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Memphis Massacre

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Even writing this I am not sure where to start. I feel like the team disrespected me as a fan and my hard earned money more than the new Black Eyed Peas album disrespects their beginnings and true hip-hop lovers. I'd love to give the readers a nice break-down of this complete wash of a game, but I just can't make sense of what I saw tonight....must be a full moon because I just saw the Boston Bruins traded their best player since Cam Neely.

The TEAM

First there is the obvious. This may not simply be the worst Raptors performance of the season, it may have been the worst performance by any NBA team since opening night. Collectively this team showed about as much heart as those situated in the city morgue. The greatest effort on display tonight at the ACC was put forth by the fans as they ran for the doors midway through the 3RD QUARTER! It was so blatently obvious that the Raps were going to be killed that there was simply no vibe in the building (and no the 4 Korners DJ crew DO NOT COUNT). The Mom sitting in front of me took full advatange as the game essentially played the role of bedtime story and the 8 year old fan in front of me was quickly dosing off.

Call me the Swirsk if you want but here's the soap box, and if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and are looking for a "pick me up" then you are better off going back to bed and trying again. The pure lack of pride was disgusting. It was an embarassment. All players with the exception of Joey G. should be deducted one day's pay. If I showed at work and gave this sort of effort then writing for RapsHQ would quickly become my full-time gig (and this gig doesn't pay....although that means I would be making as much money as Latrell Sprewell). If there were any first timers there last night they will not be coming back regardless of how many 3, 5, or 10 "game-packs" MLSE offers.

The PRODUCT

All this being said, I blame part of the lack of effort (on the part of both the fans and players) on the in-game entertainment. Clearly the intro is now old and not funny, the brown-haired girl that is the in arena announcer is more annoying than having to listen to the latest on Terrell Owens every week and she is a clear example of how the Ontario school system is failing. I mean does she need to read off a clip-board to say ONE LINE?! Perhaps rock bottom was hit last night when much of the music being played during the game was POLKA renditions of recent hip-hop songs. Does that make anyone other than maybe Big Country Reeves want to play ball? Why is the in game product so poor? It needs to be explained to those who pay to sit there. Finally (on this topic) I don't want to see Leafs hockey being shown on the in-arena TV screens. If you want to watch hockey stay home. If you want to watch good hockey get SensTV if there is such a thing.

The PLAYERS

Ok, slowly calming down. But still some things that need to be said. Jalen Rose's career is over as a starter, and even as a sixth man. He's simply not quick enough to beat his man off the dribble and is using that forearm shove more then ever...he's going to get called all season on it and unless he starts hitting on his post ups and wide open three's then he's completely useless to this team.

Call me crazy but PLAY HOFFA MORE. Was there a better opportunity for him to log some minutes, maybe get a hoop or two and get some fans on his side? There is a lot invested in this guy. Give him time to develop and grow. He looked good out West. It's not like we were going to win. I want to see a line-up of Calderon, Graham, CV Smooth, Bosh and Hoffa at the same time. If it doesn't work fine, but last night would have been a great opportunity to see if it would work. Oh, and Joey G might have been the lone bright spot. He needs more confidence but he will be able to do some special things and the charges do not bother me. Go to the hoop Joey, go to the hoop.

Quick Hits

- Let's give Memphis some credit. The pre-season experts were clearly wrong about this team and the possible drop in play. This Memphis team is good. Great team chemistry...snipers at every corner, great ball movement on offense, second best team defensively in the league currently...and maybe the DEEPEST team in the league...I mean, Mike Miller didn't even play.

- I think Dick Bavetta blows the whistle so often simply to see if he is still alive.

- No half-time show? Last years half-time shows were more often than not solid.

- The lack of big beer at Raptors game sucks....ok maybe not on Weds nights but when I go see the Warriors next Friday from row 4 I am going to miss those lovelies.

- Where are Eric and Alvin Williams? Seriously do I have to call Inspector Gadget to figure out this mystery?

- Mike James.....seriously....

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HOWLAND