Wednesday, January 31

Premature Ejaculation Is Bad For A Team's Health

Many Raptors fans are already rejoicing after the team captured the lead in the Atlantic Division . Some even carry the grand illusion of coming out on top of the Eastern Conference ! ' 'Do you realize we are only 3 1/2 games away from the Eastern conference leadership ? asked one member of the Raptors TV Team . In the same manner , does he realize that the Raptors are only 3 1/2 games out of the playoff spot ? The teams in the Eastern Conference are so bunched together that I thnk it's the more competitive of the 2 conference !
The elation over the Raptors' present position , they are no.4 in the playoff for the East , was fueled by an easy 4 game homestand which the team completed excellently . Toronto managed a 3-1 win/loss record after disposing of sub .500 teams . The team's schedule will continue to be relatively easy said one fan. ' They are going to play majority of their games at home where they have a good record ' added another member of the Raptors TV Team . Not really . The homecourt advantage is overrated anyway. For a young team like the Raptors , 8 new faces and and 2 rookies playing 20+ minutes , homecourt means added pressure . They may not perform well before a hometown crowd because of high expectations . Just look at Andrea Bargnani's performance in the last few games . Some think he has hit the proverbial rookie wall with his sub par performance . I think AB is feeling too much pressure . Every shot AB takes , the crowd expect it to go in . There's silence then tsk, tsk
after a miss and major elation after a basket made . Not even Chris Bosh's shots get that kind of reactions . This high expectation caused AB to miss majority of his shots lately. Bargnani forgets to square his body against the basket anymore. Bargnani is releasing his shots too early . If it is a sex act , AB is guilty of premature ejaculation !

Tuesday, January 30

Bouncing Ball 12.0

1. The Real Prince . Prince Charles visited Harlem the other day . He was shown shooting the basketball inside a gym full of kids . A regular in Carlson Tucker Show joked that Charles shoot like Queen Elizabeth ! I though he has a decent one handed shot . In his 1st try , Prince Charles missed badly when he shot the ball weakly with the ball failing even to touch the rim. In Prince Charles' 2nd try , he used the backboard and made the basket to the delight of the crowd . Anyway , what's with Charles and basketball ? In 2004, he was photographed holding a basketball during his visit to Saudi Arabia (photo)
2. AI To 'Melo . Since the return of Carmelo Anthony from his suspension , I noticed that 'Melo seldom returns the ball to fellow Nugget Allan Iverson after receiving a pass from him . It's like the blackhole of basketball . Is 'Melo (31.2 ppg) afraid to relinguish his role as the team's top scorer to AI (27.1 ppg). I think last night's loss against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats ( 101-105) was due to the team's failure to capitalize on AI's hot shooting (10 of 15 ).
3. Greg Oden Watch . Last weekend , OSU won over Michigan State , 66-64 . Greggy scored 19 points and grabbed 6 rebounds . He also had 3 blocks . Oden is becoming stronger in every game since that pathetic performance against the Florida 'Gators which the Buckeyes lost . I can't wait to see the rematch between these 2 topranked college teams .

Monday, January 29

I Feel Your Pain , Sidney .

Yesterday , an interesting topics of discussions in both ESPN' The Sports Reporters and it's Canadian copycat show , TSN's TheReporters , were about the Canadian game and the American game . The ESPN show discussed the way NHL (mis)handled its recently held All Star game in Dallas . ' NHL Commisioner , Gary Bateman , managed to do one better tnan the magician who made a jumbo jet vanished into thin air . He made the NHL All Star dissapear on the air ' said John Sanders, the host of the show. He can't understand why the NHL continue to fail misebrably in the States despite the presence of young stars like 19 year old Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburh Penguins and 23 year old Russian showman , Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. ' The NBA continue to reap success in promoting its young stars like Lebron , D Wade and Carmelo . The NHL should do the same ' Sanders added. The TV ratings of NHL games remain pathetic . ' Sportscenter's hockey highlights are small compared to here in Canada ' said Crosby in Toronto when asked how popular he is in US . Want to switch uniforms with Lebron , Sid ?
Immediately following the ESPN show , Dave Hodges of The Reporters wondered why the only Canadian NBA team still failed to garner interest from the viewing public . ' Is it time for Canada to pay attention now that the Raptors are on top of the Atlantic Division ? ' asked Hodges. You see , TV ratings of Raptors' game are still at 50,000-100,000 compared to about 1.2 million for Maple Leaf's games . The Star's Damien Cox said it is because Canada still considered the Raptors a Toronto team not Canada's team . ' They (TV executives) should have Phoenix Suns' games featured on TV regularly . Canadian Steve Nash will be a great attraction . I agree. But how about choosing one channel to carry the Raptors' game . TV viewers find 3 separate channels aside from Raptor/NBA TV carrying the game confusing . I think the Raptors' TV ratings will eventually increase if they continue winning. In the height of Vince Carter's popularity , TV ratings went as high as 700,000 during the playoffs. In fact , Vince was considered the most popular sports figure in Canada bar none . Funny how Hodges have to ask if it's time to pay attention now to the Raptors . Just start by talking about the Raptors/NBA in your show regularly instead of talking hockey all the time . It goes to show you the bias of most Canadian sports(?) reporters against basketball . Every now and then , you read disparaging articles about the Raptors and their failure to catch the Canadian public's fancy .Is this because of the Americans continued lukewarm acceptance of the Canadian game ? A case of tit for tat . Why would they (hockey reporters masquerading as sports reporters) accept an American game ? I heard a reporter or 2 suggesting that the NHL forgets the US market and transfer to Canada all losing US franchises. The Raptors would be lucky to get some good ink and sports highlights until the new generation of real sports reporters come along . In the meantime . we definitely feel your pain , Sidney !

