Saturday, March 31

Raps Win Again. Wiz's Ruffin On Suicide Watch ?

The Toronto Raptors beat another potential 1st round playoffs opponents last night.They disposed of the Wizards in overtime, 123 - 118 . Chris Bosh continued his mastery of the Wiz's big men as he scored 38 big points and 14 rebounds to end the 2 team's series at 3-1 in favor of the Raps. 'You've just have to keep going. We're trying to win all our remaining games.We just would not give up.' declared Bosh who scored 8 points and blocked Gilbert Arenas' last sec shot in overtime to assure his team's 40th victory. Bosh has been virtually unstoppable when he played the Wiz. Before last night, in a 119-107 Raptors win,Bosh scored 34 pts. and at one point made 15 straight baskets. On Jan.7 game which the Raps won also , Bosh registered 24 pts. and 15 rebs.Hey,the way Bosh played the Wiz, he practically owned them.The Washington team is the Wizards of Bosh !.
What made this loss a bitter pill to swallow for the Wiz was they could have won if not for Michael Ruffin's boo boo in the dying seconds of the regulation period.' Honestly,I tipped it because I was thinking there was a short clock ' said Ruffin.' It was the natural reaction to throw it up in the air ' he added. Honestly, it will be the natural reaction for your coach to kill you. Mo Pete caught the so called Ruffin's tip (?) and made a crazy 3 pointer to send the game into O.T. and a loss which has playoffs implications. Ruffin was a picture of a lonely dude as shown on ESPN's Sportscenter highlights . Ruffin was all alone. He was like US Attorney General Gonzales in the Washington now because the other day. he was practically left to the wolves by his boss, Bush. One can say that by insuring a Raptors victory in overtime, Ruffin was left to the wolves too by the Raptors' boss, Bosh !

Bush : Yohoo. I'm not the most unpopular guy in Washington now !

Friday, March 30

Raps Beat Heat .Will Meet Heat In The Playoffs ?

The playoffs picture is getting more clear as the regular season comes near to a close.The surprising easy way the Raptors disposed Shaq and his fellow senior citizens aka teammates , provided a glimpse of future pairings in the post season .It's good and it's bad. If the playoffs start today, it will be no.3 versus no.6. It's Toronto vs. Miami. Shaq vs. anti Shaq.That says it all.' He's a different type of a player' said Shaq one time when asked to compare the Raps' main guy. Chis Bosh , to him.You can say that again.No, you can write the answer on a masking tape and place it on the forehead of the reporter who asked the question.
If D Wade plays, the Raptors are the definite underdogs. Wade always give the Raps plenty of Head On moments. It will be like Sanjaya vs. Doolittle in American Idol finals. If Wade won't be around in the 1st round of playoffs, the Heat will still be the favorites but slight only. I'm sure Miami will use its overwhelming advantage in experience to intimidate the young Raptors. Only Dixon,Ford,MoPete and Rasho have experienced post season play before .The 2 teams will meet again this Tuesday and I expect coach Pat Riley's boys to play better than in their previous meeting.There is still a chance that the Heat will overtake the Wizzards to move up to no.4 spot and homecourt adavantage at the start of the playoffs.Let them.The later the Raps meet the Heat, the better.

Wednesday, March 28

Raptors TV's Own Chuckie (Salami And) Cheese.

The mouthpiece of the Toronto Raptors for several years now is none other than the incomparable Chuck Swirsky. Some find him annoying and a clown of a sportscaster. Other Raptors fans find him entertaining and lively. But all agreed that Chuck is a homer to the nth degree. He is definitely no Merv Albert who was bounced off the Knicks' TV tandem for being critical of the team he covered. Chuck can't find no wrong with the Raptors . Before the start of this current season , many laughed (including me) when he predicted the team will win 41 games. The Raptors at 38 wins are sure(?) to reach that magic number of victories.
Chuck always like to give the Raptors players their nom de guerres. He gave Chris Bosh the tag CB4 and Charlie V the name Smooth in his rookie year. Can't remember if Chuck was the one who gave the name Air Canada to VC ? And he was proud to accomplish such deed. ' I named Humpries and P.J. Tucker , Hammer and Nails respectively' Chuck bragged to his partner Leo Rautins in one pre season game.There's so many more names Chuck called the Raptors players that at some point the name giving reached ridiculous level. I sent him an e mail to drop the practice especially assigning names to unproven players.It turned out many Raps fans felt the same way because Chuck stopped the practice. However, Chuck was somewhat right in calling P.J.Tucker as 'Nails'. P.J. was nailed to the bench before he was waived by GM Bryan Colangelo.
Chuck's mouthing of the line bring out the salami and cheese has caught fire amongst Raptors fans. The line meant that it's a sure win by the Raptors . The victory is in the bag. Let's hope that the recent spate of injuries that the team suffered does not mean the discontinuance of the salami and cheese days. Free pizzas alone just won't do.

