Five games in and the Raptors squad are still searching for their first victory of this young season. This team has definitely had a tough schedule early with their opponents (before Friday nights game) having a combined record of 14-5. If there was a chance to get the monkey off the back it is during this three game home stint. Coming off three days rest and two practices however, things did not start as hoped. Although there were some strong performances the Raps let this game get out of hand early when Utah went on a 17-2 run in the second quarter. The rest of the game the two teams battled it out but the Raps were never really able to get over the hump spending the majority of the game behind by nine. In the end this contest will simply go down in the books as another L.
Welcome Back Bonner: It seems like these few days off was extremely beneficial for the Red Rocket. After a few tough games where Bonner looked extremely unsure of himself and his abilities while on the floor, against Utah he was all over the floor. Matt played tough D early, hit the floor, and manged to find his stroke. Matt obviously worked on his game this past summer but in the first few games he seemed too anxious to show it. Tonight Bonner played hard and let the game come to him. As a result, his best performance of the year. The key for him is to play within himself and not to leave his feet on D. If he is able to build on tonights performance he will be a nice contributor.
Calderon: What can you say about Jose? This guy is an absolute joy to watch. He is smart with the ball, picks his shots and gets the ball to people where they want it. The rest of the team must be loving having him on the floor! Considering the language barrier and that he has only been with the team for a small period of time this could be Babcock's best move to date. If everyone on this team played with the heart, desire and team spirit of Calderon you'd have.....well....a much better team. If Roko develops in Europe in the next year or two we could be set at the PG position for the next 8 years.
Free-Throws: We got to the line tonight 29 times, Bosh obviously leading the way. Getting to the line is always a good thing. Bosh did not have a great night from the floor but did manage to contribute from the charity stripe going 11-13. The guy with the ability to score while having a poor shooting night is hard to come by. Bosh is still growing and maturing as a player and this is just one example of that. Hopefully he will now work on passing out of the double team.
Aaron Williams: I suppose it is all relative but considering the prior performances of Raps center's this was ok. The blocks were nice, but man the foul troubles are killer.
Deron Williams: This kid is a player and there is no doubt Milt will be seeing a lot of pine this year as a result. Utah gave up a lot for this guy but so far....great investment. He oozes confidence and has shown that he has the potential to be the next great PG in Utah.
Seattle is Coming: This is a winnable game. Anyone else think we should make a swap and have Radmanovic stay once he arrives?
Grab Your LPs: This season is going to be a long one. One of the reasons is that we repeat the same mistakes over and over. It is going to be hard for us here at RaptorsHQ not to sound like a BROKEN RECORD. Rebounding, defense, and shot selection.
As a write this and consider how this season is likely to pan out I realize how unbelievably difficult it must have been for Bulls fans after the glory years when the Baby Bull era began. Fact of the matter is losing sucks and this is another night when it is hard not to just think of the negatives, but I won't dwell on them. I will make the recommendation however, that all the Raps big men head to St. FX this summer and go to basketball camp where Coach K can teach them the basic skill of boxing out. Worked for me when I was nine....things really can't get any worse.
MoP: Peterson is a leader of this team and it appears he has embraced this role. One problem though.... if you are going to bash the teams effort and play in the press and then come back the next game with this performance you may want to head to the local Canadian Tire with Terrell Owens and buy some duct tape to close that yap. Sure everyone has the right to a bad night, but a lack of energy and interest after a few days rest....not acceptable.
Jalen Rose: You might as well just nickname him the offence killer. Bad shots. If he wasn't a decent one-on-one player he would bring nothing to the table. Do you think he realizes this is a team sport? There is talk in the media now about trades, Rose for Penny, etc. If he keeps this up I expect a deal sooner rather than later. I would love to see him in a Knicks uniform. I can see him, Q, Crawford and Starbury fighting over who should bring the ball up court because they know the odds of the ball being passed are about the same as the Leafs winning a Stanley Cup. NONE.
Attendance: Could be a tough winter for the scalpers. If you ever wanted to sit lower bowl those Red Seats have got to be going for half-price at best. It is actually sad to see because this city wants to embrace the Raptors and they will once the rebuilding plan starts to bear fruit. In the mean time here's a great chance to see all the NBA stars up close.
Watching Sam Mitchell: He may end up bald by the end of the year. He just has this look on his face that screams "We went over this in practice 1000 times, and now we do this?" You can question a few things about Mitchell but his desire to win and see these guys succeed shines through night after night.