Update: First Ever Podcast
“The First One, It Kinda Sucks” – Download It! (Size: 6.8 MB, Length: 7:07)
Or you can play it by staying on this very page:
Warning! It’s so bad that I couldn’t bear listening to it once I had recorded it. I had to get the first one out of the way. It’ll get better.
Chuck Swirsky is taking a lot of the fun out of watching Raptors basketball for me, from berating the other team on every opportunity to ignoring every mistake made by the Raps, it’s all getting a little ridiculous. It’s funny how Randolph being benched is brought up every 2 minutes but when Bargnani is exiled to the bench it’s rarely mentioned. I’m embarrassed for the Raptors because some of these games are broadcast on NBA League Pass and our crew comes out looking like the biggest homers short of Tommy Heinsohn. The Salami and Cheese thing really has reached it’s saturation point and needs to be shelved for good. It’s insulting to the other team even though he’ll claim it’s all in good fun. Plus, it actually ends up jinxing the Raptors because every time he calls it the other team goes on a run and he’s left trying to save face with asinine comments like, “it’s a little too late for a Knick run with 4 minutes left” – the Knicks were down by 10!
Anyway, that didn’t stop me from enjoying this game from all angles: Knick fans, Isiah, Randolph, Curry and even good ‘ol Gren Grunwald and his broken right foot. While enjoying their suffering (Schadenfreude I believe) I kept thinking to myself that Bosh might’ve had a 60 point game if he didn’t bother taking 20 footers for half the game, clearly he can get to the rim anytime he wants, so why bother with the springer. Oh wait, I had answered my own question in a previous post. Chris was looking for his points tonight but was wise enough to pass quickly out of double teams setting the Raptors wheels in motion as the Knick defense (missing entirely until the 4th) self-destructed. We did have some help from Isiah who chose to send a message to Zach Randolph by benching him early because of a verbal argument. Eddy Curry looked to be of a similar fate in the first half although his crime was much less apparent. Surprisingly Renaldo Balkman was the only Knick big to administer any discomfort as the rest were either ineffective or benched. Thanks Isiah!
As for the Raptors, they did nothing special either. Chris Bosh dominated the game by looking to score every time and on a night when the Knicks were having trouble putting anything together, he could afford to miss a lot of jumpers. Calderon didn’t shoot the ball well but increased his AST to TO ratio going 8/1 which will ensure a good night’s sleep for Swirsky. Let’s give Jamario Moon some credit today because over the last couple games he’s been really disciplined about not taking bad shots and has stepped up his defense to the point where he’s not gambling, contesting shots and positioning himself for every reasonable rebound. Another hustle player, Kris Humphries bounced back from a Sam benching to hit a couple nice fadeaways and grab 7 important rebounds, a couple late in the fourth. The Raptors bench isn’t close to being as productive as it was earlier in the year with Delfino, Kapono and Dixon struggling but it’s shown a couple signs in the last two games. Of course having Jose start decimates the second team so maybe it’s wiser to wait until TJ comes back and then reevaluate the second unit.
There’s not much negative to write about Bargnani either who showed a pulse on offense by making a nifty pass to Bosh after posting up Nate Robinson and hit a couple jumpers which reminded me a little of how important he can be when he’s playing well. David Lee getting the better of him on a FT rebound was really sad to watch but I’m happy with Bargnani’s 7 points, 2-2 FG and 2 rebound performance. I’m not even being sarcastic, I’m happy. Remember folks, with this man, we need to take small, baby steps. That or start Bargnani Sucks Ass threads on Real GM. Take your pick. Mitchell weighs his words carefully but does call out Andrea’s rebounding:
“I think people are on Andrea, rightfully so, because he hasn’t had games on a consistent basis where he’s got double-digit rebounds. Until he starts doing that, that’s going to be a fair criticism of him and that’s understandable. If he’s going to play the position, he’s got to do it.”
I remember the days I used to circle the four Knick games on my calendar when the schedule came out in anticipation of all the little individual and team rivalries that we had going. Sprewell, Carter, Childs, Oakley, Jackson, Camby, Butch, Lenny, JVG, oh man. Those were really some great games. The garden used to be rocking and there wasn’t a dull moment from the first quarter on. I’m one of the few Raptors fans that actually wants the Knicks to be a good team just so we can recreate that rivalry that was as good as any in the league. I guess I’ll have to wait another three years according to Glen Grunwald who still says a lot without actually answering a question. The thing I remember most about Grunwald was that speech at Maple Leaf Gardens where he literally brought me to tears at the end of the season. It was the same game Allen Iverson dunked over four Raptors incluing Marcus Camby.
This paragraph belongs to Anthony Parker who even when struggles doesn’t lose confidence in his game. He’s had some miserable games during the season but has never let up his offensive, defensive and rebounding efforts. He hit a key three in the fourth quarter which restored the lead to 14 and kept the Knicks in check. There was some talk that he has a high trade value and should be traded since we’re not winning an NBA championship this year anyway. I completely disagree with this line of thinking, the Raptors have been a team that always loses its good players for the sake of the “future”. Well, the future is now and even though we’re not going to win the EC this year, it’s still good to make it to the second or third round of the playoffs and get some post-season experience under our belt. No team has ever won a title without losing in the middle rounds for a few seasons in a row, I say we start that losing streak.
Check the boxscore, it tells you all about how the Knicks shot 51% in this game and still managed to lose. For once the rebounding numbers were in our favor (43-33, 11 offensive) which created a ton of second chance points and ticked off valuable minutes late in the game. Isiah must be perplexed at how well the Knicks ended this game but failed to show the least bit of desire, ability or even interest for the better part of the game. The three guys that played well (and by well I mean hard) were Nate Robinson, Rolando Blackman and Jamal Crawford, aside from those three nobody cared. Well, maybe Randolph did but he was riding the pine from first quarter on.
Up next is a revenge mission against Portland. We blew the game on the west coast and need to earn a requital against Brandon Roy and Co. who have won 46 of their past 47 games – or so it seems like.
* If Nate Robinson had finished that putback jam, it would’ve been the end of Bargnani’s career.
* Anybody notice the hot black chick next to the Raptors fans they showed in the end?
* Rod Black thinks Sam’s temper is inversely proportional to the size of the Raptors lead.
* We missed about 10 WIDE OPEN shots today. Even the dead-eye Calderon missed about four he usually drains.
* I’m not talking about it much but aside from Bosh, we were exclusively a perimeter team. I would hate to see what would’ve happened if Curry and Randolph had their minds right for this game.
* Carlos Delfino needs to play better and smarter for us, he’s too good to just side-step and take a jumper. As for Kapono, I’m waiting for Sam to do something to get him some shots. He’s being wasted right now.
* Somebody please explain to me what Joey Graham did wrong to get the yank after 4 minutes.
* Darrick Martin played a halfway effective backup PG today. I guess he’s ahead of Dixon in the depth chart again.