Tuesday, March 27

Raptors Mess Up By The Celts

Toronto played listlessly last night and lost to Boston , 87 - 95 . The Raptors abandoned their usual unselfish game and had only 16 assists . T.J.Ford tried to pull his team up singlehandedly in the 4th quarter as he scored 14 of his 28 points . Before you T.J. haters criticized him for his one man show, note that T.J. has the blessings of coach Sam Mitchell. Sam put 2 point guards , Jose and T.J., at the same time in the last quarter. What could be the reason ? One, Chris Bosh was struggling big time (5 of 19 shooting) , Dixon was DNP , and the bench particularly Mo Pete was ineffective (0 points in 7 minutes of play only) . ' Players should know that they cannot work themselves up in the game ' said an apparently pissed Sam after the game. Oh yeah. Mo can't sure work himself up sitting on the bench either !
The Raptors lost the game but more importantly lost versatile Jorge Garbajosa due to leg injury . The big Spanniard was injured as he fell akwardly going for a block shot on a driving Jefferson. Garbo was in tremendous pain crying as countryman Jose Calderon covered his face. Jefferson glanced at Garbo's injured leg then quickly covered his eyes and turned around. It's a horrifying sight I'm sure. ' It looks similar to what happened to Shaun Livingston of the Clippers earlier this season ' said Donny Marshall of Boston TV. Uh oh . That means trouble for the Raps. Isn't Shaun's season dead 'cuz of leg injury ? Yes . To the fans of the Clippers, he is Shaun of the Dead !

Heather Mills in Dancing With Stars : Don't worry , Jorge.You can still play with a wooden leg . Look at me !

Monday, March 26

Bouncing Balls 24.0

1. One Man.Show 'NBA players who played afternoon games will be tuning for this game' said NBA TV's Aldrige. Indeed . I was one of those who stayed late last night to watch Kobe came up short of tying the late Wilt Chamberlain's record of 5 consecutive 50+ points, It was still unbelievable as Kobe scored 43 points 'only'.'Kobe is one man highlight show' added NY Posts' Frank Isola .Kobe aka Mamba is really a one wrecking crew. At one point of the game , Mamba scored despite being guarded by 4 Warriors . Mamba is like Rambo. He can finish the opponents singlehandedly. Mamba plus Rambo is Mambo !

2.Walter To . Talking about super performance , Walter Hermann of the Charlotte Bobcats had one last Saturday . In the game versus the New Jersey Nets , the seldom used Argentine scored 19 big points. With a few seconds left in the game and the score tied , Hermann faked his guard, Richard Jefferson , and then sank a 15 footer to the surprise of the veteran Net. The man even has ice on his veins. I'm not sure if Hermann completely earned the respect of Jefferson 'though. ' Walter' , his 1st name . is not exactly a tough enough a name to gain respect from his peers. In fact, it's a sissy's name . And in the macho world that is the NBA , name counts a lot. How 'bout changing Walter to Fabio ?

3. March Tallness. Did you see North Carolina coach Roy Williams on the verge of crying in the press con following his team's defeat in the hands of Georgetown ? Madness turned to Sadness . But not to millions of Hoyas followers and Tar Heels haters (translation: Duke fans) and me included. I want to see the Hoyas win because of various reasons foremost of these is the battle of big men. Hoyas' 7'2'' Roy Hibbert (shown in photo) vs. OSU's 7'0'' Greg Oden in the Final Four.Both are legit 7 footers who can play. Oh ,there's one more 7 footer . In the crowd to watch this game for sure is former Hoya, Patrick Ewing. Patrick Ewing Jr. plays for Georgetown .

Saturday, March 24

Raptors Devour Nuggets.

