Live Blog- Raptors and Clippers

Hanging out down at Brooklyn's 291 Queenston Road stop by and say hello. We will be having game on big screen with sound up and I will be live blogging here tonight on the Dino Nation Blog.

State Of The Raptors

So you decide to sleep in and you wake up and Bryan Colangelo is on the radio taking calls from fans. In case you happen to be like me here is a link to it from the Fan 590. Colangelo has a lot of guts to come on the radio and do this given the state of the mood of fans right now. It would seem based on Colangelo's comments that he still seems committed to Triano. He even went as far as to say he has done a very good job and deserves to continue to learn. That is not something that I personally agree with but it would appear that Jay is safe based on those comments. If this team misses the playoff I have felt that it should be Jay's responsibility.

Chris Bosh and his situation is pretty much the same from what we have heard in the past. He says they have expressed to Chris that they want him to remain as the core player. If not he expects to partner with him and work on a sign and trade. He did make a point that Chris needs to take part of the responsibility for this team as well. He spoke about after All Star break there seems to be outside influences that have impacted on this team and Chris.

He referred to Antonie Wright as an enigma. He said that his season has been inconsistent. He likes what he is doing right now. He did not seem committed to Wright being back or not. suggesting there are other options out there. He continued to talk about the off-season and referenced Bosh as the big domino to the off-season plan.

He said about Demar DeRozan that he is the future for the Raptors at his position. He seems very pleased with his development and thinks based on his make up he can really improve. That being said he still thinks this team needs another athletic 2/3 or 3/4 moving forward.

He also said that the Point Guard Situation needs to be settled over they summer and did reference the T.J Ford/Calderon Situation. He said that this team needs to address that issue moving forward whether it be keeping both point guards or making a move if that is not the case.

He also addressed the Hedo topic off the top of the interview. Not really confirming the reports but basically saying that Hedo made a mistake. Saying he cost him self financially and cost his team by his actions. He endorsed how Triano handled the situation and said that Hedo feels bad about it and the team is moving forward leaving the issue behind them.

While still making it clear he would prefer a Chris Bosh being part of the future he said that regardless he is committed to improving this team. It would seem that is going to include Jay Triano despite the feeling of some that Triano may not be the right fit. He referenced what goes on behind close doors that he sees, which is all well and good, but at the end of the day at some point I feel your record is what it is. Colangelo clearly does not agree. One other thing of not for fans of Amir Johnson who also will be a free agent, Colangelo seems very happy with Amir and thinks that Johnson is happy with the role he has with the Raptors. He seemed much more positive about his return than in comparison to Wright.

As for the Raptors on the floor of late. They finally cracked through and got a win down the stretch in Charlotte. I think they were very lucky to do so. The same bad luck that cost them a win over Denver was reversed in Charlotte. Raymond Felton had a chance to tie that game and had he and Chandler been on the same page that game would have been tied then who knows. That being said the win over Charlotte was far more important for the Raptors at the end of the day. That win gave the Raptors the season series vs the Bobcats should that become a factor. Also good news last night as the Suns defeated the Bulls to give the Raptors a game and half lead for 8th. This on a day when Derrick Rose came out and guaranteed the Bulls will make the playoffs.

The Raptors have 3 games in front of them all vs lottery bound teams in the Clippers, Sixers and Warriors that are all must win games for the Raptors. After those 3 Raptors get the Cavs, Celtics and Hawks. None of those games being easy wins for them. I hear some saying the Raptors would be better off to miss the playoffs and avoid a first round sweep at the hands of the Cavs or if Raptors are fortunate the Magic. This would give the Raptors a first round draft pick and almost assure Chris Bosh exiting town. I am not willing to raise the white flag and surrender on Bosh or the playoffs. If this team is heading down the unfortunate path of having to rebuild yet again that one extra draft pick is not exactly going to turn things around right away. This may get a few people to go bonkers on me but even John Wall or Evan Turner for me are not guys that can turn around a franchise on their own . I would class this as a deep draft without a lot of good role player fits not franchise players. So having a pick in the first round would not excite me all that much.

I am not going to tell you that I think the Raptors can beat the Cavs. However if playing well and how they are capable of could that not make in a competitive series? I think so. I also think if the Raptors could have a series vs Cavs that would mean big time T.V Exposure. Lebron James will get you on prime time T.V slots. If Bosh can perform well in a series vs James would that be enough to get his juices flowing to come back to Toronto? Maybe it might. It is a last ditch shot in the dark like scenario but it could work. Maybe I am being optimistic or delusional but think if Bosh could have a good series against a team that is the favourite to win the East that could convince him to stick around.

As optimistic and intelligent as Bryan Colangelo may be I can not imagine this team being anywhere close to competitive without Bosh. There is just nothing that makes me believe that. The one thing I think Colangelo is going to have to do, Bosh or not is figure out some way to unload the Hedo, Andrea or Calderon contract. The combined sum of those players production vs the the amount of money being committed is just bad mathematics as far the NBA Cap goes. That must be corrected. I do agree with Colangelo that I am hopeful about the future for DeRozan. He is the future of this franchise if Bosh goes...it isn't Calderon, HeDO or Don't (or as I have recently referenced him the Vince Carter of Turkey) or Andrea Barganani.

But still 9 more games of a regular season and hopefully playoffs to deal with before we get to the off-season talk in full blast. I am down at Brooklyn's tonight 291 Queenston Road in Hamilton. For the Raptors and Clippers. So come on down and say hello and have some fun.


"Jiggly Bits"

Finally. We sat through the loss to Denver and the even harder to-sit-through blunder against Miami and just when you think they are falling apart at the seams, the Toronto Raptors come up with a win last night against Charlotte. Ahhh..now we can breathe a sigh of relief. Some might say "who cares if they make the playoffs - they won't even make it past the first round". I wouldn't be so quick to judge. I mean, realistically, I don't think the Raptors are going to win any championships this year - that's safe to say. But take a look at the last three games and how they were won or lost. They were close, very close. As you know, in close games, both sides are hungry, working hard and want the brass ring. If a loss turns up on your side of the coin, it doesn't mean your team is not talented or deserved the loss. It means little mistakes like turnovers or missed shots from behind the arc got in the way. In the Raptors case, I think this means they know how to win now and we hope this game puts them back on the right track. After we talk about some of the highlights from last night's game, we'll touch on the Nets, NBA Hall of Fame and some hot comments made by LeBron James lately.

Have Faith in this Team

If there is anything I have learned from running marathons, minis or 30K's, you can be in the zone and everything's clicking or something pops, you hit a wall and as a result, you are left wondering "how am I going to finish this thing". The best advice anyone ever gave me is trust in your training, take each kilometre as it comes and enjoy the moment. So if we apply this to the Raptors, we can trust in the depth of their bench - they showed us that against Denver last week. The loss against Miami was like something popping. However embarrassing giving up a sizable lead like that was, they regrouped and found a way to win last night's game 103-101. I think it shows more character to win like this because it shows they know how to dig deep and stay the course. They need to play four quarters and not walk into saying "I wonder how we're going to loose today" but "how much we are going to win by". Whether you are making millions or playing high school basketball, taking so many losses in a row hurts team confidence and morale. They lost 13 of their last 17 going into Monday's showdown and this was the break they needed. It helped that Charlotte - including MJ - spent most of the night being mad at the officials and were thrown off their game a little. But that's how you win against teams like Charlotte or play-off opponents. Make them uncomfortable, make them take uncalculated shots and throw them off their game. I really hope the Raptors take time to enjoy this win - confidence is everything.

Worst of the Worst - Nets breathing a sigh of relief

According to the official NBA history books, the Nets will not be the most dismal team in the history of the game. As for this season, they may also no longer be the worst team in the NBA. While the Raptors were digging deep, the Nets were too, pulling out a dramatic 90-84 win over the Spurs on Monday night. This win passed them over the worst ever mark (9-73) set by the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1972-1973 season. This was huge, not just because of the impending doom that comes with being the worst team in the NBA, but because the Spurs have been really hot lately, winning 12 out of their last 16 going into Monday night's contest. Proof positive anything can happen when the playoffs are on the horizon. Plus, with three wins in their last four games, the Nets are also looking to enjoy the moment and stay the course.

