Thursday, October 28, 2010

Raps Drop Season Opener

The Raps played fairly well for the game, but couldn't pull off a victory against the new-and-probably-much-better Amare'e's (that's a lot of apostrophes) Knicks. For the game, there was no one particular reason the Raps lost. However, it will probably be the trend of games this season where plenty of players will play well (or solidly enough) but the lack of a go-to scorer and leader will hurt in key situations. Bargnani had a big game and will most likely put up big numbers this year, but it seems unlikely he has the makings of a franchise offensive talent (though he could very well be a secondary or tertiary scorer on a very good team). recap

Player of the game:
Il Mago did not seem lost in his first game as the face of the Raptors. While he struggled somewhat from the field (8-21) he did not lose his outside touch over the summer hitting five threes in eight attempts. Bargs finished with 22 points and 6 rebounds and complemented that nicely with 2 blocks. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect pretty similar season averages for Drea this year.

Reggie Evans (0 points on 0-2 shooting, 16 rebounds, 2 steals, 5 fouls) did exactly what the Raptors brought him in to do. He picked up 4 offensive boards, hustled like crazy and was a menace down low.
Linas Kleiza (13 points, 5 rebounds). The Destroyer of Worlds took a backseat to Bargnani's chuck-it-up ways last night, but the after offseason - Worlds, preseason and now the opener - it is clear that Kleiza has come back from Europe a better player, and could be a valuable trade chip for a contender.
Jarrett Jack (16 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals) played a nice all-around game as the starting point guard. He played his trademark solid defense and showed good playmaking ability. Jack could also bring back some useful pieces in a trade, if BC chooses that route. box score

Stat of the Game:
Wilson Chandler torched the Raptors off the bench to the tune of 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 assists in just 29 minutes. The Raptors' perimeter defense was not good last night and Chandler made the Raps pay.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Raptors Home Opener!

Its here, Raptor fans! Tonight at 7 pm the Raptors tip off against the New York Bricks at the Air Canada Centre. You can catch the game on TSN2 or the good ol' Fan 590. I would also recommend taking advantage of's free League Pass trial until November 1st for those Raptor fans who are outside of Canada.

The probable starters for Canada's team tonight are:
PG - Jarrett Jack
SG - DeMar DeRozan
SF - Linas Kleiza, Destroyer of Worlds
PF - Reggie Evans
C - Dr. Drea Bargnani

Why BC gave Amir Johnson 35 million dollars and will not start him is still a mystery. In any event, the Raptors need to play the tough defense they always talk about but never seem to bring (like Bart Simpsons homework, hey-o!). The Raps need to shadow Amare and make sure Danilo Gallinari and Roger Mason don't shake loose for an open three. In Toronto's preseason wins, we saw a team that gets defensive stops, limits the opponent to one shot per possession, and gets out and runs. Hopefully the Raptors will be able to exploit the Knicks constant defensive woes en route to their first W of the season.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Raptors Visit the Chi

Tonight at 8 pm the Raptors take on the Chicago Bulls in the Raptors third preseason game. Fresh off a loss in Boston, the Raptors are looking to get their first preseason W on the road. The game, unfortunately, is not televised in Canada so check out or for a web feed of the game.

Look for Andrea Bargnani to continue to try and find his comfort zone. Andrea has come out completely flat in the opening two games, shooting just 2-17 over that stretch. Quite simply put, the Raptors need 'Drea to play up to his potential this year, we need less Araujo ball and more Bargnani ball.

The Raps interior defense gets a bit of a break tonight not having to deal with Carlos Boozer. However the Dinos will have to chase Derrick Rose around the court all night.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Raps Roll into Beantown

Coming off a manhandling of Phoenix in Vancouver to begin the preseason, the Raptors arrive in Boston to face the 2-0 Celtics at 6PM today. The Celtics will hope to contain Linas "Destroyer of Worlds" Kleiza, who dominated the Suns to the tune of 20 points in 20 minutes (on blistering 7-9 shooting, 4-4 from three), with 5 boards and 2 steals. While it's not really fair to draw positive nor negative conclusions, as it's only the preseason, Kleiza's definitely trying to show that his ownage of the Worlds during the summer was no fluke.

