. Frye scores in the paint out of the time out and an ugly miss from three for James Johnson. Nash undressed Calderon and dropped it off for Lopez for the easy two in the paint. After a Raptor bucket it was a repeat performance from Nash to Lopez and he had 11 dimes. Jay Triano was reaching the boiling point and got a rare technical foul for him. Didn't exactly fire up the troops at 72-55 in favour of the Suns with still over 6 minutes to play in 3rd. The Polish Hammer was playing well as he got an easy score and Raptors had showed very few signs of a defensive pulse the entire evening. He would close the quarter strong and had 16 points and 6 boards off the bench for the Suns. Vince Carter coming out of a time out looked at Devlin and Armstrong singing Living on a Prayer and just smiled and laughed. Vince had more then enough time to have a chuckle. The Raptors on the other hand were no laughing matter and their former franchise player was well on the way to having the last laugh again on his former club. Raptors were down 24 heading to the final quarter down 86-62. They were getting beat down on boards as well with Suns holding a 33-23 edge.

Raptors only lead in this game was at 2-0 and minus a minor miracle it would remain that way. No miracle would be coming in the 4th quarter. But in games like this chance for guys like Ed Davis to get some burn and he would score on a put back but the Raptors were still down 20 and this was really garbage time for the entire 4th Quarter. Nash and Carter could chill out on the first game of a 6 game trip for the Suns as they would not see the floor in the 4th quarter because the damage had been done. Carter had 17 points 7 rebounds and brought his D with 6 steals. While Nash struggled shooting going 2 for 12 with 7 points but had 11 assists and 7 rebounds as well. They watched bench guys taking care of business up 95-72 with 7:30 to go in this one. It could not soon end fast enough for most. After one of their best efforts of the year the Raptors had one of a long list of their worst in this game. The Starting 5 outside of Bargnani was not good on offence. He had 24 in the game. James Johnson got the start and getting the chance to watch it on T.V this morning seemed clear Sonny Weems was not thrilled by it. His play reflected it going 0 for 5 with just 1 point. Johnson was not as good as in his debut with just 6 points 3 rebounds and a couple steals.

In the end the Suns took this game by throat early like a team fighting to make the playoffs should. The game was over early in reality but after the other 36 minutes were played the Suns walked out of Toronto with a 110-92 win. Raptors need to find out what went wrong before Sunday as they place Nash's former squad the Mavericks who could do much the same to the Raptors if not worse. One of the most frustrating things about watching a young club play is the lack of consistency. But for a lot of reasons it was a pretty memorable night for me at the ACC but pretty much all of it had nothing to do with the Raptors. This had been first time I had every got to see Steve Nash up close. Well as close as I could get in the massive scrum he demands at the ACC. I will some day tell my grand kids assuming I have some that I saw Canada's best basketball player in my lifetime. I also saw Vince Carter who if he had pushed himself like a Kobe Bryant had the talent to be one of the greatest ever. They are vast contrasts. Steve Nash gets ever ounce of ability he has out of himself. While Vince Carter sometimes needs to be motivated to perform. Playing in Toronto has always done that more times than not.


DNB Preview From Starbucks

Today was a bit messed up so a quick tee up of tonight's Suns vs Raptors game from the Starbucks over by the ACC. Steve Nash and Vince Carter both in the ACC at the same time on the opposite side from the Raptors should make for an interesting crowd reaction. Kinda like CHEER BOO, CHEER BOO!!!. Vince will still get booed right? Or do we all hate Chris Bosh more now. Judging by the reaction to Bosh in comparison to Carter when he first came back probably not.

The Suns sit in 10th still not out of it in the West Playoff Race and did make a move yesterday sending Goran Dragic to Houston for Aaron Brooks. Will know once I hit the ACC if Brooks will go but it seems a safe bet he does. I don't quite understand the logic in the move for the Suns but not like I understand a lot of the moves yesterday except the ones made by OKC. They needed a some tough bigs and get one of the best defenders in basketball in post in Kendrick Perkins. The Raptors did nothing yesterday and James Johnson is it. I am not surprised at all by the Raptors lack of activity. Word on the street was they were trying to shop Reggie Evans and his expiring contract yesterday but never found a deal they liked? Colangelo also made mention of a lot of interest in the Raptors pick in the upcoming draft but he was not willing to deal it right now based on not knowing what it was. Just ask Leaf fans about dealing first round picks no matter what you get back in return. Isn't that right Brian and Phil. Wow a leaf reference in the Dino Nation Blog. That may be a first.

As for tonight's contest it will be interesting to see if Raptors can take any momentum from a big win for them it taking out the Bulls who beat the Heat last night 93-89. The negative side of me says it was the first game after the break for Chicago and it was clearly easy for them to overlook the Raptors with a big showdown with the Heat the next night. That being said the Raptors fought off a huge performance from one of main candidates in the MVP race in Derrick Rose and for once finished off a good performance. That is taking steps in the right direction.

Demar DeRozan took those steps as well as he was matching Rose at times down the stretch and we are seeing signs that DeRozan like Carter has may one day lead this franchise as it's main guy. DeRozan while a huge fan of Kobe Bryant also was a fan of Vince Carter and what he did. Demar has had to shots and winning the Dunk Contest like V.C did and both times ended in controversy. Back when Vince won he never had any props either he just had a far more dominate performance than anyone else. That is what the dunk contest is suppose to be. I am going to attempt to talk to both tonight will see if I have any luck but that is a short preview for tonight not in our normal format but I find it odd working on a computer in a Starbucks. This would not happen in a Tim Horton's in Hamilton. But happy to be back in Toronto my 2nd home mostly on Fridays. Also jacked for halftime tonight. Maestro Fresh Wes was the bomb when I was young. Let your backbone slide baby. But at my age that is likely not a wise thing.

Time to drink my coffee and get ready to head over to ACC. Be tweeting my face off from there pre-game on @Dinonationblog.


"NBAz in 7 Dayz"- Trade Deadline Edition

Instead of "Behind Enemy Lines" today, this will be a special NBA trade deadline edition of "NBAz in 7 Dayz". I will be giving you a rundown of the major trades happening so far and please keep checking back with us throughout the day as we give more analysis and update on trades as 3 pm nears. So much has happened so far but here are the highlights:

Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly in talks with L.A. Clippers for Baron Davis (L.A. Times, TSN).

  • Cavs get: Baron Davis (Guard), 2011 first-round pick.
  • Clippers get: Mo Williams (Guard) and Jamario Moon (Forward)

THOUGHTS: Really? Wow. Double blow to Baron Davis. First he gets traded for another guard which says his skills pale in comparison to said player. Plus, his new home is with the worst team in the league? This is Baron's 12th season in the NBA. He averaged 12.8 points, 7 assists in 43 games for the Clippers - not the production L.A. was looking for from him.

