The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Game 3 Preview: Sea of Red looks to even series

Posted by Arsenalist on April 24, 2008

It’s do or die time, no exaggeration. If we lose Game 3, there won’t even be a point in continuing in the series and we may as well empty out the bench and get Maceo Baston some playoff experience in Game 4. The Raptors have their backs against the perennial wall but lucky for them they’ll be coming home to the cauldron that is the Sea of Red at the ACC. If the crowd and atmosphere can inspire them to play any form of consistent defense, they will have a chance to send this series back to Orlando all tied up. No, I’m not crazy.

It goes without saying that the difference between winning and losing in Game 2 couldn’t have been more than a hair’s breadth. Mitchell’s unimaginative play calling, questionable non-calls, missed FTs and a furious defensive sequence where we failed to keep possession did the Raptors in. If any of those one things go our way, we win the game. Let’s also not forget the horrible first quarter. It’s natural to feel hopeless but there is one singular reason to feel optimistic: we were in both games late in the fourth quarter despite giving up a massive spread early in the game. A simplistic line of thinking would be that if we have a better first quarter, we’ll be alright.

So to ensure a better start Sam Mitchell’s tweaking with the starting lineup yet again but is keeping it a secret. A logical change would be to insert either Moon or Rasho back in the lineup over Bargnani and replace TJ Ford with Jose Calderon. As impressive as TJ was in the second quarter of Game 2, Calderon was instrumental in the fourth quarter run and has done a better job of guarding the pesky Nelson. When playing against TJ, Nelson is shooting 9-14 (62%) for 28 of his points while against Calderon, he’s 4-9 (44%) for 14 of points. The better defensive performance is reason enough to make the switch. Here’s Michael Grange’s thoughts.

If Andrea Bargnani starts the game again, Sam Mitchell should be fired at the end of the first quarter. The experiment has failed and Sam should’ve accepted that after Game 1 to prevent articles like these that rip him to shreds. Game 2 should serve as further confirmation of the fact that Andrea Bargnani is not read to play the SF position and putting him in a situation where he’s bound to fail is detrimental to the team. Bargnani’s lone rebound performance in Game 2 is unacceptable and he must help out Chris Bosh in dealing with Dwight Howard. More specifically, he needs to make the rotations and box out Howard when Bosh goes off to help. It’s not so much Howard’s offensive moves and muscle that’s hurting us but his putbacks which are the source of second chance points after taxing defensive stands. Maybe Brezec can trouble him? Surely, he’s good for something. In other Bargnani news, Bryan Colangelo has an “extensive off-season program” planned for Bargani. We’ll analyze the results to death in September.

Are the Raptors problems a lack of preparation or a lack of execution? If you ask Doug Smith, he’ll swear its execution but that’s because he’s Sam Mitchell’s little pet. The truth of the matter is that execution has been a problem all year long and nobody will doubt that. However, looking closely at any Raptors offensive or defensive schemes, the underlying basketball philosophy is too simpleminded to be effective in a playoff series where preparation and adjustments are paramount. In other words, these Raptor players and coaches are not ready for the playoffs. Exonerating Mitchell by saying its a problem with team execution and not with what’s happening between games is ridiculous and the two first quarters beg to differ.

Jason Kapono’s been a breath of fresh air and has taken it upon himself to manufacture some shot attempts. One of Stan van Gundy’s concerns will be Kapono getting open looks and Sam Mitchell should expect life to be much more difficult for Kapono in Game 3. He’ll have to make some in-game adjustments to whatever SVG will have implemented in an attempt to contain Kapono or else the sharp-shooter will regress into his late-season form. Anthony Parker’s zero point performance could easily be seen as one of the prime reasons for the Game 2 loss, his defense on Turkoglu almost made up for it until he let Keith Bogans drain two wide open threes in the fourth. Parker tends to bounce back from bad games and I’m expecting him to step up and score somewhere between 15-18 points on Thursday night.

Looking forward to Jamario Moon realizing he can’t shoot and either passing the ball up or doing something that might draw some contact, it’s probably too much to ask this late in the season but a man can dream. His rebounding is always welcome but if he can manage to neutralize Hedo by 50% and/or completely take out Bogans’ outside shooting, he’d have done his job. The Raptors need to come out with an end-to-end defensive effort and sustain it for the entire game, it might be too much to ask but these are trying times. We’ve shown that we can score against the Magic, its obviously the defensive end that’s the issue. Rectify that and we’re in business, it starts with close-outs on Nelson, Bogans and Lewis and ends with crisp rotations inside the paint.

I’m watching the Lakers/Nuggets as I type this and Phil Jackson just reiterated the importance of preventing guard penetration by saying nothing else really matters if you’re letting the other team get to the paint and pick out scoring options. Sounds simple enough and if I’m whoever’s guarding Turkoglu, I concede the three until he makes at least a couple before challenging him to drive. He’s shown he can take it to the rim, it’s time we make him shoot some threes which he’s only 1-7 at and hopefully the ACC atmosphere can add some additional pressure.

