Sunday, April 30

NBA Playoff - Day 8

Vince Lifts Nets... Again

New Jersey 97 Indiana 88

Vince did it again. VC led the Nets to victory over the Pacers to tie the series at 2 all. He silenced his critics ...for now. Until the next loss. It seems to some that Vince is the most vilified baller in this playoff . Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy thinks so. How can someone who leads the team in points , assists , rebounds and steals attract so much criticism ? Van ' Gumby ' asked in yesterday's game where he acts as the color analyst for TNT . In the press con, after a loss in game 1 , VC was blamed for shooting too much in the game. ' He did do enough in the 2nd half of game 3 ' said the VC haters. Even his giddyness at the press con after the loss was noted. ' You are supposed to grieve after every loss ' they said.

Be glad VC , you are not an Atlanta Hawk !

Elvis Fails To Help Home Team

Dallas 94 Memphis 89

The presence of many Elvis impersonators before the game did not help Memphis as the Grizzlies went down to Dallas. The Mavs take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. Dirk N. was awesome as usual scoring the baskets that took the game into overtime.
It was Dallas' show in the extra period. Memphis is winless in the playoffs dating back to last year's post season . It's GM , Jerry West, thinks Miller should shoot more. Maybe Gasol should be more aggressive. Or the Memphis guards should stop their counterparts.

Until that happens, Elvis is still in the building !

Redd , 40 pts.And Kukoc, 40 yrs.old Win

Milwaukee 124 Detroit 104

The Bucks found their mojo in last night's game to surprise the Pistons. The series is now at 2-1 in favor of Detroit. I guess playing at home rejuvenated Redd , Ford , and Kukoc. Yes , he's still alive. Kukoc the former Chicago Bull . Kukoc the favorite of the Bulls' GM Jerry Krause and finally Kukoc the object of Pippen's ire then.
You see , Kukoc playing in Europe . was so desired by Krause then that he was willing to offer Kukoc millions of dollars to join the Bulls.. Sensing this , Kukoc played hard to get. In the meantime , Scottie's contract was up in the air.Come 1992 Olympics , Scottie was playing for the Dream Team with Jordan while Kukoc for his country. Scottie with the help of MJ shut down Kukoc when their countries met.
After that , Scottie got a fat contract from Jerry Krause.

Clips Keeps Lead , Kaman His Dignity

LA Clippers 103 Denver 86

The Denver Nuggets played a listless game 4 to fall behind in its series against the LA Clippers , 3-1. Its was an uninspired game that the crowd nearly fell asleep in the rerefied air of Colorado.
One incident though kept everyone awake for a long time . Well at least those watching the game on TV. This was when Nugget Evans decided to play doctor . His unwilling patient was Clipper Kaman. In their ferocious battle under the boards , Evans naughtily grabbed Kaman's behind . He did not stop there. It seems like Dr. Evans was trying to stick his finger to unwilling patient Kaman's asshole with the latters shorts still on . Kaman was obviously annoyed by the NBA version of Gray's Anatomy that he pushed Evans to the floor . To add insult to insult, the ref gave the Clip a finger .. I mean a ' T ' .

After his playing days are over , Evans can always find a job on TV - CSI , Denver

Saturday, April 29

NBA Playoffs : Day 7

It was an unbelievable day of playoff basketball . All 3 games were fantastic. So, despite the poor TV ratings in Canada , I'd say to the network executives , keep shooting those pucks .. I mean those fucking balls , eh !

Coach Jordan Needs Political Help
The Washington was back to being nice to Mr.LeBron , so he killed them
softly with his layups. The Wizard Of Oh's and ahs are exactly like that , acting more like spectators admiring the King' s forays into the basket. Haywood and Co. abandoned their ' no lay up ' mentality and they paid the price with LBJ scoring more points than Pres. Bush's approval rating..
A finesse game will not win the series for the Wiz. Games 1 and 3 were the proofs of that. I know this is election year .One is supposed to be nice . But remember what they say about nice people. They do that to nice coaches too. Only they don't fimish last , they fire them or cut their balls. Ask Carl Rove that.
K Mart ( The Good One ) Delivers
Sacramento is supposed to be a sacred city so it is only proper that altar boy looking baller wins the game for them. Yup , the good guys , Bibby and Martin partnered with the reformed convicts , Artest and Wells to defeat the foreign barbarians at the gate - Duncan (Virgin Is ) , Parker (France) , Ginoboli (Argentina) and their coach Popovich . The ending of the game between the Kings and the Spurs last night was like made in Hollywood.
I guess we should not expect anything less. After all , it's here in Sacramento where Arnold holds office.