Hall of Fame puts fans on the guest list

Traditionally, past inductees, people within the game and media members have chosen those individuals who they feel deserve to be in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Those who vote are not identified and once the screening committee narrows the list of nominations, another committee votes on the finalists and later votes on who will make the Hall. Sound a little cloudy? This is why Hall Chairman Jerry Colangelo is trying to apparently make the process more transparent and get fans interested in the process. The new plan is supposed to be formalized within the next few days and fans may begin participating in the voting process by next year. But don't get your hopes up yet. We don't know what value will be given to the fan voting or if this is just a little marketing scheme. I am a little skeptical.

Bron Bron showing some "braun"

I think those that are complaining about LeBron James' comments surrounding the NBA scoring title as of late are stretching it a little bit. As you know, Lebron is in a close race for the title with Kevin Durant and with the hype comes comments and interviews and things getting blown out of proportion. When asked about the title, LeBron, who is averaging 29.8 points per game, said he could win it every year if he wanted to but it doesn't matter. I took this as he has his eye on a bigger prize like the NBA championship, focusing on team accomplishments and unselfish play rather than individual titles. I heard some of my colleagues say he's being disrespectful to the history of the league or LeBron is setting himself up for a loss to Kevin Durant for the title, so he acts as if it doesn't matter. In the grand scheme of things, it's nice to get recognized for individual accomplishments but anyone who has ever been involved in team organized sports understands that winning a championship with your extended family/ teammates is a lot tastier.

On that note, enjoy your Final-Four-watchin'-turkey-eatin' Easter weekend and the bits will be back next Tuesday.


Miami Meltdown- HeDIDN'T

I had said in the build up for this game that the playoffs for the Raptors began last night in Miami. Early on at least the Raptors played like it. In fact for over half this game the Raptors played like it. Building a lead that climbed as high as 17 points. This all being done with the same starting line-up that faced the Nuggets. Wright and Weems remained in the starting line-up and we were told Hedo would dress and come off the bench. However he never did. More on that in a minute. But as for the folks that did play in this one the Raptors played with the same energy and effort as they had vs Denver. Only to see D-Wade and Haslem go off and lead the Heat all the way back to end up with a 97-94 win. The Raptors had a 10 point lead in the 4th Quarter and just like the lead vs Denver it slipped away late.

But what was gong on with Hedo? Well Jay Triano would say it was a DNPCD which if you are not a basketball junkie means did not play coaches decision. It would seem that Hedo is alright from his stomach flu or whatever was wrong with him. At this point you wonder if he even was sick at all. The comparison I made to Vince Carter seems pretty legit now doesn't it? If this was a message being sent it sure was a heck of a time to send it for Triano. The Hedo signing is looking like perhaps the worst signing in Raptors history since Yogi Stewart. Apparently Hedo according to a story by Michael Grange was seen out on the town Friday after the loss to Denver. He apparently has been fined and last night was a suspension of sorts. Hedo was not popular before this. Now he is going to be to that epic level of Vince Carter fan hate. That being said he is under contract for 4 more years and has a contract that is likely unmovable.

The one thing is clear Raptor fans have not exactly fallen in love with Hedo to begin with. Now what will happen is anyone's guess. But given how Raptor fans treated Vince Carter it is safe to say Hedo Turkoglu has signed his death warrant with this fan base. Even if he ever snaps back and starts to produce some fans are never going to forget this. 4 more years is usually a term used for presidential campaign's in the states. This is more like a 4 year relationship going to hell before it starts. Worse yet, if the Raptors continue this slide out of the playoffs and that paves the path for Bosh to leave town, that will only add to the ugliness. Is it so unreasonable the fans will blame Hedo at least in part, for their superstar leaving town.

Jay Triano also may lose his job at least in part to the lack of production from HeDON'T. This Raptor team has been falling apart on the floor and it would appear have been falling apart off the floor as well. Lost in the whole Hedo drama is the fact Andrea Bargnani has not learned how to commit a hard foul. I can think of at least 2 maybe 3 situations where Bargnani fouled Wade allowing him to score and get an extra and 1 foul shot.

All of this drama and still a very important game to play vs Charlotte. No Idea if Hedo will play in that one. But what I do know is that if the Raptors lose the game they will be tied with the Bulls for 8th spot. The Raptors chances of making the Playoffs are looking very grim, as are the chances of Chris Bosh staying. Now maybe we at least in part know what Chris Bosh has been frustrated about. It is the same thing we all have been....HEDO FRIGGIN TURKOGLU!!!!

I never supported this signing at the time. However, I never could have painted a scenario as bad as this reality. It is safe to say Turkoglu is well on his way to challenging Vince Carter for being the most hated Raptor of all time. If Chris Bosh were to leave would people boo him? You might not be able to tell as they will be to busy booing Hedo to hear if they are or are not. 53 million dollars is a lot of cash and it is a number that will always be mentioned when you mention Hedo. Fans now apparently have a growing list of reason to hate Hedo.

In all honesty who can blame folks. He is spiting in the face of his team mates, the organization and the fans by his actions. You even wonder if he was ever sick to begin with. When I see Alvin Williams on a Raptor bench now as a coach. I wonder what he must think. He once said he would gladly die on the court. He meant it as well. I honestly believe if Alvin Williams was shot with a gun in the first half of a game he would have asked for them to remove the bullet, stitch up the hole and play in the second half. When this is standard for what Raptor Fans expect from players than Hedo is a -10 on a scale of 1 to 10.

While this blog and the Raptors should be focused on the Charlotte Bobcats who are 3 games in front of the Raptors. But instead, we are talking about a player that did not even play a second last night. In all honesty some fans would prefer he went back to Turkey and never came back. I would join them in that if not for the terrible cap hit the Raptors would have to take.


This Is Your Season Toronto Raptors

Pretty much the title of this says it all. I said about 2 months ago when looking at the standings at the time that this would be an important point in the schedule for the Raptors. Back then I did not realize just how right I would be. The Bulls beat the Nets last night who have just 9 wins on the season. So heading into the most important 2 games of the season the Raptors only sit a game and half in the playoffs. They will play the Bulls on April 11th and depending on what happens between now and then that could be the game that will decide the Raptors playoff fate. But if they would like to avoid that do or die situation they need to win these next 2 games on the road. While the Raptors face the Heat the Bulls will be playing the pathetic Pistons at the same time. A Raptor loss in Miami and Bulls win over the Pistons and Raptors are just a half game in front of the Bulls. Raptors if the do not look in their rear view at the charging Bulls will see Miami 3 games in front. That is who they play tonight. tomorrow they move on up the highway to Charlotte to take on the Bobcats. Who sit 2 and half games in front of the Raptors in 7th in the East.

Raptors with a win over Miami would take the season series. They won both contest vs the Heat at the ACC. That is the good news. Here is the bad news in the Raptors only trip to south beach they got smashed and lost to the Heat by 20 with Heat taking it 115-95. Some more bad news the Raps all time in Miami are only 8-19. Add in the fact the Heat have recently been playing some good basketball with a win over one the leagues hottest clubs in the Bucks. Heat are riding a 4 game win streak and if they are looking forward and not backwards they see the Bucks just a game in front of them for 5th place. The Bobcats are also streaking winners of 3 in a row themselves.

Raptors come in off a heart breaking loss to the Nuggets in which they let a 9 point lead slip away in the 4th quarter as a Carmelo Anthony last second shot would complete the comeback. The Raptors can not afford to get caught feeling sorry for themselves. While people continue to start saying that Bosh is a goner, the one thing that almost everyone would agree on is if Raptors miss the playoffs it is almost a guarantee. If Bosh is going to stay it will take him being a big part of this close to the season. Even the odd comparison to Vince Carter I have seen out there of late. I find that to be sad. I refuse to believe that Bosh is anything like Vince. Yes he clearly frustrated with the effort of the team around him. But he is not giving plays to the other team, he is not smiling after losses and saying oh well I am out of here in a month. He wants to win and has not given up on this season. At least that is what I feel.

Actions are bigger than words. So it will take Chris Bosh having a huge effort down the stretch of this season. He wasn't the guy sitting out a game with a stomach ache ether by the way that was the guy making 53 million dollars. If anyone has acted like Vince Carter it isn't Chris Bosh it is Hedo Turkoglu. Might just be time that he stepped up and showed why the hell we are paying him that big wad of cash. Andrea Bargnani did have a good bounce back the other night but he to must keep the ball rolling in the right direction.

