The last couple of nights I've been thoroughly entertained by my Raptors. Before you accuse me of jumping on the bandwagon, let me tell you I've been watching since Alvin Robertson dropped 30 on the Nets.
On Friday night, the Raptors actually led the Bucks by 50 in the fourth quarter. We've never led a game by 50, ever. The Brazilian rookies even got their first career NBA points. It was surreal.
Then last night, with one eye on the Leafs game, we battled back from an 18-point deficit on the road against LeBron and ended up dominating the Cavs. We're 11-2 and leading the Eastern Conference.
All of this is to say there's plenty of room on the Raptors bandwagon if you want to join us. Get in now, though... because it's going to be a fun season. Our starters are the same as last season, but the bench is deep and effective. Sweet Lou Williams is such an upgrade over John Salmons, words don't do it justice.
Of the big three, this is the best Toronto pro-sports team since the '93 Blue Jays. Enjoy, Toronto. It's been a long time coming.
I loved you, man. I was in attendance when you scored 51 against the Suns, I gushed on this blog often when you were Air Carter, and I even busted a television when you missed the buzzer-beating three in game seven against the 76ers.
You're in town with the Grizzlies set to play my Raptors tonight. I hear we've got a tribute in store for you, and the pro-Vince spin doctors are out in full force. I'm old enough to remember what really happened. I remember everything.
Apparently, Vince Carter needs more than 41 reasons to kick ass this season. A player who is averaging 24.1 points for his career is only averaging 14.5 points per game thus far this year. Carter scored just four points on 2-for-9 shooting and didn't play in the fourth quarter while his team mates overcame a 20-point deficit in the second half to beat the San Antonio Spurs 96-91 Sunday. He's not contributing and others are picking up the slack.
Now comes word the "Half-man, half-amazing" doesn't want to dunk anymore. He'll leave the dunking to others and opt for a layup instead. He's as whiny about the pressure to dunk as he is about the league's decision to strip him of his iPod during warmups. It's been a tough week for the $12 million man.
I've been rather vocal in my support of Vince Carter. I want him to play like he can and be a superstar once more for my Raptors. Sadly, it's becoming abundantly clear that he's doing everything in his power to reduce his trade value. He's averaging 14.5 ppg, refusing to dunk and sitting for most fourth quarters. 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. I'll bet he even dunks for them.
What a shame.
Since being traded by my Toronto Raptors to the New Jersey Nets, Vince Carter is averaging 22.5 points per game. He's playing hard, taking it to the hoop and putting up points. Those are three things he didn't do before the trade.
TNT broadcast an interview with Carter yesterday in which he was asked if he pushed himself as hard as he should have in Toronto. Below was his response.
"In years past, no. I was fortunate to have the talent ... you get spoiled when you're able to do a lot of things. You see that you don't have to work at it. Now, with the all the injuries, I have to work harder. I'm a little hungrier. Getting a fresh start has made me want to attack the basket."
What an ass. He's essentially admitting he didn't try his best with Toronto. This explains why he looks like a different player in New Jersey. I used to defend Vince Carter when others wanted to get rid of him. Now, I wish him nothing but the worst. Eff him.
So welcome back, enjoy your tribute video, and enjoy our local media all too happy to help you reinvent history. But this fan remembers what really happened. This fan knows better.
The Raptors have started the season an impressive 5-1, the best start in franchise history.
In April, the biggest Raptors fan I knew passed away. His burial spot is not marked by a gravestone or marker, but by a "WE THE NORTH" flag.
I'm just sorry he's not here to see this hot start. He'd have dug it the most.
On December 5, 2007, I took my kids to see the Toronto Raptors take on Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. At the time I thought it was important that they see the greatest Canadian basketball player who ever lived.
Little did I know Nash would still be playing seven years later, but that's not what's most interesting about this December 2007 game. My son, who was 5-years old at the time, won a Raptors tee shirt that day. As you can see, it was awfully big on him.
Seven years later, he's finally started wearing that shirt.
I love the latest Raptors promo video #WeTheNorth. Even though I just shared it Thursday, here it is again.
Did you spot the husky? At the 42 second mark, there's this:
This new campaign, and that husky in particular, has me wondering if the Raptors will in fact become the Huskies.
