Toronto Raptors

Jermaine O'Neal Joins Raptors

raptorsThe rumours are true. We're shipping off T. J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, our 17th pick in tonight's NBA draft and a player to be named later to Indiana for Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal.

O'Neal is a six time all-star who will greatly improve our frontcourt as he plays alongside Chris Bosh. Of course, he has to stay healthy, which is something he hasn't been able to do the past two seasons. We all know Ford had to go anyway, and although Nesterovic had a decent year last season, we need to get better at center and O'Neal should still have some gas in the tank.

The deal will be final as soon as O'Neal passes his physical. Although there are risks, it's a good move for the Raps.

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Get Out the Salami and Cheese, Chuck Swirsky Leaves Toronto

raptorsI didn't see this one coming. Chuck Swirsky is leaving his role as play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Raptors for a similar role with the Chicago Bulls. For ten years he was the voice of Raptors basketball but he's leaving us for "family reasons".

Love him or hate him, you noticed him. Swirsky was full of enthusiasm, cut from that Dick Vitale mold with the catch phrases and signature calls. He showed up in 1999, but I can't really remember who called the games before he arrived. Was it Rod Black? Was it Paul Romanuk?

I don't know who will call television games for the Raps next season, but they'll likely give Paul Jones a long look. Personally, I don't think Jones is ready for prime time. I say give the gig to Bob Cole.

Here's a little salami and cheese, Swirsky style.

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Missed Opportunities

raptorsI listened to the first 10 minutes of the Raptor game while driving home from ball practice. We sounded awful. For the second game in this playoff series, the Magic were all over us early. I thought we were going to get blown out.

I tuned in later, just to see how it was going. We had battled back. The final minutes of this game were thrilling as we clung to a one point lead with just over a minute to go. There were three missed opportunities, all involving Chris Bosh.

  1. Chris Bosh's pass to the wrong team late in the 4th. This play broke my heart, because we had the offensive rebound and Bosh inexplicably threw it right into the hands of the opposition. At the time, we were up by a point.
  2. The non-call on Dwight Howard. Down by one with just under 30 seconds to play, Bosh went up to draw a foul. He was clearly fouled by Howard, but the refs didn't call it. You don't want to hear what I yelled at the tv after this play.
  3. With seconds left, Bosh put up the shot that would win it. It was an easier shot than the one Vince Carter took to win game 7 against the 76ers. If Bosh hits this, we come home with a split on the road and the momentum is ours.

Those three CB4 moments are still ringing in my head the next morning. The game was there for the taking, but we couldn't make it happen. I just don't think this team is ready yet.

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Are You Red-Y?

raptorsThe Toronto Raptors are going heavy with their Canada's Team spin, and I for one am glad. Their attempt to be Canada's team has them drenching everything in red and white without a hint of purple.

Why a team named after a dinosaur would choose purple as their official colour is beyond me. Comparisons to the famously annoying purple dinosaur Barney were encouraged. The whole purple thing, so key during the first decade of this franchise, simply had to go. I love you, you love me... I think I'm going to be sick.

At the game last week, I couldn't find any purple. A guy in an older ACC uniform selling snacks had a little purple in his shirt and fans in old school uniforms with Camby and Stoudamire on the back had purple, but otherwise it's all Canadian red and white now. Phew!

It's playoff time. Are you red-y?

Raptors

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When Tickets Fall in Your Lap

RapsYesterday was a typically busy day that received a delightful curve ball late in the day. At about 4pm, I was offered a couple of primo Raptor tickets for last night's game against the Heat at the ACC.

When Raptor tickets fall in my lap, I'm not one to deny the privilege. I went, had a great time and enjoyed an easy Raptor victory that would clinch us 6th place in the East. That means we avoid the Pistons in the first round and get the far better match up against Orlando.

I didn't think we've have a prayer against the Pistons, so this give us some sweet hope that we could actually win our second series in franchise history. Things should get underway Sunday. As I prepare my red and white wardrobe without a hint of purple, here's the Raps into song that seems to work so well with lights down low and CB4 and the gang hitting the court.

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Starting the Weekend Off Right

raptorsCarlos Delfino had 24 points and Chris Bosh scored 21 plus nine rebounds as the host Toronto Raptors cruised to a 113-85 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Friday night. The win officially eliminated Vince Carter and the Nets from the post-season.

It was about a year ago I wrote this open letter to Vince Carter. No other professional athelete upsets me the way Carter does. Hit up that entry if you want to read what I said to the former Raptor star.

Hey Vince, ain't karma a bitch?

Vince Sprains Ankle

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A Welcomed Raptor Swoon

raptorsThe Raptors, without their best player, just went winless during a five game road trip. I'm a Toronto Raptor fan, and I was totally cool with this. Allow me to explain...

Prior to this late season swoon, we were pretty secure in 5th place in the NBA Eastern Conference. That would mean a first round match-up with LeBron James and the 4th place Cleveland Cavaliers. I don't see us winning that series.

Today, we're only .5 games up on Washington. The goal is to finish sixth so we face the Orlando Magic. I think that's our best chance at winning our second playoff series in franchise history.

It's a slippery slope, so we have to be careful not to fall into seventh. That's a match-up with the Pistons. We want 6th! We want 6th!

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Jamario Moon's Slam Dunk Preview

raptorsIt seems Chris Bosh isn't the only Toronto Raptor uploading clips to YouTube these days. Jamario Moon is featured in this clip promoting the NBA slam dunk competition.

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Mighty Mouse Is Most Welcome

raptorsNow that Damon Stoudamire and the Memphis Grizzlies have negotiated a buy out of his contract, he's about to be as free as a bird. It looks like Stoudamire will join the Celtics, but there's a slim chance he could become a Toronto Raptor.

I would love to see Mighty Mouse back in town. He was our first draft pick, our first award winner and our first basketball star, and we loved him. Before he was traded to Portland, he was the man around these parts. Who wasn't a Damon Stoudamire fan?

I'd love to see him back up Jose Calderon and finish up where he started off. Unlike Vince Whatshisname, Mighty Mouse didn't burn the bridge. I'd welcome him back with open arms.

November 3, 1995 - Raptors

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Chris Bosh Wants Your Vote

RaptorsIt turns out Chris Bosh isn't just a good basketball player, he's got a sense of humour too. He put together a little promo video in an attempt to secure the votes necessary to send him to the all-star game in New Orleans.

I say 20.3 PPG and 9.20 RPG is reason enough.

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