Sunday, January 28

Raps Bow To the Pacers

The Raptors were beaten at their own game last night by the Pacers as they went down . 104 - 82. The customary 2nd half surge did not happen this time for Toronto as Indiana poured it all instead in the 2nd half. As I pointed out in my pre game analysis, Toronto needs to neutralize Indy's big men . They were unsuccessful ( 45-36 rebound in favor of Indy ) . Chris Bosh (26 pts.,12 reb.) tried to keep TO's hopes alive but he appeared too tired as was the rest of the team .Maybe the Raps are tired being on top of the Atlantic Division . Remember guys , that can change quickly . J Kidd and Company's misfortunes could easilly be reverse. I'm talking about the Nets' record not J Kidd's divorce !
The Pacers outshot Toronto (49%-42%) led by the sensational Danny Granger who poured in 28 points on 69% shooting in the 2nd half.. He kinda' remind me of former Raptor , Tracy McGrady . A young T Mac . At least Granger's lean and long body as well as his outside shooting stance . Larry Bird is correct in protecting his young stud from the bad influence caused by associating with bad boy, Stephen Jackson . For now , it's alright to be alone , Danny . To be the Lone Granger !

The Lone Ranger
: Tonto , see if there are Indians in Indiana !

Saturday, January 27

Tonight's Game

The 5 game homestand is over, so is the fun over ? Maybe or maybe not . If the Raptors manage to contain the rebounding power of the Pacers' big men ( Jermaine O'Neal , Jeff Foster , Troy Murphy and even Ike Diogu ) , they will have an easy time . Chris Bosh's rebounding is somehow diminished . His double figure rebounds are as few as the hair on Chuck Swirsky's head . Check it out . As to firepower , the Raps have more as Indy only has Granger to rely on . Dunleavy is still not at ease at his new home . Watch for O'Neal to give Bosh a hard time for taking away his slot in the East All Star .Line : Ind. -6 ; Under/Over 192 .

Friday, January 26

Raps Teach The Celts A Lesson .

Toronto reached the .500 mark for the 1st time in 4 years by beating Boston, 96 - 90 . The victory was fashioned with 13 3 pointers with Anthony Parker making 7 of 8 three pointers. Parker finished with 23 points . ' That Tony Parker is a Celtics killer ' said Tommy Heinsohn of the Celtics' TV . The Raptors play unselfish ball althroughout the game . They have 27 assists with only 8 turnovers. It was fun to watch the Raps passed the ball 4 or 5 times before shooting . Beautiful basketball .One writer called it the hot potato game . For Jose Calderon , it's hot tamales , Senor !
Except for a brief time in the 4th quarter when the Raps relinguished the lead , they are in total control of the game . I feel like they were in cruise control until they decided to tightened their defense and shut down the Celts . Even Chris Bosh (26 pts. 8 reb.) has 1 rebound only early in the game but end up collaring just about every rebound late in the game. That's the mark of a good team . Switch it on to turn the heat against the other team and the game is over. ' They have Bosh who if double teamed can find the open man ' said Celtics coach Doc Rivers . ' Jefferson still has to learn that '. Really . Doc , your team still has to learn how to win !

Doc Rivers : ..and I still has to learn how to coach !

Tonight's Game

I don't see the Raptors losing tonight against the Celtics . The only question is how many points will the Raps win. However , it will be a battle in the point guard position where the Celtics have the advantage with Rondo , West , Ray and Telfair vs Calderon and Martin . Line : Tor.: -9 ; Under/Over : 188.5

Bouncing Balls 11.0

1. Vince's Popularity Is Sinking . Based on the final voting results of the NBA All Star , Carter's star power has diminished quite a bit . His total number of votes went from the near 2 million mark at the height of his popularity to just 1.4 million . Gilbert Arenas overtook him for one of the starting guard spots in the East squad . ' The ($ 1 million ) birthday party surely helped ' joked Agent Zero who will join the annual event as a starter for the 1st time . Thank Vince's refusal to sign a contract extension with the Nets for that .
2. All Stars Are All Offense . The NHL All Stars event was completed recently in Dallas . Hockey sportswriters/commentators complained that this year's version of this annual event sucks . ' It's all offense ( score 12-8). No crosschecking , no fighting ' they said . Duh . Do you think the players will risk injuring themselves for an exhibition game ? Expect the same in the forthcoming NBA All Star In Las Vegas . The difference is that there's so many ( artistic ) ways you can rebound , pass and shoot the ball , so it's still a lot of fun !
3. Chris Bosh An All Star . Finally . Bosh has improved his game tremendously. Charles Barkley said he's deserving of the starter's spot in the East All Star lineup . More deserving than Shaq . I wonder if Chuck has seen the new Chris Bosh . Take a look !
4. NBA TV Viewing Worldwide . It's just a blast watching NBA games on TV in North America . It's watch 'till you die . Here in Canada , you get to watch the Raptors and other NBA games in 3 channeks aside from NBA/Raptors TV . In other places in the world outside USA/Canada , basketball fanatics are not as lucky . In Saudi Arabia , you get to watch the NBA , once a week via the NBA Game Of The Week . In sportsmad Australia , it is definitely more than in SA but not as much as here. In soccer loving Malaysia , a basketball fan said it's a lilttle irritating . Over there , they don't even spell the teams' names right . I love the NBA .... especially from where I live !

Thursday, January 25

Raps Regain No.1 In The Atlantic Div.

