The writing's on the wall, and it's a pretty crappy read for Raptor fans. For the second straight game we got creamed and there's no way we're coming back in this series. Teams rarely come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA playoffs. Sure, the Suns did it last year, but these Raptors are not the Phoenix Suns.
I bailed on yesterday's game pretty early. It was making me miserable and it was frightening James. Kidd and Carter were just too much, but I'm not ready to make nice. I don't even think the player formerly known as Air Carter read my letter. He may win this battle, but the war continues. The Raps will be champions before Vince Carter ever hoists that trophy. Mark my words.
It's early, but the Raps are getting hammered in the swamp. It's 26-13 Nets as I type this.
Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush have a message for the Raptors. Don't Give Up. There's still time...
At the time I was supposed to put James to bed, the Raptors game was in the fourth quarter. James is only five, but he's showing a sincere interest in the Raps. He knows Chris Bosh, the story of Vince Carter and that the camera will sometimes show a big red dinosaur after a big Raptors basket. Naturally, I let him stay up late and watch the game.
And what a game! James watched the good guys win and was thrilled by the post game celebration on the court. There was the red confetti-like paper falling from the rafters, the flags and a whole lot of cheering and hugging. We were hugging, too, celebrating the first non-Argo Toronto playoff win in quite some time.
It's 1-1 heading back to Jersey, and the Raps haven't come close to playing their best ball. I'm feeling good. James will have plenty of late nights ahead, if we're lucky.
On January 9, 2007, the Raptors faced the Nets in New Jersey.
The basketball player formerly known as Vince Carter goes down like he's shot. This is my new favourite Vince Carter highlight reel. It's the Vince we knew and loved.
I hate everything about you. Why do I love you?
FUVC. You SOB, Rookie of the Year, Dunkaholic, talented freak... you owned this city, you were Toronto basketball. You wanted out, you demanded a trade from the T.Dot, then you started to tank it and you had the gonads to admit it. No effort, phony injuries, that entire "I don't wanna dunk anymore" bullshit. We traded you to the Nets and got pure shite in return. You almost ruined this franchise, but post-trade you miraculously remembered how to play. You were an all-star again, you SOB. FUVC. We're getting the last laugh here. It's game time.
Someone is marketing FUVC tee shirts for the Raptors ~ Nets series.
I've got to admit, I like the design and the message.
Hey Vince, remember me!
I loved you, man. You were our Rookie of the Year, Air Carter, you were our Michael Jordan. I was at your 51 point game against the Suns. I cheered the loudest when you won the slam dunk competition. I busted a television when you missed the buzzer-beating three in game seven against the 76ers and I constantly defended you when others called you lazy, fragile or worse. You remember Toronto Mike now, don't you?
Here are a few entries I wrote about you. As you'll see, there were peaks, followed by a rather deep valley. I'll let you catch up on our tumultuous history before I get to the point of this letter.
- The EA Sports Jinx - October 2, 2003 @ 12:53: I'm concerned that Carter is on the cover of EA's NBA Live 2004. There is that jinx and I want Carter to stay healthy.
- Mike's Mailbag - October 29, 2003 @ 15:03: I inaccurately predict the Raptors will make the playoffs in 2003/2004. I add a caveat that Carter must remain healthy for this to happen.
- Vintage Vincent - November 27, 2003 @ 08:04: I'm gushing over the great Vince Carter after he scores 43 and carries the Raps on his back. I also reminisce about the 51 point game of his I attended.
- Not In-Vince-able - January 17, 2004 @ 14:00: Carter injures himself once again and I brace for the worst. I even compare him to Wendel Clark.
- Mr. Popular - January 30, 2003 @ 11:09: Carter leads the league in all-star votes for the fourth time and I try to figure out why he's so damn popular.
- Guest Blog Entry - January 30, 2004 @ 15:45: For the first time, I publicly admit in this space that Vince could be traded. I also admit that he's not the second coming of Michael Jordon. "If you had brought up the subject of trading Vince Carter a couple of years ago, I would have laughed in your face."
- It. Is. Over. - March 27, 2004 @ 11:04: I was pissed when I wrote this entry. The Raptors were going to miss the playoffs yet again and I knew something had to give.
- Vin-sane - July 2, 2004 @ 09:04: ESPN reports that Carter wants to be traded and I try to digest the news. "Vince is our star and it will hurt to watch him suit up for another team."
- The End of an Era? - July 14, 2004 @ 10:55: Rumours were swirling that Carter was on his way out and I thought we were in the final hours of the Vince Carter era in Toronto. "The writing's on the wall and we have to accept it."
- Carlos and Vince - July 16, 2004 @ 21:37: I found it interesting that it was becoming incredibly likely that both Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter would be leaving Toronto. Still, I held on to a semblance of hope that Carter could stay. "It's entirely possible we're cheering Carter's name on opening night as he stays with the Raps. I'm hoping he does because players with his talent are few and far between."
- Guest Blog Entry - July 20, 2004 @ 14:48: I admit I'm completely torn about the whole Vince Carter saga. "I'd like him to stay, play hard and lead us back to the playoffs where he can shine on a bigger stage."
