The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

I didn’t know it was this easy to get a win at Madison Square Garden these days

Posted by Arsenalist on January 11, 2008

Toronto Raptors 99, New York Knicks 90

Update: First Ever Podcast

“The First One, It Kinda Sucks”Download It! (Size: 6.8 MB, Length: 7:07)

Or you can play it by staying on this very page:

Warning! It’s so bad that I couldn’t bear listening to it once I had recorded it. I had to get the first one out of the way. It’ll get better.

Chuck Swirsky is taking a lot of the fun out of watching Raptors basketball for me, from berating the other team on every opportunity to ignoring every mistake made by the Raps, it’s all getting a little ridiculous. It’s funny how Randolph being benched is brought up every 2 minutes but when Bargnani is exiled to the bench it’s rarely mentioned. I’m embarrassed for the Raptors because some of these games are broadcast on NBA League Pass and our crew comes out looking like the biggest homers short of Tommy Heinsohn. The Salami and Cheese thing really has reached it’s saturation point and needs to be shelved for good. It’s insulting to the other team even though he’ll claim it’s all in good fun. Plus, it actually ends up jinxing the Raptors because every time he calls it the other team goes on a run and he’s left trying to save face with asinine comments like, “it’s a little too late for a Knick run with 4 minutes left” – the Knicks were down by 10!

Anyway, that didn’t stop me from enjoying this game from all angles: Knick fans, Isiah, Randolph, Curry and even good ‘ol Gren Grunwald and his broken right foot. While enjoying their suffering (Schadenfreude I believe) I kept thinking to myself that Bosh might’ve had a 60 point game if he didn’t bother taking 20 footers for half the game, clearly he can get to the rim anytime he wants, so why bother with the springer. Oh wait, I had answered my own question in a previous post. Chris was looking for his points tonight but was wise enough to pass quickly out of double teams setting the Raptors wheels in motion as the Knick defense (missing entirely until the 4th) self-destructed. We did have some help from Isiah who chose to send a message to Zach Randolph by benching him early because of a verbal argument. Eddy Curry looked to be of a similar fate in the first half although his crime was much less apparent. Surprisingly Renaldo Balkman was the only Knick big to administer any discomfort as the rest were either ineffective or benched. Thanks Isiah!

As for the Raptors, they did nothing special either. Chris Bosh dominated the game by looking to score every time and on a night when the Knicks were having trouble putting anything together, he could afford to miss a lot of jumpers. Calderon didn’t shoot the ball well but increased his AST to TO ratio going 8/1 which will ensure a good night’s sleep for Swirsky. Let’s give Jamario Moon some credit today because over the last couple games he’s been really disciplined about not taking bad shots and has stepped up his defense to the point where he’s not gambling, contesting shots and positioning himself for every reasonable rebound. Another hustle player, Kris Humphries bounced back from a Sam benching to hit a couple nice fadeaways and grab 7 important rebounds, a couple late in the fourth. The Raptors bench isn’t close to being as productive as it was earlier in the year with Delfino, Kapono and Dixon struggling but it’s shown a couple signs in the last two games. Of course having Jose start decimates the second team so maybe it’s wiser to wait until TJ comes back and then reevaluate the second unit.

There’s not much negative to write about Bargnani either who showed a pulse on offense by making a nifty pass to Bosh after posting up Nate Robinson and hit a couple jumpers which reminded me a little of how important he can be when he’s playing well. David Lee getting the better of him on a FT rebound was really sad to watch but I’m happy with Bargnani’s 7 points, 2-2 FG and 2 rebound performance. I’m not even being sarcastic, I’m happy. Remember folks, with this man, we need to take small, baby steps. That or start Bargnani Sucks Ass threads on Real GM. Take your pick. Mitchell weighs his words carefully but does call out Andrea’s rebounding:

“I think people are on Andrea, rightfully so, because he hasn’t had games on a consistent basis where he’s got double-digit rebounds. Until he starts doing that, that’s going to be a fair criticism of him and that’s understandable. If he’s going to play the position, he’s got to do it.”

