I guess the schedule maker thought we’d be in some sort of a tight race with the Wizards for playoff positioning and scheduled consecutive home and away games late in the season. He wasn’t the only one who predicted the record wrong at the outset. Let’s look back at the early season poll which asked What would be considered a successful season? 46% said a first round win and a good fight in the second would constitute a successful season while only six people thought that this team would be considered lucky if they made the playoffs. Amongst those six were ebrian, AltRaps, Dave and Pike.

It’s all about the lottery for the Wizards right now who were complete fools to bring back Gilbert Arenas for a couple games (his lines), one of which they won against Cleveland. They’re one game ahead of Sacramento for the league’s worst record at 18-61, the Kings are at 16-61. The difference here is between having a 25% or a 19.9% chance of winning the lottery. In case you were wondering the 8th worst record has a 2.8% chance while the 9th worst record (where we currently stand) has a 1.7% chance. Meh. If you look at the flip side of the equation you could say that despite sucking for the entire year the Wizards have a 75% chance of not getting the first pick. What I’m trying to say is tanking doesn’t appear to be worth it.

Bargnani is listed as “questionable” for the game which now gives me zero reason to watch it other than of course, having to do the post-game report. Gilbert Arenas is doubtful with a left knee issue, Mike James is done for the season with a broken pinky finger, Lebron-stopper-NOT is also out for the season with back surgery and Etan Thomas is also off golfing on a torn MCL. Marcus Banks is still gambling away his easy-earned millions in Vegas and Humphries will once again sport his latest Harry Rosen purchase.

You probably caught this in the Latest Web Articles section but in case you didn’t, Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Bryan Colangelo is planning on keeping Triano, with former Memphis Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni as his top assistant. This will make for some very uncomfortable and awkward moments and is sure to make for some summer-time conversation. It’s an odd setup to say the least, we’re giving Triano all the credit for bringing along Bargnani, excusing the season to injuries, and saying that Triano and his staff are communicating the perfect message to the team. This begs the question of why we need Iavaroni? The only reason that comes to mind is he served under Mike D’Antoni for five years and has an idea of how to run ‘n gun which is the style we’re apparently trying to play.

Check out the poll on the right which is currently running on Raptors.com. I think it gives a good indication of how far Jason Kapono has fallen. He’s reduced to being mentioned in the same breath as Pops, O’Bryant and Ukic. We used to blame Mitchell for not using him correctly which still might be true, but his play under Triano hasn’t been much different. He’s 19th in the league in 3-pt percentage at 42% but is 88th in terms of 3-pointers attempted with 207, an average of 2.7. Bottom line is we need him shooting more threes otherwise he not only becomes a great defensive liability but an offensive one due to his static and turnover-prone game – 12th worst PER 48 TO for all shooting guards.

The Wizards (always preferred the Bullets but if you ever go to D.C you’ll know why they changed it) have lost two straight, 5 of 6 and 10 of 12. We beat them 99-93 in January and held a comfortable 9-13 point lead throughout the game and let the Wizards make a routine mini-run in the fourth. Turned out to be no biggie. Motivation’s a key issue in this one as the Indiana humiliation is throwing the bookies off – there is no line for this game at the time of writing. Will update it when it does come out.

I was hoping that these last few games would yield an internal battle amongst the players for next year. For example, I was hoping Joey Graham would show Colangelo why Kapono is disposable, or one of Pops or O’Bryant giving Colangelo a reason to trade Humphries, or Roko outshining Banks while the latter’s in Vegas. None of that has happened and these games are becoming missed opportunities for our scrubs who have much to prove but refuse to do so even when handed the opportunity. The only viewing angle for this game is player scrub evaluation and so far nobody’s made a strong enough mark to warrant anything other than a casual look in the summer. I’d rank the scrubs in terms of impressiveness as follows: Douby, Ukic, Pops, O’Bryant and Voskuhl.

Fourth year man Andray Blatche is averaging a career-high 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 24 minutes while playing in 70 games. He’s a good young player whose offensive game I’ve liked the few times I’ve seen him but it’s an attitude like this that tells me he won’t be anything more than a glorified John Wallace. His defensive game is still a mess and you’re lucky Leo’s not calling the game otherwise all you’d hear is Blatche-hate. The other Wizard to keep an eye on is Antawn Jamison who’s started all 79 games and is averaging 22/9. Caron Butler’s averaging 20/6 and the two make a potent combo but their team defense is simply terrible, they’re last in the league in opponents FG% allowing 48% shooting! Keep an eye out for Juan Dixon for fun sakes.

They’re going to show NHL playoff games on TSN2 now and the situation’s getting some pub in a NY Times blog. What a pathetic backdrop to the season this has been, I understand if MLSE wants to make a few extra bucks by switching to a different channel but they obviously didn’t do their due diligence when signing the deal and incorrectly assumed that Rogers would simply add the channel despite it being a conflict of interest for them. It’s either that or they just don’t care whether the fans get to watch the game. The late-night replays on Raptors TV don’t come close to making up for the annoyance this has caused.

This also happens to be our last Raptor Fan Friday’s at Philthy McNasty’s. When we started that initiative we were hoping that it would become a joyous event, and it was up until early January but as the weeks went on and the losses kept piling up, it became almost excruciating to watch. The Indiana game, the OKC loss, Vince’s game winner and many more such painful defeats happened on Friday nights which put a real damper to the start of the weekend. We’re going to be back next year and hopefully this time around the Raptors won’t let us down.

My pick is 24 year old Megan who claims to have 21 years of experience as a dancer. Yeah, and I’m a doctor because I owned a plastic stethoscope when I was 2.

Now posting this video on the heels of the Indiana game might be odd but let’s do it anyway. It’s another RR Raptors highlight mix made by Birdman:

Nice video but I would enjoy it a whole lot more if we were saaayyyyyy….4th in the standings. Anytime somebody mentions the word Washington I’m reminded of this.

@raptorsrepublic

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