Atlanta Hawks trade Mike Bibby to Washington Wizards for Kirk Hinrich.

  • Hawks get: Kirk Hinrich (Guard), Hilton Armstrong (Forward).
  • Wizards get: Mike Bibby (Guard), Jordan Crawford (Guard), Maurice Evans (Guard), 2011 first-round pick from Hawks

THOUGHTS: The Hawks are looking to upgrade for a playoff run. They are hoping Hinrich will be an improvement over Mike Bibby.

Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets make a trade involving Troy Murphy.

  • Warriors get: Troy Murphy (Forward), 2012 second round pick from the Nets.
  • Nets get: Brandon Wright (Forward), Dan Gadzuric (Center).

THOUGHTS: This is a move to plan for next season and free up cap space since neither side will be seriously playing for a playoff spot. I have read reports concerning Golden State looking to buy out Troy Murphy's contract and make him a free agent. Wright and Gadzuric are worth about $11 million together and both contracts will expire at the end of the season so this trade helped the Nets free up some salary cap space.

Charlotte Hornets acquire Carl Landry from the Sacramento Kings.

  • Hornets get: Carl Landry (Forward).
  • Kings get: Marcus Thorton and cash considerations.

THOUGHTS: Marcus Thorton is a solid player. He averaged about 20 points for the Hornets as a starter. Again, Sacramento looking to upgrade and rebuild.

New Jersey Nets welcome Deron Williams to their line-up.

  • Nets get: Deron Williams (Guard).
  • Jazz get: Derrick Favors (Forward), Devin Harris (Guard), 2011 first-round pick from the Nets, 2012 first-round pick from the Nets (this one was originally owned by the Warriors).

THOUGHTS: Just goes to show you that anything can happen when the NBA trade deadline is staring you in the face. This one was a surprise. Deron Williams becomes the key piece the Nets were looking for and get him cheap compared to what they were offering for Carlmelo Anthony. The Jazz unload Deron Williams contract which is up after 2012 and get Favors who is really coming into his own. I don't get too excited about lottery picks but based on the actual players traded alone, the Nets did well considering this was their consolation prize.

Carmelo Anthony goes to the New York Knicks.

  • Knicks get: Carmelo Anthony (Forward), Chauncey Billups (Guard), Renaldo Blackman (Forward), Anthony Carter (Guard), Sheldon Williams (Center).
  • Nuggets get: Wilson Chandler (Forward), Raymond Felton (Guard), Danilo Gallinari (Forward), Kosta Koufous (Center), Timofey Mozgov (Center), $3 million in cash, 2014 first-round pick from New York and 2012 & 2013 second round picks from New York (these picks were originally owned by Golden State).
  • Timberwolves get: Eddy Curry (Center), Anthony Randolph (Forward), 2015 second round pick from the Nuggets, $3 million in cash.

THOUGHTS: As I said on Tuesday, whoever acquired Carmelo Anthony would be the party in this deal who emerged victorious. Carmelo and Chauncey seem to be making themselves at home in New York having already played one game with their new teammates and receiving a hero's welcome by fans.

James Johnson is the newest member of the Toronto Raptors.

  • Bulls get: 2011 first-round pick from the Raptors (this one originally owned by the Heat).
  • Raptors get: James Johnson (Forward).

THOUGHTS: Finally. The Raptors acquire a player who is excited and WANTS to be here. James Johnson was the 16th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and had a hard time breaking into a regular spot on the Bull's roster. He is excited from going to a playoff contender to a rebuilding team because he feels the Raptors are going to make better use of his talents. Not a blockbuster trade for the Raptors but I say we give him a chance before passing judgment.

Thank-you for joining me today. Just a programming note, at this point in the season we are replacing "Behind Enemy Lines" with another edition of "NBAz in 7 Dayz so look for that every Thursday. Check back with us throughout the day before 3pm for more NBA trade deadline highlights. Then I will see you again on Tuesday for more "NBAz in 7 Dayz".

But wait....were not done. James here...I will be updating this page throughout the day with trades as they get confirmed and will be hanging out on The Score's Live Chat for Trade Deadline day being hosted by Holly Mackenzie and Scott Carefoot. It starts at 10am and goes till 4pm so feel free to click on this link and pop over there for trades as they happen and I will be updating here all day.

Kendrick Perkins THUNDER UP AND OUT of Boston

Boston Trades: Kendrick Perkins, Nat Robinson

OKC Trades: Jeff Green, Nenad Kristic

Thoughts- My Western Conference pick for the Finals just got a lot better. I have no clue why Boston does this deal and because I like the Thunder I am not asking any questions. OKC needed a legit center and they got one of the best defenders in the league at the position if not the best. Add 1 Dunk Contest Mascot to this trade.

Wallace Crashes In Portland

Portland Trades- Joel Przbilla and Dante Cunningham 2 1st round picks

Charlotte Trades- Gerald Wallace

Thoughts- Seems a pretty easy slam dunk win for the Blazers. Bobcats looking for cap space

Memphis Gets Battier Back

Houston Trades - Shane Battier

Memphis Trades- Hasheem Thabeet, 1st rd pick

Thoughts- The next Yao for Houston? Far from it and Memphis gets a nice vet in Shane who know Memphis already so will not be upset to be there.

PG Swap

Houston Trades- Aaron Brooks

Phx Trades - Dragic and 1st (maybe)

Thoughts- Brooks fell out of favour in Houston a Dragic may be ready to be a starter I see this as a win for Houston got rid of a problem and perhaps upgraded and they got rid of a problem. I never understand what the hell the Suns are doing and that Continues


Houston has sent Aaron Brooks to Phoenix for Goran Dragic and a first rounder
- Nazr Mohammed to OKC, Mo Pete and Dj White to Charlotte

Mayo To Indy

Indy Trades- Josh McRoberts and 1st round pick

Memphis Trades- O.J Mayo

Thoughts- Change of scenery was needed for Mayo this could prove to be a steal for the Pacers in the long run. McRoberts is a banger and a nice player but the talent and potential in this trade is going to Indy.



Raptors Show Rare Clutchness At The ACC.

James Johnson will not only play tonight he will start. This is a terrible sign for Sonny Weems who lead the Raptors in scoring last night and tonight is on the bench. I grow more frustrated with this franchise by the day. Johnson will wear 0 and Raptors better hope he plays better than a 0 or they will hear it from more than just me. At least he should know what to do to defend Deng. Anyway here we go this promises not to be pretty.