I remember the days I used to circle the four Knick games on my calendar when the schedule came out in anticipation of all the little individual and team rivalries that we had going. Sprewell, Carter, Childs, Oakley, Jackson, Camby, Butch, Lenny, JVG, oh man. Those were really some great games. The garden used to be rocking and there wasn’t a dull moment from the first quarter on. I’m one of the few Raptors fans that actually wants the Knicks to be a good team just so we can recreate that rivalry that was as good as any in the league. I guess I’ll have to wait another three years according to Glen Grunwald who still says a lot without actually answering a question. The thing I remember most about Grunwald was that speech at Maple Leaf Gardens where he literally brought me to tears at the end of the season. It was the same game Allen Iverson dunked over four Raptors incluing Marcus Camby.

This paragraph belongs to Anthony Parker who even when struggles doesn’t lose confidence in his game. He’s had some miserable games during the season but has never let up his offensive, defensive and rebounding efforts. He hit a key three in the fourth quarter which restored the lead to 14 and kept the Knicks in check. There was some talk that he has a high trade value and should be traded since we’re not winning an NBA championship this year anyway. I completely disagree with this line of thinking, the Raptors have been a team that always loses its good players for the sake of the “future”. Well, the future is now and even though we’re not going to win the EC this year, it’s still good to make it to the second or third round of the playoffs and get some post-season experience under our belt. No team has ever won a title without losing in the middle rounds for a few seasons in a row, I say we start that losing streak.

Check the boxscore, it tells you all about how the Knicks shot 51% in this game and still managed to lose. For once the rebounding numbers were in our favor (43-33, 11 offensive) which created a ton of second chance points and ticked off valuable minutes late in the game. Isiah must be perplexed at how well the Knicks ended this game but failed to show the least bit of desire, ability or even interest for the better part of the game. The three guys that played well (and by well I mean hard) were Nate Robinson, Rolando Blackman and Jamal Crawford, aside from those three nobody cared. Well, maybe Randolph did but he was riding the pine from first quarter on.

Up next is a revenge mission against Portland. We blew the game on the west coast and need to earn a requital against Brandon Roy and Co. who have won 46 of their past 47 games – or so it seems like.


* The ESPN game menu is better than the one.

* If Nate Robinson had finished that putback jam, it would’ve been the end of Bargnani’s career.

* Anybody notice the hot black chick next to the Raptors fans they showed in the end?

* Rod Black thinks Sam’s temper is inversely proportional to the size of the Raptors lead.

* We missed about 10 WIDE OPEN shots today. Even the dead-eye Calderon missed about four he usually drains.

* I’m not talking about it much but aside from Bosh, we were exclusively a perimeter team. I would hate to see what would’ve happened if Curry and Randolph had their minds right for this game.

* Carlos Delfino needs to play better and smarter for us, he’s too good to just side-step and take a jumper. As for Kapono, I’m waiting for Sam to do something to get him some shots. He’s being wasted right now.

* Somebody please explain to me what Joey Graham did wrong to get the yank after 4 minutes.

* Darrick Martin played a halfway effective backup PG today. I guess he’s ahead of Dixon in the depth chart again.


20 Responses to “I didn’t know it was this easy to get a win at Madison Square Garden these days”

  1. RaptorTalk said

    Always nice to win on the road, especially in MSG.

    You’re right about Swirsky. It drives me nuts listening to him berate the opponents’ body language, bad play calls by the other coach, low intensity levels, players being benched and so on …. as if the game is over and the Raps have a win wrapped up. After the Cleveland loss you’d think he’d learn. And you’re right …. he never mentions any of the negatives with the Raptors.

    I’m a huge Raps fan, but I’d like to see some balanced commentary once in a while. If I want to listen to Homer, I’ll turn on the Simpsons.

