Toronto Raptors

Vintage Vincent

Air CanadaWhen Vince Carter is on, there is no better basketball player on the planet. Thankfully for us Raptor fans, he has clearly returned to form after a couple of inconsistent injury plagued campaigns. I was glued to my television last night as Carter threw the entire squad on his back and dragged them kicking and screaming towards a fourth quarter comeback and overtime victory. His unbelievable reverse-360 layup led to a three point play that tied the game and to ensure Atlanta didn't steal it back he made a game saving block at the end of regulation. In overtime, it was clutch shot after clutch shot and a final bucket with 1.2 seconds remaining to clinch the 99-97 victory over the Hawks. "Air Canada" finished with 43 and showed the basketball world one more time what Michael Jordan may have looked like in a Raptors uniform.

On a side note, Vince Carter holds the Raptors record for points in a game with 51 and he did this back on February 27, 2000. I remember this game against the Suns vividly because I was there with my friend Mark. A part of me still hopes Vince stalls at 50 when he's having one of those nights, unless I happen to be at the ACC that night, in which case he can go for 60.

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Mike's Mailbag

EmailAn email to Mike: Will you be posting Toronto Raptor Recaps following every game like you do for the Leafs and Bills?

Mike says: Good question. As a die hard Leaf fan, I don't mind posting a brief recap with some of my observations following their 82 regular season games and many (cross your fingers) playoff games. It's a labour of love. I post Bills recaps because in a sixteen game season, every game is that much more important. Will I be posting recaps following every Raptor game? No, but I will write an entry if anything particularly interesting occurs and following each Raptor playoff game.

The Toronto Raptors are tipping off their season tonight at home against New Jersey. I anticipate a dramatic turn around following a horrific injury riddled season last year. If Vince Carter can stay relatively healthy, a playoff position is a virtual certainty. With Lenny Wilkens out of the picture, we actually have a coach who will coach. There will be game plans and strategies implemented. I predict a sixth place finish in the Eastern Conference and an upset victory in the first round of the playoffs. Look for Chris Bosh to contend for Rookie of the Year honours. Go Raptors Go!

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New Raptor Logo

New Raptor LogoThe Toronto Raptors have just unvieled their new alternate road uniform and logo. The Raptors will wear uniforms with this new logo during a minimum 10 road games and 4 home games, including opening night on October 29th when the Raptors take on the New Jersey Nets.

When the Blue Jays unveiled their new logo last month (see September 2, 2003 / 18:42 EST), the one thing that initially struck me was the absence of the maple leaf. The maple leaf was a fixture of the Blue Jays logo since their inception. The biggest addition to this new Raptors logo is the maple leaf. The Raptors are clearly making an effort to market the team as Canada's team whereas the Blue Jays are trying to minimize this perception.

The paranoid android in me fears the Blue Jays are being rebranded as the Jays without a maple leaf in sight because the intent is to move the franchise out of Toronto one day down the road. The Albuquerque Jays? I'd sooner choose death.

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The EA Sports Jinx

EA Sports JinxThe sports section of The Toronto Star has a very interesting article today from Garth Woolsey on the EA curse. EA makes sports video games. In fact, the only video games I play come from EA with my favourite being their NHL hockey series. A big honour in the world of video gaming is appearing on the cover of one of these games from EA.

Woolsey was commenting on the curse that has befallen those athletes appearing on the covers of EA Sports games recently. Dany Heatley is featured on the cover of EA's NHL 2004. We all know of his tragic car crash earlier this week. Michael Vick appears on the cover of EA's John Madden Football. Vick subsequently broke his fibula. Randy Johnson appears on the cover of EA's Triple Play Baseball game. Johnson had to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and only won six games last year following a 24 win campaign in 2002.

The reason we in Toronto should be particularly concerned about this curse is because of who is appearing on the cover of EA's NBA Live 2004. Air Canada himself, Vince Carter. Just what we needed...

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Carl English

Go Raptors Go!The Raptors blew it.

There they were in the 2nd round of the 2003 NBA Draft with the 52nd pick overall. Still available, surprisingly, was Carl English, the kid from Patrick's Cove, Newfoundland. This is a no brainer, right? Draft the Canadian kid from the rock and give the fans something to get excited about with an otherwise underwhelming 2nd round selection in a shallow draft. And the Raptors choose with the 52nd pick of the 2003 NBA Draft...Remon Van de Hare. Who?

The basketball gods shone down upon our Raptors and kept Carl English available just so Grunwald could select some Dutchman playing in Spain. They sure blew it.

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