Toronto was on the brink of defeat before prevailing over tough New Orleans/Oklahoma. The Raptors just can't seem to get going starting the game sluggish until a brilliant last 4 minutes. Chris Bosh had a monster game scoring 35 big points none bigger than the 2 pressure filled foul shots with seconds remaining in the ballgame . Bosh , criticized last season for hiding behind Mike James during crunch times , was ready this time . ' It feels good to steal one . Teams stole from us before so it's nice to turn the table ' said the Boshman . It good 'cos the other Bossman , Larry Tanenbaum of MLSE , was at courtside last night. Otherwise , Mr. Tannenbaum (in photo) might think you're stealing money from him with your maximum contract !
The Hornets , without premier point guard , Chris Paul , were up by 15 points early in the 4th quarter . What happened ? ' We took the bail out. We settled for long jump shots. That's the sign of a team lacking confidence ' said Hornets coach Byron Scott. . On the other hand , Calderon was full of confidence again last night . ' Sometimes , we don't need to play well to win ' said the back up guard who continued to play well in place of TJ Ford . Jose scored 4 baskets and blocked 1 shot in the final 30 seconds of the game . At the rate Jose is playing , I'm not sure if Ford can regain his starting spot. Just like the carmaker Ford , which today reported a whopping $15 billion lost last year , the ballplayer Ford is no longer No.1 with GM. Jose is now no.1 with the GM . Not General Motors but General Manager , Bryan Colangelo !

Pres.Of Toyota Motors :
TJ , want to work for us ?
1st , you need to change your name to TJ Lexus !

Wednesday, January 24

Bouncing Balls 10.0

1. Mt. Mutombo Cited . Dikembe Mutombo was mentioned by Pres. Bush in his State Of The Union address last night. Dikembe was one of the 4 ordinary Americans who's extraordinary feats were highlighted by the President . Dikembe was photographed sitting next to the First Lady.
2. Doug Christie Wants To Go Back To TO .The overwhelming response to this is a resounding NO from Toronto fans based on chat room chatters . Hear that Jackie. The couple left TO in a bad note so what do you expect . It's like Hugh Hefner saying to Kelly Osborne ' No, thanks . We can't airbrush that much ! You see , the young Osborne gal expressed her desire to pose for Playboy .
3. NBA Idol . Now that American Idol is back on TV , one can't help being reminded of Jerry Stackhouse rendition of the national anthem in a recent Mavs' game. Jerry is not a bad singer but I think former Celtics , Andrew Mc Carthy is better . In fact , the 2 are better than a real American Idol finalist who sang in Game 2 of last years' NBA Finals .

Bryan Colangelo , TO's Basketball Messiah .

The way Bryan Colangelo is turning the basketball team's fortunes around is really a miracle. He is definitely worth every penny of the $ 3 million Maple Leafs And Entertainment is paying him . ' The Raptors team is relevant again . A lot of people in the city are talking of the team . ' said the voice of the Raptors , Chuck Swirsky . OK , maybe this statement is biased coming from a uber homer like Chuck . How about these : (1) Sports Illustrated was in town a few weeks ago to do a feature on the team . (2) ESPN is reportedly considering televising a Raptors game . (3) Local TV ratings of the Raptors games have started to move up (4) and attendance is now at top half of the NBA ! These are all music to the ears of executives at MLSE after many years of downward direction for just about everything related to the Raptors.
The team's tranformation came at a faster rate than even by Colangelo's set timetable . I don't think he envisioned the team to be in the hunt for a playoff berth in his 1st year as a GM . Wait , the team is actually fighting for it's 1st divisional pennant ! Now , fans are talking about where to hang the Atlantic Division banner among the many Maple Leafs hockey championship banners in the Air Canada Center . Colangelo is so revered in the Toronto's sports circles that even hockey commentators who used to disparage anything associated with the Raptors , are praising him and his actions .
' Why can't the Maple Leafs do what the Raptors did ' is often heard from these guys now . So . in future telling of the story of the basketball franchise , one will need to separate if the events are Before Colangelo ( BC ) or after his Departure (AD) . Hopefully , MLSE will tore up his present contract and sign Colangelo to a lifetime one ala Red Aurbach so AD will not come in a long long time !

Tuesday, January 23

Raps Win Big Over Bobcats

The Toronto Raptors limited the Charllote Bobcats to 8 points in the 3rd quarter leading to a 105 - 84 win . What started as a tight game turned into a rout when the Raptors' applied zone defense starting the 2nd half .Five Raptors scored in double figures led by Chris Bosh's 20 points and Jose Calderon's 19 points with 11 assists to boot . ' We knew what our mistakes were at the half ' said Calderon . Needless to say , the Raps corrected them . Calderon was very effective in the absence of an injured TJ Ford . Jose seemed more at ease last night . I guess , if you do not have to look over your shoulders every now and then , one will be loose too .Now , if he can only get rid of the ball stuck on his nose ( see photo) courtesy of Bobcats' Emeka Okafor ...
The Bobcats were coming from a back to back victories over the Atlanta Hawks , the last one being a blowout . ' You'd think this would not happen the way we played against the Hawks ' said veteran Derek Anderson . ' Toronto is a different team . It has more shooters ' . The Bobcats should have realized that before the game .Don't they know that TO is a different team now. No more ballstoppers like Jalen Rose and Mike James . The Raptors play a more free flowing style of basketball like European teams do according to one Charllote newspaper . More importantly , the Raptors are out or is it , in to win . Just like Hillary Clinton , they ' they are in , in to win ' .

: Bryan , now that there is no more ballstoppers
in your line up, do you want to take my Bill the ballshitter !