  2. Pickstar said

    NO MORE EURO’s!!!

    For god sake we are a soft team to begin with, we dont need anyone more Euro’s.

    Are team is what is what it is. We need to get big athletic guys that can REBOUND and play tough defence. NO MORE BARGANI’s period. He does not have nearly the upside as people think he does. Yi juilian has more potential than him, and currently is better than him.

  3. RapsFan said

    Watched only the 1st-half before I was out, a few pointers from the game I saw:

    – I know about Eddy Curry playing bad defense, but after this game – I would say that is an understatement. He plays NO defense. He is just a liability on the defensive end, he’s so lazy it’s incredible, Bosh and even Calderon just blew by him and he just stood there watching them do so. I laughed at the RealGM’ers who ever considered bringing Eddy Curry here, that’s the last thing we’ll need, a horrible defender.

    – Bargnani is no better, usually I am all praises with him, but I was just watching his game – like Curry, he makes no effort to battle the boards. If you watched the game closely, you can see that he just stands above the key in front of a free throw line once a shot is jacked up and stares if it drops or not. Don’t even talk about boxing out, there wasn’t even an effort to try and grab a rebound. That was disappointment.

    – Isiah still being the headcoach of the knicks is still a wonder to me. Knicks are a complete mess right now.

  4. SAMisCOY said

    Wow. I agree on all points! I was scared during the 2nd 1/2, that we would blow the lead (D Mart playing, makes me VERY nervous), but w/out an inside presence (no Curry/Randolph), we got LUCKY on the boards!

    David Lee is the ONLY player that does it for me on that team. I am NOT sold on Nate Robinson.

    Game lasted longer due to all the “great calls” by the refs on BOTH sides! Was that BAD or what?

    LOL @ Chuck. Yeah, I LOATHE the salami & cheese! But not to worry, every broadcast of the “home teams” are homers. I promise. Worse than Chuck! Really. I mean it. I don’t think it matters if it’s the NBA, NHL, Primera Liga, Bundesliga, Liga de Campeones or what, the home team will ALWAYS be homers.

    I also miss the Raps/Knicks rivalry, good times were had, by all :)

    LOL @ Pickstar, Yi would probably sell more jerseys as well, both in the GTA (‘ssauaga, scarberia, markham, richmond hill, broadview/dundas) vs (st. clair, woodbridge), and worldwide overall. Still boggles my mind why Milwaukee grabbed him (shakes head). lets face it, Bargs isn’t as big a draw as the Raps would like to think.

    PS I LIKE BARGS, but I have come to realize, that he’s not “there yet”. Is it injuries? Playing time (consistency)? Bad chemistry/complement with Bosh (on offense overall, regardless of some nice passes)? But I would like to give him the full 4 years, before I completely lose faith.

  5. Red Rebounder said

    It’s not that bad man. You just got to fade the music in better and just define your topics before hand. There’s some ruffling shit going on in the beginning…As for the point, you asking for patience with Bargnani is like buying a Ferrari and driving it at 30kmh. Fuck that.

  6. Darrick Martin said

    Great analysis as usual but you might want to get cracking on correcting the names of Renaldo Balkman and Isiah Thomas.

  7. arsenalist said

    Thanks DM, I just realized I’ve been spelling Isiah’s name wrong for the past 10 years.

  8. SAMisCOY said

    Maybe Bosh needs to call out/slam Bargs on youtube ala Kobe on Bynum? LOL seems to have worked on Bynum.

  9. SAMisCOY said

    @ Red Rebounder> I kinda LIKE that Ferrari analogy.

