As for those talented Toronto teams he played on, which included such players as Carter, Antonio Davis and Tracy McGrady, Oakley said each of those players understood their specific roles, the reason the team was able to enjoy some moderate success.
"We said, Vince, you're our lead singer," Oakley said, warming to the memory. "Tracy, you're our back singer. Everybody else is in the band. I'm playing drums, Tone [Antonio Davis] playing guitar. Somebody else is playing the flute."
After that, Oakley said the music just got better and better.
"I don't think our problem is going to be at the offensive end," Toronto coach Jay Triano said after the game. "This is a very good defensive team coming into this game and they did hold us to 43-per-cent shooting. But we still find a way to put 110 points up on the board.
"I think the one thing this team will be able to do is score. We've got to get better defensively."
. Danilo Gallinari vs. Andrea Bargnani: This is just perfect. Both guys are from Italy, they play in the Atlantic Division, they’re nearly the same height (Gallinari is 6-10, Bargnani is 7-0), and they both play of the perimeter. While they are probably good friends and supportive of each other now, if there comes a time when both teams are good, expect that little Italian bond to get a little testy.
"After four games, what we've been able to see is that if we have Jarrett, Jose, they can't really pick you up with one strong point guard and Hedo can handle the ball really well," Triano said after Toronto ended a two-game skid before a smallish crowd billed at 17,915.
"Then when we swing the ball and go side-to-side, not only are you dealing with three guys who can make plays, they can handle the ball and they can make free throws.
"Late in the game, I like the fact that they share the basketball and they know how to spread the floor."
As for Wright, who finished with a season-high 12 points, sacrificing minutes was no big deal.
"Because I want to win," Wright said. "My whole career, I've been on winning teams, and I know what it takes. I've been on teams with guys who have given themselves up. And when you've got a unit out there rolling, I said: 'Coach, keep them out there, and keep the momentum.' "
Jack finished with nine points and six assists and his contributions were big, considering that starting point guard Jose Calderon struggled early and finished with nine points and only one assist, his dime not coming until mid-way through the fourth.
Game 1 of the season: Bosh, Bargnani and the bench came up big for the W.
Game 4 of the season, after 2 straight losses, the B's did it again.
This time around, Bargnani came up with his first double double of the season with 22 and 12. Bosh chipped in with 25 and 8, and the bench keyed a huge 44-point 2nd quarter surge, finishing with 35 total points as the Raptors held on for a 110-99 win. The shorthanded Pistons who played without Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince managed to come back from 17 points down to take a 91-90 lead. But they ran out of steam and the Raptors turned it up a notch and never looked back.
Certainly there's still an appetite for Oakley's rare recipe of toughness and smarts in Toronto, where he signed pre-game autographs for a line of fans that stretched long down the concourse. He was paid respect, too, by the announced crowd of 17,915, most of whom stood and applauded when Oakley's presence was announced during a break in the first half, and by at least one current Raptor.
Jarrett Jack, 26, was all of two years old when Oakley made his NBA debut. But Jack has played pickup games with the old curmudgeon – "He still brings his forearms and flagrant fouls," Jack said – and believes Oakley could bring value to an NBA staff.
The Pistons fought to within four (86-82) early in the fourth quarter when starting centre Andrea Bargnani nailed a three, and, on Detroit's subsequent possession, blocked a Ben Gordon shot.
Unfortunately for the Raptors, Marco Belinelli missed two straight threes and Detroit e draw closer.
Detroit's Will Bynum hit a three and scored on a layup to give the visitors a 91-90 lead with just over seven minutes left — the Pistons first lead since early in the second quarter. But thanks largely to the efforts of Bargnani, the home side held on.
The win improved the Raptors to 2-2 on the season with Detroit dropping to 2-3. It was also the second win for Toronto against a team that was playing the second game of a back-to-back.
Bargnani finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Triano opted for a big fourth-quarter rotation that included Chris Bosh, Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu all lined up in the front court, and their dominating presence down the stretch proved the difference.
After falling behind, the Raptors finished the game on a 20-8 run to close out Detroit with Turkoglu providing the telling blow – a 17-foot pull-up jumper with under four minutes to play that moved Toronto ahead by eight.
“Not only are you dealing with three guys who can make plays, they can handle the ball and they can make free throws,” Triano said. “Late in the game I like that.”
Even minus the services of two key players — Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton — the shorthanded Pistons put up a gutsy fight before succumbing to the home-standing Raptors. Not surprisingly, the game presented ample evidence as to what's right and what's wrong with Toronto.
Charley's NBA tour
Charley Rosen For the first half of the season, Charley Rosen will closely watch all 30 teams and provide a comprehensive scouting report for each.
* San Antonio Spurs
* Phoenix Suns
* New Orleans Hornets
* Toronto Raptors
On the positive side of the ledger:
# The muscle that Chris Bosh added during the offseason has made him a more forceful scoring threat both in the low post and along the baseline. Bosh also moved astutely without the ball.
