Digesting the Atlanta loss hasn’t been easy. Al Horford’s claims that he nipped the ball on it’s way to Ford is probably the card the NBA’s going to play in denying our appeal. Regardless of whether he nipped it or not, the NBA’s got the reasonable doubt it’s been looking. Plus, we did blow a 17 point lead and gave up 20 points in OT and are solely responsible for the loss. It should never have come down to the final half second but that doesn’t mean we weren’t wronged. Chuck’s blatant homerism drew some attention at Slam Magazine:

The funniest part of that clip is the way Raps play-by-play guy Chuck Swirsky is certain that the ball went in with time left. Even as replay after replay shows Ford’s hand touching the ball with the lights on. That actually made me laugh out loud. If Swirsky ever gets fired, it won’t be because he doesn’t support the Raptors.

Moving along.

The Bucks might be interested in Maurizio Gherardini and I say take him. Bryan Colangelo needs to balance the Euroness of this team with some old fashioned NCAA talent and it’s going to be tough convincing me that Gherardini knows half as much about the NCAA talent pool as he does about the European leagues. His influence on this team has been a positive one, he was key in the signing of Parker and had a hand in landing Garbajosa which he deserves credit for. I’m not sure he has the ability to scour through the 2008 eligibility list, target a sleeper and do what it takes to pick him. Leo Rautins might refer to him as The Godfather every chance he gets but that’s a tough sell to the knowing NBA fan.

Philadelphia’s continuing it’s stellar play and right now they have the inside track to that highly desirable 6th spot and frankly, they deserve it (Jason Smith’s already celebrating). They have an Atlanta date on Friday night and it should be interesting to see how they’ll do against a team the Raptors had serious issues stopping. Washington recently went a respectable 2-3 on their West coast swing (the one we went 0-5 on) thus setting up a tight race down the stretch. Lucky for us Washington and Philadelphia play each other on April 12th so if we sweep our remaining 7 games (possible but very unlikely), we’ll avoid the 7th spot. There’s something to aim for, but as has been the case so many times this season, we’ve looked at a stretch of games, deemed them winnable and proceeded to bomb the schedule. Expect no different here, unless we catch fire we’re looking at backing our way into the playoffs which is not the way you want to go in.

This is from a couple days ago but ESPN ranked the best foreign players and Jose Calderon came in at 8th, it’s a fair placement given the likes ahead of him. Jose’s got a telling quote in one of his earlier blogs which I didn’t catch, here it is:

My personal ambition is to be a starter in any team where I play, as well as to have the maximum responsibility in my team. But above this, I want to win.

If I was Jose Calderon, I’d leave the Raptors unless I was at the minimum guaranteed a starting spot. From his perspective the Lakers are a perfect fit. He would get to play with Pau Gasol, become the unquestionable starter and have a chance to win an NBA title. Unless Ford is cast out, all he’s going to get here is split playing time, constant controversy and a .500 team. From the Raptors perspective it’s a bummer but from his angle, he’d be a fool not to explore free agency in detail.

Chris Bosh won the Atlantic division’s NBA sportsmanship award, it’s the NBA’s way of giving us a consolation prize for the Atlantic. We’ll take it, bring on Antawn Jamison! Bosh can own him when it comes to ethical behavior, fair play and integrity.

We’ve lost 7 of our last 8 Friday night games, only two more to go: tonight against Charlotte and next week at home to New Jersey – I think we can end on a bit of a Friday high.

Here’s Nikki Reyes asking Andrea Bargnani some very meaningless questions and ending with something all Raptor fans want to know: Are Italian or Canadian women hotter? WTF?

Maciej Lampe is ready for the NBA. Get ‘er done BC.

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