  10. PsychicSpy said

    Nice first podcast. There is this urban legend that Chuck is this sweet, nice guy. Bullshit. He is a ruthless, out-of-control egomaniac. Chuck places himself ON PAR with the Raptor stars and has been methodically building a truly bizarre “Swirsky Personality Cult” for 10 years. Swirsky bobble-head nights? Swirsky Canadian citizenship nights? ENOUGH. Tom Cheek epitomized class. He was a RESPECTFUL commentator of the American pastime… and a Hall of Fall announcer that would never stoop so low as to engrandize himself at the expense of The Game.

  11. PsychicSpy said

    @ SAM and Red> How exactly is Bargs a Ferrari? He reminds
    me of a lumbering African beast shot by a tranquilizer dart on the Discovery channel. Only less fun to watch.

  12. PapiJulio said

    The Kicks are such a mess. I’m glad Bosh stepped up last night!!! I’m not saying I want blood, but when I seen Lee’s face bloody I thought “Yeah! We got some grit tonight!”.

    Moooooooooooon…… A great name to yell at the game!

    Let’s not get excited about a this win. A win against Portland would make me feel a bit better.

    Let’s keep the train rollin’ boyz!!

  13. Crank said

    LOL at Psychic’s #11 comment.

    That podcast wasn’t that bad at all! You’re right about Chuck at 4:45 mark in the audio: “Let’s talk about that Chuck”. Funny shit. I do remember the new VR and that stupid ass Sears truck that always came along and was our main sponsor. Saunders was good, don’t know why we ever let him go. I think he got a really good offer from ESPN and bolted, he still does the college games for CBS I think.

  14. SAMisCOY said

    Props to the 1st podcast! Not too shabby! (Finally got a working headset)

    @ PsychicSpy > LOL, it’s a tad apt. Looks good on paper, but very high maintenance.

  15. Raps Fan said

    good first podcast man, i’m excited to get this bad boy going!

  16. PapiJulio said

    Great Pod Cast!!!

    Drop the “Salami and Cheese”! Chuck needs to understand in competitive sports if you say something and the wrong person on the other teams hears it….like his games isn’t that good, or he doesn’t do this well…. it will back fire. I get charged up when someone knocks me on the other team. It one thing to ‘call the other team on’ and stop them like a man! That demoralizes the other team. Get’s into their heads. When your team is losing you’ll use anything to get you team going again. I’d love it if a opposing player put me down! I just want to do anything possible to prove them wrong! These guys are professional NBA. They are extremely competitive!

    Chuck is colour commentary. Jack & Leo are analysts. You can tell who’s played competitive sports in their life and who regurgitates what other people say with nothing to back it up. We listen to analysts to hear someone’s educated opinion on the game at the NBA level. Not to hear what Chuck’s mom put in the fridge last night.
    Chuck I can understand that you feel pretty special with all the attention your getting from an entire country. But people should stick to their specialties. Play-by-Play announcing Chuck. You got the voice! But your no baller!!!! Let Leo & Jack explain the game & keep the stories about basketball!

  17. […] Isiah says he still isn’t leaving. If nothing else, it means that the punters who want to boo will still buy tickets for a while. Wonder if Cluck Jerksky could charter a plane for some of the 300 level wingnuts to lend their support? After all, the Knicks did pick up the pace against what seemed to be a bored Raptor lot. Thankfully the Raptors hung on, otherwise some bloggers would have been a little less lighter (and higher pitched) today. Mind you, nobody would hear the higher pitch in your voice….um, unless you recorded a podcast….. […]

  18. Dinosty said

    Great freshmen effort on the podcast. I agree that defining what you’re talking about beforehand is great, and once you have someone else on there with you a dialogue will naturally appear. Difficult to do it when it’s a solo effort.

    And hey, thanks for the shoutout! I’ll piggyback on your friends anyday.

  19. […] two game win streak? Don’t get too excited – Portland tomorrow will be a test. As Arsenalist mentioned, they’ve won 46 of their last 47 […]

  20. Pugz said

    You did good on your first podcast man. Very refreshing to hear someone (podcast wise) who really say it as it is. Looking forward to more and longer one. Keep up the good work

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