Monday, January 22

Tonight's Game

The Bobcats have been playing great basketball lately . It is an athletic team with Okafor , Gerald Wallace , Felton and Sean May . It will be interesting to watch the 2 rookies- Adam Morrison and Andrea Bargnani - duke it out . Both are good outside shooters . Chris Bosh needs to play a great game if the Raptors hope to win . Line : Tor.18.5 ; Under/Over : 193

Sunday, January 21

Bouncing Balls 9.0

1. Alvin Is Back . Former longtime Raptor Alvin Williams showed up in a LA Clippers' uniform yesterday in an afternoon game between LA and Memphis . It was a surprised to many Raptors fans as 'Boggie' reportedly signed a 10 day contract just that day. Why see action so soon ? The Clippers are in dire need of a back up guard (due to Shaun Livingston's injury) and they're in a blow up game. Alvin registered 3 assists in 4 minutes of play . Not bad for someone who has not played in the NBA for sometime . He is a solid guard and a tall one ( at 6'5'') so he should be a big help to the team ' said the Clips TV guy . One noticed that Alvin's knees are now free of heavy bandages . Boogie was and still is one of the most beloved Raptors !
2. Vince In A Back To Back . VC was his old exciting self again in last night's 2nd of a back to back game of the Nets . It's been sometime now that the Top 10 Plays of NBA TV Daily featured VC's court exploits unlike the previous years when his amazing dunks were regular staple of the show. Last night , VC made 2 amazing shots under the baskets that elicited ohhs and ahhs from the crowd. I said before that the fortunes of the Nets depend on VC's performance more than Jason Kidd's . VC looks like he's having fun again . It's no surprise that his positive demeanor coincided with the Nets' 4th consecutive victory and the return of the Nets to the top of the Atlantic Division !
3. Top 3 NBA Draft Prospects In Back To Back To Back . OSU's Greg Oden , Texas' Kevin Durant and Florida's Joakim Noah , the top 3 prospects in 2007 NBA draft , all saw action in yesterday's NCAA games . Both Oden ( 29 pts., 10 reb.) and Noah (28 pts.,12 reb.) have monster games as they led their team to victories . Durant was less impressive as he was limited to 2 points in the 1st half and eventually finished with just 12 points in a losing game .

Friday, January 19

Raps Succumb To The Jazz

The Raptors winning streak was stopped by the Jazz at 3 when they came up short tonight , 102 - 94 . Chris Bosh ( 29 pts.,11 reb.) came ready to play but his usual partner in crime , TJ Ford , was good only for 8 points . Jose Calderon ( 16 pts.,5 ass.) tried to make up for TJ' s low output but it his efforts were not enough despite playing the whole 4th quarter . Thus , not only that the Raptors lost a game tonight but the Atlantic Division lead as the Nets beat the Knicks in a later game . As usual , end game miscues cost the Raps the game . ' We know what they are going to do . They just do it well ' said coach Sam Mitchell of the Jazz play . OK . It's like saying that the Raptors don't know what they are going to do and your boys just do well what not to do !
The Jazz came to play despite Andrei Kirilenko scoring only 8 points in 33 minutes of play. However , Kirilenko made a key steal down the stretch . Carlos Boozer (23 pts.,19 reb.) and Mahmet Okur ( 27 pts., 3 reb.) were the usual deadly combo for the Jazz . It's a pity that AK, a maximum salary player, has now been reduced to a secondary role leading him to complain that coach Jerry Sloan seldom calls plays for him . In turn , the KGB , I mean the Jazz owner , Larry Miller , warned ' Kirilenko is on thin ice ' . Meaning , if Kirilenko does not shape up , he will end up like fellow Russian (and dead spy) , Litvinenko !

Miller :
Andrei , do you like scotch
with polonium on the rocks !

Tonight's Game

The game vs. the Jazz tonight should prove to be more difficult than their last game although the Raptors had a close game the 1st time they met . Rookie Paul 'Ronnie' Milsap killed them on the boards and his hustle . A lot has changed since that game . Utah is kinda in small disarray with Andrei Kirelenko complaining about lack of plays called for him by the team. Still it's a dangerous team as long as Boozer , Okur and Deron Williama are playing . Should be a good game . Line : Tor -1 : Under/Over : 199.5

Thursday, January 18

Raptors 2nd Half Surge Bomb Kings

Oh how times have changed ! The Raptors were in complete disaaray when they 1st met the Kings and lost . Now , it's a complete reversal of roles as they waylaid Sacramento , 101 - 85 . The Raps with Mo Pete's near flawless shooting ( 4 of 6 in 3 point area ) , the return of Jorge Garbajosa (16 pts.,6 reb.) from a mini slump and the superb direction from Jose Calderon (11 pts.,9 reb.) were simply awesome . Mo Pete (22 pts., 5 reb.) , who blew a defensive assignment in their last game resulting in a loss, was extra happy about last night's win . The Raptors' guard playing on his contract year , said after the game ' I felt like I let the team down that's why I wanted to come out with a little extra '. Hear that B.C. Now it's your time for you to come out with something extra for Mo Pete's new contract !
The Kings lost their vaunted passing skills and speed . Team USA's Brad Miller was atrocious scoring only 2 points . He can't seem to avoid shuffling his feet resulting in numerous travelling violations. Kevin Martin resorted to outside shooting instead of using his speed . Even Ron Artest was without his usual swagger ! Something is definitely wrong with this once proud team. The Kings suffered it's 7th straight loss . ' The only way to get through this thing is to work and to make progress throughout this losing streak '. said coach Eric Musselman . Hmm . Just like one of Dubya's Iraq War policy . Now I know where Rumsfeld went !

Ass't coach Rumsfeld(?) : Gadammit !
Don't tell me ,
we can't win here too !