Raptors were off to a nice start with a 9-4 lead and Johnson was playing some defence a foreign concept on Raptors but not the Bulls. But Chicago would fight there way back to tied at 11 midway through the first quarter. Weems checks in and shooting and scoring right away to give the Raps a lead but Bulls would get on a roll and lead 17-13. Noah was rebounding everything in sight by the way in his return. Had 10 rebounds before taking a seat in the first quarter with three plus minutes to play. Derrick Rose as expected abusing the Raptors as well an easy drive and score draws a time out with Bulls leading 23-17. Weems and Barbosa both hit jumpers to make it respectable after one with the score 29-25.

Weems got Raptors started and Raptors briefly had a lead 30-29 but turnovers and miscues sparked a 9-0 Bulls run and Bulls led 38-30 and a time out to ask the Raptors what the hell they were doing out there? Ed Davis would end a 3 minute 3o second stretch of no scoring and horrible offence. Raptors clawed back to down 39-37 with DeRozan and Bargnani leading the charge. DeRozan then had a dunk and off a steal hooked up the newest Raptor James Johnson with a dunk tied at 43. The Raps make little sense they show nothing vs Bobcats 24 hours ago and yet tonight are scrapping with the Bulls but on short end of stick 50-46. James Johnson showing some hustle and defence with a block on Boozer. Hustle and D will get you love in T.O not from me but in general. I am not has quick to hope on the new guy fan club train but some are getting aboard no doubt. Bulls still in front thought and had a 5 point late. DeRozan finished an Alley Opp and it was 58-55 Bulls at the half.

Demar had tweeted he was going Ham for the rest of this season on Twitter? Going ham defined for me. It must mean to go nuts and slam the ball like crazy and make jumpers like your Ray Allen. Whatever it means Demar was doing it and he exploded out of gates in 2nd half and the Raptors had a 65-63 lead with 8:32 to play. Bulls called for a time out and Thibodeau was less than thrilled with his teams defence. Deng a 3 out of the time out and Bulls were back on top. Calderon made a bucket a rare event for him these days. He does have 14 assists though which is outstanding even I will admit. Caldeon was doing a good job running the offence and Raptors had build a bit of a lead at 73-68 with under 5 to play in 3rd. Raptors were continuing to shock the realistic view with a 83-75 lead and Bulls playing first game after the break could not match the Raps intensity to this point. Bulls closed quarter well and cut lead in half it was 85-81 Raptors heading to the 4th.

Rose got Bulls going with 5 straight Rose points and led 86-85. Bayless continued to struggle tonight with a turnover that just was sloppy and can not even understand how it happened. He has been just awful of late. But that being said the Raptors would get back on track despite that, as Bargnani would start the ball rolling with a basket and 1. He was fouled again and headed to the line giving the Raptors the lead back 90-88. Weems would get a bucket to make it a 4 point lead. Boozer would score and looked to have fouled Amir Johnson in the time out not that long after Triano was have a discussions with the refs about that one. Raptors after the time out had Calderon back in and started to build a lead 98-91 with just over 6 to play in 4th. Barbosa was giving a burst of the bench Bargnani hit him cutting to the net and it was 102-94. More Barbosa with a long two after a Bulls score to make it 104-96.

The Bulls would get on a run and tie the game up at 107 thanks to Derrick Rose who was on fire in the 4th quarter after a fairly quiet night by his standards. A time out with 1:59 to play and the Raptors 8 point lead was gone. But Demar DeRozan was having a nice game and 4th quarter and he hit and Rose answered and we were tied at 109 with 1:30 to play. DeRozan got fouled with 1:14 to play and made both at the line. Rose was playing monkey see and monkey do with Demar as he got fouled and made both tied at 111. DeRozan went back to the line fouled by Boozer and Demar much in the clutch makes both. Raptors got a key stop and DeRozan showed some vet smarts pulling the ball out on the break and Raps would eat some clock and get the score. James Johnson would end up at the line to put the icing on the upset cake against his former team for the 118-113 unlikely victory from the Raptors.

DeRozan and Bargnani both had 24 and both played well, a rare 8 rebound performance from Bargnani. DeRozan meanwhile was a perfect 8-8 at the line including some big ones down the stretch. James Johnson has a decent debut against his former team of just yesterday. He had 9 points 5 boards and 3 blocks. While Calderon didn't score much with just 6 but had 3 steals and 17 assists and did a great job running the offence. Solid effort from Amir Johnson and good performances from Barbosa, Weems and Davis off the bench. Raptors played there best 2nd half of the season and shocked the Bulls who were playing their first game since the All-Star Break.

DNB Top 10: All-Star Weekend Moments

Had a brief hiatus last week, but the Top 10 is back this week with the Top 10 moments from the All-Star weekend. The weekend s was filled with tons of greats moments and a few lows, but in the end the NBA delivered what was probably the best All-Star weekend in years, so lets get on with the top 10.

1. Mamba can still fly:
I don't know what Kobe had in his Gatorade that night, but he looked like he was 25 again on Sunday night with not only one but four ferocious dunks. One was his classic reverse dunks going baseline, the other was a basic reverse of a Ginobli feed, then there was the one in transition off, but the one that'll stick out the most in the minds of the fans worldwide was when he was able to avoid Lebron's patented chase-down block and finish with two hands on the break.

2. The Show-Stopper:
If you don't know by now the two best dunks in last Saturday's dunk contest came from the two guys who didn't make it into the final round. One on those dunks was from the Raptors very own DeMar DeRozan. The fact that he was able to complete this in only one attempt still surprises me. Simply put this dunk would go down as one of the greatest ever in the history of the Slam Dunk contest. You can see for yourself here, and may i just say that it looks even better in slow motion.

3. Lebron's Triple Double:
Though the All-star game is mostly for fun and the fans enjoyment, we usually see some guys puts up some amazing numbers in the game, and Lebron did exactly that. With the East trailing by quite a margin for most of the game, he would lead the charge to get them back into the game and in the process record only the second triple double in the history of the All-Star game with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. If you're wondering the only other payer to do so was Michael Jordan.

4. Serging From the FT line:
As mentioned earlier, the two best dunks in the Dunk Contest came from the two participants who didn't advance to the final round. The first dunk was DeMar's Show-Stopper, the second was by Serge Ibaka who actually took off from the FT line. This dunk has been attempted in past contests, but everyone had usually either stepping inside of the FT line or had a foot on the line. Serge on the other hand took off from behind the line as was able to complete the dunk. As a 6'10" 235lbs guy, that is really impressive considering not even MJ was able to take off from as far as he did, no offense to MJ. Here's another look at the flight from the Congo to the NBA.

