The Raptors didn't disappoint the home crowd in their 1st game at Air Canada Centre in 10 days, coming away with a 115-100 victory over the New York Knicks. This was the 2nd of a back-to-back/home & home set for the Raptors and Knicks.
Toronto had 3 players with 20+ points in the game! Kyle Lowry had a near triple double scoring 32 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds, Terrence Ross posted 23 points (including 7 three pointers!), and DeMar DeRozan had 20.
The Raptors are rollin'! Toronto stormed back to beat the Knicks 95-83 at Madison Square Garden. With the win, the Raptors have completed their 4 game road trip; winning 3 of those 4 games. The Raptors dominated the 4th quarter outscoring the Knicks 29-12.
Jonas Valanciunas & Kyle Lowry each had double-doubles, with 16 points and 18 rebounds (a career high in rebounds for JV) and 15 points and 11 assists respectively. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors in scoring, putting up 25 points.
The Toronto Raptors handed one of the NBA's best, the Oklahoma City Thunder, their first home loss of the season, with a determined and hard fought 104-98 win.
5 Raptors posted double digit scoring, with Kyle Lowry scoring a team high 22 points, while dishing out 9 assists. Amir Johnson had a double-double, scoring 17 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.
Meanwhile Russell Westbrook led the way for the Thunder with 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, and Kevin Durant had 24 points and 8 rebounds. No other Thunder player scored in double digits.
With the win the Raptors have now taken over 1st place in the Atlantic Division and are currently in 4th place in the Eastern Conference!
This is the first time that the Toronto Raptors an above .500 record on the road since 2002! The Raptors' overall record is now 11-14, winning 2 in a row, and 5 of their last 7 games.
It's now time to move on as the 3rd game of the Raptors' 4 game road trip is Monday night, December 23rd (the 2nd of a back-to-back). They will face another tough opponent in the San Antonio Spurs.
(Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images)
From heartbreak to jubilation! After losing their last game at home in overtime to the Charlotte Bobcats, the Toronto Raptors bounced back to beat the Dallas Mavericks in overtime, coming away with a scrappy 109-108 victory. The Raptors now improve their overall record to 10-14, and the win gives them a .500 record on the road this season. According to Raptors play-by-play announcer, Matt Devlin, this marks the first time the Raptors have been .500 on the road since 2008, when they had a 15-15 record at that time.
All 5 starters for the Raptors scored in double digits, led by Kyle Lowry's 20 points, while Greivis Vasquez added 14 points off the bench.
Former Raptors Jose Calderon and Vince Carter faced their old team, but each posted considerably different stat lines. Jose, as the starting point guard, had a team high 23 points for the Mavericks, and added 9 assists. Vince, on the otherhand, went scoreless (!!) and committed 6 turnovers, in nearly 18 minutes of playing time off the bench.
Jonas Valanciunas put up his 3rd double-double in the last 4 games, scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Up next, the Raptors face Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Thunder on Sunday night in Oklahoma City.
And as always, winning brings out the best in your teammates:
Sunday marked a crazy day for the Toronto Raptors organization as a whole, as they traded Rudy Gay, Aaron Gray, and Quincy Acy to the Sacramento Kings for John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, and Chuck Hayes. The deal was completed in the late afternoon/early evening, just hours before the Raptors were about to tip off against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. This game also happened to be the return of Kobe Bryant, who was coming back after 8 months after recovering from an achilles injury suffered in the 1st round of the playoffs last season.
The remaining Raptors proved why they are professional athletes, and managed to block out the noise while getting a much needed win on the court. The Raptors earned a 106-94 victory behind a career high 32 points from Amir Johnson, and clutch down the streatch performances from DeMar DeRozan & Kyle Lowry. This spoiled the Lakers' plans on the eve of Kobe Bryant's home court return, but for the Raptors it snapped a 5 game losing skid.
Will the Raptors rally around each other going forward, or will the loss of Rudy Gay present them with the type of lackluster record they had before his arrival last season? To be fair, the Raptors started the season 6-12 with Rudy Gay in the lineup this year, and based on the near $20 million player option that Rudy Gay had for the upcoming 2014-15 season, the Raptors felt they would be best served to move on from Rudy and go a different direction for the immediate and near future.
Trades are indeed a part of the business side of the NBA, but the personal element will always remain. The Raptors were losing friends, and brothers. The news was certainly jarring & sudden, but the remaining members of the team were doing their best to manage the difficult scenario. Here are several player reactions
--DeMar DeRozan's thoughts on the Raptors trade: *Pre-game *Post-game
--Kyle Lowry's thoughts on the Raptors trade
--Amir Johnson's thoughts on the Raptors trade
--Landry Fields' thoughts on the Raptors trade
--Terrence Ross' thoughts on the Raptors trade
Having a full 3 days in between games means there's lots of time for preparation leading up to the Toronto Raptors' next game, which will be at home on Wednesday night versus the Charlotte Bobcats. The Raptors have won their last 2 games, which coincided with the new arrivals from the Sacramento Kings. Of the 4 new players, Chuck Hayes is the only one yet to see time in games for Toronto. This also means there ar several 'odd man out' situations, where players who had been used to getting solid minutes are now forced to wait and see when they will get their next opportunity to play.
