My opinions on this series and in fact this season have not exactly made me Mr. Popular. It’s a good thing that was never a goal in doing this for me even in the times my views were or are popular. I think regardless of what people think of my thoughts and ideas it gives me some sense of consistency and credibility. What exactly am I getting at with all of this? I have as most people are aware have not picked the Raptors to win this series. Heading into game 4, as I said the last time I wrote about this series it had gone to script.
All of this said the level of how impressed I was with the Raptors play in game 4 is beyond words for me to express in some ways. The fact that Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan were at the core of the Raptors best effort in this series by far makes me smile. The Raptors won game 4 by fixing one of many issues they have had in this series but it may have been the most important one. They took control of the game early and built a large lead.
Yes they would let that led completely go away and the Nets would take the lead at some point in the third. The thing was the Raptors had more energy to fight back having not had to expend as much when they were in control of the game. People try and make this game far more complicated than it actually is with all of their analysis. They want to appear to be smart and know more than you. Keep in mind these were the same people that gave the Raptors no chance to be good this season. None of us did if we are being completely honest.
What has got this team to this point is a lot of heart and effort and self believe. They fought through injuries in this game and showed an inner toughness that they may have even not been aware they had. The ability to be able to do that had its root in the there great play in the first half.
This was far from a perfect performance they still continue to be far too sloppy with the ball and far too dependent on three point shots that are not falling. The Raptors need to attack this team and smack them in mouth if we have learned nothing in this series other than one thing it is the Raptors have an advantage inside. K.G is an old dog whose bark now far exceeds his bite at this point in his career. They need to go at the Nets and attack again and again. This will help with another problem that has been far overblown.
The conspiracy theorists want to desperately believe that the Raptors are being hard done by the NBA and its officials. I would humbly suggest to you with events going on in L.A with the Clippers and trying to find out how to deal with something far great than the result of any basketball game. Adam Silver is dealing with how to get rid of racist owner that is an embarrassment to everyone that considers themselves a NBA fan. We all should not be proud of what Adam Silver did today,he only did what was the obvious thing to do. We should instead wonder why we all stood by and accepted someone that we all were pretty aware was a suspected racist be an owner in this league for over 30 years. We should be concerned that legally he likely can keep ownership of that franchise and profit from the work of people he clearly sees as lesser than him.
If you think that racism does not exist in this world you are fooling yourself. The problem with this politically correct world that we live in is people are afraid to express how they truly feel. So they hide in the shadows not saying anything. The United States elected a black president and it was seen as historic moment and great step in race relations for the United States. It was a tremendous moment and one I will remember even as a Canadian till the day that I die. But it did not bring an end to racism anymore than what Adam Silver did today. While Adam did the right thing and it was a big moment in his first few months on the job it didn’t solve the problem or address how it was allowed to happen in the first place. We all own a piece of that blame by turning a blind eye to something we had been made aware of. We also should not feel this is a problem solved and it is time to move on.
I care deeply about civil rights and one of the people that were part of that struggle that I respect the most was Malcolm X. If he had survived to be alive today I seriously doubt he would deem today as any kind of success. This was just a realization of a failure that had not been addressed for far too long. Here is the harsh reality that most people don’t want to address but if not for TMZ the reality is Mr. Sterling would still be the owner of the Clippers and sitting court side for game 5 of the Clippers vs. Warriors series.
So what was it that started that whole conversation again? Oh right the NBA being out to screw Canada and the Raptors as some evil plan that is formed in the offices of New York City. A secret conspiracy with all the refs that the NBA employs to make sure the Canadian team doesn’t win the series.
To say I think all of people moaning and complaining about officiating is completely laughable is a huge understatement. The simple reality is the refs have not been as good and consistent for both teams in this series. There were four straight calls against Brooklyn in the close to game 4. Was anyone complaining about them at that time? Not really no because that kind of kills the whole idea of the evil refs being real.
Raptors fans are loud and passionate but when you turn that passion to anger towards the refs that is not helping the Raptors or doing them any favours. The Raptors do themselves no favours by complaining about and losing focus on the task at hand to beat the Nets. When you let the refs enter into the equation now you are battling your own thoughts and the other team. It also makes you not focused on the task at hand. Do your job and let the chips fall where they may. If the Raptors take the advice I said and play aggressive and attack the basket that is the best way they can handle things. Put it on the refs to do their job and if they do, things should take care of themselves.
I mentioned my love and admiration of both Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan. I love them as people and never once did the colour of their skin matter to me. Just like in high school one of my best friends was half black but for me he was just my friend Chris.
I watched a bit of the most recent edition of Open Court and saw how much DeMar truly loves his daughter. I hope and pray for a world for that little girl that doesn’t see colour and treats her like anyone else. Likely she will be ok to some extend by having a father with the money to give her a good life. Still the amount of money you have, the job you have or any other thing doesn’t change the fact that we still live in a world that is not as tolerant as we want it to be.
You can bury your head in the sand to that or you can wake up to the fact we may think we have come along way but we really haven’t come as far as we think. Paul Jones said today that whole matter of racism is a marathon and it takes a long time to finish a marathon. The one way you can’t finish that marathon is to stop running.
So yes this series is a big deal in a certain context. In another it really is just a game and there are bigger and more far reaching things in life. It really isn’t worth cursing a city because they happen to be your opponent. I have had a lot of things change for me in this season in how I view a great many things.
This is supposed to be fun but in a lot of ways at least for me it hasn’t been. I am different and unique from a lot of folks. I don’t see the world the same as a lot of people. But at the core of everything I am, it comes down to some simple things. I am honest and say what I feel is the truth. I am loyal to the people that have earned my loyalty. I respect all people that respect me regardless of who they are or what colour they maybe.
The Raptors have an opportunity to win this series. Regardless of the outcome they have earned some respect. They may not being playing as well as they should in this series but their effort can not be questioned. Regardless of what the future holds beyond this season this is a special group of people. A group that is made up of people from many places and cultures all working together for a common goal. That can happen on a basketball floor making it happen in the world as whole is far more difficult.