Smush Smashes Phoenix
Charles Barkley once said that he doesn't believe a team with a baller named Smush will be any good. Smush Parker sure makes him eat his words now. Not that the Round Mound Of Rebound needs extra feeding. Kobe again played a controlled game , Brown and Walton a tough game , and Smush a smashing game. Parker's dunk , coming from left to right side of the court, was amazing (see photo).
Again , Jackson outcoached his counterpart. Phoenix does not seem to figure how to outplay the Lakers. At the press con held after the game , the Phoenix coach said ' what goes around , comes around ' to which longtime Laker fan Jack Nicholson responded ' you can't handle the truth '. Not really. I just love that line by Jack. I thought I will use it in my blog.

Friday, April 28

NBA Reporting

NBA Correspondents

NBA TV assigned several current NBA players to act as correspondents
to cover the playoffs. These players are obviously from teams out of the running for the Larry O'Brien trophy. Here is how I rate their performances behind the microphone so far.

Mike James . Toronto . Assigned at Miami.
  • lively in depth reporting
  • nice volume of voice
  • confident

Chris Bosh. Toronto . Assigned at Dallas.

  • passable reporting
  • needs confidence in delivery

Josh Smith. Atlanta . Assigned at New Jersey.

  • poor delivery .
  • questions are of poor quality
  • confidence lacking

TNT Reporter

Jalen Rose made his debut as sideline reporter for TNT. Jalen did well except for the pranks that Spur's Nick Van Excel played on him. While reporting during a break in the action in the game between the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings , Van Excel kept throwing towels on him. One hit the mark completely covering his head ! It was hilarious. 'I knew it was Nick ' said Rose.

One person who was not happy with the use of jocks as sideline reporters is Raptors TV 's , Norma Wick. She thinks it is taking job opportunities from away from people like her. Wick also questions their qualifications .
Interviewed today in Jim Rome Show , Jalen told the host that his media training in University Of Michigan will be put to good use. Jalen looks forward to becoming involved in NBA broadcating after his playing days are over.

NBA Playoffs - Day 6

Jermaine Pays Fine , But Pacers Fine

Indiana 107 New Jersey 95

Jermaine O ' Neil stayed out of foul trouble and was effective all game long to lead the Pacers past the Nets. The series stands now at 2-1 in favor of Indiana.
Jermaine who criticized officiating in last Tuesday's game thus was fined 15 thou by the NBA . It worked . For the NBA . For Jermaine. He was very active the whole game and the referess let him do his thing.
Lets see if Jermaine budgets $ 15,000 every other game for fines , he will be needing the maximum of $ 150 thou( 15x8) to make it to the champioship and another $ 60 thou (15x4) to capture the Larry O'Brien trophy. All in all , he needs $ 210 thou
I'd say , pay it Larry !

Chicago Defeats The Flash And Co.
The Bulls played fast ball all night long humiliating the Heat. The Most Dominating Ever (MDE) was reduced to most dominated ever by the baby bulls , Chandler and Deng and the bull from Pampas , Nacioni , limiting him to just 4 pts.!
The Flash - Dwayne Wade, was outscored by another flash. Flash Gordon.
The Miami was so outclassed that they lose their cool. Pat Riley said during the press con, that it was not cool to get all those technicals they got towards the end of the game.
The Miami cannot guard the faster and younger bulls. I guess the only
thing they effectively guarded was Haslem's mouthguard.

The Team That Cannot Shoot Straight Wins
The Nuggets was no longer the chicken feed to the Clippers. Not in last night's game. Denver cannot seem to can their shots that coach Karl said they 're like the 'gang that can't shoot straight.'
Karl said the team played mad dog style of basketball. He singled out Eduardo Najera as Hefe Mad Dog . Eddie fought for every rebound like a dog fights for every bone. Maybe he is expressing his solidarity to all illegal immigrant s in LA. How about playing the Latino version of star spangled banner ? Najera should ask the NBA.
OK campanero Stern ?

Thursday, April 27

American Idols

American Idol.

It's Kelly's turn to go this time. The lovely country gal bungled her version of Unchained Melody in this week's competition. . She had a good run and will surely get a lot of offers like the dumb blond type of role ala Suzanne Somers in Three Is Company ...
or as a Playboy Centerfold..
Ugly American Idols
Dennis Rodman arrived in Manila for their 2 game exhibition with local teams here. Rodman , reportedly being paid $100,000 , will also do book signing and conduct a basketball clinic . He is part of the team called Bad Boys with ex NBAers Alex English, Calvin Murphy, Otis Birdsong , Daryl Dawkins , Otis Birdsong and 4 players from the D league.

NBA Playoffs - Day 5

Mercy Killing Needed

Detroit 109 Milwaukee 98

There is just one way to describe this series - boring. Actually that is a lot kinder than one Detroit newspaper reports the way the Pistons treat the Bucs. Just look at these headlines :
  • Pistons Should Put Bucs Out Of Their Misery.
  • Pistons Are Being Kind To Bucs
  • Bell Receives A Playoff Education
That last one should read , Stotts Receives A Playoff Education . The Bucs' coach placed dimunitive guard , TJ Ford , against Hamilton thinking he can handle the Rip better than Mr. Big Shot. Same result.

