Morning Coffee – Feb 4

Turkoglu is one of those high maintenance kind of players who needs to have things precisely right, both on and off the court. A few years ago, he broke his nose as a member of the Orlando Magic. Turkoglu wore a mask for one game before discarding it because the apparatus proved too cumbersome.

A silver lining | Toronto Sun

The Raptors, who have Thursday off, will be back on their practice court on Friday, when it's expected Turkoglu will practise with the hope of playing in Sunday's home meeting against Sacramento.

It's expected Turkoglu will don some kind of mask to protect the sensitive area below his right eye.

"He wants to play,'' Raptors head coach Jay Triano said of Turkoglu. "And he wants to play without a mask, but doctors have strongly recommended against it."

Turkoglu is one of those high maintenance kind of players who needs to have things precisely right, both on and off the court.

A few years ago, he broke his nose as a member of the Orlando Magic. Turkoglu wore a mask for one game before discarding it because the apparatus proved too cumbersome.

Sonny shines for Raptors | Toronto Sun

A night earlier, Weems went scoreless in Indiana, struggling with his shot and struggling to defend Danny Granger.

But to his credit, Weems rebounded by posting his first career double-double (14 points and 11 rebounds) in helping the Raptors bounce back from a bad loss to the Pacers.

“It just feels good," Weems beamed. “Give a lot of credit to Jarrett, who sucked it up and played like a true warrior.”

The Raptors are bent on returning DeRozan to the starting unit once the rookie returns, which could be as early as Sunday.

Depth is a good thing to have, especially at this point of the season when the Raptors are thin and getting thinner.

The question that can’t be answered is how will head coach Jay Triano manage minutes and more importantly massage egos.

Raptors looking for new blood prior to deadline –

“It wasn’t just the fans that were worried about the slow start,” said Colangelo. “We all were. But we kind of knew it was coming … with so much change, those effects are going to happen.

“We had a (tough early) schedule … it wasn’t an excuse, it was a reality. We had the fact that everyone had to acclimate, including the coaching staff, to all the new bodies. But we seem to have found a nice balance. We’re competing night in and night out.”

Colangelo knows that the Maple Leafs likely won’t find themselves contending for a title in the near future, but he believes Burke’s decision to shake things up will have long-term benefits — much the way Colangelo’s flurry of off-season moves helped shape the Raptors.

“To make a deal that clearly is going to work out, and that was proven as early as (Tuesday night’s 3-0 Leafs win), it’s a great feeling to make a deal like that,” said Colangelo. “And it makes you hunger for more.

Subpar Raptors pass the survival test –

"When I woke up, I didn't know if I was going to be able to play but I told coach and the team I was going to give them everything I had, if it was two minutes, three minutes. Tonight it happened to be 39 minutes thanks to coach taking it easy on me," Jack said.

Jack's performance mirrored that of the Raptors, who weren't great but good enough when it counted to subdue the 4-44 Nets, who played hard but collapsed in the final seven minutes.

"He was pushing the ball, he changed the tempo a few times and he got the crowd into it and got us into it," Chris Bosh said of Jack. "We needed his hustle. He did more things than just numbers; he was a leader for us out on the court, he got us going."

Raptors stay hot at home – The Globe and Mail

“I told the players before the game, this is a big game for us,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said. “This team [New Jersey] is playing a lot better, the last four games have been close games. They’re battling now.”

With Sonny Weems, starting in place of injured rookie DeMar DeRozan, once again providing plenty of up-tempo play – including an awesome one-handed slam off an in-bounds pass from Jack in the second quarter – the Raptors ripped off a 16-4 run to regain the lead and held on for a 57-56 advantage by the half.

The Raptors hauled a tenuous 83-78 lead into the fourth quarter, then a high-flying fast-break slam by Weems, who contributed a career-high 14 points and 11 assists, helped propel the Raptors to their sixth consecutive win at home.

“Sonny was energetic and beyond,” Triano said.

Raptors Slam Down Nets, 108-99 – ESPN Video – ESPN

Raptors grab their sixth win in seven games

khandor’s sports blog » Raptors’ improved defense an illusion?

this recent stretch of improved winning has many of the team’s supporters excited about what might actually lie ahead in the 2nd half of the schedule and, possibly, in the post-season.