5. I Believe I Can Fly:
So the hype from All-Star Saturday night revolved around Blake Griffin jumping over a car, a KIA to be exact. Well he didn't necessary fly, or really jump over a car, but rather he did jump over the hood of a car, and that has to count for something right. Though the end result wasn't what many had expected as the dunk was rather weak, but the whole theatrics leading up to the dunk really sold it pretty well. From Kenny Smith having his own sermon to a random choir showing up and singing that R. Kelly hit, "I Believe I Can Fly" the lead-up to the dunk was phenomenal too bad the dunk wasn't that great. Either way it was still one of the best moments of the weekend.

6. Blair off the Backboard Dunk:
The Rookie-Sophomore is usually filled with amazing dunks each year, and this year was no different. One of those dunks came when big man DeJuan Blair threw the ball off the backboard in transition and went to and threw one down. These kind of dunks are amazing no matter who does them but when a center does it with so much ease it just stands out more.

7. Harden throws down the vicious Windmill:
Harden made his name known this season when he threw down a vicious dunk in the grill of J.J Hickson earlier in the season, and he was back to dunking again in the Rookie-Sophomore game. The differences between the dunk on Hickson and this one are that he didn't have Hickson to posterize this time and he added a windmill, other than those he still threw it down viciously.

8. Skills and Scholarships:
Going into the weekend everyone was talking about how either Rose, Paul or Westbrook was going to win the Skills Competition. In the end it was Stephen Curry who walked away as the best PG that night and in the process he won some scholarship money for the gril he represent as each participate represented a separate individual. This was a pretty classy move by the NBA as they are rewarding kids for their work in the community unlike the NHL who would rather give the last guy selected in the All-Star fantasy draft a new car. Just saying.

9. Wall drops 22 dimes:
Kinda seems like this list is being dominated by the Rookie-Sophomore game. Helping the the rookies take down the sophomores for the second straight year, John Wall had an astonishing 22 assists which broke the previous record of 17 by Chris Paul in 2007. Whether it was bounce alley-oop passes to Blake or kicking out to the open man, Wall was doing it all and also walked away with the MVP trophy that night.

10. Halftime Performance:
Simply put Rihanna put on a show in that halftime perfance which featured Drake as well as Kanye, and one again showed why the NBA has the best All-Star weekend of all the sports.

Well there you have it, the top 10 moments from the past All-Star weekend. Can't believe it has already come and gone and how the long wait for next year's events begins. I may have forgotten some plays, but those were the ones that stuck out to me, so if there's anything I did forget feel free to chime in in the comments. Tune in next week for another installment.

The Bulls Come Running Into Toronto

Joakim Noah returns tonight for the Chicago Bulls the last game he played in the NBA this season was in Toronto. On December 15th he had a double double with 11 points and 11 rebounds with the full knowledge that he was going to be out for surgery on his injured thumb after that game. The Bulls won on that night going away with the score 110-93. This will be the 3rd of 4 meetings between that Raptors and Bulls this season and the Bulls hold a 2-0 lead in the season series. Neither contest so far this season with the Bulls has been close. The Raptors season was pretty much put on ice with a terrible loss to the Bulls that ended their playoff chances last season. Earlier in the week in talking with Chuck Swirsky. I mentioned the Bulls are a dark horse for a lot of folks in the East. Most would give the Eastern Conference to either the Celtics or the Heat, but the Bulls have been right there. Many have been looking at Derrick Rose as a legit M.V.P candidate. I would also suggest Tom Thibodeau deserves a look as coach of the year. He has been great in his first year replacing Vinny Del Negro that fell out of favour with the organization clashing with management. Thibodeau was given credit as the lead assistant to Doc Rivers for the Celtics great defence. He has brought that defensive mentality with him to Chicago and the improvement in the Bulls record as a result has been noticeable. This game comes a day after the Raptors and Bulls swung a deal for James Johnson the Bulls 1st round pick (16th overall) in Demar DeRozan's draft year. The Raptors gave their Miami first round pick acquired in the Chris Bosh sign and trade in the Summer. Johnson may suit up against his former team if all the paper work clears prior to game time. He never was able to crack the Bulls rotation under Del Negro or Thibodeau.

The Basics: Bulls 38-16 (13-12 on Road) Raptors 15-42 ( 9-27 vs East)

When Last We Saw Them: Raptors had a good first 9 minutes and then it all pretty much went down hill from there. Raptors got pounded from that point on. When the dust settled the Raptors had another loss on the ledger and officially will finish the season below .500 matching the loss total from last season.

Key Match Ups: Raptors point guard play has not been good and now they face Derrick Rose. This does not look good for the dinosaurs does it. Rose in his relatively short NBA Career so far has had some great success against the Raptors. It begins with that for the Raptors to stop Rose. But you now also have to face a duo of Noah and Boozer? Which of those two is Andrea Bargnani gonna shutdown? Neither? That may in fact be the correct answer. If the Raptors have any advantage in this one it might be Demar DeRozan with the advantage over Bogans. But Demar needs to be careful not leave Bogans on D or he has ability to get hot and light it up from three point range. Bulls also have Kyle Korver coming off the bench while were talking about 3's.

Other Things Of Note: James Johnson in 78 career NBA games has only averaged 3.8 points per game and his numbers in his sophomore season are down across the board in only 13 games this season. Your odd stat of the night is this....When Keith Bogans scores 6 or more points the Bulls are 16-1. Bulls hold teams to 92.4 points per game and average 44 rebounds a night. Which if the Bulls meet that average of 92.4 points the Raptors are in trouble as Raptors record scoring less than 100 points is 4-25. It is not going to be easy for the Raptors anyway you cut it. Add in the fact the Bulls were in Toronto last night while the Raptors while the Raptors were playing the Bobcats. Raptors are 4-8 in the second half of a back to back this season.

Where is it on? Sportsnet 1 ( It is Hockey Trade Line time are you surprised? )

Dino Blogger Made A Point.

Some of you noticed over the weekend my disgust with TSN cutting away from the NBA ALL-Star Game before announcing the MVP. I started a hashtag on Twitter that was #TSNHATESBBALL. We have all experienced how they shutout Raptor fans with the start up of TSN 2. Even Jose Calderon was impacted by that not being able to watch the Raptors. I have made no secret to how I feel about both TSN and Sportsnet for their lack of respect to basketball. I make little smart remarks when I post where the game is on in our game previews. I try in my own small way to make a point. The hash tag became a hit and actually was a trending topic in Toronto for awhile. It also got the attention of someone in Montreal. I do radio in that city on Wednesday Nights and Saturday Mornings. The home the Montreal Canadians but as they proved when Raptors came for an exhibition game a place that can love basketball.