It was a massacre of epic proportion last night as Toronto waylaid Denver , 121 - 94. The fancied duo of Carmelo Anthony and Alan Iverson failed to deliver this time. They combined for a mere 24 points as they succumbed to poor shooting . The whole Denver team had a dismal shooting missing its first 12 shots. This coupled by a tight Raptors' defense spelled doom for the Nuggets who felled by as much as 38 points in the 1st half. ' Never in my wildest dream did I think our defense was as good as it was ' said coach Sam Mitchell after the game. Never in my wildest dream that Jorge Garbajosa will score all his 21 of his career high 22 points in the 1st half ! Never in my wildest dream that Mo Petterson will come back from the dead and topscored for the Raptors ! Never .
The game was without some fanfare. In the 3rd quarter, Reggie Evans' questionable contact with Chris Bosh twisted the ankle of the Raptors' main guy forcing Bosh to sit out the rest of the game. Fast forward the 4th quarter . Rasho Nestorovich was called for a flagrant foul on Evans. ' That was no basketball foul ' Evans said .' He had his fist balled up. That let me know he did it on purpose '. Maybe . Rasho who called Evans a little bit dirty may just doing a tit for tat . Like it's payback time . In any case, if Reggie was mad at Rasho for what he's done to him , why did he not retaliate immediately ? Why did he not yank out Rasho's balls like he did to Clipper Chris Kaman ? Aha , Reggie is afraid of the much bigger Rasho. He just chickened out . Reggie is one chickened Nugget !
Ok. You'll be like Reggie !

Friday, March 23

Chris Bosh On Steroids ?

I was surprised at the super performance of Chris Bosh in the game vs. the Magic after his forgettable production in the prior games. On tne day of the game, Bosh gave an inkling of the coming explosion in his game when he did a radio interview . Bosh said he knew his game was so so lately and that he needed to play better. Walah ! 34 points , 16 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks was a line not better. It was betterer. That line was worthy of the now usual MVP chants from the ACC crowd just about every Raptors playing day.
I'm sure before the game, Bosh was aware that the Raptors' fans latest darling , rookie Andrea Bargnani, was not playing due to appedectomy. Was Bosh trying to prove something ? That he can carry the team without Andrea ? It will be recalled that the Raptors played well in Bosh's absence early in the season ( 6-6 record) . This record coincided with Andrea's accent to popularity amongst Raptors' fans. Bosh current reaction is not new to Raptors fans. Antonio Davis and Keon Clark carried the Vince Carterless Raptors to a near upset of the Detroit Pistons in the 1st round of the 2002 playoffs . Later on , it surfaced that both players were at odds with Vince Carter. No doubt, the 2 played their hearts out to prove that the team can win without VC. Jealousy among young teammates is more expected . A young Tracy McGrady left Toronto for Orlando because he wanted to escape the shadow of the (then) more popular VC . Now , T Mac said he is OK playing 2nd fiddle to Rockets teammate Yao Ming.
So I think Bosh took a performance enhancing drug to boost his production. He took some steroids . Not the kind those baseball players take. Not anabolic steroids. More like andreabolic steroids !

Thursday, March 22

Raps Make Magic Dissapear .

Toronto sailed to an easy victory over Orlando last night, 92-85 , despite playing without 3 key guys. The win was fashioned by the determined Raptors squad via a great 1st quarter that saw them take an early lead , 24-17 . Although the Magic won the next 3 quarters, the 7 points lead was just too much to overcome. Chris Bosh abused his Team USA teammate and fellow All Star Dwight Howard by outscoring him ,34-17 and outrebounding the boy man,16-12 . ' Howard has the slight edge over Bosh ' answered ESPN's Hollinger when Chuck Swirsky asked him who's better between the 2 in the latter's radio show the other day . ' Howard has more upside ' he added. I'm not sure about this. Dwight Ho's play is very erratic . One game he's a monster, the next he's a Cookie Monster ! Dwight is immature. The other day , his coach Brian Hill asked the pilot to fly the plane and to leave the very tardy Howard. That's not upside . That's up yours, Dwight if you ask coach Hill.
T.J.Ford played like the jitterbug T.J. again after a sub standard 2 games which the Raps lost. He had 10 assists in the 1st half alone and finished with 16 points. T.J. made some incredible assists last night that excited the crowd. When asked by the Magic TV guy after the game what makes the Raptors click despite 9 new guys on the team this season , T.J. responded .' Everybody knows their roles here. Like tonight, Joey scored some baskets and Humphries contributed rebounds. ' And most importantly , Pape Sow streched his legs !

Pape: I only played for 8 seconds tonight. Oh well , at least I'm helping Al Gore's global warning campaign as I don't have to wash my uniform !

Wednesday, March 21

Chris Bosh Needs To Show Tough Side.

