Raptors 72, Heat 96 – Box

You can see it on Dwane’s Casey’s face when he puts Solomon Alabi out there. He’s literally cringing as he sees a very very raw basketball player looking like a deer in the headlights as Lebron James comes barreling towards him. Head buried in his hands, he sees Lebron go for a layup-and-1. It was almost like Lebron didn’t know Solo was there.

Tanking’s not for everybody.

At least the Raptor’s kept it competitive for 2 and a half quarters. The dynamic that’s playing out during the end of this season is that the effort level of a team is determined by how much the players on the team have something to prove on a personal level.

Atlanta and Boston, a lock for the playoffs with a bunch of established veterans riding out the final few games of the busiest season they’ve ever played. Not really motivated.

Toronto, with guys like Ben Uzoh, Justin Dentmon, Alan Anderson who are playing for their basketball lives. An potential NBA contract on the line.

So when our old pal Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade decided to sit the game out, you had the Norris Coles and Dexter Pittmans pretty much working their tails off to prove they belong on this Miami team.

And then there’s the fact that Lebron James is one of the best players in history having arguably his best season. Motivated or not, he played the perfect game. It is really the way to maximize his talents. Have him dominate the ball and he makes the players around him better.

Before we can get ourselves excited again with the NBA draft, many of us who are simply basketball fans will be watching the playoffs. It seems that Lebron and the Unholy Alliance is not as hated as they were last year, fresh off the controversial Decision. Lebron seems to be in a better head space, and regardless of whether the Heat are the best fit as a team, there is just too much talent for them not to win the championship handily this year.

Only three players have won the MVP and not won a championship. Charles Barkley (Jordan), Karl Malone (Jordan) and Steve Nash. Only Steve Nash of those three has multiple MVP’s. Lebron’s poised to grab his third MVP. It’s only a matter of time, folks.

The one Raptor-related observation last night other than Dwane Casey’s internal sufferings, is about James Johnson.

After many years of hoping guys like Michael Bradley, Rafael Araujo, the Roko Ukic’s and the Joey Graham’s (apparently the Michael Jordan of “practise” players), grabbing onto scraps of decent box scores and flashes of decent play, a pessimism has developed about seeing younger guys and their supposed potential.

But James Johnson, it’s safe to say, if he can continue to lose some weight and work on his shot, there’s a lot there. But let’s see you blosson next year, James.

Now’s Solo’s time to shine.

  • Bendit

    Didn’t Rose win an MVP and yet to go all the way?

    • Nilanka15

      Yes, I believe the only 3 “retired” MVPs never to win a title are Barkley, Malone and Iverson.

      The 3 “active” players are LeBron, Rose, and Nash.

    • A-Dub

       You sir are correct, although you can argue that he still has a lot of chances to get there considering his age.  Nash might have a couple of years left at best and it’s unlikely he gets there although it would be nice to see.

    • Destro

      Why does Rose always come up? hes been in the league 4 seasons…
      trust me he’ll be in championship finals….

      • CJT

        He came up because the article was not specific about mvp’s who haven’t won a championship.  Rose is an mvp who hasn’t won a championship.  The guy didn’t say he wouldn’t, he just mentioned that he should be included in that group.  Calm down a bit.  

        • Destro

          No faggit thats called intellectual dishonesty…to compare him to guys who have played 15 + seasons….

  • Jon A

    james johnson is quick and catches alley oops, puts back dunks and has good foot speed. There’s a difference between muscle and fat why on earth would u want him to lose weight and thus some strength (takign away his interior game a bit)???

  • Statement

    For me, the Heat hate has died down this year, but I still do not want them to win a championship.

    Let’s go OKC.  Also, Chicago would be good and I wouldn’t even mind San Antonio.

    • sleepz

      I would be shocked if OKC even made it to the Finals this year.

      History shows there is usually a progression, especially with young teams and I have a feeling that they are going to come up short.

      • Rick

        So which team in the West do you have beating them? The Spurs aren’t the playoff threat that they used to be, the Mavs are a worse team this season than last season, and the Clippers, Grizzlies, Nuggets, and Jazz just aren’t legit. It’s one of OKC or the Lakers, but age seems to be catching up to LA.

        • Nilanka15

          I wouldn’t be so quick to write-off the Spurs.  If they can stay healthy, they’ll be as tough as anyone in a 7-game series.

          • RaptorFan

            we say this every year about the spurs…they were first in the west last year and lost in the first round…..they are better this year though….especially with a healthy Ginobli

        • sleepz

          Spurs, Clippers, Mavericks, Grizzlies are all teams I think can advance.

          I respect the Thunder but not sold on them especially considering how often they turn over the ball unforced.

          If I was the Thunder I would also not want to play Jazz in the first round. Not saying OKC can’t beat them but that series is tougher than they will imagine.

          • Bendit

            You are correct about their high turnover rate pg (somewhere at the bottom) but they are about 5th in offensive efficiency and possessions pg. Its been said that this all due to the quick paced and loose type of game they play and corralling them would hurt their other positive offensive numbers. In anycase the playoffs are a different animal and teams slow down. A larger problem for them is their ordinary rebounding numbers (20th).

      • awake

        In the West – I see OKC or the Lakers making it to the finals this year….However, i wouldnt be surpised if the Spurs make a run.

        I hope Chicago or Boston takes the east.  I still dont want Miami to win for some reason…. my girlfriend thinks its because Bosh checked out on the Raptors the last 7 games of the regular season in 2010 with a sprained nose…lol…maybe she’s right!  then again… Did you see him crying after the finals last year?? Maybe he already paid the price for being a b***h

  • jonazzing

    and the Joey Graham’s (apparently the Michael Jordan of “practise” players) hahah love it