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.

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