Wednesday, January 17

Tonight's Game

Toronto's confidence is high up there while Sacramento's in the dumps . A victory here should be a good start for the 5 games at home . Ron Artest is always a handful but K Mart is really the guy who killed us last time when the Raps lost to the Kings in Sacramento . Line : Tor -4.5 : Under/Over : 199

Tuesday, January 16

Raptors Nuke Sixers

Toronto answered the question whether they can bounce back after a devastating loss . They sure did it with an emphatic win over Philadelphia, 104 - 86 . The usual tandem of Chris Bosh (27 pts., 6 reb.) and TJ Ford (13 pts., 10 ass.) were very effective against the 76ers defense . What was an eye opener was forward Joey Graham's performance . He was a monster offensively (18 pts.) and on the boards (5 reb.) . Coach Sam Mitchell and thousands of Raps fans had long awaited this day. ' I Had A Dream' was in everyone's mind fstarting when Graham was a rookie. It's now a reality . ' I'm going to invite the boys to my place to celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday ' Graham said after the game . Celebrate yours too , Joey . For in this day , your game was reborn !
The early afternoon game was tight until the Raps pulled away towards the end of the 3rd quarter. The 76ers don't know what hit them in the Wachovia Center. ' We always played with a lot of energy. But these last few games , our energy level has been low ' said 76er Kyle Korver . Unlike Toronto's energy. It was unleashed like the mushroom cloud in last night's episode of the TV hit show '24' . I guess Jack Bauer can't prevent the TO bomb as well !

: I see that the Raps bounced back after '24' hours .
Just like the title of my show . It's very Canadian , eh !

Monday, January 15

The All Star Barack Obama !

Yesterday , I watched Barack Obama's interview in Face The Nation . Impressive . The guy made a believer out of me . Obama , the son of a Kenyan father and an American mother , should prove to be a formidable opponent for frontrunner Hilary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama is known as a sportslover and an NBA fan. Which brings me to the question , if Obama is an NBA player , who will he be ? No one . Obama will definitely be an NBA All Star but he would not be one baller . He will be the combination of several All Stars.
Barack Obama will be like MJ judging by his rock star following . ' Unbelievable . It's like we're travelling with a rock star ' said former teammate Steve Kerr of being with MJ .
Obama is definitely a Lebron James . The junior Senator from Illinois is like LBJ winning several titles at a young age.
Obama is DWade in his ability to attract women of all ages and colors. Like Wade , who was voted as one of sexiest men by People's magazine , his personality is magnetic.
Of course , Obama is not without ' flaws ' . Like Kobe Bryant , Obama has skeletons in his closet . He was reported to use drugs in his younger days . Like Kobe , the people will forgive and forget his youthful mistake.
With all these qualities , Barack Obama will definitely be an All Star if he's playing in the NBA now.

Today's Game

Another afternoon game for the Raptors should make this game easy adjustment wise .But Toronto is coming off a tough loss Sunday afternoon, so it kinda negated this advantage . The locker room mood yesterday after the game was down . TO has to watch for Canadian born Sam Dalembert . He always plays well vs. the Raps. Same with the remaining AI - Andre Iqoudala. Line : Philly : -1 ; Over/Under : 197.5

Sunday, January 14

Raps Run Out Of Gas Against The Mavs

The Raptors lost a race to the finish line this afternoon versus the Mavericks , 96 - 97 . It was heartbeaker for Toronto as it led almost all throughout the game . The Raptors started with all guns blazing led by Anthony Parker's 10 points in Q1. At about the same time as his sister, Candance and her school , were beating University of Georgia , AP was going berseck against the Mavs. ' Somebody should tell Parker he is not in the Missouri Valley Conference anymore. He's in the NBA '. said the Mavs TV's man Mark Followill. Chris Bosh (24 pts.,15 reb.) and TJ Ford (16 pts.,8 ass.) continued outracing the Mavs up to the 3rd quarter leading the Raptors by as much as 16 points . Raptors fans hoped that NBA games are like hockey games . That they only have 3 periods to play !
Somehow , you got the feeling that Dallas will recover . That's what good teams do. Especially if you have a player like Dirk Nowitski ( 38 pts., 8 ass.). Dallas continued to chip away at TO 's lead to the point that Dallas was down by only 4 points when Coach Sam Mitchell put in Andrea Bargnani . AB quickly changed the momentum of the game with a dunk and a no look pass to Bosh . But the Mavs continued their onslaught after that until the last play . With 6 seconds left to play , Josh Howard found himself all alone under the basket . Howard made the game winner . Nicholas Cage took all 60 seconds to steal a car in ' Gone In 60 Seconds '. This game was gone in 6 seconds !
Nick : There's no way the Raps can win. Sam instructed his boys to shoot every 7 sec . The Mavs need less time than that - 6 sec !

Saturday, January 13

Raps Abuse Celts

Toronto won last night as expected versus the undermanned Boston , 95 - 86 , and seized the Atlantic Division lead fron idle NJ Nets . Chris Bosh ( 27 pts., 8 reb.) lorded over the big men of the Celltics sometimes ' with all bones clanking ' observed one reporter. CB4 drives to the basket may be ackward but these always generated points if not fouls . He made 13 out of 16 foul shots . TJ Ford (19 pts.,6 ass.) started like a house on fire , scoring at will in the 1st quarter and Jose Calderon (11 pts., 4 ass.) took over where he left off. ' Calderon is the best back up guard in the NBA , in my opinion ' said the Boston TV man . OK, But right now , his team needs to forward up not back up in the standings !
The game last night was competitive despite the absence of Paul Pierce and, Wally Z. in the starting line up of Boston . ' I love small ball . It was one of the most exciting games this season ' said Tom Heinsohn , who was the other half of the Celtics' TV crew. The Celts have 'midgets' Telfair , Rondo and Ray , all 6 footers , battling the tall Raptors' line up of Rasho , CB4 , Bargnani and Garbo ! For a while , Doc Rivers' plan worked and excited the crowd until the big boys of Sam Mitchell settled down and put order in the world . The small boys of Doc were returned to their place . The 2 kidnapped boys from Missouri were returned to their parents . No charges made . Just charged one win for the Raptors !

