Morning Coffee – Feb 10

No matter who's in town the Toronto Raptors continue to win at home. The suddenly surging Philadelphia 76ers, however, might have a good chance to change that.

Tipoff | Toronto Sun

In his past two games heading into Tuesday night's tip against Minnesota, Thaddeus Young averaged 18.0 points, all coming off the bench … Philly's run began with an 83-79 win over New Jersey. In the ensuing three games, all wins, Philly averaged 103.0 points … In a win over Chicago, Brand, who came into the NBA with the Bulls, scored 26 points on 12-of-22 shooting.

Raptors doing some serious number crunching –

But this year there's something new, information the team never had before. It's hard-core statistical analysis of everything that goes on in every NBA game that provides another layer at the coach's disposal – number-crunching that takes number-crunching to places never before explored in Toronto.

"They break stuff down like you've never seen," Triano said of the two men who crunch the numbers and provide the information the Raptors are using more now than they ever have. "It's possession-by-possession, player-by-player, combinations of players, points per possession, where we're scoring, where we're not scoring, it just gives us another tool to help us get better at both ends."

NBA facing shutdown as CBA set to expire – National Post

Owners' desire for a hard salary cap drove the National Hockey League off the ice for the 2004-05 season. Even with the state of the economy, the NBA is doing better now than the NHL was then. Still, attendance is down across the league, and a few franchises are in dire straits.

The way negotiations are being presented, a lockout seems more like a formality than a possibility.

"We understand that they've lost a lot of money, but if there's a stoppage of play, they're going to lose even more money," Jack said. "There's not going to be a product on the floor.

"There's not going to be people in the stands. There's not going to be as much apparel being bought. It kind of compounds the problem in my eyes,"

The future, indeed, seems bleak. After Friday, it could very well seem even bleaker.

Raptors Game Day

Who's hot? Thaddeus Young has excelled as a reserve in the last two games, averaging 18 points per game on 79% shooting.

Who's not? Since being moved to the bench, point guard Lou Williams has had a hard time finding his niche. He is shooting just 23%from the floor in the last two games.

Evans’ return to Raptors lineup is sweet – National Post

In the interim, though, Evans did not put on any weight.

"For being a guy who was immobile," Raptors coach Jay Triano said, "that's pretty impressive."

Evans is expected to play tomorrow against Philadelphia.

"I was raised up to work hard," Evans said, attributing his work ethic to growing up with a single parent, his mother.

"If you want something in your life, you can't sit on your butt and get it. You've got to appreciate yourself. So I appreciated myself and [did] not let myself get all blown up."

So, for a while, the candy was axed. Evans' diet became dominated by protein, vegetables, a few carbohydrates and the occasional piece of banana bread, and Evans did what he could in terms of working out. He made a foray into swimming for the first time ever, leaving several University of Toronto students bemused at the sight of the 6-foot-8 dude splashing around in their pool.

76ers-Raptors Preview – Feb. 9, 2010 – NBA –

No matter who's in town, the Toronto Raptors continue to win at home. The suddenly surging Philadelphia 76ers, however, might have a good chance to change that.

The Raptors look to extend their season-high home winning streak to eight games Wednesday night while trying for a third consecutive victory over the 76ers, who have won five in a row.

Winners of consecutive games overall, Toronto (28-23) is one victory shy of tying the franchise mark for wins prior to All-Star weekend. The Raptors went 29-21 before the break in 2001-02 and 29-24 in 2006-07.

Toronto's play at home has been a big reason for the team's first-half success. The Raptors are 19-6 at Air Canada Centre – one more win than they had there all of 2008-09 – and they're trying for their first eight-game home winning streak since Jan. 24-Feb. 14, 2006.

Sixers Notes: Iverson Out | Philadelphia Inquirer

Sixers guard Allen Iverson missed his fourth straight game last night because his daughter is ill. Iverson did not accompany the team to Toronto for tonight's contest against the Raptors, the Sixers' last game before the all-star break.

Iverson is expected to return after the break when the Sixers host the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Whether Iverson will play in the All-Star Game is up in the air. He was voted as a starter by the fans.