On a betting note, I told you to take the Raptors +7 in Game 2 and if you did, you made some money. The Raptors are favoured in Game 3 and laying 4, take the Raptors to win this one for the crowd in the same way they won Game 3 against Philadelphia many moons ago.

More links tomorrow, got nothing to do until then, chew on this: Dwayne Wade and Star Jones are an item.

Let’s go you Raptors!

41 Responses to “Game 3 Preview: Sea of Red looks to even series”

  1. MUHDIK said,0,3421951.column

  2. arsenalist said

    Muhdik, I had linked that article from the post. Did you not see it?

    That article is literally ripping Mitchell apart. IMHO, Sam is not long for this job. It’s so obvious that he’s not Colangelo’s man (whether that’s a good or bad thing is another issue) and BC’s not going to let another miserable season go by just hoping Mitchell coaches the way he wants him to.

  3. FLUXLAND said

    Player playing like the court is set up in some public court in the middle of Afghanistan with snipers surrounding them has nothing to do with Mitch. I seriously don’t understand how you keep putting on Sam. Who cares if you start or don’t, in fact who cares what position you start as well. Fact is you are professional bball player getting paid bigtime money to play a simple game. There is no excuse for coming to the game with zero gullyness, effort, focus and determination..or any caring all. There are just things coaches cannot teach.. simply ask for. You are treating these dudes like babies..and blaming Sam as if here were the babysitter.

    You were watching the Lakers you said… you see how the Nuggs play even when down?.. like they are ready to take heads off…the Craptors look like they are getting into a fight they don’t want to be in in the 1st place. Where is Oak, where is the Junkyard dog, where is Clark, where is Antonio Davis.. these guys would not put with this.. even Carter didn’t fold like this for all the times we called him a Wince. Fact is we have a bunch of UN peace keepers on our team (xcept TJ maybe) not a bunch of warriors.

  4. Melvin said

    lets see… i think i have lost hope in them…

  5. Paps said

    No matter what Sam does your still going yo rag on him. It’s up to the players to win.

  6. FLUXLAND said

    That’s what I was saying in the game one post, Paps. Things go right.. BC is a genius.. things go wrong and Sam is the Anti Christ. Simply cuz of his gangsta. Dude can’t win.

    Yo, you still got Raps in 6? :P

  7. D G said

    Rightly or wrongly, isn’t one of the main requirements of a coach to motivate his players, or at least manage them in a way to keep them motivated. Everyone talks about Phil Jackson as a great motivator and manager of players. If the players come out flat it is on them because they have to want it, but the coach also has to manage them in a way that keeps them interested.

    The article from Orlando is interesting, but somehow I dont think that Bargnani being on the floor is stopping TJ (among others) from paying good d.

    The tradeoff between Bargnani and Moon is that Moon plays the perimeter and takes shots that we know he is going to miss, but might give you some decent d (might); whereas Barganani is taking outside shots that he might make, so they have to defend, but he’s unlikely to give you much d. Pick your poison. Call me crazy but I see the rationale behind playing Bargnani.

    I ended up walking beside Smitch a couple of weeks ago in the Path near the ACC. I said whats up and keep up the good work (ok I lied), but the guy didnt say boo. I wasnt expecting a man hug or anything, but he could have said thanks or something. Kind of left me thinking he was a prick. Basketball coaching skills aside.

  8. khandor said


    Your #3 post begins to get at the heart of the matter with this Raptors team that COLANGELO (not Mtichell) has put together.

    Let me ask you these two questions:

    If you flipped TJ Ford for Steve Nash (let’s say in a fantasy world) … do you think the Suns would stand a snowball’s chance in h*ll of getting past the Spurs this year?

    How about the Raptors vs the Magic?

    If your answers to those two queries are a resounding,

    No Way, Jose!


    Like, for sure, dude!

    then you’re beginning to see that the major problem with this team is that … unlike what happened in Phoenix when Colangelo, Jr. COMPLETELY LUCKED OUT that Steve Nash WANTED to return to the Suns when Mark Cuban cut him loose BECAUSE NASH’S WIFE & KIDS ALREADY LIVED IN THE PHOENIX AREA (not because BC is a top notch GM who knows what he’s doing) … THERE IS ONE STEVE NASH AND HE ISN’T PLAYING FOR THE RAPTORS, JUST YET.

    Steve Nash is/was the architect of Phoenix’s rise from the ashes which Bryan Colangelo orchestrated with their once-proud team … no one else.

    Because Steve Nash wanted to live in Phoenix, he signed with the Suns when Cuban said, “Thanks but no thanks, Stevie boy, I don’t think you’ve got what it will take to Win a Championship for me with the Mavs, at the price you’re asking.” FULL STOP.

