It's tough to know really where to start this recap.
With so much buzz around the team after it's third move and second trade in a week, last night's game against the horrendous New York Knicks should have been a complete afterthought. However considering yesterday's trade of Jalen Rose, a first-round pick (Denver's this year) and 3 million in cash for Antonio Davis and his expiring contract INVOLVED both teams, it was an interesting affair.
Toronto came away with a relatively easy 104-90 win, and gave fans a brief look at a team that may still be undergoing further changes prior to the February trade deadline.
Behind Chris Bosh's relatively quiet 29 points and some great all-around play by the entire team, Toronto led from tip to the final horn. Neither Jalen or Antonio dressed for the match and while Jalen was courtside on the Knicks bench, A.D. was nowhere to be found and it's still questionable as to whether he'll report to his former club. In addition, the Knicks were without Stephon Marbury, Jerome James and Quentin Richardson who missed the second half with a leg injury.
And while New York actually shot a better percentage from the floor than Toronto, the Raps played some of their best defence in weeks when it counted outrebounding the Knicks 42-34 and blocking 14 shots! The Knicks have been one of the league's best rebounding teams this season but last night they allowed the Raptors to grab 17 offensive rebounds resulting in many easy baskets. With Pape Sow in early foul trouble even Loren Woods got in on the action playing his best game of the year with four points, eight rebounds, one block and one steal.
I'll let my colleagues give some of the highlights and take a closer look at the AD/Rose trade but I'd like to touch on a few things concerning the new-look Raptors. With each Wayne Embry move, it's becoming more and more obvious as to who is part of this team and who is not. Bosh is obviously at this team's center with Charlie V, Morris Peterson, Jose Calderon, Pape Sow and Matt Bonner fitting in around CB4. Mike James, provided he resigns, and Joey Graham, if he gets quicker in the offseason are other good fits for Toronto. As for Loren Woods...well...if AD refuses to report then he will get the audition of his life in hopes of retaining a job in this league. While I just don't trust Loren offensively, he did a great job on the defensive end both in fronting Eddy Curry and helping on the weak side. It's obvious that he's practiced hard and knows the plays even though he was glued to the bench for the better part of this season. If anything, he's a legit seven-footer and as we saw last night, makes a nice, athletic, albeit slender, front court mate with Bosh and either CV Smooth or Sow. In fact last night fans got a good look at one of the potential frontcourts of the future when coach Sam Mitchell started Spider-man Sow, CB4 and CV Smooth together. If CV proves he can guard the 3, then this makes the Raps a very tough matchup for less atheletic teams.
Regardless if AD decides to play here again, it's obvious that Embry has his eyes firmly planted on the future which is extremely encouraging. With the new cap space analysts are already bandying about names from Peja to Nene. I worry that Toronto's bench and offense will suffer at times without Rose, however the goal for this season is now clearly to get the best possible talent from the draft and keep developing the young core.
- I love the trade. Donâ€™t get me wrong: I liked Jalen. I didnâ€™t like his contract. Cap room is so important in todayâ€™s NBA. To get his contract off the books for the price he paid is a coup for Wayne Embry. For those who didnâ€™t like giving up the first rounder, remember that first round contracts are guaranteed, while those in the second round are not. The difference between Denverâ€™s pick and our second round pick is minimal, especially in this draft class. This will open up another roster spot for us and will allow us to take a shot on a player that we can stash overseas or in the NBDL while not being on the hook for his contract.
- Why didnâ€™t Larry Brown go to Eddy Curry every time down the floor? Youâ€™re telling me he had better options?
- Why didnâ€™t Sam Mitchell attack Quentin Richardson in the second quarter when it was obvious that he could barely walk?
- CV Smooth on David Lee was nasty.
- Another reason why Chris Bosh is better than Vince Carter: 17 trips to the line.
- I was impressed with Loren Woods. 8 boards, including 5 on the offensive glass in 17 minutes. This is what we always wanted out of Hoffa.
- Pape Sow needs to stay out of foul trouble.
- Are the Knicks the only team in NBA history to feature two players with the last name Rose? Two players with a first name that starts with the letter Q? 34 shooting guards? We need answers.
- Minnesota sucks.
- The referees were awful.
- Could someone throw the hypeman for the Four Korners Sound Crew a bone? Couldnâ€™t he get at least a DJ set per game? Further to this...KILL THE INTRO MUSIC AND VIDEO and can Wayne Embry please get some new in-game contests?? Texting to vote for one of four bad rapping or singing fans? Huh?