Sixers look to stay hot in Toronto –

The Sixers are looking to extend their win streak to six after Tuesday's blowout win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tonight is the team's final game before the All-Star break.

The Sixers are seven games behind the Raptors for second place in the Atlantic Division. Toronto is 5 games out of first place, behind Boston, in the division.

Andre Iguodala had 24 points and Elton Brand 21 on Tuesday. Iguodala leads the Sixers with 19.5 points per game.

Jones: Is Colangelo Broadway bound? –

There have always been conspiracy theories that Colangelo would end up in New York at some point, once Donnie Walsh was tired of the circus revolving around the franchise. It was also rumoured that the 'Commish' had lobbied the 'poobahs' at the top of the pyramid in New York to oust Isiah Thomas and bring in Bryan's dad, Jerry, to run the Knicks.It seemed like yet another telling sign that Bryan would eventually be running the Knicks. But it's another team close by that now supposedly has Colangelo on its radar: The New Jersey Nets.

Hey, with the change in ownership and the Nets slated for a move to Brooklyn, Colagnelo would end up in the Big Apple, just not running the Knicks. Want more fodder, well how about the fact that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has not yet picked up the option on Colangelo's contract for next season. You can bet that picking up the option would undoubtedly morph into a discussion about some type of multi-term extension but to date, nothing has happened.

Philadelphia @ Toronto GameThread, Feb 10, 2010 4:00 PM PST – Liberty Ballers

The Sixers have played terrible defense all season, but have improved tremendously during their winning streak. Tonight we'll find out if it's for real or just a product the teams they've played. According to the numbers, the Raptors have the second most efficient offense in the league, and the Sixers are playing the second of a back-to-back so I'd be extremely impressed if they could slow the Raptors down and steal a win — especially in Toronto.

Are the Sixers good enough to make the playoffs? Are they good enough to persuade management to keep the roster intact? Both answers will be more clear after tonight. Only two games remaining before the trade deadline.

All Eyes on Reggie Evans « Your Daily Oddmanic

Jay Triano, who was criticized for questionable substitutions early in the year, will now try to place Evans within a roster that is firing on all cylinders. Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani are averaging 36 and 34 minutes respectively, and moving Jarrett Jack into the starting lineup is the defensive edge they were seeking, forcing Jose Calderon to come off the bench and contribute in a more limited role. The move has worked as the team has posted a 14-6 record over the last 20 games, much to the credit of some clutch shooting from Marco Belinelli and defensive help from both Antoine Wright and Amir Johnson. With their core group playing cohesive basketball, Evans’ return will have to exceed expectations, taking away minutes from both Wright and Johnson while giving Bosh and Bargnani some much-needed rest down the stretch. Of course, this is all a utopian idea at the moment, born out of ideal scenario and anchored by an unknown outcome.

Chicago Bulls, other squads pick up steam in Eastern Conference – NBA News – FOX Sports on MSN

Not exactly a gauntlet, but commendable. A quick check of more significant numbers reminds us that the Raptors are last in the league for defensive efficiency, surrendering 112 points to the opposition per 100 possessions. But they've been a bit stingier of late, stingy enough to hold foes to reasonable totals while their relatively efficient offense (fourth in the NBA) gets to work.

The blame for better defense can be traced to an injury sustained by point guard Jose Calderon, something of a turnstile on defense, and the subsequent increase in minutes for the more hard-nosed Jarrett Jack. While Jack has been providing more resistance at the front of the Raptors' defense, finding more time for Sonny Weems enabled Toronto to do a better job of containing the league's crowd of monster wing scorers.

I also can't overlook how newcomer Hedo Turkoglu is starting to blend with superstar Chris Bosh and shot-chucking 7-footer Andrea Bargnani.

76ers at Raptors – Game Preview | Raptors Rapture

Coming into this one, the Raptors have won seven of their last eight, including a 115-104 win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday afternoon. Although not yet confirmed, Reggie Evans is slated to make his Raptors regular season debut on Wednesday night against his former club. Even though his minutes will most likely be limited, the presence of Evans can only help to make the Raptors a better defensive team, an area that they can undoubtedly always use improvement in. His availability should also help to create a constructive battle for minutes between several of the Raptors big men, hopefully producing a higher level of play.