    Because Steve Nash is the best ‘Pick & Roll/Pop’ PG in the History of the NBA (so sayeth an authority like Mark Jackson, during the Suns/Spurs Game 2 match-up) … when Colangelo fired Frank Johnson (who he had previously picked to run the Suns) and appointed Mike D’Antoni … IT WAS D’ANTONI WHO INSTALLED THE SUNS’ 4 OUT/1 IN OFFENSIVE SYSTEM, tailored specifically for Steve Nash & Amare (who is the perfect undersized but super athletic Center to run that system with) and deserves 2nd billing on the Suns credit roll for their resurgence as a first-tier franchise in the NBA.

    If not for Colangelo’s decision NOT to re-sign Joe Johnson … Phoenix might well have its 1st NBA title already.

    Then … “when the going actually got tough” in Phoenix and daddy was out as the principle owner … that’s when the ‘Golden Boy’ decided to ‘Bolt the Ship’ and head for greener pastures … in the mid-season 2006 (think about THAT for a second or two) … for the comfy ‘international’ confines in the Great White North, with free reign to call the shots AND a Big Ticket contract.

    Want to know THE reason this version of the Raptors isn’t quite ‘tough enough’ to get the job done in the post-season?

    When a fight breaks out … what do really tough ‘hombres’ decide to do … FIGHT or RUN?

    (what did Colangelo do in Phoenix?)

    7 Seconds or less … is the Coward’s way to play NBA hoops … and will never ever be rewarded with the championship.

    The old Boston Celtics … with my MAN, Bill Russell at the CORE … and the ShowTime LAKESHOW … with my MAN, Earvin at the CORE … both shot it plenty quick enough to rack up devastatingly Big scoring numbers but neither operation would EVER have been referred to as TOO SOFT to get it done in the playoffs … cause their success was built upon a BALANCE BETWEEN

    OFFENSE … DEFENSE … and, most important of all … REBOUNDING

    not an “offensive philosophy of 100 shots per game”.

    MLSE does not know what it’s doing AND should not be in the business of running ‘pro sports teams’ in Toronto … cause they KEEP HIRING THE WRONG PEOPLE to head up their basketball & hockey operations (e.g. see the current debacle with Anaheim’s GM, Brian Burke).

    As the old Chinese Warlord could tell you from his personal experience … the strategy that works best when training an army of men … is decapitating the heads of the two most favoured concubines appointed to lead the masses in the first place.

    It ain’t rocket science, to be sure … but, dem Chinese Warlords sure did know what they were doing … when it came to BUILDING & MAINTAINING their Dynasty.

    Food For Thought … as always.


    In Peace, Victory & Excellence.

  9. arsenalist said

    Paps, I’ve given Sam credit whenever he’s delivered and by no means am I blaming it all on him. If you read the post, there’s hardly any Sam hating in it at all, I acknowledge that its ultimately upto the players and their criticisms are front and center. However, in a playoff series the value of a good coach is heightened and all I’m saying is not only is Sam not delivering, he’s actually making matters worse by implementing never before tested schemes.

  10. Raps Fan said

    Paps, it’s up to smitch to give the faptors a plan of action, and the players to execute. smitch hasn’t done a good job, and as all we know, executing on a shit plan doesn’t get you far.

  11. Sam said


    I’m content to hear you rant on our (or at least my) team’s rebounding and defensive deficiencies. We are never going to be an elite team if we keep getting slaughtered on the boards and on D. I’m also with you on Jose although not as anti-Ford as you (he was instrumental last year). I am even willing to entertain the notion that Colangelo is not a top-level GM. Although, again, I think he’s got a vision and a drive to do more than put bums in seats.

    To state the obvious, even to us casual fans, things are not as rosy in Raptorland as they seemed last year but that begs the question: what should management have done? Who should be GM? What should we have done with Charlie V and the cap space Isaiah so graciously granted us? You don’t have to answer who we should have picked instead of Bargnani, I’ve got my own list.

    Let’s go Raptors!

  12. khandor said

    Hi, Sam … and, thanks for the question.

    If you see what’s going on right now with the Maple Leafs (sorry) situation, re: Brian Burke … the fact is there is never just ‘1 right person’ for a specific job, even though it might seem that way at a given point in time.

    IMO … there would have been any number of ‘right’ hires for MLSE to have made after they decided to jettison poor Mr. Babcock, it’s just that THE move they did make was not one of the many ‘right’ ones out there.

    re: the current situation with the Leafs

    Contrary to how the current owners think … what a top drawer operation SHOULDN’T do is paint itself into a corner … saying that it is Now “only going to hire an experienced NHL exec” that has specific criteria on his list of accomplishments, e.g. Winning A Stanley Cup, as an Executive in the NHL … unnecessarily.

    IMO, Ken Dryden actually had it right, a few years back, when he tried to convince the MLSE Board that bringing Bob Gainey to Toronto was the way the Leafs needed to go, at that time, rather than someone like JFJ.

    Keep in mind, however, this is only one example.

    It is not THE only way … and Bob Gainey is NOT the only person who could have succeeded in eventually bringing a Stanley Cup to Toronto, again.