The Raptors caught the injury bug finally. Most teams in the Atlantic Division were hit by injuries or player issues early in the season. Boston (Pierce. Wally etc.) , Philly ( AI ) , New York ( Lee , Crawford) and New Jersey ( Jefferson, Kristic). ' We have our share of injuries but these were short ' said coach Sam Mitchell in the radio interview this morning . ' When Chris Bosh went out , we managed to have a record of 6- 6 ' added Mitchell who sounded upbeat despite the early morning call . It must be because of the positive USA Today feature on him the day before. The Raptors did well in the stretch without Chris Bosh and later on ,T.J. Ford . In fact , Memphis GM Jerry West said to his boys to emulate the Raptors who continue to play well despite the absence of their main man (Bosh) . The Grizzlies were missing center Pau Gasol the first weeks of the season. Memphis contiued to struggle, so out went coach Mike Fratello.
The latest debacles - Andrea Bargnani' apendectomy plus Mo Pete's samplayme and Anthony Parker's recurring ankle injury coupled with Joey Graham's recurring timidity - came at a good time. That's what Jack Armstrong said . He reckoned with 2nd placed Nets still struggling and the Raptors ahead by 5 games , Toronto is practically assured of 1st place in the Atlantic Division. Nevertheless , this is the time for the Raptors to show some toughness. Especially Chris Bosh . ' I've failed to play my best games lately '. said Bosh . Yes sir . You failed to demand the ball more from your teammates. I say it's time to bring your 'A' game , Chris . But for some Raptors fans , your ' B ' game is enough. Bosh's Bossy game !

Tuesday, March 20

Bouncing Balls 23.0

1. Back To The Future. Today , March 20, is the anniversary of the Milan Miracle . It's the story of how a tiny high school ( pop. 200 ) in Indiana won the state championship in 1953 against a school 10 times its size . The movie Hoosiers starring Gene Hackman was based on this event. The film is my fav basketball film . It's so authentic with the small town settings and all. I watched the real high school game on ESPN Classics and I can't help my imagination from turning loose . I envisioned Allen Iverson playing for the All White Milan team . Will AI do well ? For sure what with his speed and shooting abilities . The only problem is that AI will be called for carrying the ball , travelling and even showboating all the time !
I think Andrea Bargnani amongst present NBA players will be more suited for Milan circa 1953. The Italian's long toms will be revolutionary in the days of 2 handed set shot . Also , there's a Milan in Italy . Il Mago will feel right at home in Milan , Indiana !

2. Clyde Failed To Glide . Anybody watch the Dancing With The Stars ? Former NBA star Cylde Drexler was amongst the participants. Cyde did not do too bad . He and his partner scored 15 points out of 30 . The worst score was registered by country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and partner so Clyde is safe, I supposed . Clyde was a little shy and his dancing moves were kinda' restrained . Other athletes who participated in the show in the past-boxer Evander Holyfield and NFL star Emmith Smith - debuted in the show a lot better based on my memory. Common Cylde . You can do better than that ! (said ala Mark Jackson)

3. Ex NBA Coaches . Only 2 ex NBA coaches are left to guide their respective school teams in the current edition of March Madness . Out were North Carolina State's Sidney Lowe ( Memphis Grizzlies) and Rick Pittino (Boston Celtics). Memphis' John Callipari (New Jersey Nets) and U.S.C's Tim Floyd (Chicago Bulls) are still in the running as their schools made it to Sweet Sixteen. Callipari and Lowe should get another chance to coach in the NBA . Winning the NCAA crown may pave their way back to the big league !

Monday, March 19

Bouncing Balls 22.0

1. Durant,Durant . Sensational freshman Kevin Durant went home dissapointed when his team , the Texas Longhorns was eliminated by U.S.C. yesterday. Durant managed to score 30 points but was dissapointed by his own efforts . ' I should have played better . I should have played better all season '. This statement can be looked at in 2 ways . Josh Smith of ESPN said Durant was wrong in saying that . ' It meant Durant failed to give it all ' Smith added. Maybe . But I looked at the statement as a warning to everyone in the NBA. The man can tear of your heart out if he wants to .
2. Good Bad Shooters. Walt 'Clyde' Frazier considers Vince Carter as an awesome bad shooter . Meaning, VC makes some of his shots the hard way . The degree of difficulty is tremendous when he makes his shots . Next to VC , Clyde said New York Knicks' Jamal Crawford is of the same kind . In his stint as a Raptor , Carter was critized by members of the Toronto sports media as afraid of body contacts 'that's why he taked too few foul shots. Actually , VC is just too athletic that he was able to sway his body from opposing players. ' In the old days , that would have been a dunk ' noted Reggie Miller of one of VC's missed attempt in the game vs. the Miami Heat. Now that VC has diminished atleticism, body contacts and arm fouls are more available. VC now averages close to 10 foul shots a game !