Milwaukee had only a dismal 16 assists for the game. Former Bucs guard , Oscar Robertson , can dish that many assists in one game. The days of the Big O and Lew Alcindor ( Kareem Abdul Jabber ) were surely missed by the Milwaukee fans that night.

Just do what the Detroit News suggested . Put the Bucs out of their misery. And spare this NBA lover as well. Or else , I'll watch hockey . Lawn hockey.

Cuban Wants Another Award.

Dallas 94 Memphis 79

Coach Avery Johnson showed why he is the NBA's best coach, tutoring The Professor , Mike Fratello , in the art of handling everything thrown your way. That is exactly what happened in this game. Good old ass whuppin'. At least it was more exciting or should I say , less boring than the Pistons - Bucs series. The Grizz was in the game for one and a half quarter before all hell broke loose.
Mavs' owner Mark Cuban has the best coach and is lobbying for the Most Valuable Player Award for Dirk Nowitzki. He did it again this time in The Best Dammed Sports Show yesterday. Dirk was awesome in the game last night. Always is. I don't think no matter what German blitzkrieg Mark tries . the MVP won't be Dirk's. Dirk has plenty of help in Jason Terry , Jerry Stackhouse ,Howard , Bowtie Dampier etc. No baller with so much bigtime players will ever get voted for MVP. Same reasoning why Mr. Big Shots , Billups , will never be MVP.

Besides , Mark Cuban has already his coach as his own MVP. Most Valuable Primate.

Lakers Fresh Plays Kill Suns

LA Lakers 99 Phoenix 93

One sign in the Phoenix reads ' Kobe This Is Nash Country '. Kobe's name is crossed. I don't know if the Laker guard saw this sign , but he sure showed the crowd who is the real MVP.
Sure Steve Nash scored a lot of points but overall it was no. 8 's show . Kobe played a controlled game . He orchestrated the effective plays designed by coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff.
Coach Phil is proving to all that he cannot only coach a team with Jordan and Scottie , Kobe and Shaq but one with just Kobe and a serviceable crew to playoff success. I think he is better than Larry Brown who was a dismal failure as a 1st year coach of New York.
A gangling center forward of the New York Knicks during the 70's , Phil was a maverick during his playing days. Not heavy drug, crazy athlete type. But the meditative , pot smoking type.
He has managed to keep this fresh outlook up to now. In other words , he's like Hugh Hefner of the Playboy fame. Ageless.
I guess he and Hugh have something in common. They both like them young. Hugh with his Playboy wives and Phil with his basketball players.

Just don' t mix them ---->


Wednesday, April 26

NBA Playoffs-Day 4

Vince Hangtime Hangs Pacers

New Jersey 90 Indiana 75

Vince silenced the critics by scoring 33 points in Game 2 levelling the series with Indiana at 1 all .
Much criticized for the number and poor selection of shots he took in Game 1 , the former Raptor played an efficient game attempting just 22 shots as opposed to 33 shots in game 1 . Naned Kristic and Richard Jefferson scored in double figures while Jason Kidd has a near triple double.
Attention was centered on VC assortment of shots mostly on the inside but one that elicited oohs and aahs was the hangtime he displayed driving from left to right of the basket with 2 Pacers in his face. Vince made the basket.
Former Slam Dunk King , Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks working currently as NBA correspondent , picks VC as the best hangtime baller today . Maybe of all time ?.
Of course there is former Net in the old ABA , Dr. J , to consider. Who can forget the gliding under the basket hangtime display he performed against the Lakers. It's a masterpiece . The best hangtime just like slam dunk were always done in the game according to Dr. J. ' I don't think about them . I just did them '. he added.

It's no surprise that VC has the same special skills .Dr. J is his idol. VC went out of his way to have Dr. J considered for the then vacant Raptors GM position before Babcock was hired.
Nobody know whether Raptors management considered Dr J. . Maybe not even Vince and Dr. J .

You can say that the hangtime masters were left hanging.

Wizards Mauls James and the Cavs
The Wizards set the tone of the game with some hard fouls to LeBron James in the first quarter . First , Jeffries stopped a driving LeBron with 5 mins. remaining in the first quarter of the game. Jeffries got a resounding boos from the crowd. Then with 3 mins left in Q1 , Brendan Haywood almost pulled LeBron down when he tackled him on his way to the basket. The Wiz nicknamed ' Brenda ' by his UNC mates in college maybe because they find him soft is now a toughie. The players are actually following a game plan by coach Jordan.They are supposed to play the Cavs tough particularly James to discourage him from driving to the basket according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers. The ESPN radio man said the only way to stop LeBron is to ' punch him in the mouth. '
What happened was not exactly the ' take no prisoner ' / ' no lay up ' rules of the Detroit Bad Boys of Laimbeer era or of the NY Knicks starring Mason and ex Raptor , Charles Oakley .
Even the practice games of the Knicks were tough and intense . There was an incident involving Doc Rivers and Oakley . When asked who won the fight , tough guy Oakley said ' let us just say I told Doc there are other bears in the forest '
Bad Boys , Bad Decision , Bad Lost
San Antonio 128 Sacramento 118
The Kings prevented a rout this time but lost anyway to the Spurs who had a flurry of 3 point shots . ' Bad Boy ' Bonzi Wells played wonderful ball in the absence of ' Bad Boy ' Ronnie Artest .
Coach Adelman made a huge mistake with a dumb decision with the score tied at 109 all. Abdul Rahim missed a game winning shot with only 4 seconds left in the ballgame. Shareef is a choker. In Vancouver when he was still a Grizzlie and in Atlanta as a Hawk. He was not a clutch shooter. It should had been Bibby who take the last shot for he is an excellent finisher. The game went into overtime and as they say , you know the rest of the story.

