It will be nice for Chris Bosh to get back to Dallas for a couple of days of a Christmas break, a chance to relax with his family, exchange gifts and eat and hang out.
But that will be nothing compared to the real celebration that will come back in Toronto in a couple of weeks.
That's when Trinity, his 13-month-old wisp of a daughter, arrives and the excitement really begins.
“Where I am right now, I am not really happy,” he said. “But you know, it’s just like time — for progress — you need to learn to realize what is going on, and I feel much better right now physically. I learn about the system and the plays, and I think things start to change with me handling the ball.”
Turkoglu was an Everyman with the Magic. A point-forward, a combination that helped Orlando reach the 2009 NBA finals. In Toronto, the guard part of the Turkoglu package was initially eliminated — by design. The Raptors were Jose Calderon’s team to run. But with Calderon out and battling a bad hip, Turkoglu has been getting his hands on the ball. Being a floor general, instead of just a shooter, has helped revive his flagging spirits and given him hope that better days — and better results – await in 2010.
7. Raptors/76ers second-round NBA playoff series, 2001. The only time Toronto ever advanced past the first round was a seven-game loss to Philadelphia. Both Vince Carter and Allen Iverson were at their peak. Iverson scored 54 points in Game 2, Carter came back with 50 two nights later. Then, Iverson had 52 in Game 5. Carter's response: "only" 39 in forcing Game 7, which the Raptors lost as he missed a last-second jumper. That morning, he'd taken a private plane to get his degree at North Carolina, and it ripped apart the franchise. Iverson was MVP that season. Owner Ed Snider said the ferocious little guard reminded him of Bob Clarke.
Bosh could buy a yacht, a mansion and a trip around the world if he wanted to for Christmas. But all he really wants is a win in Detroit tonight and to spend the NBA's two-day holiday break at home in Dallas with his family. Doing absolutely nothing.
"Quite frankly, Christmas dinner tastes better after a win," Bosh says. "And I would like to have a good Christmas dinner."
Toronto reunites for practice on Boxing Day before embarking on a more forgiving stretch of the schedule.
21. Toronto Raptors (12-17): Last week: Lost at Miami; lost at Orlando; beat New Jersey; beat New Orleans. He’s still not scoring a lot (7.7. ppg), but DeMar DeRozan is starting to become a fixture on the nightly highlight reel with his dunks.
16. Raptors (19). A couple of soft home wins have the Raps somewhat back on track, and a light week should help things, too.
Who's hot? Or what's hot, in the case of Andrea Bargnani? The answer: the number six. The big Italian has sunk six shots from the field in five consecutive games.
Who's not? Hedo Turkoglu, the Raptors hit-and-miss offseason acquisition, has shot 14-for-40 from the field in his past four games, a stretch lowlighted by a 3-for-11 effort against Miami and a 4-for-13 outing versus New Orleans.
“Our first 30 games happened in 53 days, our next 30 happen in 73 days,” Triano said. “That is 20 more days where we can do two things: No. 1 — rest; and No. 2 — practise.”
Triano expects the Raptors to be a fresher and more focused bunch in the New Year, with fewer back-to-back games to beat them down and more practice time to do what they have not managed to do much of this season: come together as a team.
But first the players will go their separate ways for the holiday. Jarrett Jack is headed home to Washington, D.C; Sonny Weems to West Memphis, Ark.; Bosh to Dallas and DeMar DeRozan to Compton, in Los Angeles.
The Pistons lost their fifth straight as they again had 52 points a game in street clothes, with Richard Hamilton (hamstring), Tayshaun Prince (back) and Ben Gordon (ankle) sidelined.
Throw in Charlie Villanueva being limited by a sore foot, and the Pistons had few options after Rodney Stuckey, who scored 20 points.
“I just couldn’t move out there really, man,” said Villanueva, who shot 2 for 8. “I couldn’t really take off. It’s frustrating.”
Will Utah finally part ways with Carlos Boozer? We know the Warriors would love to trade Corey Maggette, but would they move Monta Ellis? Tyrus Thomas is still on the block in Chicago. The Sacramento Kings would give up Andres Nocioni for a discount, and have Kenny Thomas' big expiring contract to peddle. If the Raptors don't right the ship, would they preemptively exchange Chris Bosh for a young stud under contract? The Rockets seem intent on finding a new home for Tracy McGrady. Donnie Walsh's plan in New York has been public knowledge for over two years now. What are the chances he finds a taker for Jared Jeffries or Eddy Curry? (Slim and none, respectively.) The Wizards are floundering and have a payroll approaching $80 million. What kind of offers will they be sending out…
“Hopefully it will be a rising 2010 for me,” said Turkoglu, who has been targeted as one of the reasons why the Raptors have gotten off to a 13-17 start, though they have won two in a row. “I’m feeling much better physically, and I’ve learned about the system and the players now.”
Turkoglu began the season fatigued and sore after playing for his native Turkey in the summer and helping to guide Orlando to the NBA Finals. It has taken him time to get completely healthy.
He’s also had to learn a new system with new teammates and there have been games when his numbers, and his effort, lacked. But head coach Jay Triano has also taken some responsibility for Turkoglu’s numbers, saying that he is still learning how to best utilize his new forward.
