Payal Doshi gives her thoughts on the Toronto Raptors' 116-98 home win over the Houston Rockets:
Payal Doshi gives her thoughts on the Toronto Raptors' 116-98 home win over the Houston Rockets:
NBA TV Canada recently aired a feature hosted by Raptors telecast play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin who sat down with Raptors head coach, Dwane Casey, and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Ed Stefanski, to discuss the first half of the Raptors 2011-12 season, Jonas Valanciunas, and more.
For more from the "At the Half" feature, visit the video section at raptors.comno comments
In addition to blogging about her favourite basketball team, the Toronto Raptors, our own Payal Doshi recently did a feature on OMNI television's show 'V-Mix', where she went to a recent Raptors practice to ask some of the players the age old question: "Why do rappers want to hoop, and ballers want to rap?" In her feature, Payal also reached out to Toronto artists, Jay Oshaun, Rich Kidd, and Kid Kut to get their thoughts on why hoops & hip hop have always been so closely related.
DeMar DeRozan states that he has been working on his freestyles and rhyme writing, and hopes to be able to land a record deal (he mentioned Interscope as a label he'd like to be signed by). DeMar also credits Shaquille O'Neal with paving the way for basketball players crossing over into the world as rap artists.
Only time will tell if DeMar has the skills off the court as well.
Anyone else remember this album? Check this link for a full review to jog your memory in case you forgot.
Over the years, the Raptors have been bullied and beaten by the perennial championship contending Boston Celtics (remember The Truth putting CB4 in the fetal position?). Most recently, a week and a half ago, they were embarassed by the Celtics 100-64 at TD Garden.
Tonight, the Raptors had a chance to gain some measure of revenge, and that they did. Toronto came out with intensity right from the get go, outscoring Boston 26-14 in the first and kept their effort level up the whole night to get the 86-74. Their solid D allowed them to get out and run a little bit, scoring 12 fast break points. On offense, they were aggressive, outscoring the Celtics in points in the paint 42-28. The Raptors never trailed in this game.
As a Raps fan, not too much to complain about tonight. The bench was off, shooting only 7-25 from the field combined, but it didn't matter as the starters were on their A-game tonight. Amir had 12 pts, 12 rebs and 2 blks while James Johnson continued his strong play at both ends with 14 pts, 7 rebs, 3 stls, 2 blks. Jose had one of his ultra-efficient nights, scoring 17 pts while dishing out 14 asts with no turnovers. And DeMar was once again the agressive version of himself, scoring 21 pts including 7-7 from the free throw line. Aaron Gray chipped in with 11 rebs.
Next up: The Lakers visit the ACC on Sunday. Will the Raptors put an end to more bullying from another storied franchise (Raps fans will never forget Kobe's 81)? Tune in Sunday afternoon!
Momentum seemed to be on Toronto's side going into Monday night's tilt vs. the Washington Wizards. A 106-89 win at home vs. those very Wizards, and a hard fought game vs. one ofthe NBA's best, the Miami Heat, on Super Bowl Sunday showed that Toronto was coming out with excellent effort and were playing until the end.
The Raptors had another slow start, and were down 29-19 after the 1st quarter, and managed to force the game to OT by having two 30 point quarters in the 2nd half: 30 in the 3rd, and 33 in the 4th. The Raptors managed to outscore the Wizards by 10 in the final stanza to extend the game.
Jerryd Bayless & Linas Kleiza followed up their 17 point performances from yesterday, with VERY strong games tonight. They matched each others' scoring again, each going for 30! Kleiza was super efficient scoring those 30 points on 11-16 shooting, including four 3-pointers, while coming off the bench and tallying 33 minutes. He and Bayless had key baskets in the final 3 minutes of the 4th quarter, as the Raptors went back and forth with the Wizards trying to settle this one in regulation. James Johnson had a key block on Nick Young at the end of regulation to preserve the score at 108 a piece. (The official NBA box score has not credited Jimmy Johns with that block, but I'm sure that will be adjusted in time.)
The Wizards' Trevor Booker was the unsung hero for his club, who got his 2nd straight start and played 43 minutes tonight, while posting 19 points (7-10 from the field, and 5-6 from the line). He was a big presence for the Wizards on the defensive side of the ball gathering 3 steals, and collecting 3 blocks. Nick Young & John Wall brought their A-games tonight, efficiently putting up 31 & 29 points respectively.
Overtime certainly wasn't pretty for either club, but the Wizards managed to gain the lead and hold on for the win by scoring 6 points in the final 5 minutes compared to the Raptors' 3. Final score: Washington 111, Toronto 108.
Despite the loss, given their fantastic games tonight, I thought it was only right to further highlight the Raptors' players of the game to let our readers see & hear what they had to say after this gutwrenching loss:
Coming off a solid end to end game resulting in a win for the Toronto Raptors on Friday at home vs. the Washington Wizards, the Raptors headed to South Beach to take on their former star, Chris Bosh, and the Miami Heat.
Considering CB4 (CB1?) isn't the only star on the Miami roster (perhaps you've heard of LeBron James & Dwyane Wade?), the Raptors were most definitely going to be facing one of the best teams in the NBA and notjing less than a full 48 minute effort would do.
DeMar DeRozan got back on track offensively, putting up 25 points on 8-16 shooting from the field & 9-11 from the line, including a hellacious one handed dunk on the entire Heat defense! Jerryd Bayless & Linas Kleiza both continued to round in to form by contributing 17 points each, but it wasn't quite enough against the powerhouse Heat; as they pulled away in the 4th quarter resulting in a 95-89 win for Miami.