The Kings owners , the Maloofs brothers , with another Bad Boy , Terrell Owens.

Tuesday, April 25

NBA Playoffs - Day 3

Wade vs Heinrich Part II

Miami 115 Chicago 108

Miami took a 2-0 lead in their series against the Bulls . The combination of Shaq and Wade plus JWill proved too much for the Bulls. Like in the first game , Wade took matters into his own hands as the Bulls tried to come back from a 20 point deficit.

An interesting sidelight to the game is the battle between no.7 pick in 2003 draft Kirk Heinrich and no. 5 pick Dwayne Wade. You can see from each others face the competitiveness of both players especially when Wade blocked Henrich's lay up ( a foul was called ) . It reminds one of the Kansas vs. Marquette battle ( see photo showing Dwayne driving between Kirk and another Kansas defender) in 2003 Final Four . Wade' s Marquette lost that one.

After the game , the camera showed a shot of an exasperated of Kirk as if saying ' if only Nick ( Kansas teammate , Nick Collison , now with Seattle ) was here '

Clips And Star Go Together

LA Clippers 98 Denver 87

The Clippers are playing like the old Lakers. You really have to blink twice to make sure you are not looking at the Lakers with Shaq , Kobe and Co. especially that this is the Staples Center . Even the coach was a former Laker's coach.
The Clips with Brand , Maggette , Mobley , Casell and the rest showed they have finally arrived leading by as much as 20+ points in the first quarter over the Nuggets. It was a masterful performance by the Clippers that the only thing missing in the Staples Center is Jack Nicholson .

There are stars in attendance - regulars Penny Marshall, Felix ' Malcom In the Middle ' Muniz and NY Yankees' lover , Billy Cyrstal . ESPN radio asked ' Malcolm ' when he started attending the Clippers game. He said he loves the Clippers and has been a long time fan of the other LA team (he hates the Lakers ) since they have Olawankandi In The Middle or something like that . A lot longer than Penny . A lot longer than Billy C. A lot longer than any stars.

That means " Malcolm" has been a loser for a long long time !
Malcolm In The Center . Staples Center.

Monday, April 24

The NBA Playoffs - Day 2

Nets Lose By A Thread

Indiana 9o New Jersey 88

A controversial call with .9 sec. left the Nets in tatters . Controversial call ? No , according to Charles Barkley to Kristic's holding to Johnson's uniform leading to 2 foul shots made by the former Net. Wilbon of Pardon The Interruption fame said the 'act' by Kristic was of no or little consequence to Johnson's move towards the basket.

The game was attended by rapper Jay Z , wearing Carter's All Star jacket , and usual companion Beyonce . He is the part owner of the Nets. Famous Rappers have plenty of money. Remember Master P who once played for Toronto in the pre-season under then coach Butch Carter. Master P, shown in this photo , wanted very much to be a pro baller that when he was cut by the Raptors he felt kinda' bitter. Charles Oakley was not sad though . Oakley said ' he can keep his money ' and let us play ball.

What about Bryant ?

Phoenix 107 LA Lakers 102

Kobe was unusually timid, that's what's about him in the game vs. the Suns. Everything went according to the Lakers' plan except Kobe waited too long before showing some aggresiveness.Still all was going well OK , until the uncalled ' foul ' by Thomas to the driving Bryant in the closing minutes of the game. I think the welt at Kobe's head was the result of that.
One wonders then why both Phil Jackson and Kobe were in the good mood during the press conference. Kobe even joked that 'at least the Dodgers are winning '. Makes for an even more interesting game 2.

Ford And Co Sputters In Motor City

Detroit 113 Milwaukee 93

Michael Redd was handcuffed by Richard Hamilton . The Wallaces outmuscled Bogut and Magliore. Prince outran the Bucs forwards and more than anything else, Billups overpowered TJ Ford. Like a Hummer overpowering a ... Ford Focus. Milwaukee was simply overmatched.

The halftime feature was TJ's almost career ending injury. The young Buc took the whole of last season off. TJ said he owes everything to John Lucas. Lucas, shown here in his younger days , does a lot of salvage projects mostly ex NBAers who had substance abuse problems. He once had a drug problem himself. He was a pretty good PG in the mold of Nate Archibald and was a terrific tennis player good enough for the pro circuit. His son , John Jr., played for Oklahoma in college and is now in the D league after playing for the Houston Rockets briefly.

