Tuesday, December 23, 2014
We The North
Ah! The battle cry of the
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. Toronto
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
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. Chicago
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
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. Chicago
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.”
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
30th. They then head to Portland Sacramento
before they head home. To some extent, the World Junior Hockey Championships
have some impact on availability at the Air Utah Canada
Centre in .
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