- My Sports Wishlist - September 22, 2004 @ 08:23: Carter makes my sports wishlist as I wish he'd stop being such a suck, rescind his trade demand and play his ass off.
- 41 Reasons to Kick Ass - November 3, 2004 @ 13:11: The Sporting News ranks Carter the 41st best player in the NBA and I see this as a positive, potentially lighting a much needed fire under Carter's butt. "This gives Carter 41 reasons to kick ass this season."
- More Than 41 - November 23, 2004 @ 07:56: It didn't take long to realize that Vince Carter wasn't going to perform for the Raptors the way Vince Carter can. "When we finally do trade this major disappointment, we'll likely get little of value in return. Then, without a doubt, Carter will kick it up a notch and shoot the lights out for his new team."
- The Vince Carter Era Ends - December 17, 2004 @ 17:36: Vince Carter is traded to the New Jersey Nets. "It's time to move on my friends."
- Vince Carter Is A Dick - January 7, 2005 @ 15:36: What a surprise... Carter actually tries for the Nets and admits he didn't give his all for the Raps. "I used to defend Vince Carter when others wanted to get rid of him. Now, I wish him nothing but the worst. F him"
- Formerly Known As Air Canada - February 22, 2005 @ 12:02: The Raptors first game in New Jersey against Vince. "#15 quit on us and started lighting it up the moment he was out of here. Lets humiliate the bastard."
- NBA Championship Tonight - April 15, 2005 @ 07:52: Vince's first game in Toronto since the big trade. "Go Raps! Beat Vince!"
Vince, it's Raptors vs. Nets in round one. You'll be here for game one Saturday afternoon and I'll be watching closely. I just want you to know that I'm over you. I've moved on and I've learnt to love a different Raptors team, a team led by #4 with more character and grit than you'll ever know. We don't need you any more, in fact, we're better without you.
With every vibe in my body and every ounce of my soul I'm hoping karma is a total bitch to you. I don't just want the Raptors to beat your team in this series, I want you personally humiliated. I want justice. I want this bad.
I'm looking forward to your long slow walk off the court as we celebrate your just desserts.
The Toronto Raptors are the only franchise I care about that I've followed since game one. I don't remember the first few Blue Jays seasons and the Leafs and Argos have been around since well before I was born. The Raptors, however, played their first game in 1995 and I've been following ever since.
The turnaround from last season to this one is incredible. Last season they were a dismal 27-55 and right now they're 47-33, tying the franchise record for wins with two to play. With wins the only statistic that matters, this is our best season ever.
The Raps are also peaking at the right time. We've won six in a row overall, seven in a row at home. We've clinched our first division title and have locked up third overall in the conference. Our first round series will either be against the very beatable Wizards or Vince Carter and the Nets. I'd love to beat Carter, but I'm rooting for an easier match up with the Wizards.
The Raptors have a real shot of making the NBA Finals. When you consider our expectations heading into this season, that's not only impressive, that's miraculous.
While this city crunches the numbers and prays for an Islander loss this afternoon coupled with a Leafs win tonight, our forgotten basketball team beat the 76ers last night to clinch our first division title.
The Atlantic Division crown is ours with six games remaining, quite an improvement from last year when we went 27-55. Bryan Colangelo came in and did what had to be done. Imagine if the other MLSE team sharing the ACC bit the bullet and did the same.
When we tell our grandkids about our first division title, we'll leave out the fact New Jersey is second and currently five games below .500. The devil is in the details.
You want buzz? I'll give you buzz, as in a miraculous Morris Peterson buzzer beater to send last night's Toronto Raptors game into overtime.
The Washington Wizards were up 109-106 with 3.8 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. We had no time outs and a long Hail Mary pass was intercepted by Michael Ruffin who tossed the ball into the air, apparently thinking the clock was about to expire.
What happens next is remarkable. MoPete comes down with it and tosses up a buzzer beating three to force overtime where we win 123-118. If this doesn't generate a little buzz, nothing will. I'm giving this a chill factor of 8.2. See for yourself.
After tonight there are ten games left in the Raptors regular season and we're six games up on the Nets in the Atlantic division. Math isn't my strong suit, but I like the odds we'll win the division for the first time in franchise history. It will mark the first time we made the post season in the post-Vince Carter era and we're looking at potentially being the three seed in the conference. This is all wonderful stuff, but all anyone wants to talk about is the Leafs. Fred said nobody cared about the Raptors and I'm starting to agree with him. We'd like to make the playoffs and maybe win a round or two, but our hunger for an NBA Championship is so dwarfed by our hunger for the Stanley Cup, there's little buzz to be felt.
I'm as guilty as anyone. I root for the Raps, but I pray for the Leafs. I'd love to see the Raps win the conference but I'd die of happiness if the Leafs won the conference. The Raptors are 2nd class citizens in this town and it will always be that way so long as the Leafs exist.
It's a shame, but it's a fact. If Bosh could throw a body check, he'd own this city.
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