Player In Yellow : When I grow up ,
I want to play for the Boston Celtics !

Friday, January 12

Bouncing Ball 8.0

1. Soccer star David Beckham's $ 250 million contract he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy is creating a lot of stir even among the highly paid NBA ballers . Last night , Chris Webber who reportedly got $ 38 million buyout from the 76ers , joked to Charles Barkley ' Hey, Chuck. We are in the wrong sport '. In the past , the $ 105 / 7 yr. million contract Juwan Howard signed with Washington (then known as Bullets) in 1996 surprised everyone in the NBA . Howard was the 2nd juwanhundred mil dollar man in the NBA !
2. Talking about ridiculous contract , when the Lakers offered a young Magic Johnson a then unheard of $ 25 mil/25 yr. contract in 1981 , vet Lakers' center Kareem Abdul Jabbar, cut short his Asian trip to get some clarification from Jerry Buss. So , it's not really surprising that the Lakers chose Kobe over Shaq.
3. J Kidd's impending divorce and Vince Carter's reported marital problems mean that 2 of the Big 3' marriages are going or gone pffft. Looks like , Nets GM Rod Thorn reported plan to break up the Big 3 is following the break up of their marriages !

Thursday, January 11

Oden Watch

No. 5 Ohio State loss to no.3 Wisconsin last Tuesday , 72 - 69 . It was the 2nd loss of the season for the young Buckeyes in less than a month . OSU lost to no.2 Florida 'Gators early December. ' It's alright for the Buckeyes to lose early this season against superior opponents ' said Michael Wilbon of Pardon The Interruption. I think what is really worrying for Buckeyes' fans is that Greg Oden's teammates still don't know how to maximize his presence on the court . Oden who scored 10 points , grabbed 7 rebounds and blocked 6 shots did not make his 1st basket until the 2nd half . Shades of the Buckeyes' game versus Indiana . Injured Michael Redd of the Milwaukee Bucks was among those who watched the game . Redd ( photo ) played college ball for Ohio State .

Raps Sting Bucks

The dynamic duo of Chris Bosh and TJ Ford rebounded from their lethargic performance the other night to lead Toronto to a 90 - 77 win over the Milwaukee Bucs . ' We carry the team.' said Ford ' We can't have people shut us down ' . TJ ( 15 pts., 10 ass. ) ran circles against his former teammates while Bosh ( 30 pts., 6 blks.) fired on all cylinders against the hapless Bucks' big men . CB4 also played excellent defense , handcuffing Ruben Patterson ( 17 pts.) who seemed too slippery for Joey Graham. You can say that Graham needs to watch NBC's ' How To Catch A Predator ' to improve his defence against registered sexual offender like Patterson.
To be fair , Milwaukee was not a complete team last Wednesday night. It just used an 8 man rotation due to manpower shortage. Big man Andrew Bogut offered some sort of resistance manning the middle excellently. The Australian baller registered a double double , 17 points and 18 rebounds. . The Bucks are now in a 4 game skid after a 7 game winning streak. ' It's going to be tough now . Four of our 5 starters are out . There is not more you can say ' Bogut remarked after the loss. Injuries can really turn a team's fortune suddenly . If I am the Bucks' GM , I will make sure Aussie Bogut stays away from any kind of seafoods . Especially the stingray kind !

Bogut : Up , down , up ..
This Bosh jumps like a kangaroo, mate .

Wednesday, January 10

Tonight's Game

On paper , the game tonight versus the Bucks is a gimme .Milwaukee is missing several key players notably team scoring leader Michael Redd and former Raptor Charlie Villanueva . However . the Bucks are still formidable . I expect Ruben Patterson and Andrew Bogut to play tough . Chris Bosh and TJ Ford should rebound from pathetic performances in the last game. Line : Tor -2 ; Over/Under 198 .

Raptors Trump By The Nets .

It was supposed to be a defining moment for the young Raptors . Instead , the Nets defined the game for the Raps with a major whipping . 101 - 86 . TJ Ford was held scoreless and 'Twin ' Collins and A Net named after a mouse gave CB4 ( 12 pts., 6 reb. ) hardly an opening to do his thing . The only open one was Andrea ' Open Mouth ' Bargnani who had 22 points. ' Once in a while , this team needs a slap in the face ' said coach Sam Mitchell after the game . I'd say , it was no slap in the face last night . It was a major beating spearheaded by wife beater J Kidd . The Nets came out smoking with Vince Carter ( 32 pts., 7 reb.) scoring at will in the 1st quarter for a 15 - 0 start for the Nets. Richard Jefferson ( 21 pts. ) , the other third of the Big 3 of New Jersey , played real well despite reports of an ailing ankle. Maybe, it's an ailing Uncle . RJ looked alright last night .
Actually , it was the Raps' 2nd unit led by Jose Calderon ( 16 pts., 12 ass. ) and Mo Peterson aside from AB who helped the Raps overcame the early deficit even leading the Nets at the end of the half . TO was a spent force 'though in the 2nd half. ' That's the difficulty in getting your team too far behind ' said ex Celtics great Bill Russell once. ' You spent too much energy getting back to the game . you can't finish it properly'. But what really was the reason for the 'soft' game by the Raps ? Sam attributed the lackadaisical efforts by his men to ' them staying at the plush Trump Hotel '. Oh yeah . Next time , all of you will stay at Rosie O'Donnel 's doghouse like Mr. Trump !