Double double for Dampier And A Bowtie

Dallas 103 Memphis 93

The Mavs' aggressiveness was very noticeable.Seems like Avery Johnson and Mark Cuban's message was getting through this edition of Dallas. All of 'em were giving their all especially Howard , Stackhouse and Dampier. Yes, the Damp. He did everything right except that bow tie he wore during the press conference. Rare . The bow tie and a press conference involving the Damp. It's a testament to how well he played.
I would say though that the bow tie is more appropriate to be worn by the ref in the boxing match happening between Tsakalidis and Stackhouse under the basket. Welcome to the playoffs !

Sunday, April 23

The NBA Playoffs - Day 1

LeBron Goes LeBrom brooom.

Cavalier 97 Washington 86

The first game of the NBA playoffs saw Cleveland's LeBron James register a triple double in his 1st playoff game.Unbelievable. Hubie Brown compared King James' barreling drives to that of former 76ers George McGinnis . McGinnis is that 6'6'' mascular former Pacers in the old ABA known for his drive towards the basket while yo yoing the ball in one hand . Really a sight to see. Especially his tandem with Dr. J..For all their artistry , Portland with Bill Walton and gang, beat the 76ers in the 1977 NBA finals. King James' drive may resemble McGinnis' but he sure as hell looked facially like James' opponent yesterday, Washington's Gilbert Arenas.

Men In White

Miami 111 Chicago 106

Miami Heat fans wore white shirts in yesterday's playoff game vs. the Chicago Bulls. Except for a sprinkling of colored shirts, the whole area

was awashed in white shirts in tune with the color of the uniform of the home team or is it in deference to the death of coach Pat Riley's mom . The day almost turned black for Miami if not for Dwayne Wade's 4th quarter scoring.
Almost all the experts pick Miami to win except former Raptor turned ABC sportscaster Mark Jackson who chose Chicago to prevail because Mark does not think Miami's supporting cast is not as good as last years'. You can see all of the experts NBA predictions in El Greco's blog.
Bullshit Artest
San Antonio 122 Sacramento 88
San Antonio kicked the ass of Sacramento , no doubt inflamed by the statement given by the King's Ron Artest . Before the game , Artest said that the Kings is the ' team to beat ' . Team to beat alright ... by a wide margin.
The presence of the Maloof brothers in hostile territory failed to lift Artest and Co. as they fell by double digits early in the game. One lesson to all bullshit artists : don't give the other team bulletin board material . It can be hazardous to the health of your team.
Coach Sam Cassell
LA Clippers 89 Denver 87
The LA Clips clipped the Denver Nuggets to preserve the winning record of the favored teams in day 1 of the NBA playoffs . The Clippers led by as much as 16 points but the Nuggets patiently clipped, particularly Evans, who was a terror on the boards. However, poor shooting by Carmelo Anthony and ex-Raptor Marcus Camby led the Nuggets to defeat. One thing noticeable is Sam Cassell's antics. He reacted to every Clippers'
mistakes especially if these led to turnovers. Same with the defensive lapses by fellow Clippers to the full view of the crowd. I wonder how the rest of the team feels ? Casell is acting like Avery Johnson when he was still playing for San Antonio . They are both members of the NBA All Ugly Team.

Saturday, April 22

Leo Rantings Rants Away

Leo Rantings , Basketball ANALyst , analyzes the movements of the meat after subjecting these to heat ! He criticises the meat as usual.

Friday, April 21

The Godfather

One Lucky Dude

Sam Mitchell is indeed one lucky dude . Maybe not as lucky as that Exxon Mobil executive ( see photo ) who will receive $ 400 million retirement package, but lucky anyway. Imagine getting a new leash on life on the same day that the coach of the hockey club , Pat Quinn , was axed by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment . Everyone expected that Sam will get the boot from new GM , Bryan Colangelo , as soon as the season is over. Instead Colangelo backs Sam

Consider these :

  1. a new GM usually brings a new coach
  2. Sam has 2 consecutive losing seasons
  3. voted the worst coach in the NBA today.

There is only one reason for Sam's holding on to his job - Wayne Embry. Colangelo owed his job to his mentor Wayne Embry who is Sam's backer. Some sort of a godfather. So Bryan can do nothing but do a Bogart and ask him to ' Play it again, Sam ' . Come to think of it , Bryan does look like Bogart .

NBA Playoffs

The playoff s start tomorrow . New Jersey will face the Indiana Pacers . Watch the game at NBA TV.

Thursday, April 20


American Idol . Stewart Is No Idol

American Idol's latest victim is Ace.The idol hopefuls sang selection from Rod Stewart' s American Songbook and the show was a hit. They all performed well. The best of Rod Stewart brought out the best in them.

