As he congratulated Bosh, Raptors coach Jay Triano was reminded again of his star's possible departure as an unrestricted free agent, and of the ongoing trade talk. The L.A. Lakers now supposedly are in the mix with Andrew Bynum, and never mind the summer speculation that Bosh will go to the Big Apple. Insiders believe the Lakers started that rumour themselves to give Bynum a kick.
"I've talked to (general manager) Bryan Colangelo extensively and those rumours are just rumours," Triano said. "The rumours persist because of the quality of the names of guys who will be free agents at the end of the year.
"People love to speculate and when you can speculate about great names, it becomes more interesting."
Andrea Bargnani was a questionable starter after a foot injury he suffered with four seconds remaining in the Miami game the night before bothered him throughout the day. He made it, but DeMar DeRozan remained in Toronto with a more painful foot issue.
Can we now, once and for all, put all this crap about Chris Bosh and fourth quarters and not being The Man to rest?
Can we just make it go away? Like forever.
Not only does he make the game-winning basket on a huge, tough, determined drive (kind of like the Philly game except from the other side of the court) but he stays with a tough defensive assignment the next time down the floor and blocks Tiny Nate Robinson at the rim.
It’s been said of a long, long time in these parts that Bosh is truly a great player and a great finisher and all he ever needed was better players around him to let his team flourish and he to be even better since opponents would have to worry about other Raptors.
You remember the NBA once was dead-set against this kind of thing. When the Raptors were being midwifed into Toronto, some 17 years ago, one of the conditions of the franchise's existence was that NBA games be removed from Pro-Line, lest the taint of gambling foul the grand game.
But that was then. The NBA has a different relationship with legal gambling now. It even put an all-star game into Las Vegas in a bid to beat every other major pro league to that town. Plus, the crooked referee, the guy who went to jail for messing with point spreads and passing along information was just a rogue guy. Not a problem at all. David Stern said so, which means it must be true.
You can see why the Raptors would want this. Betting stimulates interest, sometimes in enormous numbers. (The godalmighty National Football League grew into its current behemoth self chiefly because of, in no particular order of importance, television, the anabolic steroid and the point spread.)
Turkoglu, understand, had five dunks all of last season according to 82games.com, and there've been times this season when it has looked as though he can't be bothered to run, let alone jump. But on a night when he put in his most productive game as a Raptor, racking up season-high totals in points (26) and rebounds (11), he had an uncharacteristic spring in his step. And he wasn't the only Raptor who appeared to be playing with an unusual energy and an infectious confidence that fuelled a victory that was no gimme.
The Knicks are no world beaters, but the Raptors, who came into the game playing .333 on the road, had won just twice in 10 tries in the second game of back-to-back sets. Coming off Wednesday's home win against Miami, in other words, there were plenty of reasons to believe the Raptors would leave New York with a loss, not the least of which was the Knicks' early run-out to a 16-point first-quarter lead.
Antoine Wright scored 13 points, and fellow reserve Jose Calderon had 12 points to help Toronto (25-22) move three games over .500 for the first time this season.
Bosh hit two free throws with 7 minutes left to give the Raptors a 91-85 lead, but New York battled back. Harrington converted a three-point play and made a 3-pointer to put the Knicks in front 100-97 at the 2:51 mark. Lee then got free for a dunk to extend the lead to five.
Hedo Turkoglu surges Raptors to their fourth straight win, 106-104
# Chris Bosh: A pending free agent with the seemingly revitalized Toronto Raptors, does he boost basketball's appeal in this country by staying, or follow the path taken by Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady.
The Knicks led by as many as 16 points in the first half and held a 102-97 lead with under two minutes to play.
Yet Toronto closed the game on a 9-2 run, getting a critical driving bucket from Bosh when he took Wilson Chandler off the dribble to put Toronto up 105-102 with 15.9 seconds left.
Had Jared Jeffries been in the game at that juncture, he would've been guarding Bosh. The 6-foot-11 Jeffries is the Knicks' best defender.
But Jeffries left the game in the first quarter with a hyperextended right knee. He said he was hit again on the knee during the first quarter but "it's been sore" for "about a week and a half, two weeks." He will undergo an MRI Friday morning.
"It's just getting worse and I want to see what's going on with my knee and why it keeps swelling up," Jeffries said.
So it was no surprise when Lee immediately took notice Thursday night as the Post's beat writer began scribbling in his notebook upon hearing Lee say that the Knicks had let one slip away in Thursday night's 106-104 loss to the Toronto Raptors, and he bellowed it out again — with emphasis.
"Knicks let one slip away!" Lee said.
"Is that your back-page headline?" Lee was asked later, a reference to a conversation two nights earlier between Lee and the writers which transitioned to the topic of the truly tricky tabloid talent of writing a back-page headline.
According to the Bergen (N.J.) Record, "executives from the (Phoenix) Suns, (Toronto) Raptors and Jazz have been told if they're planning to move their All-Star-caliber big men, the Nets are interested.
"Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh and … Boozer could be among the biggest names traded before the (NBA's) Feb. 18 deadline, and the Nets don't want to miss out if they are.