Jay Triano's shuffling of the line-up for my money is an act of desperation. This love affair some folks have with Antoine Wright puzzles me. He has talked a good game but played very few. Thankfully at least in the short term Triano's decision has not seemed to impact on Demar DeRozan. DeRozan is part of the the team's future...Wright isn't. Sonny Weems getting a chance to start is nice Sonny has played his way up the Raptors food chain and passed a lot of folks along the way. He has earned everything he has got. He talks as well but more in terms of having fun and loving life. Not acting like a team leader that he isn't. As for Jay's first change to the line-up out of that same desperation. It would appear that Jose Calderon is still who we thought he was. Which is a terrible defender that despite is offensive skill can not be a starter in this league without making his team a mess on the defensive end. Jarrett Jack should still be the starter and if he had worked a bit harder on the defensive end of the floor he would be. If the Raptors fail to make the playoffs is it really not time to say this is on Jay. I mean his record as a head coach is not exactly glowing and this team's failure to defend is on him. Yes the players need to execute the system but he needs to be accountable if they don't.

Raptors have a lot more than a playoff spot to play for. There at least SHOULD be people's jobs and futures on the line here. Raptor fans have reached a level of frustration that personally I can not remember in 15 years of being a fan of this team. The mood is flat out ugly. It will ether get uglier or turn around real fast with wins over the Heat and Bobcats. But can the Raptors do it? They can if they play with the effort and fight they showed for most of the night vs Denver. Basically the room for error and second chances is done.

The Playoffs for the Toronto Raptors start today.


Raps Better But Mello Best In The End

Three words to describe this game: HOLY FRICKEN JESUS. It was almost unbelievable considering the Raptors track record as of late. Tonight's match-up between the Denver Nuggets and the beloved Toronto Raptors was a chance for both teams to get back on track. The last time these two clubs met this season, Denver took the contest with a 130 - 112 score back in November. So Denver was not really concerned about Toronto going into tonight's game and or the fact that Hedo was off sick. Boy, were they ever wrong. If the Raptors continue to play like they did tonight, a play-off spot is in their future for sure. I would like to say that the Nuggets look better on paper since they haven't lost 4 in a row since February 2007 but really, I tried to be positive. I know Denver came out on top but I just felt the Raptors couldn't continue down this path forever and needed a win tonight to get out of this funky-monkey-funk of theirs. Forget about the fact Toronto sits 8th in the playoff race, and having "issues" with defence (Ask James to describe the Raptors defence and you will probably get a more colourful description). The final score could have been 97-96 for Raptors but it wasn't. Here's how it all went down.

First Quarter - No consistency

The Raptors were little shaky off the start with a game of greasy ball between Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh. With only a few minutes into the game, things didn't look too hot for the Raptors with 2 turnovers, taking too many 3's and not connecting. But Jose Calderon hits a three and little light seems to shine through. I think the major thing the Raptors proved tonight is the depth of their second string is still there and they definitely poured it on tonight. DeMar DeRozen came in with guns blazing at about 6:30 left in the first quarter and I am telling you, this boy brought some real energy off the bench and turned the momentum of the game around. He shows some aggression on a two - point attempt, misses and is tipped in by Bosh and I could swear I saw CB4's furled brow flatten with evidence of his teammates starting to help out. I think if the Raptors were a little more consistent starting in the first quarter, the game may have turned out in their favour.

Second Quarter - Bellisimo Belinelli

The Raptors have been trailing up to this point but with a fantastic drive off a turnover steal, PLUS drawing the foul, DeMar "don't doubt me" DeRozen makes the free throw and pulls the Raptors to within 5. But Marco Belinelli had some hot hands coming off the bench and all of a sudden there's hope for the first time in a while the Raptors might actually gain the advantage. Hope is a beautiful thing especially when you are a club trying regain the trust of fans. I think Jay Triano did a good job of taking advantage of the strengths of the bench in this quarter. The Raptors gain their first lead of the game and it came with about 6 minutes left to the half when "Bellismo Belinelli" makes it 37-36. He really capitalized on the energy DeRozen injected into the first quarter and really made you invest your own energy into the game. It was so refreshing to see them have a mini celebration on the floor after a DeRozen tip in since it seems like they were starting to relax and focus. At this point, they had 17 breakaways and 7 turnover rebounds, so they were making a great effort off the glass.

Third/Fourth Quarter - Weems makes us Dream but our hearts are still broken

As you know, when the score is so close and you've been working so hard to gain control, it's important not to let the other team get on a roll. Denver is number one in the NBA at the free throw line, so the Raptors needed to stay focused in this half and not make any silly mistakes. At one point Sonny Weems makes a huge play with a drive to the basket and draws the foul, making it 64-62 with 2 made free throws. This is the part of the game when I think Bosh really becomes engaged. Not like he didn't want to win before, but now he's enjoying not starring in tonight's version of "Hustle 'n' Flow" and having the supporting cast step it up a little. With less than 6 minutes left in the third, Bosh hammers not one, but two within 30 seconds of each other, making it 68-66 at this point for the Raptors and really gaining some leverage.

In my opinion, Sonny Weems was a huge factor in the second half. He was really confident from behind the arc hitting multiple 3s, having so much fun - you could see it in his face. Weems and Belinelli were playing both ends tonight and really stepping it up. They really helped the Raptors go nose to nose with a good team. They forced Denver to make some costly errors - one of them sent Bosh to the line with about 3 minutes left in the game. Bosh drains one and it's 90-86 for the Raptors. But then our hearts get ripped in the other direction when the game is tied at 92 with over a minute left in the game. Anyone tuning in at this point not knowing what time of the year it was, would've have thought this was a freakin play-off game. Bargnani makes a huge play penetrating deep to the basket and drawing the foul. Then Jay Triano sends in DeRozen with thirty seconds left maybe thinking DeRozen's early-quarter hot hands might come in handy? Quite possible. At this point you want to do 2 things: contain those looking to penetrate deep and what I like to call the "buzzer snipers". And unfortunately for the Raptors, Carmelo Anthony was one of those sneaky snipers making it 97-96 for Denver at the buzzer. I was hoping against hope when officials reviewed Carmelo's shot they would somehow recall the basket, but alas it wasn't. Man, what a hard game to swallow.

Round Ball Review- Bar Flies

Well the Roundball Review is back and Joey G has thinks are Raptor night @ Brooklyn's is tonight it isn't it of course on Wednesdays. Joey also claims a trade has happened in the NBA. He goes on about how he could do a better job running the DNB. Along with another appeal to get himself on T.V. Not to mention he claims to have been at Chris Bosh's Birthday Party. All the fun and insanity that you have come to expect.

Another Episode into the books. Hope you enjoyed them and got a few laughs. Danielle will have your re-cap tonight of Raptors and Nuggets. I will be doing March Madness for the Score.com and Score Mobile.

Nothing To Be Mello About In Raptorland

The Denver Nuggets and Joey Graham come to town. No there will not be a 15th anniversary ceremony for Joey G. He was on HOOPS last night on the fan 590. He was confident he would not be booed tonight at the ACC. I am not confident that Santa would not get booed there after the mood in Raptorland yesterday. The Nuggets are not concerned with the Raptors slumping playoff push. They are on their own 3 game slide. Raptors could be the cure to the Nuggets have won in their last 2 visits to the ACC and 5 straight vs Toronto overall. Let's hope Carmelo had a great night out in Toronto and has enjoyed his time here is Canada A LOT. Every little bit helps. But Chancey Billups also will not be honoured as he was a Raptor briefly if you had forgotten. He will be a tough challenge for Calderon who admitted what we all knew in his post game comments after the Utah game. What was that? That Deron Williams beat him down. Jose phrased it in a little less harsh manner, but that is what happened. No reason to think Billups can't do the same.

Chris Bosh still had a birthday party but the pre-party festivities with the Jazz left a bad taste in his mouth. It has sparked a lot of debate on the level of responsibility Bosh has for all of this. He claims that he is doing everything that he can and needs some help. Others will say it is on Bosh to raise the level of his team and lead them. As with most things in life the answer lies somewhere in the middle. I think Bosh is right in terms of needing help. Bargnani, Turkoglu at the top of not helping list. That being said if you are going to call out your team, I am cool with that and I think they deserve it. That being said this comes when Bosh himself is falling off his top level of play.

Bosh has made a lot of turnovers of late and that is in part I think to this lack of faith in cast around him. Bosh now takes that extra second before he passes it to Hedo and thinks do I really want to do this. I mean he has watch HeDON'T happen as well. They say the hardest thing to build in relationships is trust. There is many a marriage that has not survived based on a lack of trust. No I am not setting up for some Tiger Woods reference here. But once trust is lost in any relationship it is extremely difficult to get it back. If Bosh has lost faith in his team around him that is not something that comes back in a short period of time. Basketball is a sport based on trust. Both on offense and defense. The Raptors as a group on defensive end have no faith or belief that players can stay in front of their man. It has led to people over helping and open looks all over the place.