This is not exactly true with former Raptor , Yogi Stewart , remember him ? His was an interesting story. Yogi was once a ballboy for the Sacramento Kings. He was heralded as one of the promising talents in the Raptors line up and was signed to a multi million contract by Glen Grunwald.
He showed some promise but was really overpowered by bigger opponents . He played behind Charles Oakley, Kevin Willis, and others in the Raptors rotation depending on whether he was subbing for the center or power forward positions.
I guess you can count this as one of Glen's mistakes. That is called paying for ' potential ' . Never really panned out . Glen who is now a Canadian citizen since 1999, runs the Toronto Board Of Trade as President and CEO . He is a lawyer and an MBA degree holder.
Back to Yogi. After his Raptors stint , he joined the Cavaliers via the Lamond Murray trade where he reprished his role as a benchwarmer . Then , Yogi was moved to Boston as part of the Ricky Davis deal .

After that, I don't know what happened to Yogi. Maybe he went back to Sacramento Kings where he was their first round pick or to Hanna Barbera to join Yogi Bear.

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams

Wednesday, April 19

Pape Sow - The Hardest Working Raptor

I watched Pape Sow's interview in the show Hangin'. It was interesting to a point. Pape talked about his shift from soccer to basketball . He is a native of Senegal and got fully into organized basketball when he accompanied his cousin and friend for a tryout/showcase with a coach.
Pape's dad did not know about his ' extra curricular ' activity (playing basketball ) until a Recruiter went to his home to ask his parent ' permission to go to school and play in the States. He played Juco basketball and was eventually drafted by Miami in the 2nd round. He was traded immediately to Toronto. He played briefy with Arkansas Rimrockers in the D league before rejoining the Raptors this season.

This story reminds me of former Raptor albeit for a short time only , Hakeem Olajuwon's . Same soccer to basketball sports shifting and absolute zero knowledge of life in the USA . The only difference is that during Hakeem's time , recruitment of African basketball players was not prevalent yet. Olajuwon arrived in the airport in the States alone. He was suppoed to be picked up but due to some confusion , no one was around to meet him as he recounted in his book, Hakeem ( he later reverted back to the original spelling of his name - Akeem ) . The Dream almost winded up in another school but as fate would have it , University Of Houston was his real destiny. Thus was born the Phi Slamma' Jamma ' with teammates Cylde Drexler , Michael Young etc. for one of the most exciting NCAA team ever .

If Pape Sow who stands 6'10'' decides to play for Senegal in the World Basketball Championship with fellow countrymen the 7'2'' Maverick Sagana Diop , the 7'0'' Clipper Boniface Ndong and the 7'0'' former Raptor Mamadou N'diaye , their team will be awesome. You can say that, it will be a tall order to beat Senegal.
Pape is considered undersized for the center position so I don't know if the Raptors will retain him. One thing the coaches agree is how hardworking he is . Pape puts extra time to improve himself. During the interview , he kept repeating the need for someone like him to work extra hard. I guess Pape Sow is a firm believer that , you reap what you sow (sigh) .

Tuesday, April 18

Double Burger

The McDonald's HS Dunk Competition held in San Diego was shown in Canada last Sunday . It was interesting especially the finals between local star Chase Budinger and Gerald Henderson, son of former Celtics guard of the same name. Budinger made 2 perfect dunks in the prelim only to lose to Henderson in the finals when the Arizona commited baller , who is also a volleyball star, failed to duplicate his feat. But boy , that white man can jump !
The young Henderson , who calls Dr. J , Uncle Julius , is commited to go to Duke. He reminds me of his father except that he is not skinny. He has an NBA body even at his early age. Gerald is expected to be an awesome freshman according to the assistant coaches in Duke. Early comparison to another Duke player , Corey Maggette , is made.
The elder Henderson made his place in NBA history with a spectacular steal of an inbound pass
by Laker's James Worthy with 18 seconds left in of Game 2 of the 1980 Finals. The Celts went on to beat the Lakers .
The kins of former NBA players have the advantage over others . The coming years will see the influx of a new batch of ' these ' players . Sometimes it can be bad too. One of the 3 basketball playing Barry brothers (only 2 are left in the NBA , and soon 1 ) , once noticed that a player from the opposing team was giving him a rough time. Finally the young Barry asked the dude ' why are you giving me a hard time'. ' It's not you, it's your old man ( basketball great turned sportscaster Rick Barry ) . ' He always criticized the way I played ' the dude complained.

Vince Set New Nets Season Scoring Record.

