Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee – Jan 24

Raptors need to add piece for playoff puzzle | Toronto Sun

Barring a complete implosion, and there is no indications that one awaits, the Raptors will make the playoffs this spring.

Unless they adjust their roster, it will be a short-lived run because they simply are not built for the post-season.

They don’t have enough athleticism and they don’t have enough quality bigs.

They have shooters and their offence will win one, perhaps two playoff games, but they can’t flourish in a seven-game series.

Maybe they have to look at trading a Jose Calderon, a DeMar DeRozan, and one of many expiring contracts.

You can’t trade Andrea Bargnani because he looms as the team’s incumbent at power forward if Bosh isn’t around past this summer.

You can’t trade Hedo Turkoglu because of his cumbersome contract.

Contribute to quake victims at Raptors, Leafs games –

Fans of the Raptors and Leafs have a chance to donate to the Haiti relief effort over the next week. For Sunday's Raptors game and Tuesday's Leafs game at the ACC, cash donations are being collected and will be matched by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Also, $20 from every Leafs, Raptors, Marlies and Toronto FC jersey sold at CentreSports inside the ACC will be donated to UNICEF Canada Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund.

Raptors aware Pau Gasol is no softie –

"Oh, man," Raptors coach Jay Triano said when asked his opinion of Gasol. "We were watching (Friday), the last 10 minutes (of a Lakers-Knicks game) in our locker room after our game and he's just long. He blocked shots, he tipped in balls, he made a one-on-one move and an and-one (a three-point play).

"He's super-skilled and super long. He stands under the basket and he's always up under the rim. The rebounds don't get too far away from the basket. (He's) just a very skilled basketball player."

Lakers Sunday: 22-22 Raptors – Lakers blog : The Orange County Register

One game after enjoying scoring on Mike D’Antoni’s defense-challenged Knicks, the Lakers go against a Raptors team run by former Phoenix Suns exec Brian Colangelo – and Toronto is even more helpless on defense. Toronto is 15-0 when it does hold opponents to fewer than 100 points. But the Raptors depend on offense, and they have the fifth-best 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA. The Lakers are No. 1 in the league in 3-point defense, though, and Raptors center Andrea Bargnani (17.2 ppg, 1.6 3-pointers per game) is questionable with a sore back.

Hochman: NBA East has the least – The Denver Post

The more people I speak to throughout the NBA, the more it sounds like Toronto won't trade Bosh by the Feb. 18 deadline — a move that could shake up the Western Conference race, if Bosh headed west. The fact is, the Raptors are playing better basketball lately and could nab the conference's fifth spot in the playoffs. Deal Bosh during the season and general manager Bryan Colangelo would always be known as the guy who traded away a possible Hall of Famer. But if Bosh leaves in the summer as a free agent, Bosh is the one who looks like he turned his back on a franchise (and, though not completely fair, a nation).

Understand why Hedo Is Frustrated | Toronto Sun

Yes, sometimes Hedo Turkoglu looks too much like Hedon't. But every time I see him with a wide open look and nobody on the Raptors passing him the ball, I understand why he is frustrated with them, just as they are frustrated with him.

Bosh staying in Toronto – Hoops World

Bosh's leaving the Raptors isn't the virtual guarantee some casual basketball fans seem to think it is.

First and foremost, Bosh legitimately loves Toronto. The fans there have been great to him and the Raptors were, after all, the team that gave him his first big shot and his first big NBA contract. There's more of a sense of loyalty there than people realize, and in an ideal world Bosh would be staying and competing for a championship with the Raptors.

And despite what some have claimed, Bosh has gone on record several times to make it known that he's happy with the moves the team has made to put solid pieces around him. He's not just saying this to sate the media, either; he means what he's saying. He thinks he can win with this core, and this core certainly has shown flashes of being everything they have to potential to be, both at the end of the 2008-2009 season and for stretches during this season, too.

The Purple And Gold Blog: Preview: Lakers vs. Raptors

They must also continue to make Bosh struggle against them by forcing him to put the ball on the floor often rather than just sit out there doing what he does best which is shooting jumpshots. He must also be boxed out at all times since rebounding is his other strength and is the 8th best rebounding big man in the entire league.

Taking care of the Raptors' perimeter game and commanding the glass on both baskets should provide the necessary ingredients for a Laker victory. They need to use their size to constantly put pressure on Toronto defensively forcing them to commit fouls and double both Gasol and Andrew Bynum often.

The Lakers must also execute on offense and make their shots. In this road trip, their offense is lagging a bit thanks to their reluctance to use their post-presence constantly and decisions to shoot the ball early. But at the same time, they can't lose their attention or their energy or this game will prove to be another unnecessary tough battle for them.