    Thinking back to Feb/06 … TWO SCENARIOS I heard floated at the time were much more intriguing, from an NBA perspective, than the Colangelo hire:

    * Doctor J … to placate Vince Carter

    * Wayne Embry, as the full-time GM, tempoarily, with a young buck former NBA player who is well respected by the NBAPA and familiar with the inner workings of the League, i.e. Michael Curry (current Assistant Coach with the Detroit Pistons, former head of the D-League, I think, and a long-time Player Rep)

    both of which were novel, at the time, and came with unique sets of Positives & Negatives.

    In addition, I am quite sure that a host of other possibilities existed as well … that were never even brought to light in a public way.

    Remember when the news first broke that a ‘high profile’ exec like ‘Bryan Colangelo’ might actually be interested in coming to Toronto to lead this sad-sack outfit … and how unbelievable to some people in the media and amongst the fanbase that thought was … cause for sure, no one of THAT ilk would ever really be interested in coming to a ‘gulag’ like Toronto. (sarcasm intended)

    If an opportunity is presented in the Right Way … there is never a shortage of the ‘Right’ type of hires which could possibly be made, only a too often short-sited group of individuals charged with the task of doing the hiring.

  13. arsenalist said

    Sam, I hate to come back on the Bargnani pick but that draft could’ve been instrumental in our rebuilding process. Oh well.

    There’s no doubt a team is only as good as their defense is, you might get away with racking up a respectable number of wins in a weak conference during the regular season but you’ll get exposed in the playoffs. The Phoenix Suns of the last decade with the exception of the last couple years have been a great example of that. I don’t even think we’re close to the offensive efficiency level that might excuse having a sorry ass defense – say what you will about the Suns, they could damn score.

    I wouldn’t even care about the defense not being solid and would be willing to live with it as long as our offense would make up for it. That’s not happening either, we suffer and labor to score in clutch situations which makes me wonder, what exactly is this team good at?

    We have a serious identity crisis, we’re a Euro team with a Euro GM and a coach that doesn’t have the X’s and O’s knowledge to coach a Euro team (and from what I can gather prefers the NCAA mold of player). Whether you’re a Sam Mitchell fan or not, you have to agree that he’s the odd man out.

    So to answer Sam’s question about what can we do? I say our players, head coach and GM needs to look in the same direction and buy into the same kind of system. The players need to mesh with what the coach is trying to do and the GM should support the coach, rather than instruct him. In other words, we need to develop a uniform identity – whether it be an identify of a highly efficient offensive team, a great defensive team or whatever. Teams need to come into our arena and be concerned and thinking, “Damn, the Raptors are really good at _______, we need to watch out for that”. Once we have that, we can start adding pieces and start becoming a more complete team.

  14. D G said

    I wonder what the crowd is going to be like tonight. I have an extra pair of tickets that I am trying to sell and I cant get interest even at less than face value. It surprises me a bit because last year I had no problem selling extra playoff tickets. I hope the fans havent jumped off the bandwagon.

  15. FLUXLAND said

    Arse..let me just say.. this is officially my fav. blog to come to. The discussions that go on here are top notch. No offense to anyone else holding down a cyber space either.

    DG – I believe Sam is a great motivator. I don’t know if he has kept things interesting enough. Even Phil couldn’t please everyone. But you could think all the lineup changes have at least given everyone opportunities to show us what they are made of. None of them will say I never got my turn to shine. Didn’t read the Orlando article. Bargs needs to Moon, it’s the only way to get better. Also, I’m sure BC would castrate him (Sam) if he didn’t. Re: Mitch interaction – I dunno how it all went down or what but saying “what’s up” to him especially if you are younger probably didn’t rub him the right way..think Bobby Knight incident if you know what I mean. Not knocking your style, but a “Mr. Mitchell..or Sir..big fan ..good luck in the playoffs.” (all lies like I know :)) may have gotten better results.. perhaps even a hug. LOL. I’m thinking he was having that “what a prick” feeling too. I’m just sayin…not knocking your hustle.

    khandor: always a pleasure Sir…

    re: your questions.. tough call although I understand you rationale, knowing your view on certain matters .. let me explain.

    It would be fair to say TJ would have better team mates to work with. I think he would have better success then here. And there is no question that Steve would have better success with this group as he has more experience and is more mature on more then a few levels. As Arse keeps insisting..Ford (and i know this will sound crazy) still needs to develop a few areas of his (life)game..on the floor and mental.

    I have also reservations about Steve..(i have said this on SLAM).. the man implied that he believes the NBA is fixed, plays part time Spielberg, music critic and politician, makes recyclable shoes, dreams of being Diego Armando Maradona and who knows how many other countless things we don’t know about. I think it’s safe to assume the NBA is just a paycheck to him and winning a chip is a “if it happens cool.. if not .. no biggie” situation. Focus is clearly scattered (Jordan and Kobe were/are consumed with developing their game to be the best of the best. Although Steve may have perfected some aspects of his game.. he has done nothing to work on his weaknesses.

    re: BC I have to admit I didn’t spend enough time looking at some of the detail regarding his situation and have been coming around regarding his GM skills and motivation. I was giving him a pass before cuz of being in the West, but I think you have seen me mention that coming here was a cop out cuz if things go wrong here.. none in the US will care since he is here in the gulag of bball.
    Agreed, 7 seconds or less is the most moronic thing I have heard of. He must have missed the whole “defense wins chips” deal somewhere in life. Looks like the man is a money maker not a contender builder. I’m sure the almighty dollar is all the owners care about anyway.