Even the faith of this fan base in this team has been damaged greatly. If the Nuggets were to come out and get say a 12 point lead would it shock anyone if ACC booed the Raptors? If it would you have not been watching lately. Everyone in this franchise could use some therapy at this point. The best thing for all parties involved is winning. When they say winning cures a lot of things they do not lie. If the Raptors could some how find a way to win that would give them some nice momentum heading into their most important road trip of the season to Miami then Charlotte.

That being said please no one hold your breath out there. This game means a ton to the Nuggets and they need this win badly as well. A losing streak in the West is not like in the East. The drop in the standing is quicker and more painful. Maybe not more painful....watching the Raptors slow side to the bottom of playoff race has been very painful to watch. So that is why I am not going to watch. Actually the real answer is I will be doing March Madness for The Score once again and will not be able to watch the Raptors. So once again the DNB staff has stepped up and Danielle will give you her thoughts on whatever happens at the ACC between the Raptors and Nuggets. I joked with her if Raptors win she can't stop doing re-caps of games till they lose. I am not serious about that but some people can be that superstitious. I am not.

Hedo will be a game time decision with his I had to my Pizza at Bosh's Birthday Bash. No just kidding if you re-call he left Raptors loss to Jazz with what is being called a stomach flu. The Raptors fans can relate to this based on the team's play of late. I think they have left more than a few fans feeling ill.


"1 of the Nation" with D.J Flash

I had met D.J Flash last season while being down at The Score for Court Surfing. Since that time I have kept in touch and did a great interview with him for The Industry Magazine Interview with D.J Flash.When we recorded that interview we did talk a little basketball but he had said that we needed to hook up again to talk just ball in the Dino Nation Blog. So Anas Ahmed came up with this feature called "1 of the Nation" in where we do features on some of the DNB's readers and talk with them about their love and passion for basketball and get to know them. This seemed a perfect way to bring Alex (D.J Flash) in to talk some ball with me. So we talk a lot about the Raptors and some talk about the night life in Toronto for NBA players in Toronto. Even swap stories about our passion for the Raptors over boiling at times. It was a great conversation and a lot of fun. This feature has featured 2 folks in the music world so far. However it is not going to be just about that. If you love your Raptors and have passion for the Raptors and the DNB you could be featured in this segment. That being said people in the music world tend to be some of the more passionate basketball fans you can find. It is part of why I write a basketball column monthly in The Industry Magazine. So let's get to talking some ball with D.J Flash.

Flash mentioned a few things in that interview first here in the link to voting for his Radio Show THE LOCKDOWN in the Stylus Awards which is something I know The Industry Magazine is involved in as well. So go vote for his show here. You can also check out show's website The Lockdown which goes down on Sunday nights. He mentioned his new album that dropped yesterday here is a link to that. Flash's company that reps a ton of great D.J talent and artists besides himself is Across The Board Entertainment and they have a website to keep up on what they are up to.

If you want get at Alex he is also on Twitter @DJFlash05 and see what is up with The Score's Official D.J and good dude and someone that has supported the Dino Nation Blog and I thank him for that. Just as I thank all of you that check us out day in and day out. This feature is our way at the Dino Nation Blog to give back to the folks that support us by showing them some love in return. Along with showing folks the passion and love that folks have for basketball here in Canada. It was a great idea that Anas has come up with and if you want to be a part of this segment reach out to Anas on Twitter @Thisisanas on Twitter. He will be doing this feature along with myself on occasion and I feel it can be successful and fun for all of you that read the DNB.

So thanks to Alex I really hope he did not punch a wall last night cause it was one of those nights you sure wanted to punch something.

Worst Birthday Party EVER

Chris Bosh turned 26 yesterday. The Utah Jazz crashed his party at the ACC and they trashed the place. In doing this I always try to be optimistic heading into any game the Raptors play. However at the same time I always have a realistic idea of what I expect. Heading into last night's game I expected the Jazz would win. The simple reason that the Jazz execute what they do on offense so well. A good defensive team is challenged to stop the Jazz. A bad defensive team can be taken apart. The Raptors clearly are that team and the Jazz went to work on them. Williams took a part Jose Calderon and proved once again why Jose Calderon is just one of the worse defenders starting at his position in the league. Deron Williams line was a thing of beauty with 18 points, 16 assists, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. He was just one of 7 Jazz players that got to double figures in terms of points.

Chris Bosh was left after this one begging for some help as he had 20 points and just 5 boards and did cut down on his turnovers with just 2. Hedo Turkoglu was not much help he only made an appearance in first half and left with a upset stomach. He had just 4 points prior to leaving. Bargnani did play the whole way but only had 12 points and 4 rebounds with a couple of blocks. Raptors with Bosh included in this got killed on the glass. it was 38-28 on the glass in favour of the Jazz including 14 on the offensive boards for Utah.

The Jazz got so many open looks it was embarrassing. The playoffs are about defense, rebounding and valuing every possession. The Raptors are doing none of that and are in serious jeopardy of not even making the playoffs. The Raptors are having to hope for help from others to handle their business. The Heat, who now sit a game and a half in front of the Raptors, tied with Bobcats for 6th take on the Bulls who are now just 2 games back of the Raps for the final playoff spot. Given the way things are going for the Raptors you have to hope the Heat get the win.

The Raptors play the Nuggets next and given this performance vs the Jazz, which ended in a 113-87 loss if you could not bear to watch the whole thing. Anyway it seems highly unlike to expect the Raptors some how pull it together enough to beat the Nuggets who are battling for 2nd in West with Mavs. This Raptors season will be defined by games Sunday and Monday on the road vs the Heat and Bobcats. If the Raptors walk away from those 2 road games without a win they can pretty much forget about 6th or 7th and will be hard pressed to hang on to 8th.

Regardless of how the regular season plays out the Raptors for yet another season, have fallen short of the expectations that people had for this team. There is lots of blame to go around for that but the ultimate price the Raptors could pay is losing Chris Bosh. If you listen to his comments of late he sounds like a guy that is just begging for someone to give him some reason to believe in this team. Bosh's personal performance has gone down but the play around him has dropped even further. In 7 years in Toronto the one thing that has remained constant in what Chris Bosh has said is that he wants to win. Looking around at the cast around him it is hard to point to anything that helps him do that going forward.

While this season on it's own is important the future of Chris Bosh is more important in the long run. If Chris Bosh joins that list that includes Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter and others that have left town it will be a crushing blow to this fan base. Sports is not as complex a business as it sometimes gets made out to be. It really comes down to this, if you can give fans a reason to have hope you generally will be successful as a franchise. There are exceptions to that rule in teams like the Leafs in NHL, Cubs in baseball that have fan bases that continue to support those teams despite very little signs of hope in their histories. But the Raptors with just a 15 year history do not have that kind of support behind them. Raptors fans have been incredibly loyal but Bosh should he leave would be a devastating blow to that fan base and to that hope. It sounds like a broken record at this point, but if the Raptors do not wake up and do it quickly, they are in danger of losing more than just another season of failing to meet expectations. They could lose much more.


Same Old Tune?

Remember how the Raptors had won 11 straight (Now 12 straight ) vs the T-Wolves. Well you can flip the script tonight. Raptors have lost 9 straight to the Jazz one of those 9 being Jay Triano's first game as Raptor head coach last year in Utah. They have lost 4 straight to the Jazz at the ACC where they will hook up tonight. In the 15 year history of the franchise they are a pathetic 7-20 all-time. These are all not good signs for the Raptors heading into this one. They also after a brief couple days tied for 7th in the East fall back to 8th courtesy of a Bobcats win over the Washington Bullets...oops Wizards.

DNB Scoreboard Watching

Those Bobcats take on Minny tonight as they sit a half game in front of the Raptors. They will be the gracious hosts in that one. Miami and Chicago both have the night off before facing each other tomorrow night. The Bucks who are likely out of range for any of these teams host the Sixers tonight.

East Playoff Race

Miami 37-34

Charlotte 36-34

Raptors 35-34


Chicago 33-37

That is how they stand heading into the night. The Bucks are 3 games in front of Miami and 4 in front of Toronto for the record.