Rosie : Raps , don't ever copy Mr.Trump's hairdo.
It's like this one . It's called the retarded look !

Tuesday, January 9

Tonight's Game

The game tonight vs. the Nets will be for the Atlantic Division leadership. The Nets loss a heartbreaker against the Cavaliers in their last game snapping a 3 game winning streak . CB4 should have an easy time against substitute center Mikki Moore . However , I expect VC to have a huge game after the 'humiliation' he got last time from the Raptors crowd who chanted ' Vince sucks '. Payback time, I guess. Line : NJ : -3.5 ; Over/Under : 194.

Bouncing Ball 7.0

1. I don't like the darkened environment of the Staples Center. Whereas before you can see the audience reactions pretty clearly , the Lakers' crowd has become incognito except perhaps for some celebs sitting courtside. It's just like that in Madison Square Garden for years. I don't know if high definition TV can solve this.
2. He's back . I mean , his back is back . T Mac has been playing great lately helping the Yao less Rockets to snare much needed victories the latest of which was last night's win over the Bulls . Mc Grady has been attacking the basket again like it was the good 'ol days . ' TMac will be a great player in this league. I watched McGrady beats Vince in practice all the time .' said former Raptors coach Butch Carter of then then emerging superstar.
3. Talking about Butch Carter , why can't Raptors TV use the former Raptors coach in their TV panel. Carter will make an excellent analyst instead of the no name guys they have now. Ideally , a former Raptors player or a Canadian ex NBAer would be great . As it is , Raptors TV is besieged with criticisms on the ( lack of ) NBA credentials of its broadcast crew .

Monday, January 8

Raptors Zero In On Wiz For A Win .

Score one for the Raps as they put the Wizards in place for 116 - 111 victory. Although Gilbert Arenas ( 33 pts., 2 ass.) made his usual quota, it was an uninspired performance for the master of buzzer beater ( he had 1 BB again in this game ). Chris Bosh ( 24 pts.,15 reb.) led a balanced attack by a TO team which shot 51% from the field . Six Raptors scored in double figures . At the last 7 min. mark of the game , the Raps were up by 22 points. ' They caught us on fire again ' Arenas said .' We got hot in the end but by then the margin was too big '. The end score was more respectable . Otherwise the team of Agent Zero would know how it is to buried in Ground Zero !
Funny how TO's luck is turning around this season . The division they are into is the weakest in the NBA for one reason or another. The team is relatively healthy and more importantly , the team is devoid of controversies from Management to the players. Even Mo Pete , the one player who is expected to be ' acting up ' due to Sam's use ( or misuse ) of him , is the epitome of a good team player . No wonder , the Raptors franchise is becoming the envy of the whole NBA. Well , not only the basketball world. Many Maple Leafs fans think the hockey team should follow the ways of its basketball team. Hire a topnotch GM and ask him to start a new ( and young ) team. Too bad there is only one Bryan Colangelo . Maybe if MLSE doubles his pay , BC could handle the 2 GM's job . By then , BC will be really ....busy !

BC : My left hand will be for the hockey phone and
my right hand will be for the basketball phone , OK ?

Sunday, January 7

Oden Watch

It was supposed to be an easy game for OSU and that was what exactly happened yesterday as the Buckeyes beat the Fighting Illini , 62 - 44. Greg Oden scored 7 points , grabbed 15 rebounds and had 5 block shots . Greg did not get many touches in the 1st half. In fact , he did not score at all in the initial half. His teammates were shooting the ball very well that they don't see the need to use the big man . Ohio State coach, Thad Matta , probably noticed this because come the start of the final half , Greg got the ball outright several times. The stadium was awashed in orange that being the color of the Fighting Illini but also because OSU was in orange jersey. Looks like Greg's injured wrist is coming close to being completely healed . The bandage in his right wrist is smaller than before.

Friday, January 5

Bouncing Ball 6.0

1. At least ask for a season ticket to watch the Rockets' games .Thats what the owner of Yao Ming domain name should do in exchange for the release of the ownership of it to the Houston Rockets center. Ah yes . There is still the problem of how to get to the USA to watch the NBA games for the Chinese native !
2. By this time , everybody has heard of singer Madonna's adopting a Malawi (African) baby . Copying Angelina Jolie perhaps ? Why don't she just ask former beau , Dennis Rodman , to help her make a baby . Right . The former member of the Chicago Bulls is likely to turn her request down . You see , in his first autobiogragphy /book , Rodman described Madonna as ' like a dead fish in bed or something like that '.
3. Raptors fans are already seeing TO coming out on top of the pathetic Atlantic division. Barring major injuries to TJ Ford and Chris Bosh , the Raptors should have easier sailing than the Nets and the Knicks . They counted out the Celtics and the 76ers because of the loss of Paul Pierce and AI . I remembered tennis star and Knicks' fan John McEnroe complaining years ago of the NBA system that allows sub .500 team(s) to enter the playoffs . Now , the playoff system even puts the winner of the Atlantic Division as the No.4 seed !