They also love UFC. I have always respected fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. They pound the traditional media and have started to see the results. They stuff the ballot box each year for Sportsnet's Athlete of the Year and Georges St Pierre has been the winner 3 years running. Basketball fans could learn something from what UFC fans have done. They are well organized and they fight as one for the sport. Basketball fans tend to be not as organized and together for whatever reason. At least for one Sunday night a bunch of us got together and said you know what screw you to TSN. It is about time people realized that some Canadians actually don't LOVE HOCKEY. Some actually don't want to have Hockey jammed down their collective throats. While this blog is primarily about the Raptors it is also about love of basketball in Canada. A place for people that love the game to enjoy it and be not ashamed to do so. In our partnership with The Score the fact they have always treated basketball with respect was a huge factor in coming on board in their sports federation, that we have been a part of from day 1.

Does TSN actually HATE basketball? I worked there they don't. But do they respect it as programming? I think you only need to watch Sportcentre for your answer. Sportsnet is no better and even though both carry the Raptors by the number of games they ship to their secondary networks that speaks to that lack of respect as well. MLSE has never got involved to change it. It would just take threatening to take away Leafs games and I am confident TSN and Sportsnet would fall all over themselves to make it happen however MLSE desired.

So as I mentioned someone in Montreal was paying attention. The article on Jet7Basket.com is in french. Despite having French blood in my veins I don't know how to speak or read the language. Guessing that applies to most of you as well. So I translated the article for you to read.

For those who follow a few social media like Facebook and Twitter, we witnessed last night in a first in Canada, Canadian basketball fans have united in order to be heard from TSN.

The "leaders" of the sports coverage in Canada cut the award of an All-Star Game MVP in the NBA to make their late night bulletin, Sports Centre. It was enough to stir the Canadian basketball fans already irritated by the lack of coverage and interest shown by the network in respect of basketball.

Moments later, Twitter was assailed statutes including the expression # TSNHATESBBALL (TSN hated basketball), for the uninitiated the word is preceded by a # key phrase searchable. If this term is widely used by the "twitteux" or "chirp" can become a fashionable topic or "trending topic" in a particular region or throughout the world, according to its importance.

For example, when the victory of the Egyptians on Mubarak, he had become a popular topic on a global scale, # Mubarak. # TSNHATESBBALL yesterday was popular in Canada only, which shows still the extent of dissatisfaction of TSN viewers. Besides, when announcing the MVP title, won by Kobe Bryant on the Facebook page of TSN debate among Canadian sports fans erupted over the importance of different sports on a global scale.

We can clearly see the lack of openness of Canadian hockey fans who show no interest in other sports and we also feel the impatience in regard to other sports fans who would like their sports are a little more attention from the media.

This could lead us to ask ourselves the following question: is it that TSN and RDS in this world are responsible for the lack of openness in sports lounges in us having a majority of content related to the NHL and a small portion of other sports or networks are simply responding to demand? "

The debate is timely, with rumors of the coming of an NHL team in Quebec City and the importance PK Peladeau seems to provide its channel devoted to coverage of a hockey team, so that it is still locked out its employees with the Journal de Montréal ....

To me, it would be essential for the various amateur sports associations demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the treatment accorded by the CRTC specialty channel draft of amateur sport and a movement RSAC snaps to allow things to move. A recently published study demonstrates the importance of amateur sport in the economy and demonstrates the importance of investing in the development of athletes.

These investments are mainly from companies wishing to join a sport or an athlete to enjoy a degree of visibility. But without media coverage and visibility farewell farewell sponsorship and investment!

Some companies such as Jet7basket, TVGO, CKLN, etc.. understand the importance of media coverage in sport and we work hard to enable the amateur to make. Our financing remains difficult and I struggle to understand that businesses and individuals continue to encourage the Journal de Montréal in buying ads rather than finding alternatives to make themselves known to their clients.

Social media and internet are great ways to be heard then I invite you to use them to make known your dissatisfaction! Begin the war against these traditional media who are there for one reason, your money!

Not sure if it was any kind of revolution I started. In fact I doubt it. But what the message of all of it should be is that as individuals complaining we can not do a heck of a lot to change things. Together we can at least make our voices heard. Things are changing though. The Basketball Jones having a show on The Score is likely the most excellent example of that. Watching their show, reading a blog like this is a way a lot of people without doing it directly stick up their middle finger to traditional media. There should be a place for balanced coverage in this world. While ESPN has a lot of issues and we can't get into all of them here. What they do accomplish is a fairly balanced coverage of all sports.

Shame that TSN and Sportsnet in their quest for domination of the hockey fans in this country, has forgot that people love OTHER THINGS and OTHER SPORTS. Perhaps the best example of the INSANITY that is TSN and SPORTSNET is the NHL Trade Deadline. Which this will surprise folks but I watch. Why when I don't even follow hockey? Simple. It is the best train wreck you are ever going to see on T.V. Even a 6 hour Super Bowl pre-game show can not offer the pure comedy it does. But on Thursday will we even see a 30 minute program on NBA Trade Deadline. Of course you won't because #TSNHATESBBALL. Well they don't but it is worse they and Sportsnet don't care. Having a Paul Jones on Sportsnet and Jack Armstorng on TSN doesn't change that. Jack and Paul both care a lot and both do an excellent job. But the people that decide on programming are the problem and they don't care about basketball or it's fans. In other words they don't care about you. But thankfully people like myself and many others on the internet do. Still it be nice to see change come in the main stream media. If they don't change the way the world is changing they might get left behind.


Raptors Make Some Bad History Happen In Charlotte

Bobcats got off on a 4-0 start and the Raptors were obviously far to excited from acquiring James Johnson but would settle down and get it to 11-10 with Bargs and DeRozan chipping in on the rally. They would take the lead and nose ahead of the Bobcats 16-14. DeRozan promised he would bring it post all star break and so far so good nice finish on the break to make it a 4 point lead. Was a close battle in the first quarter and we were tied at 22 with 4 to play in the first. Bobcats got on a run and took control of the game down the stretch in the quarter as the James Johnson debate ruled twitter. Bobcats were beating the Raptors 33-27 as Twitter was a tweeting about James Johnson (Trending in Canada as pointed out by Scott Carefoot).