Sloan Ranger

So as I mentioned in my V-Log yesterday there is no great secret to what the Jazz will do. Jerry Sloan has been doing it for like 20 years it is pick and roll offense run better than almost anyone in the NBA. Much like when you think the Triangle offense when you think Phil Jackson, for Sloan you think pick and roll. It is not unlike what goes on at Syracuse on the other end of the floor with their 2-3 zone defense. The names may change but the systems and coaches remain.

Jerry Sloan has never won the coach of the year as I also made mention of in that V-Log. But his reward or award is the fact he is the longest serving coach in North American Sports. In the 15 years the Raptors have been around they have had 7. Malone, Walker, Carter, Wilkens, O'Neil, Mitchell and Triano for those keeping score at home. Sloan was the coach when the Jazz played the Raptors for that 20-7 mark for the Jazz. There is something to be said for that. There is no question who is in charge in Utah it is Jerry Solan. No Raptor coach with the possible exception of Lenny Wilkens carried that kind of stroke. Wilkens was the all time leader in wins when he came to the Raptors. Although by the time he left you can argue he had very little stroke at all on the tail end of his coaching career. A brief stop with the Knicks after and his career was done.

The Road Ahead For Raptors

Given the low odds of a win tonight you tend to look ahead and you see the Nuggets at home and the 2 most important games of the Raptors season after that in Miami and Charlotte. It is hard to imagine the Raptors not heading into those games on a 2 game losing streak a game under .500. They will be must wins for the Raptors and will be vital to securing a better spot in the playoffs if not just making that playoffs altogether. Miami is 21-16 at home and Bobcats are 25-8 and had a big win over the Raptors on their home floor earlier in the season. Raptors road record is still pretty awful at 12-23.

Happy Birthday CB4

It is Chris Bosh's birthday number 26 for him. Raptor fans hope against hope it will not be last one he celebrates in Toronto. We will be having are own party at Brooklyn's for the Raptors and Jazz Game. We won't have any birthday cake but we will have Raptors Tickets for Raptors vs Warriors on April 4th. Along with some other goodies depending on how many folks come out. 291 Queenston road easy to get to off the Red Hill Creek Expressway here in Hamilton. Hope to see some of you in the house for the game tonight.


Starting 5 V-Log Edition Playoff Push

Talking about the recent play of the Raptors as well and talking about our event @Brooklyn's tomorrow night for Raptors vs Jazz. If you would like to RSVP or get info you can do so on Facebook.

"Jiggly Bits" - Danielle de Graauw

It is definitely madness in the world of basketball right now. Whether you are talking NCAA hoops or impending free agency and play offs in the NBA, the month of March boggles the mind. We're going to talk about all of this including Michael Jordan getting the official nod to be the big boss man in Charlotte, recapping last night's Raptors game and the raging debate over NBA ball versus NCAA madness. I'll wait here while you go get a snack since we might be here a while.

Raptors now tied for seventh in the East

I am glad the Raptors won last night but I am not too excited about it. I think it just bought them a little more time to tinker with what has been going wrong lately. They walked away with a 106-100 score over the Timberwolves but it was the 13 straight loss for Minnesota. So really, in the grand scheme of things, it was not a huge deal. Chris Bosh had 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Andrea Bargnani racked up 19 points and 7 rebounds. Not bad but even Jay Triano was pressed for positives after last night's game saying the Raptors are not playing great basketball but they are starting to share the ball better. This sounded more to me like a description of playtime in Junior Kindergarten. I know Jay's job is to be positive since Raptors wins and losses make or break his job but its crunch time now and these guys are getting paid mega bucks to get past the crunch. If they don't, I am not so sure Chris Bosh will be willing to stay and defend this team anymore.

Free Angency Free-for-All

Picture this: Chris Bosh, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Amare Stoudemire are sipping Pina Colodas by the pool. It's the summer and they have every reason to kick back and relax because as free agents, they have no worries on the employment front. Every team in the NBA are trying to get on the guest list and only the select few will get the chance to clink glasses with these guys. Amare Stoudemire must be feeling good since he seems to be back to 100% after season-ending eye surgery to repair an injury over a year ago. When you are off that long, the pressure is on to step it up a little more than your teammates since you don't want to be seen as damaged goods. But he isn't and he's in top shape which means he has the upper hand. Also, he's hinted at opting out of the final season of his Suns contract to become a free agent. Nothing has been made official yet but when you throw out a public tease like that, it only means one thing: he's fishing to see who wants a piece of the Amare action, so-to-speak.

This is a crazy month, too since this is the time when NBA franchises are asking season ticket holders to sign on for another season. How can some clubs honestly do this when they don't know if their stars will be back in the line-up next season? If you are a Raptors season ticket holder, would you willingly plop down a couple thousand for the chance to sorta-kinda-maybe enjoy the CB4 show? I don't think so. This is why it would be catastrophically bad if Chris Bosh left the Raptors. The fans, players and front office staff would become really disconnected and in order for a franchise to succeed, even when the team isn't doing well, you need a committed fan base because they are they ones buying tickets, they are the ones buying merchandise and much to the surprise of some club presidents, the fans are running the show. No fans means no revenue and no money to keep the franchise competitive and sustainable. Every franchise needs fans like my brother-in-law. He's a 'Box-J-Boy' and you'll see him at every Ti-cat game, rain or shine. Mind you this is football but the revenue game is the same. I just hope the Raptors have a few "Joes" in the stands if Chris Bosh decides to leave. It would be the glue holding this team together.

MJ stopping to smell the roses

I am really and truly impressed by Michael Jordan. If any of you watched the same press conference I did a few days ago, you might feel the same way. As you know, I am a little leary when it comes to players moving beyond their athletic prowess on the court, but I am really thinking about sharing my NBA allegiance this year (shhh...don't tell Kobe). This is the kind of excitement MJ is cooking up in Charlotte. So he gets his 275 million dollar purchase of the bobcats officially approved and he's really proving himself to be on top of his game now as an owner. We all know he knows how to market himself and play the money game, but now he is presenting himself as approachable and passionate about the game and is trying to make you forget that he was once one of the greatest NBA players of all time. Sorry, but I don't think anyone can forget that. This is where I think he is setting himself apart from other owners. He has said publicly the free agency hype as of late is just that - hype. He wants to give the town of Charlotte and the Bobcats time to gel and figure things out. Remember, the 2009-2010 Bobcats haven't been together for over a year yet. They have made 7 trades involving 21 players since the start of last season and I don't think anyone is expecting much post-season action. Would Chris Bosh move to Charlotte? Who knows, not even MJ has set up shop there yet due to family commitments in Chicago currently. The Bobcats could sure use a marque player but not all NBA Championship winning teams have a star player on their roster. Look at Detroit. The true NBA fan knows there is no clear cut ingredient to win a championship. However, with MJ baking the proverbial pie, everyone will want a slice.

NCAA vs. NBA - Two very different playgrounds

O.K. - I didn't think I would have bring my boxing gloves to work but now it is a must. With all the madness in March, debate is swirling over NBA ball versus the NCAA. Arguments on both sides attack style of play saying NCAA players waste the shot clock and NBA players are not consistent. There are no grey areas out there and most are taking a side. From the outside looking in, there are two very different games being played here. Sometimes people get too caught up in the process and rules of the game and don't look at the true story - the athletes themselves. NBA players and NCAA players have completely separate motivations when on the court. It's do or die when trying to make it to the Final Four in the NCAA and with this comes a certain pressure and attitude toward the game. Especially, when you consider some of those kids will never play basketball at that level ever again. On the other hand, the NBA may not have that kind of pressure; however, playing for your job, family and livelihood brings another set of considerations. I know many of us will never know what it is like to make millions and have the media documenting our every move, but when you take time to see the forest through the trees, basketball is all about the people involved in the game. Take the time between now and April 4th to make the same analogies and you will see what I mean.

The Starting 5 with Norm Rumack

I had a chance to talk with Norm Rumack who is a long time media personality in Toronto. He for years was a fixture on late night radio in Toronto. I had a chance to talk with him about March Madness. Norm is a proud grad of Syracuse so we focus on the Orange. Specifically about the 2 Canadians on the Syracuse roster. Andy Rautins and Kris Joesph. Our both of these guys going to be in the NBA someday. Even dare to dream Raptors someday? I also get his thoughts on the overall performance of the Big East in the tournament. Along with his thoughts on why we have seen so many teams like North Iowa, Cornell and St. Mary's advance to the Sweet 16. Norm has always been brutally honest in his opinions about the Raptors in the past. Hear his thoughts on the Raps, their playoff chances and the future of CB4 in Toronto. Norm also is running his own sports website LateNightVampire.com. He talks about what you can find if you make your way to his site. Basketball of course but also sports opinion as only Norm can deliver it on Hockey, Football and more.