3. Sam's Attire. Coach Sam Mitchell was very dapper in a light blue coat last Sunday . His boys played a lousy game and were beaten badly by the hustling Knicks that day. GM Bryan Colangelo was seen on TV looking dejected and shaking his head . I'm not sure if it was because of Sam's coaching or the Raptors' brand of basketball that day or both. Sam , despite his recent achievements, is really still in a bubble . Charles Barkley's choice for coach of the year is still not sure of getting a contract extension with the Raptors. At least , Sam is in good company with Miami's Pat Riley and former Pistons coach Chuck Daly when it comes to one thing. . Both former coach of the year are neat dressers !

Sunday, March 18

YaoMan, Balkman Hand Raptors Succesive Losses

Last Friday, the Raptors played lackadaisically in the 1st quarter against the Houston Rockets and paid dearly for it with a 100 - 114 loss. Former Raptors Tracy McGrady and Rafer Alston started hot forcing Toronto to play catch up all night. ' I felt I let the team down the last time so I just came playing hard tonight from the start ' said TMac who scored 24 points to offset Chris Bosh's 16 points and 19 big rebounds. But it was huge Yao Ming who inflicted the Raptors the most damage with 23 points and 12 rebounds to the delight of the many TO Chinese in the ACC crowd . ' Standing next to Yao, Bargnani is a midget ' said Raptors TV 's Leo Rautins. Oh yeah . Then , don't let your TV partner Chuck Swirsky stand near Yao. ...''coz the folks might think that Yao has 3 balls !
This Sunday afternoon , Toronto faced and was pummeled this time by the New York Knicks , 74 - 92. The Raptors were caught sleeping in the 3rd quarter of the game when the Knicks pulled away from a tight 1st half with fastbreak after fastbreak. Chris Bosh attempted just 2 times in the 2nd half and finished the game with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Andrea Bargnani was a non factor while T.J. Ford , the hero of their last encounter with the Gotham City dribblers scored 14 points and assisted 3 times only, a far cry from the 18 helpers in their last game . On the victorious team , unheralded Ronaldo Balkman was fantastic earning a thunderous applause from the appreciative Garden crowd when he was taken out. Balkman had 15 points,12 rebound and 3 steals. Asked what's the 1st thing he looked at the scoresheet after the game today , Balkman replied ' I looked at the rebounds and steal , man. I don't care about the points, man . I'm Mr. Hustle , man ' . Ronaldo , you are the Man , man !

Balkman: I'm from Jamaica like Bob Marley man .Jamaica,Queens man !

Friday, March 16

Bouncing Ball 21.0

1. Presidential Bracket . So far , so good . That's how my NCAA bracket is looking like after 1 day of competition. I did play it safe picking mostly the top seeds against lower ranked teams . So all in all , I only missed on Texas Tech and the victim of the only real upset of the day , Duke . I did write about Sen. John McCain's choices for the Final Four - all the top seeds in the 4 regions . Look here. University of Arizona, under coach Lute Olson, does not have a good basketball team this year . Sen. McCain represents Arizona in the U.S. Senate .

2. Dennis Rodman's Footwork. Carmen Electra, who was once married to ex basketball star Dennis Rodman, stumbled during a modelling stint the other day. Too bad the actress' footwork is not as good as the former member of the champion teams of the Detroit Pistons and later the Chicago Bulls. In his days with these 2 teams , Rodman held his own, under the basket against much bigger guys and sometimes even rebounding with only one foot planted on the ground. Of couse, Rodman was not wearing high heels then.

3. Dukie Connection. Long time NCAA sponsor General Motors finally made a turnaround last year as it made close to a billion dolllar income . This is a reversal of previous years' losses. GM is the only US carmaker that made money last year as Ford and Daimler-Chrysler both suffered heavy losses. GM is headed by Chairman Rick Wagoner, former member of Duke basketball team . Wagoner who stands at 6'4'' played on the freshman basketball team but he learned pretty quickly, that he's not NBA material. That's why its Duke coach Mike K. that you see in the NCAA commercial driving a GM car !

Thursday, March 15

Sam Mitchell To The Milwaukee Bucks ?