Vince Carter erased Bernard King's record in the New Jersey Nets record books by scoring 16 points in a no bearing game vs. the Philadelpia 76ers last night. Stars from both teams - J Kidd and Richard Jefferson for the Nets and Allan Iverson and C Webb did not play.
Former Raptor Lamond Murray topscored for New Jersey with 19 points. Coach Lawrence Frank seems to be utilizing him a lot in the past few games. Murray has responded well especially in last night's games .
His outside shots were terrific just like his shots during his Cavalier days . There was a noticeable zeal in his movements. We always want the former Raps to do well. As long as they don't do well when playing against the Raptors.
Another former Raptor , Michael Bradley played a few minutes and scored 2 points for Philadelpia despite coach Mo Cheeks' treatment of this as some sort of an evaluation game for the bench players. I am afraid Bradley's days as 76ers are numbered. He was truly a disappointment for the Raptors. He was never able to adopt to the fast paced style of pro basketball. As a Raps rookie , he seemed lost. Like a deer caught in a headlight . Oh well . there is always the D league. I don't mean the deer league.

Monday, April 17

Royal Tanenbaum, Not The Movie

Larry Tanenbaum , the Chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertaiment, is getting a lot of heat lately from sports commentators and plain fans for the elimination of the Maple Leaf hockey team from the playoff. Somehow this made the performance of its other sports franchise, the Toronto Raptors less painful. Not that it matters to hockey fans. You see , the established sports media has the hockey bias. Some hockey fanatics would prefer that the Raptors are not here. One columnist always refers to ' the 20,000 or so Raptors fans ' as if quantifying their numbers means that they are few and limited.
Larry is not exactly Larry Legend of the Celtic fame but he has quite the same passion for sports stemming from his student days at Cornell University where he was the student manager of the hockey team in the '60s. His group's pursuit of an NBA team in Toronto took the whole 10 years before transfer of ownership fell into MLS&E lap.
His was the plane Vince Carter used to attend the graduation ceremony at UNC and to fly back for the 7th game of Toronto vs. Philly series ( the Raptors lost 88-87) .
He got invited at Vince 's wedding and served as VC's protector from harsh media treatment during the days before his transfer to New Jersey.

Nor is he Larry The Cable Guy , as he a owns a paving company with business contracts in N.America and other interests worth millions. He is the guy the camera focuses sitting in front
with his wife whenever the Raptors are playing at home.

The problem stemmed from Mr. Tanenbaum's perceived 'friendship' with Tie Domi , the pugnacious Maple Leaf which some consider as talentless but managed to hang on to his position in the hockey team. The other thing is the endorsement he gave to the present executives of the team . A lot of the sports commentators and writers are asking for the head of the President and the coach of the team.
Why can't you do what you did with the Raptors basketball team and hire a first class GM ? the media people asked.
Who do you think has a better future , the Raptors with some outstanding young players and cap room to boot or the Leafs with its aging crew ? they asked further.
To Raptors basketball fans , it was a shock. The basketball team mentioned at the same breath
as the revered hockey club.
... and who is the bread and butter of the organization ? the media added rather forcefully less you forget your place in the organization you basketball nuts.

Sunday, April 16


Next season will see the rebirth of Alvin Williams. Alvin's ressurection will either be with a bang or like the planned quiet Scientology birth of TomKitten , the little baby of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes . I'm afraid this rebirth will not happen in a Raptors uniform.
Raptor fans believe in Alvin. Goods unseen. For as they say , Blessed are the fans who have not seen but believe. They believe that Alvin will rise from the dead(ball) to play again.
If only Sam gave him a chance . Play Alvin a few minutes at the start until he feels strong again. Slowly. But alas, the opportunity is gone with 1 playing day left.
What is it with Sam ? Sam hates veterans for some reason. Except Timberwolves vet. Look at how he treated Jalen and Aaron Williams . He should realize, they added , that the Raptors, in a shorter period of time, did better than the Timberwolves which cannot go past the 1st round of the playoff for so many seasons.
Some old Raptors can still contribute. A healthy Alvin will still be better than any of the present guards in the line up. He is Mr. Big Shot before Billups got that nickname. He plays hurt and is a very reliable PG. Alvin can hit the 3 pt.shot as well as drives to the basket. But what the previous coaches liked about him is that he can play 'D'. A tall point guard (6-5" ) fast enough to chase the tiny guards of the opposite team.
Alvin is the longest serving Raptor . He was almost traded to Boston for Danny Fortson but the trade rescinded because of some concerns by the Celtics management .
Avin came from Portland Trailblazers via the Damon Studomaire trade after playing for Villanova in college.
It's likely that he will try to hook up with New Jersey to join Vince , as a replacement for crazy Jeff Mcinnis, or return to his native Philadelphia.
But then again , maybe the new coach will give him a Lazarus like ressurection.

Friday, April 14

Time Of Reflection

Today being Good Friday , the people who comprise the Management Group of the Raptors need to reflect on what has happened to this once promising franchise.