I have always enjoyed Norm's passion for sports. I also respect his no nonsense approach to give his opinions be they popular or not. He speaks the truth as he sees it. As he said in the interview he has a lot of contacts and people he speaks with. He is someone that has worked in the media for many years and has had a long successful career. I wish him nothing but success with his website. You can check out as part of the DNB Directory on this site. It has been there for awhile but if you haven't noticed it, now maybe this will give you reason to give it a look. Like all the guests we have in the Starting 5 I look forward to welcoming back Norm in the future and thank him for taking time to talk with me.


Raptors vs Wolves (The Tweet Cap)

So I am not sure if this has ever been attempted before but we are going to give it a shot. For lack of a more creative name this is the TweetCap of Raptors game tonight in Minny. I am often entertained by the various tweets that pop up during a Raptors game and I thought it might be fun to try to take some of the best ones and put them altogether in some form of a recap of the game as it happens on Twitter. This will ether be really cool or an epic failure. Let's hope for the first one. So here we go with you Pre-Game Tweets.


dan667 @dinonationblog sorry James, I'm late on the action..what is TWEETCAP?

It is something new I am trying for Recaps taking all the fun of Twitter and bringing it to the Dino Nation Blog.

@RaptorspaceKat Don't forget to catch your Raptors tonight at 8pm on TSN2. .. grabbin' the kicks and headin' to the gym

Yup Jack Armstrong and Matt Devlin have the call of this CLASSIC...OK Maybe not Raps have beat Wolves 11 straight and T-Wolves have lost 12 straight
heading into this one.

@kevhooker #letsgoraptors...we need this win #raptors

BIG UNDERSTATEMENT...Jazz and Nuggets next 2....GOT TO GET IT!!!

@RapsFan Raptors by 22 tonight, I feel it

Bold prediction think I will just say win by any number.

@KID_RAPTOR Catch our Toronto #Raptors face Minnesota #Timberwolves right now on @TSN2 & @Fan590! #LetsGoRaptors!

Kid Raptor does a promo like no ones business and he is cute so how can you not love the kid?

1st Quarter

@Raps_fan I have a feeling Hedo is ready to #ball tonight - breakout game?

he DO or He Don't that is the question. Early answer is no as Hedo misses a 3 tied at 2-2 Wolves and Raps

@Ronny006 Bosh getting owned by Jefferson....that's not good

But it is his Birthday Wednesday let's be nice ok? Well at least for now although it is 6-2 Wolves.

@_Lenito@dinonationblog #DNBTweetcap - your own hash tag - why is Hedo making crap loads of money doing what I can do?

I have never seen Lanny play ball so I can't really answer this but with the 10-4 Minny lead I bet he gets back in this again for night is done

@_Lenito @Eric__Smith Darko Milicic is still in the league??

And according to The Basketball Jones he wants to start next year and play 30 minutes plus good luck with that Darko. Unlike Hedo who checks out with 2
Early fouls.

@kevhooker Where's the effort on defense?? Oh yeah that's right, we can't play defense. #raptors

Where is @Raptorspacekat with a defense chant when you need it? 13-8 Wolves,Wright off the bench hits 2.

dan667 @kevhooker yea DeRozan isa dangerous off the dribble especially off the pass from the wing or the baseline

We could use a Derozan Dunk to get this game going.

@Nat77 its crazy how busted @demar_derozan's jumper is on the road. Looks pretty smooth at the ACC #raptors

Jumpers are good to but I want a slam....not demar anymore Weems in for him and scores then another great play to Wright from Weems 6-0 Raps run and
it is 13-12 Wolves.

@Ronny006 Finally we see some energy...weems deserves more minutes & @Raps_fan clearly, Sonny Weems is the answer. lol #raptors

Better than Joey Graham Jess? The answer is Yes....Raps in the lead 17-16.

@altraps Sonny > Andrea


@Ronny006 Johnny Flynn has 200 turnovers on the season...pretty sure that's more than the total amount of rebounds bargnani has this season

Everyone has forgot I wanted Raptors to draft Flynn right? Bargs getting hammred on the Twitter Machine tonight.

@altraps @Ronny006 I work hard for my money. I am the polar opposite of Andrea in that sense.

Me too I just wish I made Andrea's Money.....UGH 22-21 Wolves lead Raps but at least this Tweet cap has been good right?

2nd Quarter

A HELLO from Jack Armstrong and were back for the 2nd Quarter of the TweetCap.

@Eric__Smith End of the 1st QRT ... Minnesota leads Toronto 22-21. Jefferson leads all scorers with 8. Jose/Turk/Bargs - all 2 fouls each

Not good news from E Smith tweeting from Minny.

@dan667 @RapsFan Raps will blow them out in the 3rd

Hope he is right but down 24-21 at moment start of 2nd.


Cause Triano fears Reggie as we all should? Still down 3. Jack with a rare SLAM...make that a 1 point lead.

@RapsFan Jack with the dunk on the break!!! #raptors

I know I just said that 26-25 Wolves....Does Jessie Ventura still go to Wolves games?

@Nat77 umm. Jarret Jack can dunk? oh and Amir needs to stop thinking he has an outside game... #raptors

He and @Liston are the only ones that think that...meanwhile foul 3 for HeDon't he came he fouled he left.

@RapsFan The only thing Reggie Evans can reasonably well is rebound, and he lets Darko take that last one away from him

Note to Mr.Evans I didn't say that he did...Speaking of darko he just hit a jumper wolves lead 32-28.

@RapsFan Bosh needs to hit that jumper

Or drive the ball is also good.

@dan667 nice feed from jack to bosh

If only Favors and Lawal played that well G-Tech would still be in the madness.

@dinonationblog Sonny Friggin Weems Wow

Follow that guy he is very good...What a finish on the Alley Oop Raps still behind though 37-34

@Raps_fan Marcus Banks makes me smile. I freakin love him! #NeverThoughIdSayThat lol

But not playing in this one Jack was thought and did well off the bench.

@Eric__Smith 2 FTs to come after the timeout for Bosh ... could give TOR the lead back. Minnesota up right now, 39-38 with 2:52 to go in the half

This Moment in Raptors history brought to you by @Outsidethenba

@outsidethenba @ekoreen Don't forget about the historic 2007 trade deadline deal: Fred Jones for Juan Dixon

Meanwhile Raps and T-Wolves in epic struggle tied at 43.

@Raps_fan Uros Slokar? RT @altraps Who is lazier: Andrea or McGrady?

Speaking of Raptors history...Uros Slokar was apperntly a computer Wiz but not much of a baller. Tied at 45 at the half.

@raptorsrepublic At the half, Raptors up 46-45. Bosh with a 10 and 8, but the story is the injection from the bench....

There was a review and Raps ended up with Extra Point. now to the out of town Tweetboard please

@GamePointBlog Attention #Raptors fans: New Jersey leads the Heat at half 53-52. Would be much appreciated NJ. Please and thanks. #NBA

This can't last I remember the Raps last game if I need a reminder.

3rd Quarter

@Ronny006 Whats with the jumpers?? Get the rock in the paint and draw some fouls!!!

That could be said in any random Raptor game couldn't it....DD has a slam for you sir....Raps creating turnovers and lead 55-48.

@ ryhar46 Hey, look.....a good 3rd quarter start? Where have you been all month? #raptors

For future Tweetcaps I love sarcasm it will get you in here for sure.

@Eric__Smith TOR opens the half with a 9-3 run and takes a 55-48 lead with 9:12 to go in the 3rd quarter Keep this in mind w/ the scoring so low (and TOR now leading 55-48 in the 3rd). TOR is 20-0 this season when holdin opponents under 100 PTS

@ kevhooker Heat up 83-71 against the Nets. Thanks Nets, you've failed again.

said it wouldn't last but this Raps lead just might up 57-48 now

@Ronny006 Flynn just keeps adding to his 200+ turnovers in the season #LETSGORAPTORS

Derozan > Flynn? Raps > Wolves yup 66-52 with 5:30 to play

@stackmack And against the Cavs and Lakers, too. RT @TasMelas: The Toronto Raptors look pretty decent against not-so-decent teams. #nba

Ahh Decent that is what we strive for. A decent 10 point lead 66-56. But I know Holly wasn't suggesting we could beat Cavs in playoffs right. But for record Raptors do have wins over Cavs, Lakers and Mavs to name but 3.