The Raptors held Chris Bosh to only 12 points on 3-13 shooting, but the rest of the 'Big 3', LeBron James & Dwyane Wade, showed once again why they are 2 of the league's best. LeBron ended the game with a near triple-double posting 30 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists going 10-17 from the field, and 10-12 from the line, while Dwyane posted 25 points on 8-14 from the field, and 9-12 from the line.
Personally, I was impressed that the Raptors were moving the ball quite well and playing unselfish basketball. They were not settling for outside shots, and seemed to be taking advantage of opportunities that the Heat defense were giving them. I even got a shoutout from the Raptors Tweet Zone crew (Twitter hashtag #RTZ) by joining the in-game conversation on Twitter as I voiced my approval as I watched the Raptors play a solid game. Be sure to follow & join the conversation during each Raptors game on Twitter by using the #RTZ hashtag.
In addition, here's our very own Payal Doshi giving her always poignant & entertaining views, as she breaks down the hard fought game and gives her thoughts on the effort the Raptors gave.
Let's hope the Raptors come out strong against the Wizards on Monday, who will be looking to get one up on the Raptors (each team currently has one win to their credit against the other).
Many teams look ahead to a matchup with the Raps to break out of a slump. This time, Toronto got to see what it feels like to be on the other end.
After getting thrashed by the Celtics by 36 on Wednesday night in Boston, the Raptors welcomed the lowly Washington Wizards to the ACC and got back on the winning track with a 106-89 win. Leandro Barbosa came off the bench for 19 and Amir Johnson got his first double double in a long while with 18 point and 13 rebounds, also adding 3 blocks. Jose Calderon regularly found the open man, racking up 17 assists, topping the 13 assist total of the whole Wizards team.
Using a balanced attack that saw 8 Raptors' players score at least 8 points, Toronto got into the paint early and often. They used a 12-4 second quarter run to create some breathing room in a close game to lead by 10, tying a season high with 55 points at the half.
In the third, Washington was able to cut the lead to 60-59 on a John Wall jumper. But Toronto regrouped by turning up their D and outscoring the Wizards 20-10 for the remainder of the quarter. The momentum carried over into the fourth as the Raptors started the final stanza with an 8-2 run and never looked back. Toronto finished with 68 points in the paint.
The Toronto Raptors were on the road facing the Boston Celtics tonight. They got off to a slow start once again, allowing the Celtics to build a 29-16 lead after the 1st quarter. Things didn't improve from there, as they trailed the rest of the way, and lost 100-64.
The Raptors shot an abysmal 34% from the field, and 44% from the free throw line going 8-18 from the charity stripe. DeMar DeRozan went 3-12 from the field, Jose Calderon went 0-5, James Johnson 3-11, Leandro Barbosa 2-9. Gary Forbes 2-8, and Amir Johnson was 0-2. Neither the starters or the bench could spark things offensively for Toronto.
The Celtics were able to build their lead and maintain it throughout by being efficient from the field, shooting 52%, and also sharing the ball. They had 30 assists on 39 made field goals, and only 10 turnovers.
Celtics' Paul Pierce lead all players with 17 points, also adding 6 rebounds, and 8 assists. All 13 Boston Celtics who dressed saw minutes in this game. The Raptors' Jerryd Bayless led the Raptors with 14 points off the bench. Similarly for Toronto, 12 of their players saw time on the floor.
Home sweet home...
After going 3-2 on their road trip, the Raptors came home to a stern test versus Atlanta, one of the East's top teams and lost 100-77. Joe Johnson had 30 points on 13-18 shooting as the Hawks had 5 players in double figures. Ed Davis finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Raps. Jerryd Bayless (14 pts) and Gary Forbes (10 pts) were the only other Raptors in double figures.
Toronto managed to keep it close early despite Atlanta attacking the Raptors small backcourt of Calderon and Bayless. Joe Johnson abused whoever guarded him, going 5-6 in the quarter. The Hawks extended their 23-18 first quarter lead by attacking the rim and forcing turnovers. In the first half, Atlanta had 26 points in the paint. Joe Johnson had 24 at the half to lead his team to a 56-37 lead.
Dwane Casey went to a bigger lineup to start the second half, putting in Aaron Gray at center and Bayless sitting. Unfortunately, the Raptors could get no closer than 14 the rest of the way. The Raptors shot only 37% for the game compared to the Hawks' 51%.
Toronto finally came out relatively strong in the first quarter and put together one of their more complete games of the season with the 94-73 win at the New Jersey Nets. The Raptors finished 3-2 2 to end their 5-game road trip, their first winning 5+ game road trip since 2001. This was also their first win of the year without Andrea Bargnani in the lineup.
Dwane Casey inserted Jerryd Bayless into the starting lineup, which immediately paid dividends. Bayless disrupted Deron Williams early and the Raptors shot 55% in the quarter to end the first tied at 24. Bayless finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds. In his last 2 games, he has looked like he is recovered from the high ankle sprain that had limited him so far this year.
In the second, Toronto stayed active on defense, and used it to help fuel their offense. This despite not having their sixth man, Leandro Barbosa who sat out with a sprained left ankle. In the third, DeMar DeRozan took over the offense, getting to the line often, hitting jumpers and finishing on the break. He finished with a season-high 27 points on 8-12 shooting including 16 free throw attempts. The Raptors led by 17 after 3 and held on in the fourth for the 21-point win.
NOTES - Deron Williams finished with 24 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds for the Nets. Linas Kleiza added 15 points and Jose Calderon chipped in with 10 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds. Calderon and Bayless played well together, showing great chemistry, including a Calderon to Bayless alley-oop jam in the third.