Raptors looked like a team coming off the All-Star Break with nothing to play for. The lead expanded to 44-33 for Bobcats. Bobcats playing like a team with some hope still left and the Raptors were playing like a team with none. Clearly the James Johnson trade did nothing to fire up the troops. the beatdown would continue as Bargnani after a good start was ice cold in the 2nd and Raptors were defenceless and down 61-44 at the half.

Things would just get worse for Toronto as Bobcats lead would climb to 21 and D.J Augustin loves to play the Raptors. Like many point guards in the NBA. Triano called a time out trying to rally the troops down 71-55. Jordan sitting on end of the Charlotte bench far less concerned then Triano. Oh and this would be a great time to say thanks a lot for screwing us M.J. I would pay a hundred bucks to see Triano walk over and say that. Talking about the ill fated trade that never was with Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans going to the Bobcats. I am happy about half of that trade not happening bet we all know which half. Better to be bitter at M.J than talk about this game. Stephen Jackson left this game with hamstring injury not that it was helping with Raps down 89-69 after 3.

Really not much left to say in this one Bobcats were shooting 50% and getting to line and hitting going 21/24 at the stripe. Raptors would get as close as 11 but they had dug far to deep a whole to dig out of on this night. I am not sure if this is historic but it is odd. Jerryd Bayless had a double double without making a field goal going 11/12 at the line with 10 assists. Bayless had 4 turnovers as well and fans were frustrated on twitter. But if you truly believe this is about development now you shouldn't be. We all know what Jose is and isn't at this point and Bayless should see an increase in minutes down the stretch of this season. In the end Raptors lose 114-101 to the Bobcats and Charlotte has won all 3 games vs Raps this year.

Sonny Weems led the Raptors with 19 points on a day Raps make a trade for a wing. Could just be a happy coincidence but James Johnson being acquired makes Weems Raptor future even more uncertain than it already was. Weems becomes a restricted free agent after this season while the Raptors will hold an option on the newly acquired Johnson. But that is a story for another day in a season where Raptors have had many lows add tying the teams longest road losing streak to the list with their 11th straight road loss. They would surpass the mark with a loss in London England if they lose on March the 4th.

James Johnson To Raps for Miami 1st

Remember Aaron and Eric Williams from the Vince Carter trade? Well the Toronto Raptors hope that James Johnson will not be compared to them in the future. Johnson will become part of the legacy of the post Bosh trade Raptors. While the Raptors liked Johnson in his draft year I did not share their love. He has not been able to find much time in his NBA Career with the Bulls who will play the Raptors tomorrow. Not sure if Johnson will suit up for that one but it would seem possible. The Raptors are much more excited about Johnson than me, so let's read what they had to say in the official press release:

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have acquired forward James Johnson from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for a 2011 first-round draft pick. The Raptors received the pick from the Miami Heat this past July (Bosh sign and trade). “James Johnson is a strong, athletic and versatile small forward that we have had our eye on dating back to the 2009 NBA Draft,” said Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo. Johnson, 6-foot-9, 245 pounds was a first-round selection by the Bulls (16th overall) in the 2009 NBA Draft. He has appeared in 78 games (with 11 starts), averaging 3.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 11.3 minutes. He posted a career-best 20 points in a career-high 43 minutes at Miami on March 12, 2010. Johnson saw action in eight games recently with the Iowa Energy in the NBA D-League. He averaged 19.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.5 blocks in 32.1 minutes. A product of Wake Forest, Johnson averaged 14.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 61 collegiate games with the Demon Deacons. He earned Freshman All-American honours and was runner-up for the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year in 2008. Johnson is expected to arrive in Toronto on Wednesday and will be available to the media prior to the game. Johnson will be in uniform for the Raptors only if all terms of the trade are completed prior to tip-off.

Johnson is a black belt in karate if he lays chops on Bargnani for not playing defence I will change my opinion of this trade. He is an over sized small forward and the Raptors would hold a team option to keep him on his rookie deal. Oh by the that Miami pick they traded away right now could land you Tristan Thompson who is ranked 29 on draft express currently if the Canadian Texas Freshman decides to enter the draft. I felt the need to mention that. This is a minor move at best but it is a good way to shuffle those deck chairs. I would assume although it is not spelled out this is the end of line for Trey Johnson to make room for the new Johnson. Rumours the Raptors have acquired Dwyane Johnson "The Rock" are 100% false.

Playing Out The String Begins In Charlotte.

The Raptors begin the post All-Star Schedule tonight in Charlotte with the Bulls waiting for them in Toronto for a game tomorrow night. Demar DeRozan promises to go nuts in this final stretch of the season after getting jobbed in the Dunk Contest for a 2nd year. That is really what season is about for the Raptors now. How there younger players approach and play the rest of the games on the schedule. There is no playoffs in this team's future and a uncertain future with no CBA in place after this season. Bryan Colangelo is making noise about trading one of his first round picks. I think that would be a mistake at this point. But it is not like I have agreed with the J.O Deal, The Hedo signing and a lot of other things. Let's also hope he is talking about the Miami pick and not their own pick. Trade deadline is 3 days away and the Melodrama has ended. There is not likely much Raptor drama despite all the talk from B.C at least that is what I am thinking. Reggie Evans one the Raptors more interesting expiring contracts is almost set to return. If he makes it past Thursday it will be nice to see him back. Reggie has in a recent interview expressed that he could be interesting in staying with the Raptors if it was possible. Oh yeah and there is a game tonight the Bobcats and Raptors with Charles Oakley as an assistant for the Bobcats. Charlotte has had a massive overhaul since the Raptors last saw them. Brand new coaching staff and an attitude to go with it.

The Basics: Toronto 15-41 (Last Road Win 1/05/11 @Cavs) Charlotte 24-32 ( 15-12 at Home)

When Last We Saw Them: Bosh was back and the Raptors put up a great fight led by Andrea Bargnani with 38 points and no defence to speak of. The Crowd was fired up but fizzled while the Raptors had to with in 4 points with less than 4 to play before finally getting sun burned by the Heat.

Key Match-Ups: Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace are the key guys for the Raptors to shutdown in this one. Jackson has potential to go off both in losing his temper or scoring a ton. While Wallace has been a thorn in the Raptors side for years and is the exact opposite of what Raptors have been. He is a freak athlete and has always got the better of the Raptors when he has been healthy and in the line-up. Raptors need to take advantage of Augustin and Brown with Bargnani and Calderon. The X-Factor is a motivated Demar DeRozan that seem less than impressed he got jobbed again in the Dunk Contest. He tweeted that he is going Ham on the rest of this season. I am not up on my slang but it seemed to imply he is going to as the Rock says BRING IT!!! For the rest of the year. That is good because we need to see that happen.