@bboyrev Are the #Raptors gonna win a 3rd quarter? LoL

hold phone 9-0 Minny run 66-61 Raps heDO to the Rescue with a 3?

@thejockocracy I want to eat pizza with Hedo one night. That would be cool

Ok sure why not, just make sure it's a pizza pizza.

@Ronny006 Is it really that big a deal that raps are 22-14 when bargnani gets 6+ rebounds?

No but when Raps hold teams under 100 they are 20-0 and after 3...looks good 78-66.

@TasMelas Hedo Turkoglu's game most definitely belongs in Europe. #raptors #nba

do they have Pizza pizza in Europe? hell with 53 million Hedo could buy his own.

@swirsk054 4th quarter bulls up 72 66. Vdn ejected. Calls going against bulls

4th Quarter

4th here to not quite get out salami and cheese yet...80-68 Raptors.

@dan667 Nah...Raps will be fine...don't think Wolves will score 26 points in the remaining time

No because they can't shoot 3's advantage RAPTORS!!!(I will regret this line later)

@altraps I would like to see Hedo with a mullet. Or hit with a mallet. Whichever.

line of the night material. Still no Salami or cheese 82-76.

@RapsFan Rambis just looks weird without the thick glasses

he likely broke the old ones watching this team...Triano making Clipboards nervous...84-80 Raps.

@Ronny006 Come on Barglazy you gotta hit that shot not throw up an airball

What happen to Barney you know...I love you...You Love me...I can rebound wait and see...LOL

@_Lenito @Eric__Smith if there is a Video of Jonesy doing the Robot we gotta see it!

Say what? That may be more entertaining than this game...Raps hanging on for dear life and we ain't talking Bucks. Bulls winning by 11 by the way.

@ Ronny006 @dinonationblog Smitch would not have allowed raps to blow a 14 point lead against his former team...that would be unacceptable

True...lead is 2....5 T.O's for CB4 Sam would have got in Bosh's ear about that as well.

@ryhar46 TURKOGLU! #raptors

Hedo 3, Gomes 3...Wright 3...yes it is officially raining 3's in Minny. (

@ _Lenito K fellas we know you can score no doubts BUT y'all need STOPS, DEFENSIVE STOPS

Right D-FENSE D-Fense....99-92....that under 100 thing getting dicey with 2:10 to play.

@kevhooker Can we PLEASE play defense? #raptors

I cheered what do you want....6 Bosh T.O's not helping...Jack drive and score is 103-98 Raps....less then a minute.

@swirsk054 Rose is spectacular 27pts 8assts 7 reb bulls up 92 86 48sec left

Remember when he said those nice things about us. I think Bargnani misses chuck and that is why he struggles...LOL...103-100 Raps, someone Tell
Chuck would ya?

@ekoreen Ridiculous foul by Bosh. He's got to be smarter than that.

This is just one of many examples of No Love for CB4 at the moment. Jose at the line splits a pair...Remember when he never missed when it never mattered...I do....104-100 Raps. So much for that 20-0 thing.

@ dan667 omg Raptors are sooooo good

Not really but Raps hang on and win the game 106-100

@Liston #LetsGoRaptors a win is a win!! Upset against Utah or Denver coming!

Easy now Tommy...how many fingers am I holding up....won't be easy but hope your right. So that is a Tweetcap in the books. Hope you enjoyed. To everyone who's tweets I used...thanks this TweetCap could not happen without you. So big thanks to all that I follow and that follow me. Raps win 2 in a row on the road in the first time in forever. Translation sometime in January.

As Must Win As It Gets

Tonight I am going to try something a little different with the Raptors vs T-Wolves. Often if I am not working a Raptor game for The Score I can be found on Twitter during games sharing my thoughts. I often find at times between the people that I follow and those that follow me sometimes Twitter can be a pretty entertaining game companion. So I have decided to try the DNB's first ever TweetCap. It will be a re-cap that incorporates all off the stuff that is flying around on Twitter during a Raptors game. So if you have thoughts during tonight's game fire a tweet at me @dinonationblog and you may end up part of the TweetCap of the game. This is something new I am trying so will see how it turns out but it should be fun. The Raptors take on the T-Wolves who have lost 12 straight and the Raptors have won 11 straight vs T-Wolves. All signs point to a Raptors win but given the way things have been lately nothing is guarantee but what is always a guarantee is that Twitter will have entertaining things said by myself and others.

Also will be back at Brooklyn's this week for Raptors and Jazz (Wednesday), 291 Queenston Road here in Hamilton. Will have another set of tickets courtesy of Raptorman.ca and some other prizes to give away. So if you are in the Hamilton area make sure you come out and have some fun and cheer on the Raptors. It will be not easy to get a win over the Jazz but it is very easy to win something if you come out and be part of the fun. In playing the Jazz and Denver in the next 2 games that is what makes a win tonight almost a requirement. The T-Wolves have just 14 wins on the season and just 9 at home. Raptors enter tonight 4 games back of the Bucks for 5th, a game behind Miami for 6th and a half game behind the Bucks for 7th. They are still 2 and half games in front of Chuck Swirsky's Chicago Bulls.

Three of those four are in action tonight as well. Miami has guaranteed win night in New Jersey, The Bucks host the Hawks in what right now would be a first round playoff preview. While the Bulls host the Houston Rockets in Chicago. So that is your scoreboard watching menu along with the Raptors and T-Wolves.

Raptors had a 94-88 win over the T-Wolves in early December. In reading my recap of that it appears the Raptors did not exactly bring their A game on that night. In terms of tonight they better bring it. The Raptors are running out of time to not just secure a playoff spot but build any kind of hope in this fan base that they can win once they get there. T-Wolves are a young team that on a given night can be dangerous. Those nights are few and far between. Jonny Flynn should be jacked up though after watching his Orange roll through Gonzaga yesterday not to far from his hometown in Buffalo. Flynn was one of the stars of last year's March Madness and he now has the grim reality of what life in the NBA is like. When you are 14-56 and just playing out the schedule that is a little different from trying to make an exciting run to a national championship in college.

Keep in Madness mode Chris Bosh and Jarrett Jack watched their former College Paul Hewitt coach and the Yellow Jackets go down to defeat to Ohio State. G-Tech's star Derrick Favors had a very rough day and was invisible for most of the game. Chris Bosh can not have that happen for him in any of these games down the stretch for the season. I also have to say that once he got rolling Evan Turner is pretty fun to watch. He will be one of the guys you hear a lot about heading up to the draft in June if you do not follow college basketball to any degree. If you are even a casual fan you have no doubt heard of... if not seen Evan Turner do his thing. He along with John Wall from Kentucky (My Pick to win the Tournament) are considered the top 2 talents for the NCAA in the NBA Draft assuming both decide to enter it.

The great thing about March Madness is it is one and done. There are no second chances. It can lead to massive upsets like the Cornell Big Red the Ivy League Champs knocking off 2 higher seeds or Northern Iowa knocking off the Kansas Jayhawks the number 1 seed in this tournament. The Raptors need to catch a bit of that college spirit and play like they have no tomorrow. If they take the mentality into every game they hopefully can win more then they lose. Tonight losing is simply not an option.


Raptors Flirt With Epic Failure But Sweep Away Nets

I am going to be honest off the top of this one. Raptors won but I am not even happy about it. They were battling into the 3rd quarter to get a win over Nets. That is SO UNACCEPTABLE it is not even funny. Sure the Celtics lost to these Nets and twice the Bobcats lost to them. That being said I don't care. After yet another debacle vs the Thunder it took the Raptors 2 and half quarters to wake the heck up. The net result if you will excuse the pun is a Raptors 100-90 win. However nothing has been fixed in terms of what is wrong with this team. I have little doubt the Raptors may in fact beat the T-Wolves as well and get 2 wins in a row in the first time in forever. 2 straight road wins in even longer than that. It ultimately doesn't matter. When this team was going good I had said I remained unconvinced this team could win in the playoffs. I am now almost ultimately convinced they can not win in the playoffs. The goals for this season were not to sneak in the back door and make the playoffs.

Chris Bosh was sloppy with 6 turnovers he did get this thing going with 15 in the 3rd and 36 points overall. But if Chris is a leader by example. Which is what we are always told he is then he can't be so careless with the ball. 6 turnovers in the playoffs and you dead. Simple as that. Chris has had a lot to say of late and I applaud what he is saying. There is a real truth to it. That being said Chris also said once that he wanted to be part of the solution in Toronto. Well that means playing smart. If it is because of a lack of support no one would argue about that. However Bosh has always been a bit turnover prone.