Closer inspection of the team’s performance in these 16 games, however, reveals that there is still a long way to go before the Raptors have any realistic hope of becoming a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.

NetsDaily » Nets Let Game Get Away in Second Half

The Nets fell to 1-24 on the road Wednesday night, unable to hang with the improved Raptors in Toronto. The Nets quickly went down 11 points, but the second unit turned the game around with an 18-3 run that spanned the first and second quarters. It was tight until the end of the third, when some poor execution by the Nets allowed the Raptors to go on a 12-1 run. The Nets couldn’t get enough stops after that to make it interesting. Toronto shot 47 percent from the field, 10-16 from 3-point range and got to the line 29 times. The Nets had six guys in double-figures, with Kris Humphries recording his first double-double with the team, but Devin Harris shot just 4-17 from the field and turned the ball over four times. Nets’ latest loss drops them to 4-44

“Our second unit was really active,” Douglas-Roberts said. “We had a lot of energy. That’s all it was. We made plays on both ends of the floor.”

But after holding Toronto without a field goal and just three points for the first six minutes of the second, the Nets’ defense softened. The Raptors hit eight consecutive shots and took the lead on a Jack three-pointer with 2:57 left in the half.

“We just let down on energy,” Vandeweghe said. “For most of the game I thought we were pretty good,” Vandeweghe said. “It’s those lapses a couple minutes at a time that hurt us.”

Nets Owner Looking to Woo Colangelo? – NBA – Yahoo! Sports

No one is sure how dramatic of changes that Prokhorov will make within the franchise, but this march to ignobility with the nine-win ’72-73 Philadelphia 76ers leaves no one feeling safe. Thorn wants to stay as team president, but there have been no assurances. His contract ends this summer. At least one executive in the league office believes Prokhorov has his eye on Toronto Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo, popular in the international basketball community, for the Nets’ top job. Others still believe Prokhorov will give Thorn a chance, based on strong backing from the commissioner’s office and the overall body of his work.

Banged-up Raptors cast aside Nets

"The second quarter we had an opportunity to really put them down," said Humphries, who scored 13 points and pulled in 11 rebounds. "They were able to fight back and they ended up putting the pressure back on us when they tied the game up. We weren't able to come back in the second half."

In addition to Harris' offensive output, Yi Jianlian chipped in 15 points as well. Despite shooting 1-of-12 last night and opening this game 2-of-7, Yi rallied and finished the game shooting 7-of-14.

All five New Jersey starters scored in double figures. Courtney Lee scored 14 points, Brook Lopez added 12, and Jarvis Hayes had 11. The Nets shot 43.8 percent from the field and outrebounded the Raptors, 43-40.

In the end, Nets don’t measure up –

Witness the 4-44 record that puts them on course for a worst-ever 7-victory NBA season. More importantly, it turns off the likes of free agent-to-be Bosh, who began a critical, 90-second, 6-0 run with two scores early in the fourth that upped Toronto's lead to 10 and started the Nets' irreversible dip. Bosh reiterated he would not consider the Nets.

"No, my feeling hasnt changed. It has always been the same," the 6-10 Bosh (20 points) said about the Nets, in whom he sees only losing. "I can only speak for myself but I think guys heading into free agency, they just look for somewhere that they feel they can win. Winning is the biggest part of it. You have to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel."

So is there any light for the Nets? Or is that just the high beams of an 18-wheeler about to run them over?

"It depends on what they do in the offseason, the moves they're thinking about doing," Bosh, 25, added.

CBC News – Toronto – Raptors hurting but keep winning

"Weems came in and was the difference-maker for them," New Jersey's Kris Humphries said. "The big dunk got the crowd going. They were actually booing them for a while."

Weems and Jack also teamed up for a steal and breakaway dunk late in the second as Toronto erased a 42-30 disadvantage to lead 57-56 at the half.

"Tonight was his first double-double, which he was very happy about," Jack said. "He told me he was going to go home and frame the boxscore."

BBC Sport – Basketball – Mensah-Bonsu explains Moscow move

Great Britain forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu explains to the BBC's World Service why he decided to sign for CSKA Moscow after being released by the NBA's Toronto Raptors.