Thursday, January 4

Bouncing Ball 5.0

1. Just the oher day , I wrote about the need for Lebron James to keep his image clean if he hopes to maintain his marketability and to reach his goal of being the 1st billionaire sports guy . Now , there are photos in the internet of him and his son around some topless women . It's different when sexy star Pam Anderson was photographed sunbathing topless with her son ( and Pistons' fan Kid Rock ) . Let's see . The reactions of fans not the topless girls !2. Former NBA great Walt Frazier got to be the most colorful game analyst . Clyde who does TV work with Mike Breen for the New York Knicks uses high fallutin' words by basketball standards . I bet Frazier sat near former teammate , ex Yale grad , ex Rhodes scholar and ex Senator Bill Bradley during all those airplane trips . I guess , Clyde is trying hard to add color to the bland Knicks' games !
3. Nice to see former Raptor Matt Bonner getting some court time for the San Antonio Spurs . Coach Popovich has the Red Rocket playing aggressive defense . In the latest game by the Spurs , Bonner was descibed as a ' sxrappy ' baller . I can't imagine Bonner and scrappy used in the same sentence !

Raptors Fail To Do The Mission Impossible.

It was Steve Nash Night in Canada and the 2 time MVP did not dissapoint .The Raptors as well . So the 5th largest crowd in ACC history went home satisfied . Ever the diplomat, Nash said after the win ' The Raptors played very well . They are a young team and they are an exciting team ' Chris Bosh returned from a month of inactivity due to injury and played his heart's out. His battle with an explosive Amare Stoudamaire was a sight to behold . They traded block shots, and baskets including dunks all night . In the end , the game belonged to the man called Captain Canada . Steve Nash ( 15 pts., 7 ass. ) waited until the 4th quarter to shine . And why not. After all , it's winter time !
The game could have gone either way really . In the last 2 seconds of the game , Derrick Martin threw a hallelujah shot which missed terribly . Sometime that night Gilbert Arenas made a game winning shot in the game vs. the Bucks and King James threw a 50 ft.+ that went in . I guess the quota is not more than 2 miracle baskets every NBA game day. I don't know about Sam's repeated use of Martin in the last quarter after the debacle last game. He should have known that the vet is only good for so much. Granted that Martin played well majority of the time he was in the court , he is bound to screw up at crucial point of the game . And Martin did . Martin botched a play , missed an attempt and made a bad pass. Just like the message in Mission Impossible , Martin has an expiry time and is sure to self destruct in x seconds !

: Derrick , I heard you're a good guard.
From hereon , I want y
ou to guard baby Suri .

Wednesday, January 3

Oden Watch

Greg O. scored a career high 21 points last night as No.6 OSU won over unranked Indiana , 74 - 67. Oden highlighted his game with an emphatic block in the closing seconds of the game. ' Just like Bill Russell ' said ESPN's Brent Musberger . It was a great performance by Oden after a so so one against the Florida 'Gators . One thing I noticed was how Greg's free throw shooting ( 9 of 10 in this game ) continued to impress even or maybe because of the use of his left hand . TIP to Shaq : Try using your left hand next time.

Tuesday, January 2

Bouncing Ball 4.0

1. Lebron James just turned 22 yrs. old last week. LBJ started everything early . His pro career and his mindset as far as being the 1st billionaire sports figure are going smoothly. Michael Jordan was worth between $400-500 million dollars when he retired .Minus maybe a hundred million dollars after the divorce . LBJ should be able to surpass that if he stays healthy and marketable . How ? Don't do anything stupid like Kobe and Anthony of late . Making yearly trips to booming China and soon India will be a must . Does LBJ has to leave small market Cleveland and go somewhere else ? Of course . Unlike his financial adviser , Warren Buffet who stayed in Omaha , LBJ needs to go where the action is !
2. WWDD . What Would David Do ? was printed in the t shirt of Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban. Obviously a tease for NBA Commisioner David Stern . Mark was instrumental in focusing attention the now dormant NBA new ball . Lately , the maverick owner is stirring the pot once again by saying Memphis owner , Michael Heisley , is selling the franchise because of his displeasure with the NBA . Daved Stern should wear a t shirt with print , WWDDWMC !
3. What's happening in Denver ? Consider the following among the casualties and near casualties . We all know what happened to Kobe . Then there is Nugget guard Julius Hodge who was shot while driving home from a nightclub in April. Pittsburh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter was shot outside a sports bar in 2003. And just this New Year's Day , Denver CB Darrent Williams was shot dead after attending Kenyon Martin's birthday party . If I were Allan Iverson , I would be real careful !!

Monday, January 1

TO Gambles OpportunityTo Beat Memphis.

Elvis is very much alive . Notwitstanding their dismal record . the Grizzlies surprised the Raptors with a 24 lead in the 1st quarter and held on to end the year for Toronto with a loss , 104 - 110 . I don't know what happened to the Raps . They must have felt intimated by the new ( interim ) coach of the Grizzlies , Tony Barone Sr. You see , Barone Sr. looked like a character from the TV hit ' Soprano ' . On the reverse , Barone inspired his team for sure. Memphis ran at every opportunity. 'When you push the ball and converts those shots , it deflates the other team .It gives us a lift ' said Mike Miller . Unlike in the old style of play. The only lifts are in Mike Fratello's shoes !
What surprised a lot of Raptors fans was coach Mitchell's move to put vet Derrick Martin in place of Jose Calderon in the closing minutes of the game .Actually , Calderon was in briefly - one play -then immediately yanked out . It's a gamble which Sam lost . Martin committed an error which resulted in a turnover and a horrible attempt at the basket which missed terribly .Why was Martin playing a lot of people asked . Simple . Martin was Sam's boy . He acts as Sam's cheerleader on the bench and in the locker room . Only someone forgot to tell Sam that cheerleaders don't need to play !

Cheerleader : You do that again , Derrick ,
I'll crush your bald head with these legs !