Another great win by coach Sam Mitchell's boys last night ! The Raptors' great strides as evident in their 36-29 record and the sure capture of the Atlantic Division will definitely qualify as signifant progress . A lot more significant than the Knicks' significant progress that merited coach Isiah Thomas a contract extension from his boss James Dolan . But why is Sam still left hanging by Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo ? Is his performance this season so far still not good enough that B.C. still won't give him a contract extension ? I can only think that it's because B.C. is still set on hiring his man - Phoenix assistant coach Marc Iavaroni - to mentor the Raptors next season. You see , Sam, I think , is in the position only because of Raptors Consultant Wayne Embry , who in turn was the one who championed B.C. to the Maple Leafs And Entertainment, the parent company of the Raptors. At the start of the current season , B.C. said he wanted to give everybody a new start on a clean slate. Bull . Then why did he not give the old players a fresh start ? B.C. brought in 9 new players to replace old timers including crowd favorite Matt Bonner.
To Sam's credit. he did not let the current situation affect his performance. But I'm afraid the only way Sam can save his job is if the Raptors go deep in the playoff ( like battling for the Eastern Conference crown ) and the if the players specifically Chris Bosh ape Eddy Curry . The Knicks' big man threatened to leave N.Y. if Isiah's contract is not renewed. No Sam, changing your name to its Italian version- Sam Michellin - won't do . But don't worry fans of Sam. I think the opening at Milwaukee, with the firing of Terry Stotts, is the way out for both Sam and B.C.. Sam is familiar with the Bucks having served as the Assistant coach of this team before. So next season, expect Sam on the bench of another team most likely that of the Bucks !

Raptors Blast Knicks

Toronto buckled the loss of Jose Calderon due to injury suffered while driving to the basket to whip New York , 104 - 94 . T.J. Ford played like Steve Nash with his excellent ball distribution and finished the game with a career high 18 assists and the same number in terms of point production . Ford's performance was even more glaring in the light of the poor output of his counterparts over at the other side . The Knicks turned the ball over 20 times and failed to exploit the advantage of their burly center , Eddy Curry, over the lighter Andrea Bargnani. ' Almost every time I got the ball , he fouled me .' said Curry. ''So I was like ' Let's get this guy out of the game ' '''. Eddy , if you want Andrea out of the game , all you have to do is ask the guy Italian of course !
Last night's contrasting game was also true in the 3 point shooting of the 2 teams . The Raptors shot an impressive 60% versus the Knicks' 40% with Europeans Bargnani, Anthony Parker and Jorge Garbajosa combining for 12 of of 20 sh0oting for a total of 53 points . Together with Chris Bosh's 22 points , the Knicks have no match to the Raptors' newfound firepower. New York Times sportwriter Howard Beck said Toronto is the rising power in the Eastern Conference . ' I thought the Raptors were finished when Carter left . That they will leave town like the Grizzlies ' said Knicks TV's Walt Frazier . Well Cylde , the Raptors may be extint , but not dead . And Bryan Colangelo discovered live ones in the lost world of Europe and brought them over here .

Dinosaur : Where is that big bully Curry ? Is that the one sporting an afro ? or the one in blue shirt ? Yohoo , where are you ?

Wednesday, March 14

Bouncing Balls 20.0

1. Green Dinos . I expect the Knicks to be wearing green unis today when they visit TO in honor of St.Patrick's Day much like the Bulls did yesterday in Boston. Chicago and New York have rich Irish tradition aside from Boston, of course . The same with Toronto too ! At least, in the basketball media circle . A lot of sportswriters radio/TV people are green with envy at former Raptors GM Isiah Thomas for his contract extension . One sportscaster ( name witheld ) was heard saying ' Dolan offered Isiah a new contract even when his team is not even sure of making the playoff ' . This is only one of the many unfavorable comments made of the deal secured by the still unpopular Isiah in Raptorland .

2. Cyldespeak . Talking about ridiculousness , here's Walt ' Cylde ' Frazier's out of this world descriptions of some basketball plays in his coverage of the Knicks games recently. Take it away Clyde .

That's his 2nd provocative dunk .
Curry is hyperventilating ...
That's some intoxinating move by Marbury .

3. Presidential Bracket . Republican Presidential nominee wanna be Sen. John McCain made his choices for the NCAA Final Four yesterday as reported by MSNBC. It will be recalled that Sen. McCain co sponsored a bill banning gambling on amateur sports . I'm sure there will be no gambling on everyone's brackets in offices all around the States and Canada !
I expect other presidential hopefuls to reveal their picks in the coming days especially basketball playing Barack Obama , who's got connection to the NCAA in the person of Brown coach Craig Robinson . Robinson is the brother-in-law of Obama.

