On Pro Bball Report recently: Paul Pierce it, Ujiri’ behavior, MoPete, Lowry hurting, Raptors evaluate and plan, Hawks vs Cavaliers, Celtics, Tyler Hansbrough starts, demands on Patrick Patterson, Sixth Man Lou Williams, Fans need to know, Lucas Nogueira plans, Bulls, Wizards, team awards and more.
“I really was talking about a number of teams. It wasn’t everything was focused on Toronto,” Pierce said. “I think I was voicing my opinion on a number of teams that over the years, when you see those contenders and are just like, ‘Man, they’re going to be really hard to beat. They got a chance to win a championship.’ That’s what I was really focusing on. Not to take anything away from Toronto.”
So that’s two years in a row Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri has slipped up by using an inappropriate ‘bad’ word during a playoffs pregame rally with Raptors fans outside of the Air Canada Centre. The League might be unhappy with him (doubtful, they love publicity), but the thousands of screaming fans were loving it.
“MoPete is my favourite Raptors of all-time,” said freelance journalist and local celebrity Vernon Chang. “My whole family is a big MoPete fan. In particular, my mom, who is a huge MoPete fan, but she never got to meet him.”
All the avoidance and denials by Lowry about his health can’t change what is being witnessed on the court and Head coach Dwane Casey’s assertion that every player is hurting somewhere doesn’t really apply to a sore back. There are some things a player just can’t overcome by the sheer force of will.
“I feel good about (standing pat at the trade deadline), Ujiri said. “We made it based on just throwing these guys out there and really seeing, giving them that opportunity because the questions you guys would be asking me now if you got a veteran or some kind of player (would be) well – Jonas did not play so much or this person (Ross?) did not play so much and so we don’t know him.”
The end of the Toronto Raptors season was in a word – deflating. After a promising 24-8 start, Toronto went 25-25 the rest of the way and played like a .500 team in the playoffs, falling four straight to the Wizards. So what should the Raptors do this summer?
The Atlanta Hawks have cruised to a 60 win season in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Unchallenged, they’ve been resting starters for over a month now, so why all the blatant disrespect about their chances to come out of the East? It isn’t hard to find an answer. LeBron James has led the Cavaliers back to respectability, but is everyone overrating the thrown together Cavaliers chances versus the experienced and cohesive Hawks?
Celtics In The Playoffs Is Good News For The NBA
By Frank McLean
About a month ago it was looking like for the first time in anyone’s memory the Celtics along with the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers were not going to make it to the postseason. Well the Celtics are and that is going to make ESPN and TNT executives dance in their board rooms because the Celtics always bring big TV ratings.
“I always play the game the same way,” Hansbrough said right before the game. “If there is another gear, we’ll find out. I guess for me it’s more mental preparation, trying to know the (opposition) a lot better. I go out there and play the way I play and I can tell sometimes guys play different, it’s chippy and things like that, (but) nothing changes for me.”
“Thankfully Coach has put me in more often than not in game situations and if I’m doing something right out there on the court Coach feels the need to keep me in and you got to be thankful for that,” a modest Patterson said. “It’s all the hard work that I put in (during) the summer time making myself a versatile player, guarding in the post, out on the perimeter and just being a great team defender.”
The Toronto Raptors will present the 2014-15 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award to Lou Williams this afternoon at 3:30 pm in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel Ballroom, Toronto. Williams won the award with 78 out of a possible 130 first place votes.
Last season, Raptors Nation made a name for themselves as NBA fans from around the world witnessed how die-hard, crazy, passionate Raptors fans were inside the Air Canada Centre as well as outside the ACC (a.k.a. Jurassic Park). Rain or shine, Raptors fans were in abundance and wild.
Lucas Nogueira Has A Plan To Stick With The Raptors
“This offseason will be more special because I got hurt again, so I have to figure out what I will do with my body, but it’s nothing secret,” Nogueira said. “I am a rookie so there are a lot of places like LA, Vegas, Houston, New York City, Vancouver to do workouts, a lot of camps, a lot of individual workouts. It’s not a secret.”
A cynic might suggest the Bulls and Raptors have been carefully working their way towards the three, four finish that now seems likely. Chicago hasn’t fared well against the Hawks and while the Raptors won three of four against Atlanta that hasn’t even slowed the speculation that Tom Thibodeau’s Bulls will be tougher postseason opponent.
The Toronto Raptors easily defeated the Hornets 92-87 to claim a franchise record 49th win and the Atlanta Hawks punted an 18 point lead in the third quarter to lose to the Bulls 91-85. The gift from the visitors gave Chicago third place in the Eastern Conference and means the first place Hawks avoid a likely second round matchup with the Bulls.
Do The Raptors Have The Edge Over The Wizards?
By Frank McLean
In the playoffs every time you have the ball you are in the spotlight. Every game is nationally televised so you are one shot away from being a hero or a bum. It’s like the line in the old Frank Sinatra song ‘That’s Life. Riding high in April, shot down in May’.
All Is Not Lost In Toronto
By Frank McLean
“We need to make some adjustments and we will”, Casey said. “But we’re not going to scrap the offence and go to a different offence.”
“We don’t want to win ugly,” said Casey. “We want to run. We want to get the pace up, get the tempo up. We want to shoot better and the way we shoot better is to get up the floor, run up the floor, get to our spots quickly and initiate our offense.”
“Tyler’s energy whenever he comes into the game is huge,” Casey said pregame. “I think that’s what I alluded to when I said our starts were good in all the games he has started – we’ve had tremendous starts, good starts. The key now is sustaining that for 48 minutes. Again, the starts weren’t our issue.”
“It’s the will to win,” veteran Raptors center Chuck Hayes said. “That’s all it is. It’s the will to win. We put ourselves in a deep hole and it’s going to take a 100 times more effort than we’ve ever seen before to get out of it.”
Is Hope All That’s Left For The Raptors?
By Frank McLean
So as we said all that’s left for the Raptors and their fans is hope. Hope that somehow they can at least figure out a way to win a couple of games in this series as being swept four games would be unthinkable for team that started the year with a different kind of hope.
The media relations staff of the Toronto Raptors has won the 2014-15 Brian McIntyre Media Relations Award, which is presented each season to an NBA media relations staff that best exemplifies the standards of professionalism and excellence worthy of acclaim, the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA) announced today.
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“I would love to come back,” Johnson said. “My daughter was born and raised here so I would love to stay just because my family is here, but we’ll see what happens at the end of the season. Family is always the key to everybody’s moves. You do what is best for your family. Family is everything.”
“Tyler is our energizing bunny,” Casey said. “He comes in there and does a lot that stuff, rebounding, setting screens, running the floor, getting contact in the paint. He does a lot of that for us.”
“It’s cool (being a Dad,)” Valanciunas told Pro Bball Report. “It’s a lot of responsibility. You feel like you are not alone. You have not just a wife who can take care of herself but you have a little kid who needs a lot of attention, a lot of time to take care of him and he relies on you. It’s a great feeling.”
Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier Struggles For Answers To Knicks Woes
By Frank McLean
The Knicks, on the other hand, have a broken down Carmelo Anthony and a list of suspects, prospects and castoffs. After their 2013 late first round draft pick Tim Hardaway Jr., pickings are slim in New York.