FAN590 – Blogs – The Rap » Weather, A.I., Bosh and More

Jerry Colangelo (USA Basketball Chairman) and Mike Krzyzewski (Head Coach of the 2010-12 USA Basketball Men’s National Team) will host a media teleconference on Wednesday afternoon (1:00-1:30pm) to announce the players that have been selected for the 2010-12 USA Basketball Men’s National Team.

While nothing is official as of yet, it is expected that Raptors’ forward Chris Bosh will be one of the names announced.

Healthy Raptors prepare for 76ers | Toronto Sun

Reggie Evans makes his long-awaited debut in a regular-season game for the Raptors against a team that traded the veteran power forward in the off-season.

Triano wants to give Evans minutes, in all likelihood limiting Amir Johnson’s playing time.

Evans isn’t likely to play more than five minutes as he gets back into the groove following a four-month foot injury.

No matter what rotation Triano decides to use, he knows that certain players may be left out at some point.

It all depends on what the situation Wednesday night dictates.

Battle for the Atlantic Division « New Leisure Blog

As for the Raptors, I don’t see them making major moves at the deadline. I could see them tweak the roster a little bit, but I don’t see them making a big change. The coaching staff seems to be very happy with the roster, and the players look happy as well.

Now I have no idea how a trade would affect a team. Things may look good on paper, but a complete disaster on the court. However, if either team can get a guy that fits in perfectly with the team, then things could get interesting.

Rumours swirl around Raps’ Colangelo | Toronto Sun

The end of the month marks the four-year anniversary of Bryan Colangelo’s arrival in Toronto when he escaped the ownership debacle in the Arizona desert.

On Feb. 28, 2006, Colangelo was given the keys to the Raptors franchise with no strings attached, no interference from ownership and no excuses for producing an on-court product that would be entertaining and successful.

Under Colangelo’s watch, the Raptors have made two post-season appearances, but have no series wins.

He has managed the delicate balancing act of appeasing his owners and enticing players very astutely and wisely.

Colangelo has done a good job, but his job remains very much incomplete.

Sick Kids visit a slam dunk for Raptors | Toronto Sun

The Raptor poses with Arun Nadarajah, 17, of Toronto. Arun was excited to see the entire team close up after watching his heroes defeat the New Jersey Nets at the ACC last week. (JACK BOLAND, Toronto Sun)

Dino Nation Blog: DNB "The Word"

It is all to kick off a new segment inspired by Steven Colbert and his show the Colbert Report. It is THE WORD with a Raptor Twist….Enjoy.

Raptors rookie DeRozan guarantees dunk-in victory – Posted Sports

The Raptors swingman will take part in a "dunk-in" against the Clippers' Eric Gordon on Friday evening. The winner of the competition will take part in the slam dunk contest on Saturday night of all-star weekend.

Is he going to beat Gordon?

"Eric? Yeah, of course," DeRozan said.

"You've just got to keep that confidence. When it comes to trying to entertaining people, you know I love to do that. I just love going out there and trying to show something new. It's kind of tough these days."

DeRozan added he will have a role for either Sonny Weems or Jarrett Jack — or both — on one or more of his dunks.

We’re talking about practice: Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 |

How do you keep guys focused in this final game before the break: “We talked about it at training camp. We talked about four games that were important to us, that was before Christmas, the one after and the one before All-Star and the one right after that. Four games that maybe other teams will lose the mental advantage and slip away. So far we’re 2-0 in those games. We just remind our guys, going into the break, lets finish the job. Let’s finish playing the way that we have been and lest play the best as we can. We’re not guaranteeing a win, just play well and feel good about yourself going into the break knowing when you come back, you’ll be focused to get on back track right away.”

Jay Triano – Feb. 9, 2010

The Raptors head coach speaks with the media following Tuesday's practice.

DeMar DeRozan – Feb. 9, 2010

DeMar DeRozan speaks with the media following Tuesday's practice.

Hedo Turkoglu- Feb. 9, 2010

Hedo Turkoglu speaks with reporters after practice.

Team Up with the O’Connor Hawks- Feb. 9, 2010

MLSE and the Raptors Team Up to refurbish a court in Toronto's east end.

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