"The conversations were exploratory, nothing serious yet. At least one could intensify as the trade deadline nears, probably with the Suns."
"It always feels good to make it, when the people that you kill every day put you on the team," said Bosh, referring to the coaches' selections of the seven reserve players. "It's always an honor to be an All-Star, year in and year out. People kill for this position. I just don't want to take anything for granted. Every year I put in the work. I'm glad it's working."
It's working for Bosh, because Toronto is winning and he's established himself as a marquee player. A member of the Redeem Team that won the gold medal in Beijing, he's the face of the Raptors.
But then came the collapse, climaxed by an awful final possession with 7 seconds left. Danilo Gallinari had trouble getting in the inbounds pass on a play designed for Nate Robinson, who was getting face-guarded by Jarrett Jack.
Gallinari instead forced it in to Harrington, who had it knocked away by Andrea Bargnani. Harrington, who claimed to be hobbled, recovered the ball and barreled hard to the hole, committing a charging foul as his running right-hander in the lane clanked off the back iron with .8 seconds left.
"When I got it, my leg killed me and I had no brakes," Harrington said.
It was not how the play was drawn up.
"Nate got hung up a bit and Gallo was worried about a five-second [violation]," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We didn't have another timeout. That wasn't where it was supposed to go."
Lee played his heart out last night in the Knicks' 106-104 loss to the Raptors and Chris Bosh, one of the players who won a spot on the Eastern Conference team and might beat Lee again in July for the big multi-year deal the Knicks weren't offering last summer.
"My motivation was to win the game, not play a good game," Lee said, after outscoring Bosh 29 to 27 and outrbounding him 18 to 15. He also kept the Knicks alive down the stretch with an offensive rebound and a putback of two Nate Robinson misses, plus a rebound of a missed Jarrett Jack free throw with seven seconds remaining.
Check out the game between the Raptors and New York Knicks all in just six minutes!
Hedo Turkoglu talks to the media in New York following the Raptors win over the Knicks
Jarrett Jack talks to the media in New York after the Raptors win over the Knicks
It was a nice end to a fun day for Bosh, a Dallas native who was selected Thursday for his fifth All-Star game — tying Vince Carter's Raptors record. The NBA revealed the reserves for the Feb. 14 game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington a few hours before Toronto earned its fourth consecutive victory.
"I think everything's clicking," Bosh said. "We're looking for our shots, we're being aggressive. At the same time, we know how the game's supposed to flow, who's open, the offensive sets we want to run. I mean it's coming together bit by bit."
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors. Toronto is a top-five scoring and a bottom-five rebounding team: Bargnani is definitely representative of both features. At 17.5 ppg and just 6.4 rpg, he’s second on the team in both categories to Chris Bosh. With the reality of Bosh’s imminent departure next year, Bargnani could end up this team’s on-court leader in 2010-11. If this is the case, he’ll definitely need some lessons in aggression.
This probably ranks above Turkoglu’s Pizza Pizza commercial where all he says is “yes coach” several times. Hedo’s interview was right after the Raptor’s win in New York where he had a season high 26 points. Hedo had been struggling to score for the last few weeks. Against the Lakers on Sunday, he hit two big free throws in the final minute to seal the win against the league leading Lakers. Those shots and the win clearly has increased his confidence as well as his teammates confidence in him to be a scorer and closer. Hedo has helped the Raptors increase their win streak to four games, putting them three games above 500. His offensive presence will be needed for the rest of the season and into the playoffs if the Raptors want to succeed.
Watching Weems, lately, it crosses my mind that he has the tools to be a very good NBA player. Offensively, he’s got that mid-range game that is so rare in the NBA and that all great scorers have, he’s an above average defender with quick hands, and he’s obviously athletically gifted. And he’s only 22 years old.
This is one of the few times I've seen Turkoglu be really aggressive and look for his shot, and I like it. How rare is it to see him dunk, and dunk ferociously nonetheless? Did he dunk 3 times in all of last season in Orlando? He's completely selfless, he truly loves team ball, which is why he wants the ball in his hands more often so he can create. And he's selfish in the right way; what I mean by this is that he wants the ball in his hands and he' s not backing off that claim whether he's playing good or bad. And for better or worse, I like that. You could see his swag and cockiness after the game, still putting it out there for everyone even in the locker room post-game interview that he played so well because..he had the ball in his hands.
Hedo Turkoglu picked an incredible time to pull up his socks. He has been a magnet for criticism even in the midst of a winning streak. Tonight he did everything. He ran the offense, shot the ball well, rebounded, and was at the rim for put backs that resulted in a key bucket down the stretch to help the Raps get the lead back at the end of the game. Andrea Bargnani was struggling tonight and the Raps needed Hedo to step up. He provided them with energy and leadership when they needed it the most. Let’s hope the real Hedo has finally arrived. He will be a key to the Raptors second half fortunes.
The DNB where we are ALWAYS BALLin. Thoughts on Raps and Knicks tomorrow.
Chris Bosh talks to the media in New York after the Raptors win over the Knicks