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Tip-In: Toronto Raptors Post Game - Curious George

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Ok, a special thank you to Devean George this AM.

What a

What "curious" decision by Mr. George.....

Last night I had written the following:

Any time the Nets and the Raps get together in Toronto the story by default is the return of former franchise player Vince Carter. Prior to the tip however, there was a much bigger story surrounding the New Jersey squad. That story was Jason Kidd being dealt to Dallas.

The trade was unquestionably a blockbuster. Kidd, Malik Allen and Antoine Wright (in a separate deal for a 2nd round pick) for Devin Harris, Stackhouse, Ager, Diop, George and two first-round picks. I for one have mixed feelings on the deal.

First, I am not sure Dallas is any better now then they were before the trade. That being said I have to believe Dallas was having similar issues as the Suns in that there had to be a bit of a shakeup. With Kidd, Dirk and Josh Howard there are three very skilled players on this squad but given how good the West is will this be enough? I am sceptical.

On the flip side what do you make of the Nets now? Having dealt Kidd they are acknowledging that the Kidd/Carter/Jefferson combo was a failure and that they need to make changes. Right now I would call what they are doing "re-tooling" as opposed to re-building. Provided Carter and Jefferson are wearing a Nets jersey it’s hard to say this team is in rebuilding mode. Now, if the Nets deal Carter as being rumoured then they will have entered full rebuilding mode. It seems that right now the team is in some form of purgatory.

Everyone now knows that VC can’t lead a team and RJ just isn’t good enough to carry a team on his back so what is the next move for this squad. To me this deal doesn’t make much sense unless they can rid themselves of #15 as well which will undoubtedly be much harder than finding a suitor for the future hall-of-famer Kidd.

Why will it be so much harder? Well look at tonight’s match-up against the Raps. With the Nets shorthanded it was up to VC and Jefferson to raise their game to the next level. The end result? An absolute blow-out. Carter was terrible and didn’t get to the line a single time in his first 32 minutes of play. Not until the game was well in hand did Carter manager to get fouled while in the act of shooting. How is this acceptable?! If Carter shows this kind of effort over the next 13 days (the trade deadline) not only will the Nets be completely unable to deal him but the Nets may not win a game. As of right now the Nets are in a bad situation. The trade may make sense long-term with the first round picks and Harris but right now this Nets team, to use a scientific term, just sucks.

On to tonight’s game.

Now? Well apparently George has exercised his no-trade clause to prevent the trade from happening in the agreed upon form and the teams will now scramble to put something together. Block the trade? Who does Mr. George think he is? Undoubtedly every single Mavs fan now hates this guy and he has put himself into a no win situation. Why block the trade? Was there too much PT in Dallas (insert sarcasm here)? Is a few months in NJ that bad? Considering George probably would have played more for the Nets and driven up the value of his services on this summer’s free-agent market why veto? There will be a lot of questions asked over the next few days but the immediate question now becomes "What happens next?"

As of this moment there is a great opportunity for another team to get involved in the sweepstakes. The price for J-Kidd is now public and teams like Cleveland are now trying to piece something together on the fly. This may actually be a blessing in disguise for NJ in terms of extracting maximum value for their PG. On the flipside, for Dallas this is brutal. What does this do for team chemistry? They have essentially just told a handful of guys that they are not wanted and disposable. The Mavs now really do need to make a trade. This fiasco could cause irreparable damage to their team this season and all because of one below average dude. It will be very interesting to see how this turns out.

Can anyone guess the location of this tub? Dallas or New Jersey?

Can anyone guess the location of this tub? Dallas or New Jersey?

Nevertheless, there was a Raps game last night and here’s a quick run-down.

A Numbers Game

Where do you start? How about the ridiculous shooting percentage, or being up by 30 at one point. Or maybe the most impressive number was the 84 points put up by the starters. Almost every number favoured the Raps on this evening. To me however, the most surprising number was the 13. That was the rebounding differential in favour of the Raps. Yes, despite the variety of bigs on the Nets roster the Raps dominated the glass.

The Turning Point

How about trading Jason Kidd and having to start Marcus Williams at the point? Seems like a turning point to me! The Nets were never in this game and save for a 3-4 minute stretch in the second quarter where the Raps let up on the gas just for a second it was a dominating performance by the Dinos.

Temperature Check:

Scorching – Jose Calderon – Ever since Calderon was denied an All-Star spot and being called out by Gilbert Arenas he has been playing out of his mind and putting up disgusting numbers. Tonight was the perfect example as Jose notched a double-double (22 points, 11 assists) and simply abused the Nets. It’s great to have TJ back but there is no doubt now that Calderon is the starting PG for this team. Not only does he take care of the ball but his shooting percentages are unbelievable for a PG.

Dead Corpse Cold – Carter and Jefferson – I won’t beat a dead horse here, but these guys just didn’t show up and even worse is that they didn’t seem to care. Does Carter even have a pulse?

Hot – CB4 – Bosh, albeit to little fan fare, has also raised his play as of late. Tonight he was aggressive from the opening tip and ensured his team got off to a strong start. It was nice to see him play well against this Nets team. The last time we saw him face the New Jersey team in the confines of the ACC the results were not this favourable.

Moving On

Well now it’s the All-Star break where many Raps will be involved. CB4, Bargs, Moon (don’t forget to log on to jamario-moonhq.com prior to the dunk contest) and Kapono are all on their way to New Orleans. For the rest of the Raps it is a much deserved break and you have to feel pretty solid about the first half of the season considering the challenges faced by this team.

Of course no matter how excited I am for this weekend I am more curious to see how this Kidd saga plays out.

HOWLAND