Chris Bosh the All Star « Lebron2Knicks

This is a contract year for Bosh, who has yet to decide on whether he will resign with Toronto or opt for free agency and join another team. It has been reported that Toronto would rather sign and trade Bosh to at least get something in return for their star instead of just watching him walk away and get nothing in return if he does indeed decided to leave. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, however. Bosh is the man in Toronto. He is the captain, the leader, the star. Bosh has the ability to get a max contract this summer, from any team. He has to decide what he really wants. To win a championship? To get max money? To be a franchise player?

5 Ways Toronto Raptors replace Chris Bosh – HoopsVibe

In this edition of Listed, HoopsVibe`s Breaking Down The NBA Blog is naming the top five players to take over for Bosh in Toronto – provided, of course, CB4 heads elsewhere this summer. Read the post, form your opinion, and get at us with your opinion in the comment box below.

Dino Nation Blog: Raptors Rewind V-Log Edition

Yes this is way after the fact but this was and is the debut of the Dino Nation Blog in video form. So it took awhile to figure some things out. Like who knew videos could only be 10 minutes on YouTube. Likely half the free world but not me.

Raptors need to add piece for playoff puzzle | Toronto Sun

Even when Reggie Evans returns, which should be around the time of the trade deadline, the Raptors’ problems won’t all be solved.

Assuming Evans is able to come back and be that interior presence, defensively, there won’t be many nights when boxing out an opponent becomes problematic.

The need for an established wing player with late shot-clock abilities is obvious, but those kinds of athletic pieces aren’t readily available.

When a team can’t go athletic, it can go big.

The buzz around the NBA is that bigs such as Marcus Camby and Brendan Haywood might be had for the right price.

As of Saturday, the grapevine seemed to indicate that the Washington Wizards are more inclined to keep Haywood, a free agent this summer who makes about $6 million US.

Camby also is a free agent, earning roughly $1.5 million more than Haywood.

Lakers-Raptors Preview – Jan. 23, 2010 – NBA –

Kobe Bryant doesn't want to miss any time to allow his fractured index finger to heal, but he would like his teammates to help take some pressure off him.

Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers continue their eight-game road trip Sunday when they take on the Toronto Raptors.

Since breaking his right index finger last month, Bryant has maintained a 28.3 scoring average but his shooting percentage has suffered. The Lakers star has been held below 40 percent in seven of the last 10 games and has shot 32.4 percent from the field over his last three contests.

Bryant shot 8 of 24 and finished with 27 points Friday in a 115-105 victory at New York. It was the fourth win in five games for Los Angeles (33-10), which bounced back after a loss to Cleveland the previous night.

Despite his shooting struggles, Bryant has no plans to rest.

Chris Bosh to Knicks in Offseason? Not So Fast – New York Knicks –

Raptors forward Chris Bosh will be a free agent after the season. Despite speculation that the Knicks will pursue Bosh as a free agent, the New York Daily News reports team officials are split on whether to pursue the All-Star forward.

Many NBA teams would welcome this season’s NBA leader in double-doubles, but the Knicks reportedly are concerned with Bosh’s price tag and wonder if he would be a significant upgrade over David Lee.

Still, Knicks president Donnie Walsh hopes to sign two impact free agents in the offseason.

As one of the top available NBA players this summer, Bosh has been the subject of numerous trade rumors.

Jones: Turkoglu finally playing off –

And the Raptor fans need to get off this guy. True he hasn't been producing, no argument here, and he has deservedly taken the fans wrath for his poor play that has not been commensurate with his salary. But like the kid that has been put on punishment by his parents, at some point the kid understands what is expected, the chastising ends and positive encouragement toward desired the behaviors need to be employed, particularly if the kid is trying to do the right thing. Not sure if booing the guy in the first quarter after missing a shot or booing when his jersey is given away as a prize in the arena is helping the situation.

the samsquanch: Good win, sweet revenge

SOOOOOO without Bargs in the line up lastnight someone needed to step up big. If nobody steps up you see the result in the previous game. Bosh gets 44 points and a whack load of boards and everyone else is panting and pissing themselves as the other team tears them a new one. Jack steps up last night. Showing ferocity that I have never seen in him in a Raptor uniform. Woulda liked a few more dimes from him but with the way he was scoring, who cares. When's the last time another Raptor besides CB4 and AB7 score more than 25 points in a game? That's a good question! In the last couple of seasons obviously nobody besides Bosh has averaged 20 or more points in season. So obviously secondary scoring is necessary. I've always believed that you need at least two 20 point scorers, and I mean on a regular basis, for a team to be successful.

