The Raptors are playing basketball at a high level of late....kinda. They have won 4 in a row and 5 of last 7. The most impressive of that was the win yesterday versus the Bulls. It was a game that was much like a lot of others we have seen through out the season. The difference is after blowing a large lead and being pushed to overtime the Raptors did not fold. They won the game. Jose Calderon tied a record for assists in a single game. Shawn Marion has come to life in last few games as well. I admit because of work commitments for The Score I only caught the end of this game.
That being said every win for the Raptors down this stretch run really means less ping pong balls and that is about all. I don't think anyone thinks the team we see on the floor will be back together next year. However it would seem that Jay Triano just might be and I don't know if I am cool with that. I understand that there are lots of reasons you can give for why Jay Triano can not be held responsible for things. He never had a training camp, the team made a major trade and had a major shift in the way they play. All that being said it really doesn't matter to me. Jay has been a loyal employee of the Raptors for years as an assistant. However this team needs someone that has not been around to shake this thing up. I just can't see how you as Bryan Colangelo can stand up there and say Jay Triano is the coach of the Toronto Raptors for 2009/2010. This latest winning streak is not reason to keep Jay around. When you look at the possibilities out there for coaches there are a lot of candidates that I would be interested in having a look at. The top of my list is Eddie Jordan. I find it hard to believe that if you conduct a full search and look for a new head coach at the end of that you say Jay Triano is the best candidate.
Every since that off court non-sense had hit the public Chris Bosh has been playing like the old CB4. Is that a shock? Not for me. The basketball court can be a place for Bosh to just focus on the game. The fact that people now understand what has been on Chris Bosh's head all year you can see why things have been the way they have for him. If Jose Calderon can get a pass from a lot of folks for being injured and not 100% physically. You would have to give Bosh that same pass for despite what anyone says not being 100% right mentally. Who can blame him.
When it comes to Calderon I really am not sure what to think anymore. I just do not know what the deal is with him. It was mentioned above the injuries. You could say that if you are a Calderon fan that he has just not been healthy all year and now you are seeing the true Jose Calderon. That could indeed be true. However I am just not sure if the answer is as simple as all of that. I guess when all is said and done the answer will be found next season. I can not imagine the Raptors will agree with me and decide to trade Calderon. However if they were going to and he finishes the season strong you could certainly get some value for him. That same sales pitch that is being made Calderon fans and the organization to trade him. Would Steve Kerr buy that? He was convinced that Shaq had life left in him so I am thinking selling a Jose Calderon would be a much easier sell. I still believe that Steve Nash even at his advanced age is a better option for the Raptors in the short term for the Raptors. I also think he can turn Roko Ukic into a solid option for the long term. You are already starting to see signs in Roko that he could be much better moving forward. But why waste time talking about it the Raptors are not going to do it. I just can't imagine it happening.
So down this stretch run it is hard to say what it is made of what happens. However not matter what does it does not change anything about this team other than where they could select in the draft. Less ping pong balls and all of that. The key for everyone from fans to Bryan Colangelo it is important to remember the 65 plus games that came before this little run at the end of the season. The Raptors will face two really good basketball teams down the stretch in the Magic and Hawks. Do not get fooled by what you see down the stretch. This team is the team there record says they are and that is a team that is not good enough.
Part of me wants to be excited and enjoy the Raptors finally playing well. But I just can't let myself do it. If this team was in a playoff run the entire blog would likely be written about the TSN2 mess. That is because 2 of the next 3 games wind up on the deuce. So even if you have got excited about this run by the Raptors you will be forced to find TSN 2 by any means necessary to continue to watch. It has been the other thing that has endured through this lousy season and it is annoying and frustrating. I have talked about it a ton of times and really have nothing new to add about it. However the reaction of Richard Peddie said it all to me. I wrote a whole blog about it and you can look it up if you missed it with the search engine over on the right. There just really is no way to create a happy ending to this lousy season.