1. Doubdting Thomases. The Raptors franchise was led by then GM Isiah Lord Thomas. That was before Losing Isiah. The Isiah who rose from the drug infested streets of west Chicago .The Isiah of the NCAA champ Indiana Hoosiers. The Isiah of the 2 time NBA champion Detroit Pistons. He has the magic touch which he carried to the young Raptors franchise.
His first pick, Damon Studoumaire, was voted the Rookie Of The Year of 1997. There were many doubting Thomases to his choice including majority of the 20,000 who were at the Skydome on draft night, chanting Ed O'Bannon's name of the NCAA champ UCLA. Isiah was proven right.
Tracy Mc Grady was a high schooler with potentials but a questionable pick . He had later blossomed into a bonafide superstar. Isiah was right again. Then there was Marcus Camby from UMass. Lacking body mass but versatile enough to handle 3 positions. Isiah was always right.
The man they called Zeke made solid picks during his stay as a GM of the young franchise. Suddenly , Isiah was gone.
What if he had stayed ? Fellow Indiana Hoosiers, Glen Grunwald and Butch Carter might still be around. My God , even Gene Hackman might have joined the group from the celluloid screen.

2. Crucify Them. Toronto has the unfortunate reputation of not being able to hold on to its star. Is it really the lack of American channels and ESPN ? or the Canadian system of education ? or heavy Canadian taxation ? or Canada not being minoriy friendly ? Didn't anyone tell these carpetbaggers that Canada was once the destination of slaves who were running away from their masters in the early years?
First , Damon left for his hometown Portland after Isiah skipped town . Then it was Tracy McGrady's turn to go . This time to sunny Orlando.
Vince left raising questions about the city's NBA future.
Fans were angry. Crucify them , the Raptors fans shouted everytime these players returned to Toronto with their new teams.

3. Judases In The Midst. There is no lack of backstabbing of Judas like proportions. There was the case of Butch Carter asking the Management then to attach the GM position to his coaching duties at the expense of GM Glen Grunwald.
Kevin O Neil turning his back on Glen forcing the latter to remark something like this " I gave him the chance to be the head coach in this league and this is how he repaid me "
Sam Mitchell going to basketballl Consultant Wayne Embry bypassing GM Rob Babcock according to reports.

People are blaming Richard Peddie for the team's current state of affairs. Like Pontius Pilate before him , Peddie washes his hands of the mess and vows to find the Holy Grail to franchise stability. Peddie even hired an Italian , Bryan Colangelo , to crack the da Vinci Code to everlasting happiness of the faithful Raptors fans. Make that of the faithful Raptors paying fans. Amen.

Thursday, April 13

Toronto 96 Orlando 103

The hapless Toronto team registered its 10th straight loss via Orlando . The Raptors stayed with the Magic until the first half of the ballgame ( 55-54 ) . The second half was a different story. Brian Hill made the necessary adjustments allowing Orlando to pull the victory. He is an effective coach . Maybe the Raptors can get somebody like him - the right blend of experience , toughness and karma power.
He suspended Francis and eventually worked for his trade to the Knicks. Brian Hill was the coach of the Vancouver Grizzlies, a team Francis snubbed to play for Houston. What goes around ...

Brian was the coach of Orlando when Penny Hardaway got him
succesfully ' kicked ' out . After that , Penny's career went brianhill. I mean downhill.

With Mike James' shooting guns silenced (21 pts. but only 4 pts. in the 2nd half ) while Magic's Nelson ( 27 pts.) firing at all cylinders , it became easy sailing for Orlando. Another one of Orlando 's weapon was the lob pass from the high post. Dwight Howard ( 14 pts.) and Tony ( 16 pts. ) had a field day dunking the ball following a lob pass from Hedo Turkoglu.

Tony Battie's case is interesting. He was a high 1st round draft pick by Denver who had a hard time in his early years. His coach then , called him Il Busto or the Bust. Tony was eventually traded to Boston . He then played for Cleveland before finding a home, Orlando, where he just signed a 4 year contract extension.
I think a similar fate awaits Hoffa Araujo outside Toronto. It might be in other NBA cities or maybe in his native Brazil or elsewhere as long as it is not in Iraq .

Tony Battie
240 lbs.
Center / Forward
no 5 in 1997 draft

Rafael Araujo
290 lbs.
no.7 in 2003 draft

Vince's Line

Vince had 21 pts., 3 rebounds and 6 assists in 31 mins. of play .
Score : NJ 96 Philadelphia 116.

American Idol . Another One Bites The Dust

It's Bucky time to go as the idol hopeful got the least number of votes in the latest edition of American Idol. The theme was Queens and it does'nt quite suit his style. And so another one bites the dust as the Queens' song goes .

The NBA playoff picture in the Eastern conference is not as set yet . Three teams are fighting for the 8th spot . These are Chicago ( 37-41 ) , Philadelphia ( 37-41 ) , and Orlando ( 34-44 ) with 4 games left. My pick is the Sixers because they are the most competitive , I think. Chicago doesn't have Luo Deng and Duhon while Orlando is too far behind.

NBA TV Analyst , Mad Dog Carter , thinks 38 wins is the magic number. If the Sixers - Iverson , Webber and the rest of the gang - put their act together , it might spring some surprises in the playoff.
First , they must make the playoff.

Otherwise , the Sixers deserved to be deep sixed.