Tuesday, March 13

Raps Drop Bucks

Chris Bosh led Toronto to an easy victory over Mlwaukee last night , 108 - 93 . Bosh ( 25 pts.,10 reb.) made mincemeat of the Bucks' center, Andrew Bogut , forcing him to commit a flagrant foul out of frustration . ' I'm not surprised . He shot me an elbow , and he was doing a bunch of unnnecessary stuff ' said Bosh . The frustration was most likely brought about by the big lead by the Raptors - 20 points in the 1st half . Except for a time that their opponents came close by 8 points , the Raptors had as easy sailing in this game. Maybe the coaching staff of the Bucks told their guys to rough up Bosh to throw him off his game . But why use Bogut ? The 3nd year baller from Australia is not intimadating at all. He looks soft because he is muscleless . Bogut needs some muscle building hormone .The type that actor , Syvester Stallone , was caught bringing inside his country down under the other day !
T.J. Ford surprised his former teammates by scoring 12 points in the 1st quarter. He assisted 9 times to complete an all around game . It was always like that . The guy you gave away always comes up with his best game against your team . Milwaukee suffered its 41st loss.. It practically dropped out of the running for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while the Raptors stayed in place at no. 4 (35-29). The Raptors are staying in the playoff for sure. Just like the Penguins are staying in Pittsburgh !

Dr. J : Hey , the casino saved Pittsburgh this time !

Sunday, March 11

Raptors Get Pass Sonics In OT.

Toronto sent home the sold out crowd happy with a thrilling victory over Seattle in overtime , 120-119 . Andrea Bargnani scored a rare 4 point shot in the closing seconds of the game in the regulation but All Star Rey Allen tied the score with a 15 foot jumper before the buzzer to extend the game . ' That shot put hiimself in the running for Rookie Of The Year award ' said former Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens of the sensational Bargnani who scored 19 points on 50% shooting from the 3 pt. line. Wilkens , who now acts as the basketball Analyst for the Sonics , is impressive in the job . Wilkens and partner announced the game without the useless banterings. But most especially , Wilkens and his partner called the game less the ' salami and cheese ' and all that stuff that Raps' fans are subjected to everytime they listen to Raptors TV's Chuck Swirsky and Co. That's why after the game , I'm so happy I made myself a salami and cheese sandwich !
The overtime was time for TJ Ford to shine . The spitfirish guard scored 9 of his 25 points in the extension to make up for a disastrous 3rd quarter during which the Sonics took over the lead after 3 consecutive misses by Ford . A lot of Raptors fans find TJ 's penchant for taking over a game questionable. ' TJ is not afraid to shoot the ball . It's good if he is making his shots but if . ' You finish the statement . Funny , because the Raps were looking for a pass first point guard when they traded for Ford . They got a pass first PG alright . In this game , Ford always made sure to pass first everybody on his way to the basket !

TJ : Excuse me , Mo Pete . May I pass first ?

Friday, March 9

Bouncing Balls 18.0

1. Basketball Politics. Somebody asked me why I don't give props to the Republican presidential nominees . I actually find them boring except perhaps for Mormon Milt Romney . Yes , the former Governor of Massachuttes is the darkhorse in this race to be the standard bearer of the Republican Party. Why I dig the guy ? It's because Romney signed the bill proclaiming basketball as the official sport of the state of Massachusettes during his time as the Governor of that state . That's really cool considering the tradition of baseball ( Red Sox ) and football ( Patriots ) in the area .
2. No NBA , No AI . Last night , Jared Cotter was voted off the most popular TV show in U.S.A. His rendition of a Stevie Wonder song failed to garner him enough votes to be included in the Top 12 . Inclusion in the magic group assures one of a year long concert tour with the other finalists of American Idol aside from an AI CD. Cotter is a former Division II basketball player who switched to singing when he felt his game will not take him to the NBA . Well , there is always the D league young man .
3. Reunion In New York ? Former Raptors GM and now Knicks Vice President Glen Grunwald converted to Canadian citizenship when he was still with the Raptors . Now that Glen is based in New York , would he cut ties with his adopted land ? Not likely . Grunwald is married to a newspaperwoman working for the Toronto Sun . Before accepting Isiah Thomas offer , he was connected with a government institution . He is currently the chairman of a soon to open basketball facility in Canada named Hoop Dome . I think , Glen and the Knicks will take take a shot at acquiring New Jersey's Vince Carter this summer. Grunwald has a very good relationship with VC's Mom . That counts a lot .