Raptors get revenge against Bucks with come from behind win – Examiner

Marco Belinelli provided a big spark off of Toronto's bench, scoring 16 points with 5 rebounds in 25 minutes. Chris Bosh, after scoring a career-high 44 points in Wednesday's game against the Bucks, was held to just 17 points and 7 rebounds, but made two key free throws late in the 4th that helped seal the win for Toronto (22-22).

Luke Ridnour scored 27 points in the game on 9-13 shooting, including 3 of the Bucks' 5 threes. He handed out 4 assists and did all his damage in just under 24 minutes.

Andrew Bogut had 22 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks, but scored just 5 of those points in the second half. Brandon Jennings continues to put up terrible shooting numbers, making just 5-15 shots for 14 points. He had 3 steals, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in the loss. Carlos Delfino, who had been really hot lately, made just 4-16 shots on his way to 9 points and 11 rebounds in 43 minutes. In his second game as a Buck, Jerry Stackhouse had 8 points but committed 5 turnovers. – TrueHoop Network Milwaukee Bucks Blog

After playing what I thought was their best half of basketball all year long in the first half, the Bucks went away from everything that had been working for them and resorted to chucking up three-point shot after three-point shot against the Raptors zone defense. The more they chucked, the better Toronto felt, because Milwaukee ended up 5-26 from downtown, including a 3-15 performance in the second half. And, as has been the case often times this year, once the Bucks offense gave out their defense soon followed suit.

Tip-In: Locker Room Insider Edition – The HQ Talks to Turk, Triano andMore – Raptors HQ

Sometimes you need to win ugly and Toronto did just that last night, besting Milwaukee 101 to 96 to again reach .500 on the season. The HQ breaks down the win and chats with various Raptors, from Hedo Turkoglu to Patrick O'Bryant.

Wright Battles Through Adversity|Hoops Addict

Heading into the season he was heralded as gritty defender and rebounder which is a role he is now starting to fulfill.

“It feels good and I feel as healthy as I’ve been all year,” Wright admitted to Hoops Addict after a big win against Milwaukee. “I’ve been having good practices and proving I belong on the court. Now while I’m out there I’m just trying to contribute.”

Last night Wright grabbed the opportunity to contribute when Jay Triano elected to play small ball and he led the team in rebounds (8).

Throw in the fact he was the first player off the bench for the team and it’s looking like the veteran wing is finally finding himself in a groove playing for Toronto.

Turkoglu continues to struggle | Toronto Sun

The Raptors were desperate for offence Friday night, but Turkoglu, as much as he tried, couldn't provide it.

Yes, Turkoglu did contribute to the win with a team-high five assists, but his 2-for-10 night from the field isn't going to help him sleep any better.

"He just has to perform," teammate Chris Bosh said earlier in the day of his struggling teammate.

"Pretty much that is what it comes down to. We can say all the encouraging words we want to, but the fact of the matter is, as harsh as it sounds, he just has to perform.

Raptors Replay | Toronto Sun

DeRozan isn't leaving any stone unturned in his quest for an NBA slam dunk title. Already planning on incorporating teammates Sonny Weems and Jarrett Jack in his dunks, DeRozan has added Jennings for a similar role. "I had to go back to my roots," DeRozan explained. "He was my point guard growing up."

Raptors enter a strange zone –

Up one with just under four minutes left, the Raptors held the Bucks without a basket for more than three minutes as they pulled away.

"Do whatever it takes," Bosh said. "We just threw them off a little bit. We wanted to give them a different look because their offence was really working. But we did throw them off and we stuck with it."

Team insiders suggest a zone defence isn't something that's worked on every day at practice. In fact, the Raptors practise it about once every five workouts, but when Bosh was surrounded by the odd cast of characters, it ignited the team at both ends.

"You get the stops, so it's easier to run," said Triano. "We have smaller guys out there, so whoever gets the rebound can go with it.

"We tried to keep everybody on the perimeter, that's what was hurting us, inside with (Andrew) Bogut and we just went zone to try to throw off what they (the Bucks) were looking for."

Raptors Blow By Bucks, 101-96 – ESPN Video – ESPN

Raptors overcome late deficit, avenge earlier loss to Bucks

Rewind 10 Years: How Vince Carter Became Famous | Bleacher Report

Back then there were six contestants. Steve Francis, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Ricky Davis, Larry Hughes, and Jerry Stackhouse.

Nobody remembers anyone in this contest besides Vince Carter, and T-Mac (because he passed the ball to Vince).

The Slam-Dunk Contest was running a trial run, after canceling the contest for two years. They decided to keep it after seeing the display that Vince Carter put on.

Vince Carter was going to play the next day in the All-Star game, the first of eight straight appearances.

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