After Tuesday's practice one of the new Raptors, Patrick Patterson, spoke with the media, as did Terrence Ross (on his new starting role), and Coach Casey (on putting these rotations together, and expectations going forward).
It's finally here...GAMEDAY! The Toronto Raptors will be tipping off at noon (local)/11am ET today, Saturday October 5th, at the Halifax Metro Centre for the first Intra-Squad game of the 2013-14 season.
Some media outlets were reporting that the Raptors Intra-Squad game was sold out, but as of late Friday afternoon we were able to confirm that there were still tickets available. So, for anyone who may have thought otherwise, there's still time to support 4 local charities through the proceeds from the $10 general admission tickets, while cheering on this season's Toronto Raptors squad.
For fans who live outside of Halifax and can't make it to the Metro Centre for the noon (local)/11am ET tip off, you can also watch LIVE on Raptors.com with this link to their streaming feed.
In case you missed them, here are the media availability interviews from Friday's practices in Halifax:
From the players' perspective the first practice of training camp was a good one, and the team's focus and objective is to WIN. Point blank. According to NBA TV Canada's Akil Augustine, there was a team meeting last night, and expectations were laid out by Coach Casey. Realistically it was just reinforcing the team objectives and continuing to galvanize the team.
A reoccurring question among fans, the blogospehere, and even some traditonal media outlets since late last season has been this notion of tanking, losing games once the playoffs are out of the picture to position themselves better for the NBA Draft Lottery. I've always thought this mentality was absurd at best, mainly because the NBA Draft Lottery is just that....a LOTTERY. There are no guarantees...not to mention players' pride and integrity of the game.
Rudy Gay for one wants nothing to do with the 'T' word:
"I'm a professional, I'm honestly a professional. Everytime I'mma go out there I'm gonna give it my all, and to even hear 'tank' makes me sick to my stomach to be honest with you. No team I'm gonna be on is gonna tank. We're gonna try and win every game and go out there to play."
A 'Talk is cheap' or 'Don't tell me, Show me' attitude seems to be the re-occuring theme among Toronto Raptors coaching staff, executives, and players when it comes to answering media questions regarding predictions about making the playoffs for this upcoming NBA season.
The Raptors finished the 2012-13 NBA season with a 34-48 record, 4 games out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Their absymal start to the season, going 4-16 in their first 20 games, was a direct correlation to not making the post-season for the 5th straight year.
With the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend announcement officially being made yesterday, as well as music superstar, Drake, being named Global Ambassador for the franchise, there are lots of things to look forward to off the court, but in order to truly bring the spotlight back to the Raptors franchise the team needs to show results on the court.
Here are some of the media scrum Q&A sessions from 2013-14 Media Day at the Air Canada Centre:
Raptors Head Coach, Dwane Casey
by Ryan Aleong and Sean Francois:
Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment and the Toronto Raptors made some significant announcements in the name of basketball in Canada. It is now official: NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the 2016 NBA All-Star Game had been awarded to the city of Toronto. It marks the first time the event shall be held outside of the United States.
The other major announcement was that Toronto-born hip hop superstar Drake has accepted the role as the Toronto Raptors' Global Ambassador. His role will be to help re-brand the Raptors franchise and market it on the world stage and ensure that the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend showcases the city of Toronto and the franchise in the ultimate fashion. MLSE Chief Executive Officer Tim Leiweke announced that the 'Raptors' team name shall not change, but the process has begun to make changes to the logo and colour scheme. The process is expected to take at least two years to complete. The NBA still needs to approve of the changes and its partners need to incorporate them into their production processes in time for the 2015-16 season.
Bringing the All-Star Game to Toronto is tremendous on many levels, and the positive impact should be widespread. Fans of the sport will be able to see all of the league’s superstars in one place. They will be able to participate in the wide ranging interactive and fan friendly activities that All-Star NBA Jam Session offers. The city will be showcased for the world-class reputation it has earned.
Including someone of Drake’s stature screams of similarities to Jay-Z and the Brooklyn Nets. Leiweke has indicated on many occasions that the goal is to change the culture of the Toronto Raptors and how they are perceived at home and abroad. One of Drake’s responsibilities will be to help drive this process in the right direction, and to help put the Raptors franchise and the city in the forefront.
Ultimately, the Raptors have to win games on the court to ensure the team stays in the forefront and in the NBA discussion long term, but re-branding and an NBA All-Star Weekend to help with this process and to celebrate the team's upcoming 20th Anniversary is a great way to start.