Thursday, March 8

Raps Violate Grizz .

The Raptors snapped it's 3 game losing streak with an impressive win last night versus the lowly Grizzlies , 94-87 . The Toronto based dribblers have 5 in the double digit scoring led by Chris Bosh with 19 points followed by Andrea Bargnani with 18 points and Juan Dixon with 17 points. Credit must be given to the newest Raptor , guard Juan Dixon . ' Juan is a good player . He once scored 33 ponts in a playoff game ( vs. the Bulls ) ' said the Wizards TV man , ex NBA great Phil Chenier , last time .It's amazing that Juan adopted easilly to coach Sam Mitchell's style of play . I wonder why ? This is Juan's 3rd team in his short NBA career so far . Maybe Juan feels at home with ballers named Jose and Jorge. Si ! . The 2 must have told Juan that the ACC is Mi casa , Yo casa !
The Raptors played with passion in this game according to their opponents . ' We were missing intensity in our game tonight . Toronto played with a lot of intensity ' said Memphis coach Tony Barone . Finally , GM Bryan Colangelo's scoreboard placed in the Raptors locker room 2 games ago is beginning to take it's much needed effect . Or is it ? ' It ( scoreboard ) can work both ways . They can motivate the Raptors or it can put added pressure on them ' warned one Leo Rautins of Raptors TV . Whatever ! Some may find this visual aid a violation. The scoreboard was all in English and not in English and French as stipulated by law for all signs !

Rasho : The scoreboard must be in Italian , Spanish , African , and Slovak too !

Wednesday, March 7

Raps Suffer 3rd Loss Vs. Wiz.

The Raptors suffered their 3rd straight loss after bowing to the Wizzards last night , 109-129. The Raps who had beaten the Wiz in their last 3 games were completely outplayed this time . Toronto shot 28% only in the 3 pt. line which used to be their bread and butter. Not only that , the Wizards outrebounded them , 58-33 , and beat them in their own game of moving the ball around , 29-21 assists. Chris Bosh scored 25 points but only have 1 rebound the whole game .Unbelievable . Andrea Bargnani , recently back from Italy to attend to his ailing grandfather, was obviously not ready yet . Bargnani looked sick . Coach Mitchell should have just let him check in first in a hospital in Washington area . Like in Walter Reed Army Hospital !.
So outplayed were the Raptors that the usual smile in GM Bryan Colangelo's face was missing . Colangelo was shown on TV worried and madly tapping at his cell phone . What was he doing ? Is he negotiating a trade perhaps ? The team must regrouped to make sure they finish the season strong and to insure a homecourt advantage . ' We know that in the 2nd half of the season , we have to play with intensity . We lack intensity . So the Raptors need intensity huh ? I know then what Colangelo is doing . BC is trying to book a flight to Indonesia . That place was recently hit by an earthquake with intensity 6.3 in the Richter scale . That's the type intensity Colangelo is looking for the Raptors !

B.C: No , I'm not trying to book a flight .
I'm checking if I won NY's Mega Million Lotto !

Tuesday, March 6

Bouncing Balls 17.0

1. Winning Accent . Hillary Clinton received plenty of criticisms about her sudden presence of accent , the southern style , in her speech the other day in Selma, Alabama . Shades of Madonna's British accent some say . What's wrong with that ? Even Ophra adopted some semblance of an South African accent when she opened her school in S.A. Of course , Raptors fans are now familiar with different accents what with Italian Bargnani , Spaniards Calderon and Garbo and of course Southern based coach Sam Mitchell's pre/post game interviews. I know when the team is winning . Sam's accent become more obvious !

2. Clydespeak . More gems from the great Walt 'Clyde' Frazier in sports announcing . There is no one better that Clyde in stringing words that rythmes to use in describing basketball plays when he acts as TV Analyst for the Knicks.
Stephon dishing and swishing his way to the basket .
Robinson's hustle and bustle kept them in the game.
The Knick's do a lot of hacking and whacking ....
Their opponents tonight are very cohesive and coherent ....

3. Mismatch .
Pairing NBA personalities with their counterparts in the political and showbiz world is always a challenge but fun . These will be matches made in hell . Or at least by e DisHarmony .

Cornbread Maxwell : Get back to the kitchen .
Rachell Ann AKA the Quenn Of The 5 Minute Meal

Ron Artest arrested for domestic violence with tough former prosecutor CNN's Nancy Grace.

Tim Hardaway : I hate gay people .
Right winger Ann Coulter : ... it turns out you have to go to rehab if you use the word 'faggot' .