    Please don’t remind me of the straight up pu****s on this team. I will go into a fit of rage. I think I have tried to get that point across by calling them boy scouts, UN peacekeepers and pacifist. It’s no wonder TJ, IMO, dislikes playing will most of them. The playoffs are a WAR and Lord knows I wouldn’t want go to war with these b**ch*. Every time I see AP put his head down when he misses a shot..ARGH!!! Confidence is not a word he is familiar I said before .. dude wears a diaper on the court. He must. Never seen an ounce of intensity from dude.. and if I do I believe it will be so fake I will die from laughter.

    And I dunno if your read all my comments but I have said this about Mitchell working with what he has.. “a cook is only as good as his ingredients and although some fans think we have good ones, they may appear so on the outside.. but like a rotten tomato.. when you open it up… you get kaka (see Parker, Antonia, Delfino, Carla.etc). And lets not forget in this case the cook is not even doing the shopping so he can only work with what BC gives him”

    other tidbits :
    rebounding.. the amount of fans dismissing the importance of this art baffles me.. Rodman wasn’t brought to Chicago to die his hair night and night out.. the Hornets are not only successfull cuz CP3 is a great PG.. Tyson Chandler don’t play when it come to the offensive boards. I won’t even mention the revolutionist, inventor, epic legend, master and countless other things that define your boy Russell.. words could never be enough.. dude don’t got 11 rings cuz the fell into his lap.

    haven’t read the book .. but i finally get what you are alluding to.. question is how much more time do we give BC or do we start picketing now.. the big issue is ownership, the media, Chuck and Leo (the direct influence on the fans) are in love with this guy. Short of getting caught smoking crack with some transvestites in a hotel room in the outskirts of TO, he will remain the proverbial Teflon Don.

    I’ve been calling out the players for a while…and like to think they should always be held responsible for the teams success and failure their only job is to DO their job. Everything else is taken care of by some one else. Who is more catered to then these clowns. I see now I wouldn’t be blaming them if Crapolangelo didn’t put them there to start with. OFF WITH HIS HEAD!! *holding thumb down*

  16. khandor said

    First off.

    That, my friend, right there, is a h*lluva post.

    Secondly … and most importantly,

    I, too, would like to give supreme credit to Arsenalist … for being the type of open-minded blogger/site owner that he is … and for running ‘tings around here in a way that doesn’t stifle fruitful dialogue … EVEN when reasonable people seem not to be in agreement with one another about any number of specific points.

    KUDOS galore to you, Arsenalist.

    Yours is not a fascist mind-set which allows for only 1 type of Raptors fan to exist on a message board/blog/web site/etc.

  17. FAQ said

    Ahhhh … fan expectations that do not match reality ..!!!!

    It’s a miracle that the Raptors placed so high for the playoffs and even in the regular season with this disparate group of basketball individuals. Let’s celebrate the accomplishments of the Raptors and not deride their deficiencies. They done done the best they could and now they are almost done.

    Yes I do occasionally entertain the fantasy they might win the next 4 games by playing like they did when they beat the Celtics in Boston. However I have little confidence in my prognosticating after I face reality and realize the Raptors are a transition team under construction. I’ll bet BC doesn’t even expect the Raptors to win and is only evaluating the individual performances and coaching. Rebuilding the Raptors from this bunch of misfits must be a daunting task, particularly when Toronto fans expect a shot at the Championship every year. Must be something to do with icey ML-on-the-brain syndrome.

    In this third game, the Raptor experiment will continue and Sam will be feverishly attempting to come up with a miraculous strategy that will produce a win for his tattered CoY reputation. Methinks Sam will adopt the strategy of maximum defensive effort to hold down the Magic in the first quarter resuling in a very low score like 20-18 .. and then hope that the Raptors will find themselves and explode in the last 3 quarters as they did in the first two games.

    After all you must admit that in many of the regular season games the Raptors were deficient in the first quarter .. as if they were developmentally retarded and then suddenly found their basketball brains and skills when they warmed up to the game.

    So that’s my prediction for the first quarter of today’s third game … a stifling defensive effort from the Raptors even sacrificing themselves by fouling and a primitive simplistic time-consuming offense .. and of course taking advantage of any lucky breaks.

    GO RATPORS … GO … !!!!!

  18. Crank said

    Flux – “It would be fair to say TJ would have better team mates to work with. I think he would have better success then here.”

