I caught most of the Raptors game last night, and it was definitely one of those 2-for-1 victories. It was a big win over a division rival and it was a big win over Vince Carter. Here's a little taste of my history with Vince.
Carter's Nets are now 4.5 games back of our Raps. There's something awfully satisfying about that, isn't there? Playing .547 ball, the Raps aren't even banking on the fact they're in the weakest division. We'd be third in the Central and a solid second in the Southeast. We're beating good teams, taking out awesome home teams like the Bulls and hanging in and almost beating the conference leading Pistons. We've won eight straight at home and 10 of our last 12. This certainly feels like the real thing.
Not only did we extend our lead in the Atlantic while beating Vince, but the player formerly known as Air Carter finished with a mere 17 points on 5-for-15 shooting from the floor. Chris Bosh, our new idol, led all players with 25 points.
Go Raps Go!
Chris Bosh scored a career-high 41 points as the Raptors beat the Orlando Magic 113-103 last night at the ACC. That's the Rap's fourth win in a row and their ninth win in 11 games.
The Raptors are smoking hot right now, leading the division by 3.5 games. Hell, we're only 4 games back of Detroit for the conference lead. There's another team that calls the ACC home, how are they doing?
The Maple Leafs have won five in a row and seven of their past eight. A team many of us had given up for dead is now surging into a playoff spot. MLSE is on a roll.
Is it me or are days brighter when our teams go on these streaks? Food tastes better, music sounds better, jokes seem funnier... Good times.
With the Raptors playing .500 ball, people in this city are actually starting to take notice. After an awful couple of years this team is starting to look respectable. In addition to leading the division, the Raps are earning props from the NBA.
Guess who's the Eastern Conference player of the month for January? That's right, it's Chris Bosh. Who's the Eastern Conference coach of the month for January? You got it, it's none other than Sam Mitchell. Who's the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for January? Andrea Bargnani, of course.
.500 never felt so good.
Back in 2005 I listed who I thought were the best Toronto Raptors of all-time as my Friday Five. In order, I listed Vince Carter, Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady, Antonio Davis and Doug Christie.
Last Friday, someone anonymously sent in their Friday Five. This person listed Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Damon Stoudamire and Marcus Camby. Obviously, when I made up my list, Chris Bosh wasn't quite there yet. Another couple of seasons of Bosh excellence has forced me to revise my list.
As of this moment in time, here are the best Toronto Raptors of all-time.
- Vince Carter
- Chris Bosh
- Damon Stoudamire
- Tracy McGrady
- Antonio Davis
Let's talk Bosh this morning. The Raptors MVP will start for the Eastern Conference in next month's All-Star Game. He's only the second Raptor to get voted into the all-star game. The other, Vince Carter, wasn't voted in this time.
When we drafted Bosh I knew he was going to be good, but I didn't expect him to be this good. In the post Vinsanity era we didn't have to wait long for a superstar to emerge on this team. In just his fourth season Chris Bosh is starting an all-star game and has the Raptors one game under .500 and fighting for a playoff spot.
Can Bosh skate?
As I mentioned yesterday, I was courtside for the Raptors - Jazz game last night at the ACC. I had never been courtside before.
They have three rows of chairs on one side of the court and these chairs are literally on the court. The only way to be closer is to be one of the refs. I took some pictures to try and capture of sense of the view, but they don't really do it justice. Here's the obligatory photoset.
Oh yeah, I said I'd tell you if they were worth $942. In my humble opinion, no basketball game short of game seven of the finals is worth even half that much. Even then, I'd save the cash and watch it on the telly.
I'm holding in my hand right now two courtside seats for tonight's Toronto Raptors - Utah Jazz basketball game at the ACC.
Each ticket cost $471. That means this pair cost someone $942. I assure you, I'm not the one who forked over nearly a grand for a couple of seats at a regular season NBA game, but I sure am psyched about sitting in these seats tonight.
$942. Wow. That boggles my mind. When I buy tickets to see the Raps, I buy in the Sprite Zone where each ticket is less than $12. These seats I'm in tonight are about $460 more than that.
I'll let you know tomorrow if they're worth it. And yes, I'm bringing my camera. Catch the game on television and you might just see me coming off the bench in garbage time.
While the Leafs were coughing up another one, the Raps were clawing out a win in Portland. With a 12-15 record, the Raptors now lead the Atlantic Division.
We last time led the division was November 25, 2003. It's fair to say the Raptors didn't play up to this standard but the division played down to us. 12-15 has no business leading any division, anywhere, but we'll take it.
The Raptors and Leafs share a personality trait as well as owners. Both teams seems to come together nicely when the superstar is injured. The Leafs play quite well without Mats Sundin in the lineup and the Raptors have been surging without Chris Bosh.
TGFAWD: Thank God for a weak division.
Whether the Raps are headed in the right direction or not, will be decided on the court. No matter how they fare this season, nobody will be able to accuse Bryan Colangelo of sitting on his hands and fiddling while Rome burned. The man has been active with a capital "A" and we're seeing some heavy duty turnover with a capital "T".
With Anthony Parker and John Salmons joining the club and Uros Slokar, Jorge Garbajosa and P.J. Tucker expected to sign, the Raptors 15 man roster will include eight new players. Here's the possible 15:
- Andrea Bargnani - New
- Chris Bosh - Old
- Jose Calderon - Old
- T.J. Ford - New
- Jorge Garbajosa - New
- Joey Graham - Old
- Kris Humphries - New
- Darrick Martin - Old
- Rasho Nesterovic - New
- Anthony Parker - New
- Morris Peterson - Old
- P.J. Tucker - New
- Uros Slokar - New
- Pape Sow - Old
- Alvin Williams - Old
When you go 27-55, change is a good thing. Even change with a capital "C".
During the 2003 NBA entry drafts, the Raptors had the 52nd pick overall and Carl English from Patrick's Cove, Newfoundland was available. I thought it was a no-brainer. Glen Grunwald disagreed and decided to go with Remon Van de Hare instead. If you haven't heard of Remon Van de Hare, you're not alone. He was a grade-A bust.
Last night, after ordering Italian, the Raptors had the 35th pick and Toronto native Denham Brown was still available. Some projected Brown would go even higher, and he definitely wanted to play in his home town. Without a doubt, Raptor fans wanted him here. Once again, faced with a no-brainer, the Raptors went with North Carolina native P.J. Tucker.
Bryan Colangelo will suggest it wouldn't have been good for Brown to play in Toronto, he'd have too much pressure here. Brown's mother will tell you he has too many friends here and it's better for him to get away. I say if you have the chance to draft a home town boy at a point in the draft when it makes sense, you do it. The Raptors have never drafted a Canadian.
Brown ended up going to Seattle only five picks later. It would have been sweet to watch the 6-foot-5 shooting guard who grew up near Jane and Finch try and make the Raptors this season. I know 4,558,800 who would have been rooting for him.
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