# Hedo Turkoglu is still on target with his trademark pull-left-and-shoot move. Moreover, he made some nifty passes off his right-handed dribble.
Jose Calderon is really just not getting it done defensively. But on a night full of strange stat lines Jose having just 1 assist might have been the oddest. It was pointed out in the broadcast for the majority of the game he had none. His shooting has been far from stellar of late as well. He did make a clutch 3 down the stretch. That was after getting blown by Stuckey and Bynum so much he should have whiplash. Jarrett Jack on this night was a lot better. He had 9 points and 6 assists with 3 boards. He had a couple bad moments defensively as well but on the whole was much better. If you checked out the Live Blog above Jose was one of the more popular issues on the night. Many feel it will only be a matter of time before Jack takes over at the starting point guard spot. Jack of course did that last year in Indiana with T. J Ford. It may be a case of De Ja Vu all over again. Fitting statement on a night when the Yankees win the World Series.
Jose Calderon, Jarrett Jack and Hedo Turkoglu, all capable ball-handers, good from the field and solid from the free throw line, are going to be given every chance to close out games, just like they did Wednesday night as the Raptors evened their record at 2-2 with a 110-99 win over the Detroit Pistons at the Air Canada Centre.
"After four games, what we've been able to see is that if we have Jarrett, Jose, they can't really pick you up with one strong point guard and Hedo can handle the ball really well," said Triano after Toronto won before a smallish crowd announced at 17,915.
On that new generation: “These days with these guys I don’t know if you can say too much to them without them breaking down and crying, like a girl. It is what it is.”
"But I think in the league, when the fans come to the game, they're not getting their money's worth. That's all. And the talent level. You've got to put somebody on the court, but at least put somebody on the court who the fans can say, ‘O.K., I've got my money's worth.' Somebody who is knowing the plays, knowing this. I watched a couple games, guys are giving ‘em fast breaks. This guy will be in front of the guy with the ball, and just stop and let him go to the rim. You see a lot of that. I ain't saying you've got take someone out. Hey, at least make him make a free throw. And most of the guys now can't hit free throws."
Stats that stood out:
– Jose Calderon with only 1 assist in 32 minutes of action
– Toronto turned the ball over only 6 times
– Lead changes: Toronto down 9 … Then up 17 … The down 1 … Then they win by 11. Strange.
– Tight on the Glass: 45-45 REB
– Toronto with 44 points in the 2ND QRT alone!
– 59 of Detroit’s 99 points came from Gordon, Rodney Stuckey, and Will Bynum
– Stuckey had a career-high 10 rebounds
– Bargnani’s career-high in REB too (12)
Jose Calderon had just nine points, two rebounds and one assist on 4-of-11 shooting in 32 minutes Wednesday.
Things are looking rock-bottom for Calderon, who just doesn't seem to be a fit for the offensive schemes Jay Triano is running. The Raptors became the first team to score 100 points against the Pistons this season, yet Calderon was basically a bystander. Maybe he will get it going at some point, but for now, you have to think twice before even starting him every night.
Jay Triano – The FAN 590 Toronto – Audio on Demand
The Pistons did their best to try to pull out another game without Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, but the Raptors didn’t cooperate with Detroit’s plans. Detroit went down 99-110 in Toronto after another gutsy effort.
Pistons vs. Raptors – Box Score – ESPN
Toronto became the first team this season to score more than 100 points against Detroit, which began the night second in the league behind Boston in points allowed at 85.3.
“Needless to say, you let anybody in the league score that many points and it’s going to be tough to counter that,” Gordon said of Toronto’s explosive second. “It seemed like every possession they got a good shot or got to the free throw line. It’s tough to win like that, when you’re not really stopping them at all. They’re either going to get a good look or get some free throws.”
According to the Maple Leafs and Raptors, some players and staff have received the H1N1 vaccine, but both teams deny jumping the line for shots.
Under considerable pressure to say whether their players have been vaccinated against the virus, the Leafs issued a statement saying they were only following medical protocol by having their players injected.
"Any vaccine supplies received were obtained through normal distribution and no preferential treatment was requested nor received," the statement from spokesman Pat Park said in part.
The Leafs' stablemates at the Air Canada Centre, the Toronto Raptors, made a similar statement in an email to the Star.
"The one thing that this team will be able do is we'll be able to score," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "But we've got to get better at the defensive end. You look at the numbers and [Detroit's 45% shooting], that's pretty decent. But we're just not pleased with where we are defensively."
Bargnani scored 22 points, while Chris Bosh led with 25 points on the strength of 20 trips to the free-throw line. (That makes an obscene 65 free throws attempted in four games.) But with Calderon continuing to struggle to start the year, the Pistons chipped away to take the lead. But the Raptors (2-2) took it back for good halfway through the fourth quarter.
Okay, I can forgive the local morning show guy for fumbling the name of Toronto Raptors guard Marco Belinelli. After all, he’s a relatively new non-hockey player. But, as a service to the public (and to Belinelli), I present a list of things that, while similar in some ways, are NOT Belinelli.