    I agree but that doesn’t justify him being out of control half the time. He needs to adjust to the team as much as the team needs to adjust to playing with him. I think somebody mentioned this a few days back (Arse maybe), he’s a good fit at PG if you’re running a high-tempo offense and have good athletes and finishers on the wing. With the Raptors he needs to spoon feed everybody opportunities because aside from Bosh nobody can create their own shot.

    Re: “a cook is only as good as his ingredients and although some fans think we have good ones, they may appear so on the outside.. but like a rotten tomato.. when you open it up… you get kaka (see Parker, Antonia, Delfino, Carla.etc). And lets not forget in this case the cook is not even doing the shopping so he can only work with what BC gives him”

    Isn’t that how every team works? How often does a coach have control over summer signings, I’m pretty sure BC consulted Mitchell before drafting Bargnani – how much weight he gave to his words, that I don’t know. As #13 says, all of us need to be on the same page.

  19. Sam said

    Arse (can I call you that after only a couple posts?),

    I absolutely agree on the team identity point and that’s why I think the anti-BC talk is misguided. Genius? No. Good GM? Yes – whether he high-tailed it out of Phoenix or not. Does he have a plan? Yes but this isn’t football – systems don’t trump chemistry – so its got to be very flexible to get results. I don’t think this team is necessarily a bunch of misfit talent although they play like it at the moment. With a more out of the mold coach we might be able to meld talents although we also need a coach (and maybe a vet player or 2) who aren’t going to stand for our #1 pick standing and watching the other team rebound.

    The weird and compelling thing about this version of the Raptors is that they have a chance to actually be reflective of the city they play in or at least the ideal that gets tossed around about Toronto. They could be a bunch of guys from all over the earth who meld their disparate talents and approaches to a great, fluid game to make something. Reducing things to Euros vs NCAA kind of obscures that point/ideal. The Spurs don’t have that problem. This team is a long way from SA but there’s a similarity in approach in terms of trying to meld very different approaches to basketball.

    Anyway, long and probably rambling post but I’ll be at the game tonight politely clapping when appropriate.

    Oh, and Khandor, I’ve gotta say your answer to the GM question really just reinforces that hiring Colangelo was fine. There was no other candidate out there who was obviously better and its way too early to tell if his vision for the team is a mistake. We’re a lot more like the Jays in the 80’s than the miserable Leafs – that’s why I like the Raptors.

    Now I’m going to try to figure out a way to hypnotize AB into thinking he’s Hakeem.

  20. FAQ said

    FLUXLAND Says: “Arse..let me just say.. this officially my fav. blog to come to. The discussions that go on here are top notch. No offense to anyone else holding down a cyber space either.”

    I’ll triple that observation, and confess that I once participated on another bball forum long time ago and was banned because I abraded their childish ‘fan’ feeeelings by presenting them with facts that did not match their forum orthodoxy. Another large bball forum is filled with one-liner blurting juvenile mentalities and sharing their emotional feeeelings … mostly delusional angst and anger.

    There are very few eloquent, erudite, paragraph-writing neurotics expressing their obsessive-compulsiveness over a bunch of athletes who in their own right are not great minds. Most very tall bball players are dullards both mentally and pysically if the truth be known .. and we elevate them in our minds as ‘heroes’. Perhaps the only sane bball people are the coaches who must tolerate ignorance, human failings and fans.

    Thanks Arsenalist .. for your fine forum accomodating outspoken opinions of little consequence. Peace bro’ …!!!

  21. khandor said



    re: Oh, and Khandor, I’ve gotta say your answer to the GM question really just reinforces that hiring Colangelo was fine. There was no other candidate out there who was obviously better and its way too early to tell if his vision for the team is a mistake. We’re a lot more like the Jays in the 80’s than the miserable Leafs – that’s why I like the Raptors.


    1) There’s no doubt in my mind that the Raptors would be further along the road to eventually winning an NBA championship someday if they would have hired either Doctor J or Wayne Embry/Michael Curry instead of Bryan Colangelo.

    2) Just because it’s too early for you to say with certainty that Colangelo’s plan will not succeed in bringing an NBA title to Toronto doesn’t mean that it’s too soon for someone like me to assert just such a claim.

    3) Colangelo was only a BAD hire … if you want the Raptors to win the NBA title one day in the future, on his watch … truth be told, not all Raptors fans, and definitely not the current owners, want or need him to be able to do that … for them to still ‘enjoy’ supporting this team. More power to them. That just happens NOT to be my cup of team.

  22. FLUXLAND said

    khandor – TY! That’s huge coming from you.. also, much better put regarding this blog.. thank you again. Ummm..did I see you refer to TO as a gulag? LOL.. ;) or do just disagree with it being such when it comes to US college players?

    re: TJ – absolutely. He should also be able, as a ball player in the NBA, to run any offense no matter how comfortable in a particular one. Give him time or no? He does need to grow .. will he? Time will tell either way.

    re: BC/Sam: i dunno if every team works that way. Would it be fair to say that with the exception of TJ.. BC has fed Sam the players HE wants? How is this fair to him? And knowing that Sam may not like them and chemistry will BC not setting him up to fail? That wouldn’t be a sign of great GM to me.

