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So much for 82-0

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The opener.

It’s the night Raptors fans been waiting for since the squad dropped their 2004-05 season finale to Cleveland just over six months ago.

It certainly made teaching Calculus a difficult chore on Wednesday. When I was explaining vertical asymptotes (don’t ask), I couldn’t help thinking about Joey Graham’s vertical leap. During a discussion of local maximum points, I wondered if we would ever see Loren Woods give a maximum effort. Needless to say, it was a long day at school. But I digress…

Alas, after all of the discussion about the Raptors’ off-season, the draft, the signings, the launching of Raptorshq.com, the 2005-06 season started the same way that the 04-05 season finished: with a loss.

Let’s break it down…

Chapman’s Game Thoughts

- We here at Raptorshq.com have been vocal about the need for a new intro for the team, and it appears that the team has heeded our advice. Sure, there’s no Kid Rock, but do we really need to see Matt Bonner dancing like Mark Madsen?

- If the first game is any indication, we’ve found our backup point guard. Jose Calderon provided a spark in the second quarter with a nice little run that included hitting a jumper, stealing the inbounds pass, dishing to Morris Peterson for a three and then drawing a charge. Love the energy…

- We talked about it after the Celtics pre-season game, but the team really needs to stop giving up so many easy buckets. You won’t be successful for long if you allow the other team to continually score easy baskets.

- Umm…please tell me that posting up Matt Bonner on back-to-back possessions is not a new wrinkle in Sam Mitchell’s playbook.

- I was really excited about Joey Graham’s start to the game. I was equally disappointed in his start to the second half. An inconsistent debut, but some good signs nonetheless. He’s got range on his shot and he plays good defense. Those assets will be helpful to this team.

- It wasn’t a great start for Chris Bosh. Yes, I know he finished with 17 and 14. However, he struggled for most of the game until picking it up in crunch time. Plus, he struggled with the double teams that Washington threw at him. He’s going to see a lot of those this year.

- Dunk of the night: Caron Butler on CB4. Ouch.

- I wonder if Antonio Daniels has lost as much money this year betting on his alma mater’s (Bowling Green) football team as I have.

- Gilbert Arenas is a beast. Once he learns some shot selection, he will be unstoppable. It is evident that he has improved his passing (the weak area of his game) in the off-season. Brendan Haywood owes him dinner for those dimes.

- I am a firm believer that Michael Ruffin is the worst offensive player in NBA history.

- Norma Wick may be the most awkward interviewer on televison. I must admit that her interviews with Roy Halladay and Lara Flynn Boyle had me switching channels to NBA Court Surfing on the Score.

- By the way, Court Surfing rocks…

- By the way, Rogers needs to add League Pass to its Sports Package.

All in all, I was not overly disappointed with the team’s effort in the opener. They showed some good signs (shooting, energy, rookie play, rebounding), but struggled in other areas (inside scoring, spacing on offense, decision-making in 4th quarter). This game could be the first of many heartbreakers for the Raptors. They need to settle down late in the game and that was evidenced by their possession with three minutes to go in the fourth.

Up one, Bosh grabbed an offensive rebound and Rose launched a three right away. CV Smooth grabbed another board and kicked it out to our POINT GUARD, Mike James, who inexplicably launched a three with 22 seconds left on the shot clock. It missed, Washington grabbed the board and Antawn Jamison knocked down a short jumper to give the Wiz the lead that they would never relinquish.

Howland’s Random Game Thoughts

- Jim Todd is hysterical. "Where is everyone? This isn't pre-season"

- The Wizards have some big guys and yet we barely played our centre all night and did well on the glass. Even Loren Woods was productive when in there.

- Think the zone thrown out my Washington was the result of the article about Sam Mitchell not being able to design zone plays?

- Bosh needs the rock, ALWAYS on crunch time...when we went to jalen, the wheels fell off. At least Bosh will get to the line.

- There was a lot of talk on the floor all night, which is a really good thing

- No more offensive fouls. PLEASE.

Game Scores

In his excellent book, Pro Basketball Forecast, ESPN.com’s John Hollinger outlines a method of assigning a score to each player’s performance in a game. If I can ever find a link to the formula, I’ll paste it. Until then, if you’re really curious and too cheap to spend the dough to get this solid book, then I guess you could always email us at raptorshq@hotmail.com. Holla!

A Reasonably Strong Performance
Chris Bosh 12.5

Average
Jalen Rose 10
Mike James 10
Morris Peterson 9.4

Subpar Game or Didn’t See Many Minutes
Charlie Villanueva 6.2
Jose Calderon 6.1
Joey Graham 5.4
Loren Woods 4.7

Poor Game or Used Very Sparingly
Rafael Araujo 0.9

Packing his Bags for Yakima
Matt Bonner - 2

Chapman