Other encouraging performances were had by DMDR, who dropped 16 points in 21 minutes, Jarrett Jack (10 poitns, 7 assists in 17 minutes), and interestingly, Joey Dorsey, who had 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, and 2 assists to boot. He had some monstrous slams and showed great energy, while - this is important - not playing outside his skill-set. Hopefully the Dino brass will look to his performance and not sign Ericka Dampier (get it? Cause he plays like a girl) for far too much money and far too little performance.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Raptors Blow Suns Out: 129-78

For once the Raptors are on the right side of a blow out. Wednesday night the Raptors showed that they mean business in the preseason, as they just simply tore Phoenix apart. Last night we saw a Raptor team that ran, made their shots, and set each other up; a confident, young bunch who look like they're enjoying playing with each other. They established dominance early and got the crowd involved so that they would cheer for the Raptors and not just Steve Nash (the game was in British Columbia, Stevies home province). The Raps shot a blistering 50% from the field against a Suns team where defense isn't even on their list of priorities. I, myself, was more impressed with the long ball. Not only did the Dinos shoot 60% from 3, but they only took 10 threes! In true non-Raptor fashion, all night the Raps looked to pound the ball inside and looked for the mid range jumper (the lost art in the game of basketball).

Let's take a look at the Raptor defense as well. They limited the Suns to just 78 points on 38% shooting from the field and only 17% from three. Sure this is a Suns team that clearly misses Amare and has just traded for the Plague (Hidayet Turkoglu), but hey, try and give credit where its due.

Player of the Game
I was tempted to give the PotG nod to David Andersen simply for growing out his hair and having some amazing flow, But i had to give it to Linas Kleiza. Kleiza did everything last night, en route to nabbing 20 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes (7-9 field goal shooting). Trey-za (sorry, I had to) was on fire from three, hitting 4-4 from beyond the arc. He made the Suns Pay-za (I really am sorry, its just too easy) for leaving him open both from inside and outside. Simply put, he Amaz-za-d us (that was the last one, I promise).

Joey Dorsey was an animal last night. He had a put-back slam that made me forget he was Joey Dorsey. Then I remembered he shot 4-9 from the foul line... In any case JoDor put up 13 and 10 in 17 minutes.
DeMar DeRozan put together a solid game, scoring 16 points in 20 minutes. He even showed off his new trey-ball, shooting 1-1 from three point land.

Last night was the first time in a while where Raptor basketball was actually enjoyable to watch. The players were loose and actually doing what they were supposed to do. I love preseason Raptor basketball!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Raps Open Up Preseason vs. Phoenix

Tonight at 10 pm the Raptors hit the road. No, they're not going to Phoenix though, they're in Vancouver. The Raps are opening up the preseason in Western Canada as they take on the Phoenix Suns. You can catch the game on TSN or, as always, on the Fan 590.

As we've written about extensively in our "Year One A.B." segment, you are about to see a new Raptor team. Andrea Bargnani now steps on the court as the leader of Canada's team, complimented by a crop of unproven players. While he and Leandro Barbosa are on the court, look for the offense to run through their hands.

Linas Kleiza was as hot as anyone in the FIBA World Championships this summer, leading Lithuania to a third place finish overall. Kleiza (playing the power forward position for the Lithuanians) put up 19 points per game on almost 58% shooting and almost 38% from three. This guy can shoot. This will be his first appearance sporting a Raptor uniform, so it will be interesting to see how Jay Triano will use him.

The Suns themselves are at a crossroads, looking for a new identity for their team. The Turkoglu-Barbosa swap seems to be an indicator that the Suns are looking to play more half-court ball this year. Last night they fell to the Kings 109-95 in Sacramento. All I have to say to them is good luck with Hedo.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Davis Sustains Knee Injury

The Toronto Star is reporting that Raptors rookie and 13th pick overall in the 2010 draft Ed Davis has sustained a "meniscal" injury to his right knee. Ed was playing some pick up basketball in Mississauga when he landed awkwardly from a rebound. The seriousness of the injury is not yet known and treatment options are now being discussed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jose to Miss Worlds

A leg injury will force Jose Calderon to miss this month's World Championships in Turkey. Jose tore a muscle in his leg during an exhibition game versus the United States of America. His recovery time is listed now at four weeks, which will give him sufficient time to heal before Raptor Training Camp.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Assistant Coach

The Raps announced that they have brought in a new assistant coach, Scott Roth, to help under Jay Triano. He has an interesting connection to Jay, dating as far back as playing in the Turkish Basketball league at the same time in the 80's.

Last year, Roth was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors. He has spent seven other seasons as an assistant in the NBA, with Dallas and Vancouver/Memphis, and also has served as a scout and advisor for Milwaukee.

Roth played in 160 games in his three-year NBA career.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dinos Waive Dwayne Jones

The Raps yesterday waived forward/centre Dwayne Jones, brought over along with Leandro Barbosa in the Hedo Turkoglu deal. Jones did not figure to dress for many contests - he'd be competing with Patrick O'Bryant for garbage time minutes at the centre spot.

By waiving Jones, the Raps have cut their roster down to 15 players, the most an NBA team can have during the season.