Carter’s blowing last chance at greatness « In Search of Good Times

When the Orlando Magic essentially swapped Hedo Turkoglu for Vince Carter last summer, I loved the move. After watching Orlando advance to the NBA Finals and take the Los Angeles Lakers to a hard-fought six games before Kobe Bryant and the Lakers captured the title, it was clear that the Magic were close to getting a ring. However, the one thing that they lacked was a perimeter player who could command a double-team, and could score in many different ways.

Hedo Turkoglu, for all of his admirable qualities as a player, is not that kind of guy. Vince Carter is, and the fact that the Magic also acquired another sweet-shooting power forward, Ryan Anderson, from the Nets in the trade as well was just a bonus.

NBA Trade Rumors: Is Josh Howard On His Way To The Toronto Raptors?

A deal with the Raptors doesn't appear to make sense on the surface. The only "extra" players the Raptors may have to deal is their "spare" starting point guard and one of their "surplus" shooting guards.

The only big men likely available on the Raptors are Rasho Nesterovic and Reggie Evans, neither of whom should be able to help the Mavericks.

Point guard, Jose Calderon and shooting guard, Marco Belinelli would match up in salaries if the Raptors GM believes Howard's current problems can be resolved by a change of scenery. But is that enough to pry loose the former all-star?

Does This Mean We Can Plan The Parade Route Again? : The Picket Fence

The ten players on the Raptors roster who play at least 10 minutes per game and have played in most of the games, so can be considered regular rotation players, have an average age of 24.6 years old. And only two rotation players are above the age of 26, Turkoglu and Calderon. That’s very young. It’s especially young when you look around the league a little…

Orlando: 27.8
Charlotte: 27
Miami: 27.2
Chicago: 26.4
Atlanta: 26

Judging The Raptors After 50 Games « Brothersteve’s Green & Red Raptor Blog

And this season, the Toronto Raptors are finally Colangelo’s team. The Raptors GM now has:

1. His own choice as Head Coach in Jay Triano;
2. His first major free agent signing in Hedo Turkoglu; and,
3. Has purged the team of all pre-Colangelo era players except All-Star Chris Bosh and TJ Ford’s replacement, Jose Calderon.

Most of the last vestiges of GMs past have been finally swept away.

the samsquanch: The heads of Raptor’s fans collectively exploded in unison during the first half

The Killer Bees struggled shooting the ball but still managed to get 20 a piece. Bargnani did a better job on the defensive end tonight and seemed a bit more engaged. He stood his ground against a tough opponent in Brook Lopez and blocked him on several occasions. He changed a lot of shots, switched well, kept his man in front of him on switches, and finished with 4 blocks. Bosh didn't fair too well on the defensive end despite having a good game on the glass. Yi scored the ball way too easily and beat Bosh to the ball on several occasions. This may have been what prompted Triano to mention boxing Yi out during one of his discussions on a time-out. Btw this expression on AB7's face was the look I had on my face as I watched the game in the first.

FAN590 – Blogs – The Rap » Undermanned Raptors Get “W”

Smith Says:
– “I know the second quarter didn’t look pretty, but overall this was a good character win for Toronto … including some impressive performances at the 2-3 from Weems and Wright.”

Raptors Wax Chumps like a Candle « The Zan Tabak Herald

Another night where both Bosh and Bargnani showed inconsistencies on defense. I, for one, am looking forward to the return of Reggie Evans. When a team goes on a big run, like the Nets did in the second quarter, Reggie will be there to absolutely hammer someone to make them think twice about driving the net. The defense inside needs to be stronger and more intimidating. As the game went on both Bosh and Bargnani picked up the slack but against a more challenging opponent the Raptors will not be as fortunate to come away with the victory.

Game In Six Minutes – Feb. 3, 2010

Check out the Raptors vs. Nets, all in just six minutes!

Raptors Game Recap – The FAN 590 Toronto

THE FAN presents the highlights (clip 1 courtesy Paul Jones) and the recap (clip 2 courtesy Eric Smith) of a 108-99 Raptors' win over the Nets.

Alex English – The FAN 590 Toronto

The Hall of Famer and assistant coach with the Raptors joins Eric to chat about the Raptors' recent five-game win streak, a heap of recent injuries and the 4-43 Nets squad.

Jay Triano – The FAN 590 Toronto

Jay Triano joins the Big Early to talk about last night's 130-115 defeat to Indiana, and the injury concerns surrounding Jose Calderon, Hedo Turkoglu and Demar Derozan.