  23. Lopez said

    Im really starting to blame BC as much as i blame smitch, because he put this soft team out there who’s too scared to improvise on a play, plus he made the bargnani pick! If we want a championship in Toronto BC is not the guy to do it, I mean he made the suns winners but how many title did the suns win with him?…….Exactly 0! His teams are too soft to make a playoff run and for some reason he’s scared to get a bruiser in the middle, I mean if it wasnt for Steve Kerr Shaq would still be in Miami.

  24. FLUXLAND said

    FAQ – whazzzzup man!!

    cosign #20 bigtime!

    as I told Arse a while ago.. I was a SLAM loyalist for a long time (4-5 years)and then (only recently) looked up Raptors blogs on Google as I was thinking of starting my own… after researching most, I came away with the feeling this is by far the best one.. And i don’t mean to offend anyone holding down a Raps blog/space in any way and yes I’ve seen them all… (khandor I read a lot of your stuff)…the layout.. content… the ppl posting.. just seems to do it for me.

    If anything I would like to see it expand to a place with multiple “writers”.. (khandor and Arse joining forces would be epic .. EPIC I tell ya) .. ala SLAM I guess.. this could be a force to be reckoned with.. and Lord knows I give out my opinion like McDs gives out smiles.. free of charge as well..

    ps. @ Sam .. bring on the rambling, dude!! Intelligent discussion cannot be underestimated.. much like rebounding.. lol.

  25. masterjuddi said

    I predict a Raptors victory in OT

  26. arsenalist said

    Thanks for the compliments, please keep them to a minimum. I don’t take them well.

    I was running an errand and had to go through the ACC, I swung by the ticket counter, they’re still seats available for Game 4, they’re in the $200-300 range but if anyone’s interested, you can get them. Personally, I want to wait and see if they win Game 3 before deciding on going to Game 4.

    Lopez, in fairness to BC, you can’t always judge a GM by how many championships he’s won. There are plenty shrewd GMs who are without a ring, regular season success and moderately successfully playoff runs should count for something too. I agree that he’s not going to win you a championship because his style of team-building doesn’t put enough value on grit, toughness and defense but IMHO he’s still not a bad GM given his decent drafting (minus Bargnani who I think was influenced entirely by Maurizio Gherardini) and trade record. Phoenix is a very attractive city for NBAers and he was definitely aided by that when he was GMing there.

    You can argue that two of our best players are remnants of the Babcock era and have nothing to with BC and if it weren’t for them, we’d be a lottery team. Looking at BC’s two years in Toronto, you can say that any talent that he acquired (Ford), was paid for with something equal or even more (CV). The Hump/Hoffa trade was decent but who really cares? Then there was the out-of-the-blue Kapono signing which resulted in Mo Pete leaving, etc. I think we can safely conclude that he’s done an average job so far as GM, nothing great, nothing to hold him in great regard for, just a job averagely performed.

  27. MUHDIK said

    let me simplify.
    sam is a shit coach.
    the end.

  28. Lopez said

    Arsenalist, I never said that BC was a bad GM i just said that i put an equal amount of blame on him for this teams success, or lack there of. Yes, great regular seasons and moderate playoff runs do count for something but in the end it all comes down to championships, which he has failed to win thus far. I think he would be a better fit in a Euro league because thats where he seems to get all of his players anyway. I questioned the Ford trade from the beginning and there’s still a question mark there for me, I mean if you’re gonna trade a Charlie V type talent, the least you could get is a proven nba talent not a perennial I.C.U patient! I think we could’ve gotten Kapono for a lesser price and Joey Graham should have been shipped at this year’s deadline. But Bc has turned this team into an (Eastern Conference) playoff team but not a playoff contender.

  29. cuzzy said

    wow this thread of comments is a blog all to itself.

    Not enough time to read it all, hoping for a win tonight but at the very least can someone go down to press row and hit that Orlando journalist in the head with a bag of loonies?

  30. khandor said

    Hilarity … thy name truly be … cuzoogle. :-) Don’t hurt the poor guy … too badly.

  31. arsenalist said

    Lopez, it’s hard to argue with anything you’re saying. We sometimes forget that these are the Eastern Conference playoffs and the East has been pathetic these two years. As I said in my previous comment, I think BC has done an average job as GM, nothing great. I never understood why T-Shirts like this came out (check out the price reduction):

    This is pretty funny too:

  32. MUHDIK said

    god damn!…im gettin me a bc we trust t…thx arse…..and lol,the i love tj shirts are only sold out…in the small size!,lmfao…..midgets and mental midgets of the world unite to love tj.

  33. MUHDIK said

    shit…the bc we trust shirts are sold out in xl 2xl 3xl…that sux.

  34. D G said

    I love cuzoogle’s blog!