Other Things of Note: Bobcats are 15-13 under Paul Silas who prior to Charlotte last coached Lebron James and the Cavs in 04-05 before taking over in Charlotte. Bobcats have a 2-0 lead in the season series vs the Raptors. Had a great chat with Chuck Swirsky yesterday and many of you have already checked that out. But in case you have not based on the feedback I have got you probably should. Chicago who the Raptors play tomorrow do not play tonight and will be sitting back waiting for the Raptors which will make for a tough back to back for Toronto prior to the trade deadline. If people expect the Raptors to do a lot at deadline I think you will be sadly disappointed. I don't see this team doing anything. Will see If I am right on Thursday or before that but pretty sure I am.

Where Is It On ?: Sportsnet Uno (This was Sportsnet's chance to prove they care about B-Ball after TSN FAILED to show MVP of All-Star Game but let's face it Trade Deadline Wars are coming and no one at TSN or Sportsnet is paying attention to basketball)

"NBAz in 7 Dayz"

Demar DeRozan did not get robbed. The fans did. Everyone knows 'skills and dunks' Saturday is meant to be a sideshow, a mere display of entertainment, if you will. So whether or not you win the Slam Dunk Contest, should not matter. But it does matter and really only for bragging rights. DeMar needed it more than Ibaka, McGee and Blake. DeMar had the best dunk team going in combining his talents with tutelage of NBA dunk legend Darryl Dawkins and practice time with professional dunker Justin 'Jus Fly' Darlington. He showed us his talents and athleticism in his dunks but he also showed us something we were used to, something we expected. It was an uphill battle for him going into this contest and in the end was edged by Blake and outperformed by McGee. It could have been DeMar in the final, but it wasn't. We saw some amazing dunks and only the fans were robbed of what DeMar would have chosen for his final slam of the night. Let's get into the All-Star Festivities and talk about the 'Melo' drama finally coming to an end and former Raptor Jarret Jack and his DUI.

Blake is not Fake

When the dunk contest was created 26 years years ago, it was meant to be an added piece of entertainment as a part of NBA All-Star Weekend. Now, it means much more in terms of bragging rights and hype. In fact, Saturday night's show was the most watched since the event's inception. The All-Star Game enjoyed some success, too. This year's game was the most watched and highest rated since 2003. Remember that one? Michael Jordan played in his last NBA All-Star game and the league took a collective gasp. 'Whatever are we going to do?' No more worries now. Sure, the jaded will always find fault in the props and hype especially when their favourite doesn't end up with the 'pretend' hardware. Blake Griffin's second dunk did not compare to JeVale McGee dunking two baskets at once. Hands down. However, it was good enough to show it was better than what Serge Ibaka and DeMar DeRozan presented if only by a small margin.

Looking at this sans emotion and looking at the stats, Blake Griffin had the most talent and experience this season going into this year's dunk contest all on his own. He had 137 dunks so far in the regular season and when you think about it, the expectations were so high he had to jump over a car or some other large vehicle. When Griffin was 10 years old, he watched Vince Carter win the Slam Dunk Contest in 2000. Moments later, Griffin put his bike under his hoop outside and tried to jump over it. So he practiced this 'leaping over obstacles' thing at a very young age. So when he found out this year's dunk contest had no rules, he asked "So I can jump over a car?" joking but serious at the same time. Though he didn't leap from the three-point arc, he did successfully complete a dangerous and a never-seen-before dunk. The car chosen had to be a KIA due to existing sponsorship legalities with league and the All-Star Weekend. He could have clipped his foot on the side or smash his face on the car - two things he was really afraid of. On top of all this, he was playing under the duress of losing a good friend and former highschool teammate, Wilson Holloway who died Wednesday after a long battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Sure, make your arguments as to why DeRozan, Ibaka and McGee should have gone further in the competition. Most of these will be valid - it was anyone's game with the talent pool. But to claim "Blake is fake" would be a disgrace to the game of basketball because he is the real deal - a class act and truly athletic - just like DeRozan. How can you argue with that?

Is the 'Melo' Drama Over?

I pose this as a question since the NBA trade deadline is still days away and as of Tuesday morning, this deal has yet to be inked, so I am not getting excited. Sometime today, it will be made official over a conference call between the parties involved, the pending trade of Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. This will be no simple "let's pack your bags and go" deal. Carmelo Anthony was on Conan O'Brien's late night talk show last night, claiming he knew nothing but eluded to the fact he may like to stay in Denver - a mute point now. Here is the proposed three-way deal between Denver, New York and Minnesota (assuming it goes through):

  • The Knicks would get Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman (from Denver) and Corey Brewer (from Minnesota).
  • The Nuggets would get Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov (from New York). The Nuggets also stand to gain a 2014 first round pick from New York, Minnesota's second picks from 2012, 2013 and $3 million in cash.
  • The Timberwolves would receive Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph (from New York).

How good would this deal be? Considering Denver is dealing away their star player, they did pretty well. Realistically, Denver was never going to come out on top because whoever acquired Carmelo Anthony would have. I know there are those who don't bet the house on draft picks over actual players but this may change in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Think about it. In the new CBA, maybe free agents won't be as easy to move and therefore draft picks will have more weight in building a team. What does this mean for each team come the playoffs? The Timberwolves were just looking to upgrade in the deal, in no way expected to make a run in the playoffs and continue to rebuild. As for the Knicks, they went from being not much of anything for two years, to above average and now to progressively getting better. The Knicks gave up a lot to acquire Anthony and I believe they will eventually make it back. On the flipside, what they acquired seems next to impossible. Are they serious playoff contenders if this deal goes through? Not really since they would have to cause some serious upsets in order to advance but anything is possible. This whole process turned a lot of people off, including Carmelo Anthony. Even he has acknowledged from the very beginning the "Melo" drama is affecting those around him citing teammate Chancey Billups and the initial rumours surrounding his involvement in any deal. Since declining a 3-year, 65 million-dollar extension on his contract from Denver last summer, Carmelo Anthony has endured what we've endured - a long drawn out process which is finally over - fingers Crossed.

Jarrett Jack in DUI Trouble

Former Raptor and now guard for the New Orleans Hornets Jarrett Jack, was charged with "Driving Under Influence" or DUI charges in the U.S. yesterday. According to Sneville Police Chief Roy Whitehead, this is how the incident unfolded (as told to him by the arresting officer):

"The officer paced the vehicle, verifying that it was speeding, and observed the vehicle cross the center line and fog line. He stopped the vehicle and smelled an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from the driver, Jarrett Matthew Jack. He conducted field sobriety tests which Mr. Jack failed".