The Toronto Huskies played pro basketball during the 46-47 season. As I wrote last year, it's time to correct a mistake and rebrand this team Huskies. It fits perfectly with the #WeTheNorth campaign.
This easter egg at the 42 second mark gives me hope.
P.S. Go Raptors!
On my birthday eight years ago, I predicted who the Raptors would take with their first pick in the NBA draft. The writing was on the wall. The Raptors would choose Benetton Treviso forward Andrea Bargnani.
As the years progressed, there were highs and lows, but mostly lows. This culminated in the 2012 Christmas Day fight, documented with photographs here. Trust me, it's worth the click. My brother Ryan praised Bargnani and considered him a huge asset, even comparing him to Dirk Nowitzki. In episode 2 of my brother's defunct sports podcast, we revisited the passionate argument.
In January 2013, we got a taste of what life would be like without Bargnani, and it was glorious. This season, we're seeing what life is truly like post-Bargnani. This wonderful video explains all.
Yes, the Rudy Gay trade was an important factor in the Raptors' recent success, but getting rid of Bargnani was the catalyst. I watched the Raptors easily dispose of Washington last night and they now lead the Atlantic division by four games. More importantly, they're great fun to watch. As I recently wrote, this team I love!
Sorry Ry, but I was right about Bargnani. He's junk.
On New Year's Eve, I was at a party with my slo-pitch teammates. At the time, I wouldn't miss a Leafs game, but hadn't really paid attention to the Raptors since their hot streak after acquiring Rudy Gay last season. My friend Mike Kic convinced me to give the Raptors another shot, explaining that they're playing as a team following the trade of Rudy Gay to Sacramento.
The first game I watched was on New Year's Day, a 95-82 win over a very good Indiana team. Then there was a blowout win in Washington followed by a very close loss in Miami against the defending champs. Kic was right. This Raptors team was different.
With Bargnani gone, no player on this team makes my blood boil. With Gay gone, the sum is greater than the parts. Kyle Lowry is playing amazing, unselfish ball, and the end result is a team that's very easy to like.
Last week, in Brooklyn, the Raps won with a late steal and selfless pass from Lowry to Patterson. I don't think I'd ever seen the Raps win like that. On Friday night, I watched them win convincingly in Denver, and they battled back from a 19-point deficit to nearly pull off their first win ever in Portland. This team is good!
The starting five of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Amir Johnson, Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas have won me over, and suddenly the Raps have a deep and solid bench.
The Jays tried to force the hastag #LoveThisTeam on fans, but it's the Raptors who deserve it. Kic was right, I love this team!
My daughter and I were at the Raptors game tonight to witness Terrence Ross score 51 points and tie a franchise record.
I was there the night Vince Carter scored 51 back in 2000. Here's my ticket stub from that game. It sort of blows my mind that I've been at the ACC for both games to feature 51 point games from a Raptor, considering I don't go to many Raptors games.
If anyone is good at math and wants to do the calculations, I've probably been to 12 Raptors games in my life. I'll bet the odds of seeing both 51 point games are pretty miniscule.
We were actually tied with the Clippers at 102 late in the fourth quarter, making this an incredibly entertaining game. My daughter loved it, including the half-time performance of "Whoop! (There it is) by Tag Team.
A big thanks to the awesome people at Ford Canada who gave me these tickets so I could take my buddy. My buddy wasn't feeling up to it tonight, so my daughter happily pinch hit.
The Toronto Raptors made a big trade yesterday. Rudy Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy have been traded to the Sacramento Kings for guard Greivis Vasquez, swingman John Salmons and forwards Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes.
With John Salmons now a Raptor, you have to wonder what god thinks of all this. Back in 2006, Salmons walked away from a verbal deal with the Raptors because of god.
Originally, I felt like I had to make a decision," Salmons said. "But I didn't really feel [Toronto] was where God was leading me..."It was hard to tell [Bell], but I had to," he said. "It took all the courage in the world. I had faith something good would happen, but I'm human like anyone else; I was still nervous. I tried not to worry. Joel was pulling out his hair. Then a couple days later, he told me Sacramento had called... I slept on it. It felt right.
God, apparently, has flip-flopped.
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