Bosh wants a lot in terms of a max deal that he has earned. However if he gets that there is more I want from him as well. While some see Bosh's comments of late as signs he is out the door. That may in fact be true only Chris knows if it is or isn't. However I am cool with what is being said. In fact don't just say the team....say names call people out. Step up and lead this team by more than example. Remember that Chris Bosh that took a stripe out of Bargnani's butt back in Oakland in his rookie season. I want that Chris Bosh. The fired up pissed off doesn't care what you think I am going to win SOB CB4.

If Bosh does not want to be the Robin to a D-Wade or LBJ then be BATMAN. If Chris Bosh is a super hero at this point it is more like Spiderman. There was a very human element to Spidey he was imperfect human super hero. Peter Parker/Spiderman failed he never always was able to have it all. Chris Bosh/CB4 is not unlike that guy. He has to depend on others to help him get the basketball. He sometimes thinks he can fly and shoot 3's and make jumpers like M.J. He even has self doubt like Spiderman in terms of he sometimes will shy away from driving to the hoop. Yet despite all of his faults both Chris Bosh and Spidey have tons of loyal fans that love them anyway.

But this is one of those times you have to come in and be the hero. You have to motivate the folks behind you as well. The time has come for Chris Bosh to be vocal and let it all hang out. If this is the end or only the end of a chapter with the Raptors it doesn't matter. Do not let the Chris Bosh era become much like the Vince Carter one. Go out fighting and if you have to call out every single person in this locker room to get it done so be it.

If Chris is not willing to take that next step and become the vocal conscious of this team then he mise well go sign on to be D-Wade or Lebron's lackey. Be like Shaq and be a useless sidekick. I think there is more inside of Chris Bosh that he has in him. If that means going up to some guy from Turkey and saying that you know what you suck. So be it. I mean the guy gave his all when he was with Dwight Howard what Chris is not good enough for you?

Honestly what does Bosh really have to lose. If you are of the camp he is going regardless then who cares if he insults anyone or challenges anyone. I want that Bosh from Oakland....That Bosh will win or die trying. He will also expect and demand everyone else does the same.

In the end this was a ho hum win over one of the worst NBA team's in history. It is up to Chris Bosh to will this team forward. While making sure he is doing his part along the way. If this is going to be the end for CB4 or a new beginning I want to see it end or begin with some fire and passion.

Just to carry this whole Spiderman thing to the max. In one of the Spidey movies he decided to throw it all away and give up being Spiderman. He felt under appreciated and decided to give it up. Some feel that Bosh has done the same with the idea of being a Raptor. However in the movie Spiderman would eventually come back. Bosh may at times feel that he is under appreciated and given far to much of the blame. In the end Bosh has a special thing here in Toronto that he is not going to find anywhere else. I have always felt with no evidence to proof I am right or wrong, that Bosh is desperate to be given a reason to remain a Raptor and stay.

I think deep down just like Spiderman believed in the expression that to much is given much is expected. That applies to Bosh as well. But I think the CB4 Credo is that one about "I want to be part of the solution in Toronto". If Bosh leaves he will have failed in accomplishing that. I don't think that is something that will sit well with him.

Bosh sometimes can be an easy target for Raptor fans rage. He has made himself much more of a persona beyond just basketball now. If you are like me you likely feel you have watched this guy grow in front of your eyes. He is not perfect like Spiderman. However he tries hard to be your superhero and sometimes he succeeds and other times he fails. But there is always the effort to try. It seems pretty clear the Bosh is at some kind of crossroads here. Just like Damon,T-Mac and Vince and others have faced. While everyone in the past has took the fork in the road that leads out of town there is no guarantee Bosh does the same. However if this team doesn't make the playoffs there is no superhero that can save CB4 for Toronto. That being said there is still time to show some fight and save this thing. That will take Bosh doing what he said years ago. Being part of the solution but not just him, making everyone in that dressing room accountable in that dressing room to do the same.

Often so many folks talk about what Bosh isn't and not what he is. Still people love the guy despite sometimes not always being thrilled with him. I said when this season started it would always be about 1 thing and 1 thing only and like it or not CB4 and his future is what this season is about. If this does not work out there are no super heroes in that locker room to replace Bosh. Might be a few boy wonders and that is about all.

This season is about a lot more than what happens to Raptors this season. It is about the future of this franchise and it's chances of being competitive for at least the next 2 years if not more. If you are happy and content with backing into the playoffs in 8th...you shouldn't be. People get what they demand. Bosh needs to demand more from his team and himself and fans need to demand more from this organization. 15 years have been fun. But I don't think anyone will accept 15 more with the same kind of turnover and lack of true success. In the end Bosh and fans want the same thing. A Raptor team that can be a true contender.

Raptors Hope To Net A Rare Road Win.

Thanks to Anas for holding it down for DNB while I was off watching the team both Jack and Bosh played for move on in NCAA Tournament. Maybe Paul Hewitt (Coach of Georgia Tech) should coach Raptors. Maybe he can get this team to play some defense. I admit have only seen highlights of what went on at the ACC last night. However it was an even worse script then what I had envisioned. I fully expected the Thunder to win this game. Despite the win over Atlanta, the Raptors did not play well and many of the issues that were part of their 5 game losing streak were still evident. In fact let's be blunt this team has been a tragic embarrassment since the All Star Break. So what a better time to bring on the NBA embarrassment that is the New Jersey Nets. They are on pace to set an NBA record for the worse season EVER!!! The Raptors need to keep them on that pace if not all bets are off at what happens next. Raptors have beat the Nets all 3 times they have hooked up. Including one on the Road at the I-Zod Center for a rare road victory.

Amazingly as bad as the Raptors have played they remain in the playoff and the teams around them with exception of the Bucks have all struggled. Bobcats, Heat and Bulls are all terrible as well. Raptors are just a full game behind Miami and still sit 2 and half games ahead of the Bulls who have lost 10 straight. In all likelihood the Raptors will make the post season. However scrapping in as the 7th or 8th seed has not that goal. Raptors had much higher aspirations for this season. As Chris Bosh's frustration with this team grows so does the feeling he may not remain. Many feel that the success or lack of success in the post season will be a big factor in what Bosh will do. Chris has not exactly laid out a criteria for what he is looking for to make his decision. However winning is always part of the equation for CB4.

4 of these next 6 games will say a lot about just where this team is heading. What should be easy wins over the Nets tonight and Minnesota on Monday. Then two what barring something unforeseen losses to Denver and Utah. After that the most important road trip of this Raptors Season. Remember about 2 months ago I mentioned a back to back late in March that would mean a lot? March 28th at Miami and next night at Charlotte. These games have taken on the massive important nature that I felt they would back in January. If the Raptors do not win at least 3 of these 4 games vs Nets, T-Wolves, Heat and Bobcats then all bets are off and Raptors will be hard pressed to be anything better than an 8 seed.

That would mean a match-up with Cavs in the first round. Which everyone seems as doom. Well I don't as much as others. I mean sure I picked the Cavs to win the NBA Title this year. I also see them as the best team in the East. However that does not make them the worst match-up. Hawks and Magic for me are tougher match-ups for Toronto. Boston would not be except for the fact that Celtics seem to be in the Raptors heads and have been for awhile. But bottom line is if Raptors don't defend better they would have a hard time advancing in March Madness let alone the NBA playoffs.

Raptors really need 2 wins on this short road trip badly. In fact I would say anything short of 2-0 is a major failure. If the Raptors were to some how lose to the Nets I can only imagine the mood of this fan base which is already ugly. Worse yet can you imagine the mood of Bosh if that happens? I can't say I would blame him. His frustration is evident and when the leader of the team in frustrated you have to imagine the entire locker is to various degrees. The T-Wolves on Monday may actually play worse defense than the Raptors as the got torched for 158 by the Suns not that long ago. A 2 game winning streak in this battle of the least in the East would be huge or to quote George Costanza "Gold Jerry Gold". But it is another Costanza line that comes to mind at the moment. "Serenity NOW!!!" that is how frustrated I am, as I am sure you all are. Raptors should be happy to know their fans cared enough to boo this team off the floor. Why do I say that? Simple you only boo if you care and have passion. Raptors are in serious danger of what comes next happening. What is that? Apathy and it is not pretty. If Bosh were to go and this team stinks as much as it could with out him...Apathy will be here. That is not good for anyone including me.