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.
Thanks to my pal Humble, I attended the Toronto Raptors game last night at the ACC. We started sluggish but T.J. Ford made sure we came together in time to dispose of the New York Knicks 104-94. We booed both Isiah Thomas and Steve Francis, but Isiah got it loudest. Isiah Thomas is now 4-9 against us.
The Raptors are 23-9 at home, but one of those losses was to Utah back in January while I was courtside. The reason I mention that is because the home teams have stunk up the joint when I've been in attendance. I attended two Argos games last season, and we lost both. I attended a Marlies game and we got skunked. I caught the Leafs and Avs earlier this season and we lost. The only time I attend a winning game is when my brother Steve is in the seat next to me. That's how I got to witness a 4-2 win over the Thrashers in October and last night's Raptor victory.
I was there, but you can thank Steve for the big win. Here's a photoset of pictures I took last night at the ACC.
From Hockey to Basketball in Three Minutes - The Air Canada Centre is the home venue of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors. In as little as eight hours, a crew of 18 to 25 workers can transform the NHL ice to NBA hardwood. This video was recorded in a time span of over sixteen hours, compressed to under three minutes.
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
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