    When the raps win this series someone should stuff that article down the writers throat. Ok, I may be dilusional on the winning the series, but it aint over, and as a Maple Leaf fan I am trained to always believe. ( As I hide in shame)

    I said Raptors in 6, and although that seems increasingly unlikely, I still think we can take this series. To do so, 2 things that really havent happened so far have to occur. Andrea steps up, and we play some D. How likely are either or both of these things, I dont think anyone knows. We played well enough in the last game ex. quarter 1, to demonstrate taht we can be competitive. But are the Raps going to show up?

    I am going to the game and I am getting nervous, cant imagine how the players feel. Then again the way some of them have been playing, maybe we care more.

  35. arsenalist said

    My problem with cuzoogle’s blog is that every time I go there, I end up spending my entire day checking out all links he has :)

    DG, please do report back and let us know how it was…

  36. D G said

    If we win, I’ll let you know how it was. If we lose, I may be drowning my sorrows in a vat of alcohol someplace.

  37. FLUXLAND said

    Alright alright.. I’ll stop being pessimistic for a few hours (or at least try)… LET’S GO RAPTORS!!..*thunder stix*….. LET’S GO RAPTORS!!! *thunder stix* … LET’S GO RAPTORS…

    For the sake of the fans and mental state of the players I hope we lay the smackdown on these fairies and show them we got more heart then they have cajones.

    mindless predictions:

    Bargs shows the non believers he’s THE TRUTH.

    TJ has double digit assists.

    The rest of the team pulls their heads out of their asses and shows us/them how TEAM BALL trumps over everything. Parker drop the diaper you sissy.. for one game at least.

    Jewels looks like a genius.


  38. cuzzy said

    Arse I really don’t know how to help you haha. Glad it gets you to stay for a little while.

    All Raptors fans need a little distraction now and then.

    thanks for the kind words DG.

    2-1, it is a series now.

    Get out the viagra, Swirsky is getting a Kaponer.

  39. FAQ said

    FAQ Says: April 24, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Methinks Sam will adopt the strategy of maximum defensive effort to hold down the Magic in the first quarter resulting in a very low score like 20-28 .. and then hope that the Raptors will find themselves and explode in the last 3 quarters as they did in the first two games.

    So that’s my prediction for the first quarter of today’s third game … a stifling defensive effort from the Raptors even sacrificing themselves by fouling and a primitive simplistic time-consuming offense .. and of course taking advantage of any lucky breaks.

    Um … Arse … I’ve corrected my typo on the first quarter score … I meant to say ’28”, not “18” ….. and I guess I was partly correct on first quarter Raptor defense on Dwight and the Magic. Actually what happened in that first quarter was that the Magic’s shots were not dropping while the Raps were hot, and that gave their defense a boost.

    Now game 4 will be a doozer because JVG will concoct a new game strategy for the Magic, and the game may be tighter. Interesting that the Magic couldn’t pull past the Raptors … which is the reverse of what happened in Orlando .. go figure maybe the tribal honking fans do make a difference … !!!!!

    Now our fantasizing gets extended, assuming the Raps can win on Saturday and take that winning momentum into Orlando for game 5 and then back to ACC for a 4 game sweep … it’s possible but is it probable … why not … it’s Raptor Bashketball …??!!!

  40. MUHDIK said

    god damn tonight felt good…its been ages since mej and caldy been on the same page.

  41. khandor said

    From the get-go, Game 4 was destined to be the key/swing game in this series … which is THE reason my ‘selection’ was Orlando in 7 …

    If the Raptors can win Game 4 … which I believe they can … then this series will go 7 games.

    If the Magic make the necessary adjustments, however, and play improved basketball in their 2nd game away from home – where traditionally NBA teams do much better in the playoffs – SVG is a good enough coach and the Magic’s player roster has enough talent to wrap the series up in 5 or 6 games, as well.

    Last night’s W was a gimme in a #3 v #6 match-up when both teams are healthy … with Game 4 usually being the contest which decides if this set of playoff teams either play a long or a short 1st Round series.

    Do the Raptors have ‘enough’ talent on this year’s team to get the W next game? YES they do.

    Do they have a good ‘enough’ coaching staff on this year’s team to respond appropriately when Orlando alters their gameplan once again? YES they do.

    Do the Raptors have ‘enough’ toughness, as a group … from the Owners (?) to the GM (?) to the Head Coach (definitely!) & Co. (?) to the players, #1-12 (????!,!??!!,??) … to step up their game to the first, next, level required to get out of a 1st Round series in the NBA playoffs? … with at least 2 more ‘steps up’ needed after that in order to survive and move on to Round 2.

    Hopefully the answer is oing to be YES!

    Orlando held serve in Game 1 & 2, at home.

    If the Raptors can do likewise in their two home games … it is probably going to be a long hard-fought series, decided in the final 3 minutes of Game 7, when individual player match-ups and execution determine which teams advance and which teams go home for good.

    PS. If Jameer Nelson is injured to the point that he can’t play effectively in Game 4 … it is going to throw a completely different light on this series.

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