The one thing that sticks out like a red thumb is the lack of a true definitive superstar. YES, Chris Bosh IS NOT A SUPERSTAR. Deal with it. Anyway, there is none on this roster. Calderon is great as a fantasy statistics point guard. He doesn’t turn over the ball much, but doesn’t create much impact in reality. He plays too safe and doesn’t take many risks. Chris Bosh is also a great fantasy stat power forward, but the guy is not a dominant superstar like Tim Duncan or Charles Barkley. The Turk is a good addition on paper although that’s not making a world of a difference in the win-loss column. The Toronto Raptors is a very talented team. It’s just they can’t accomplish much unless they turn things around DRASTICALLY.
“I’ve got a house full of toys for her,” Bosh said yesterday. “It’s going to be fun.”
It will be the first “real” Christmas for father and daughter. Trinity would have been barely a month old a year ago, unable to really comprehend what was going on around her.
“This is the first one she’s going to be spoiled at,” said Bosh.
“She can rip open stuff now.”
Before getting a few days with his daughter, Bosh will take advantage of a break in the schedule to get home to Dallas. The Raptors play tonight in Detroit but don’t play again until Sunday afternoon.
The Toronto Raptors have had a wildly inconsistent start to the 2009-10 NBA season. After going 5-5 in their first 10 games, the Raptors went 2-8 in their next 10, and finally 6-4 in the last 10.
Those kind of wild swings were bound to have ended in change, and change we got!
In the stretch between 20 and 30 games, Raptors fans witnessed some new faces in the starting line-up and in the regular rotation.
Jarrett Jack made his first starts of the season. Sonny Weems cracked the rotation on a regular basis. And Antoine Wright has found himself a spot on the end of the bench.
At the 30 game mark, the Raptors players are looking like this:
While Toronto still needs to figure out why it's own penchant for long range marksmanship has fallen off, a win against a good team like New Orleans (don't let their 2-11 road record fool you) is a positive sign heading into Motown on Wednesday night. The Pistons have been hit hard by injuries and are ripe for the picking on their home floor. And as for those concerned about Chris Bosh's lack of rebounding in Florida? He has a league-best 13 games this season with at least 25 points and 10 rebounds which is six more than the number two man, Brook Lopez.
A decade ago, teammates Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady brought the Toronto Raptors fame and glory with their aerial antics at the Slam Dunk Contest.
Of course, Carter became champion and, along the way, turned Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith into ‘The Broken Record’ because the TNT broadcaster could only say ‘It’s over’ when watching the young guard perform.
Ten years later, another pair of Raptors are hoping to duplicate Carter and McGrady’s success at the Slam Dunk Contest at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
After flirting with the Blazers, he signed a five year contract with the Toronto Raptors worth $53 million. The Raptors are currently below .500 with a 13-17 record. This may not be just down to the 30 year old, but when you commit $10 million a season to a player it would not be futile to expect a significant improvement.
Hitting a game winner reminiscent of last year's finals, the Turkish Sensation ended a four game losing streak, including a 145-115 pounding by Atlanta Hawks, first week December.
This was a one off as the highlights are few and far between for Raptor fans. We are only 30 games into an 82 game season but the 6-10 forward needs to step up.
The Warriors paid $250,000 on draft night that year to move ahead of the Raptors and assure they would get Antawn Jamison, the "other" University of North Carolina standout, with Carter going next to Toronto. Turns out it was a wise investment. Jamison never turned out to be a great player, but his career — highlighted by consistency and professionalism — has been everything Carter's hasn't. At a far lower price to boot.
“It was crazy,” Johnson told me after the first preseason game which saw him need stitches. “I got ‘bowed in the mouth and the foul was on me. I’m good now and I could have kept playing with the stitches but they said my tooth went through my lip. I didn’t realize that until I was in the back and they told me I needed to get stitched up.”
How many players in the NBA would brush off getting stitches in back-to-back preseason games and rush back to the court? Not many. Yet Johnson loves his role with the team and is happy being known as a hustle guy who comes off the bench to give the team an infusion of energy.
3. Jarrett Jack has been vocal and playing at a high level. No Jose….No Problem. Jack in 2010 will be your Raptors starting point guard. It is just a matter of when and not if he will be now. Still no idea on when Jose could return but it is clear that Jack deserves to keep his starting spot. Just as clear as it was for Jose fans that he deserved it when T.J Ford returned from injury. Jack has been a straight shooter and you get no B.S and a heck of a point guard. It is a New Jack New Year on the way you can Marcus Banks on it!!!
Recently the Chris Bosh Foundation treated some local Greater Toronto Area youth to spending a day with Chris Bosh while sharing a meal and getting a chance to shop at SportChek on CB4's dime!
A picture is worth a thousand words right? These guys don't just look like brothers separated at birth, but rather identical twins separated at birth. If Jarrett Jack grows his hair and a goatee, you get Mr. X to the Z, Xzibit.
In the opener of a home-and-home series, Detroit will look to snap its skid Wednesday night by winning its 12th straight home meeting with Toronto.
Detroit (11-17) seemed to bolster its chances to contend in the Central Division with the signing of Ben Gordon in July.
Gordon is averaging 18.7 points, but has missed eight straight games and 10 of the last 13 with a sprained left ankle. Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince have also appeared in a combined six games.
Hamilton returned Dec. 12 from a sprained right ankle, but injured his right hamstring at Houston three days later. Prince hasn't played since Halloween because of an ailing back.
Gordon and Hamilton, who has averaged 19.9 points during the home win streak over Toronto, will be gametime decisions. Prince is expected to miss his 26th straight game.