There were no reported injuries in the incident and no other reported charges being laid on Jarret Jack. As of Tuesday morning there is word from the NBA as to any further discipline from the Hornets or the league. But expect some. Although he was once a beloved member of the Toronto Raptors and first inclinations say we give him the benefit of the doubt, it is clear from the evidence he made a decision to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. Plain and simple. Let's hope this was the first and last time we hear a story like this from him.

Thanks for joining me again this week. As always, I welcome your comments on Twitter (@ddegraauw) or on Facebook (Danielle de Graauw). Please keep those coming and see you right here on Thursday for more Raptors' opponent analysis in "Behind Enemy Lines".


The Starting 5 With Chuck Swirsky

Here at the Dino Nation Blog we have always made it a point to invite Chuck Swirsky back to talk with us when the Bulls are playing the Raptors. That is coming up this week on Wednesday so we ring it up to Chi-Town to talk with Chuck. It is always interesting to hear what Chuck has to say and he talks about his work as broadcaster here in Toronto and his view on his time calling Raptor Games. We talk about Vince Carter with an interesting story on how Chuck feels about V.C these days. His thoughts on Chris Bosh and his leaving the franchise and how Bosh has acted since. Along with thoughts on Demar DeRozan, his Bulls and much more. We went into a little overtime with Chuck but think it was well worth it. While I don't always agree with everything Chuck has to say. I have always respected him as a person and know that many Raptor fans still love him and miss him. So that is why I keep inviting him back to talk with us. Hope you enjoy.

Chuck is never short on opinions and offered some interesting things today. He is coming back Wednesday to Toronto as Bulls take on the Raptors. He might even get out to Real Sports Bar. He always use to say it is always a pleasure talking Raptors basketball. Well I say that is always my pleasure to talk with him. Chuck has always been kind to me dating long before the Dino Nation Blog existed. Chuck did interviews with me when I was just a college student at Mohawk College on their radio station. He and Eric Smith both did that and I have always appreciated it. While I don't always agree at times with everything they say, as people I have great respect for them. So I will always be grateful to both for what they have done for me both with the interviews they have done with me, and the help they have offered me personally and professionally.


DeRozan Gets Short End Of Stick Again.

I use to defend NBA All-Star Weekend and the gold standard in pro sports. But I think that is over for me. Last night's All-Star Saturday Night was the last straw for me. The Dunk Contest has turned into more side show. We had little kids with bad hair cuts (Ask Barkley), Cars from NBA sponsors and judging that was brutal. Blake Griffin the heavy favourite to with the contest was given a free pass to the Slam Dunk Final. The overall first round was perhaps the best in years for the dunk contest. Griffin in my view was 4th out of 4. But he winds up 2nd (By 1 point over DeRozan) and proceeds to jump over an NBA Sponsor KIA car over the edge of the hood and the shame was complete. I almost forgot the choir singing "I believe I can fly" and Kenny Smith flapping his mouth like a hype man for some 80's Rap Group. It all left a sour taste in my mouth. It probably doesn't help that this whole weekend has been over shadowed "The MeloDrama" and I am sick of it. Carmelo Anthony at this point should be traded to the Cavs for their entire team. Why not!!! Knicks or Nets, I am to the point I honestly don't care. There is also the impending doom of the NBA Lockout. If there is a lockout do me a favour and never air another NBA Cares Ad again. You only care when it is convenient.

Seems like until Toronto gets an All-Star Game that is the last will see of Demar DeRozan in the Dunk Contest. Here is a couple Tweets from Demar after last nights contest.

  • @Demar_DeRozan - Much love to everybody who supported me in the dunk contest. It is what it is....I'm going HAM the second half of the season Believe that!
  • @Demar_DeRozan-No more dunk contests for me unless it's in Toronto!
That is a shame because will miss out on stuff like this:

And This:

I Think I may join Demar and not watch the Dunk Contest again until Toronto gets an All-Star Game. The Contest could have been put back on the map but the judging screwed it up. We saw some things we have never seen before and it had the potential to be great. But the winner was a joke and it took away from how great this was. Never saw M.J bit and given the side show it was Demar likely should have busted out the M.J bit "if " he had it in his bag of tricks.


Ready For A "Thriller" of a Saturday Night?

I have been mentioning for awhile I have a theory on what we will see from Demar DeRozan tonight in the dunk contest. This theory goes back to last year in where there was a rumour as to what DeRozan might do. It was on TMZ which makes me cringe that I start this theory with a story originating from them. As it turned out they were wrong and it never happened last year. But I think it will this year. I even have some circumstantial evidence. Amir Johnson who will be helping DeRozan out on at least 1 of his dunks (As Demar told us in DNB) had some rather unique kicks in the locker room post game at the last game I covered vs Portland. This got me thinking that maybe I just figured something out. I think that DeRozan is going to do some type of M.J Tribute in the Dunk Contest.

No not this M.J:

This One:

The shoes Amir had looked all shiny and came right out of the Micheal Jackson Video Billy Jean. In fact someone said (Think It was Joey Dorsey) that exact thing in the locker room. It all makes sense in theory. What better place to do a Micheal Jackson Tribute than in L.A. In the same building they held his memorial service. An L.A kid taking on the roll of Micheal Jackson. It all seems to make a ton of sense doesn't it? I talked with Demar about how his preparation was going in the blog and he was very confident. He never told me anything and this is 100% speculation on my part. Last year the rumours were flying that he was going to do this based on that TMZ Story I referenced. But maybe this year all the parts fit better. In L.A in front of a supportive crowd of friends and family, in a town that for most part loves Micheal Jackson, it all makes perfect sense. Will it actually happen? As Demar said to me you'll see on Saturday when I asked for some hints on what he might do. In fact Demar has been tight lipped with everyone about what he has planned. My theory is all those Sprite videos and Chickens on ladders in all just a smoke screen to "The Thriller" of all time for the Dunk Contest. I have waited till the last minute because if I am right I didn't want this to get out to far in advance of the contest itself. A Dunk with a shinny white glove would make for a heck of a visual.

This could all be 100% WRONG....But if it isn't and DeRozan can pull off his dunks it certainly will get the crowd behind him. For some facts and not speculation check out a great story by Eric Koreen on DeRozan getting his swagger for tonight's performance. Which also might play to my theory. Did anyone have more swagger in entertainment or in the world than Micheal Jackson? Not to many that I can think of. If all of this speculation is correct Blake Griffin may not be able to over come all of it to win. But wrong or right I am excited for the dunk contest more than I have been since this happened.

M.J or not. GOOD LUCK DEMAR from the DNB and Canada will be watching and pulling for you and if your not you should be.