Tuesday, December 23, 2014


We The North


Ah! The battle cry of the Toronto Raptors! The words have effectively fused Raptor fans into a family of basketball aficionados, to the extent that it has become increasingly difficult to purchase tickets for the games. That’s a good thing for the team. Home fans generate the energy required to motivate teams, and the Raptors will need that in the weeks to come.


Mind you, they have done a pretty good job of managing things up to this point in the season. They stand in first place, and they are second in scoring in the NBA. They have more wins this season, before the Christmas break, than at any other time in team history. They are doing all of this without their star player, DeMar De Rozan.


The Raptors embarked on a long road trip on Monday, beginning with a night with the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are also in the process of a fine season, and they are now getting some minutes from their star player Derrick Rose. Rose is a fragile entity, and suited up for the Bulls against the Raps on Monday night. It was his play in the final quarter that sunk the Raptors.


Rose ended the night with 29 points, and the Bulls breezed to a 129-120 victory. For some reason, likely for several reasons, the Raptors collapsed in the final stage of the game. They shot poorly, their shot selection was questionable, and they stopped playing defence. They did get 34 points from Kyle Lowry, and he played hard the whole game. He showed no fear as he challenged Chicago defenders with his cuts to the basket. But you can only do that so many times in the NBA, and you will eventually break down. It is a tough process under those baskets. Pau Gasol, recently arrived from the Lakers, and Joakim Noah also kept the Raptors at bay in the final quarter.


Coach Dwane Casey threw out a couple of comments recently, perhaps to inspire the troops as they head into the toughest road trip of the season. “I see our team like a hungry team. We have to play hard with a chip on our shoulders as a group. You can go through our roster, we have a lot of guys with something to prove. Whether you can win the championship with guys like that I don’t know, but we’re going to try to find out some day. That’s what you find in guys with chips on their shoulders.”


Reading between the lines is always a good idea when it comes to dissecting philosophical comments from coaches. In this case, I would suggest that he wants his players to play hard, especially on the current road trip. The fourth quarter in Chicago was not exactly what he had in mind. The Raptors led the game at one point by 11 points, but that lead dissipated quickly in the final stages. The Bulls scored 49 points in the last 12 minutes, the most ever allowed by a Raptors team.



The Raptors have a break now, until December 27 when they play the Clippers on the West Coast excursion. They play Denver the next night, then Portland on the 30th. They then head to Sacramento and Utah, before they head home. To some extent, the World Junior Hockey Championships have some impact on availability at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.  


There is a fine pair of tickets for a Raptor game of your choice in the Super Sports Draw which takes place on January 6th. You will be seated in a box with your food and refreshments included in the package. You may contact me by phone (613-399-2278) to get tickets. There are 25 prizes in the draw, with less than 100 remaining.


Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! To one and all!!


December 23, 2014    

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