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Raptors – Time to step up

Basket-Infos's Photo

Whether he meant to or not, General Manager Masai Ujiri took the focus off of the Toronto Raptors’ performance in Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs, even before it began.

The Brooklyn Nets showed their playoff experience, looking confident and comfortable as they dismantled the Raptors to take a 1-0 series lead.

But everyone was focused on the comments of Ujiri, made as he leaving the stage in Raptors Square (the Leafs can have it back when they get back in the playoffs) outside the Air Canada Centre before the game began.  Ujiri’s “f*** Brooklyn” comment was an easy target for media outlets.  But it also took some of the attention away from the disappointing play of the home team.

Despite a stellar performance from Jonas Valanciunas (17pts & 18reb), the Raptors turned the ball over 17 times.  DeMar DeRozan could only manage 14 points, and Greivis Vasquez was second in team scoring with 18, behind Kyle Lowry’s 24.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn committed only 8 turnovers, and received scoring from every single player on their bench.  They looked every bit like the veteran, playoff-seasoned team that they are.

As Game 2 approaches today, the excuses are gone.  An inexperienced Raptors’ team has now had a taste of what a playoff atmosphere is all about.  The crowd at the ACC was amazing on Saturday, and will no doubt continue to play the role of the “sixth man”.  But the players have to get it done this time.

We can all give them a mulligan for Game 1 – it was all new and exciting.  But now it is time to get down to work and play the kind of basketball that got this team the third seed in the Eastern Conference.  Tighten up the defence, share the ball, get to the free throw line and reduce the turnovers.  Heading to Brooklyn tied 1-1 in the series is manageable; falling behind 2-0 could be lethal.

As for Ujiri, you have to love a GM with that kind of passion.  He apologized for the choice of words, but the sentiment was not withdrawn.  He believes in this team, and these players.  Now the players have got to go out and back up the boss.

Photo credit: @Basket_Infos

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Raptors: Clinch third seed and will play Nets

And so it came to pass. I had this horrible feeling for a while that the Toronto Raptors were going to end up playing the Brooklyn Nets.

People may or may not remember an eerily similar scenario playing out in the 2006-07 season. The Raptors seemed set to meet the Wizards, minus a injured Gilbert Arenas, but they ended up having to face Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets.

Regardless, the Raptors have to use the Nets resting their starters as motivation for what’s ahead. Maybe this video will help as well. Heck, it’s got me foaming at the mouth! (Editors note – You may want to see a Doctor about that.)

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Raptors: Drake talks Raptors & NBA playoffs

With the Raptors heading to the NBA playoffs for the first time in six seasons, fans are beginning to get excited in Toronto. (And don’t you know MLSE took advantage of this with the most expensive ticket prices in the league for the postseason.)

The question is, if they managed to make the conference finals, would it be the greatest moment in Toronto basketball history? Well, former NBA player Jalen Rose and Grantland’s Bill Simmons decided to discuss just this with Canadian rapper and Toronto FC Raptors global ambassador Drake:

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Raptors: We the North – The playoffs are coming

With the Heat and Nets resting players to apparently secure certain playoff seedings, it seems clear the Raptors are getting no respect. Mind you, that’s no different to what they’ve gotten for the majority of the season.

But you know what? I don’t care; we’ve got playoff basketball to look forward to in Toronto! And if these adverts don’t get you pumped, I can only assume you’re Vince Carter or Chris Bosh towards the end of their tenure with the Raptors:

The best thing about this is, with the Leafs not in the playoffs, there’s plenty of room on the Raptors bandwagon. And that includes for the likes of TSN, who I trust will finally stop putting Toronto’s NBA team on their secondary stations.

(Mind you, they may have no choice next season, given that they’ve lost the majority of their NHL rights.)

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Raptors: Atlantic Division title banner unveiled

Another big moment for the Raptors, as they set a single season franchise-record of 48 wins, with their 110-100 victory against the lowly Brewers. (I just can’t get over the false feeling of superiority, being able to say that about another team.)

However, that wasn’t the only cause for celebration at the ACC last night. DeMar DeRozan and his teammates also unveiled the Raptors 2013-14 Atlantic Division championship banner before the game:

Is it just me, or does Jonas Valanciunas look like he’s itching to have a drink? “Hey guys. Is it okay if we have the celebration champagne before the game?!?!”

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Raptors: DeMar DeRozan throws down lethal dunk

It goes without saying last night was a big win for the Raptors. With two games to go, destiny is back in their own hands in terms of clinching the number three seed in the Eastern conference.

Mind you, wherever the Raptors end up, I think it’s safe to say DeMar DeRozan is ready for the playoffs:

Talk about a vicious dunk. DeRozan was probably fuming at the way Lowry fouled out, hence why he felt it necessary to show up Ben Drummond.

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Raptors: Kyle Lowry fouls out in controversial circumstances

Do you remember the days of the Detroit Pistons ‘bad boys’ and Pat Riley’s ‘rough and tumble’ New York Knicks? Call me an old fart, but I miss that era.

Today, I reckon the NBA is a joke with some of the fouls that get called. Take a look at the Kyle Lowry ‘foul’ on Andre Drummond, that resulted in the Raptors point guard fouling out:

You know what really grinds my gears? If and when the Raptors come up against any of the big name teams in the playoffs, you know they’ll get screwed over even more than an NBA groupie.

Credits: 500poundcake  & gfycat.com

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Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas works on low post game

Most Raptors game are important these days (it still sounds a bit strange saying that about the Raptors), and this afternoon is no different. They need to beat the Pistons in Detroit, while also hoping the Knicks can do them a favour against the Bulls.

With tip-off less than an hour away, Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas works on his low post game with assistant coach Bill Bayno:

Apr 13, 2014 | JV working on low post game with asst coach Bayno #Raptors #rtz by Paul__Jones on Keek.com

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Raptors: Kyle Lowry reacts to technical foul

What is it with these Toronto teams? First, the Marlies clinch a playoff berth after a 5-1 loss. And now the Raptors have won their second ever Atlantic Division title, despite last night’s 108-100 defeat by the Knicks.

(To be fair though, it’s better than the alternative right? *cough!* Leafs. *cough!*)

Obviously, I should be happy about winning the division, but I’m more concerned about the fact the Raptors may now have to face the Nets in the first round of the playoffs. Let’s just say Kyle Lowry’s reaction after being called for a technical foul sums up how I feel:

(Unlike the Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf incident, I think we can all agree no subtitles were necessary there to work out what Lowry was saying!)

Credits: 36DDhttp://gfycat.com/

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas scores career-high 26 points

As you’d expect, all eyes were on Jonas Valanciunas against the 76ers, to see how he would respond to being charged with drink driving early on Monday morning. With a career-high 26 points and 12 rebounds, I think it’s safe to say the Raptors centre passed (or should that be dunked?) with flying colours.

In fact, I’m thinking Dwane Casey should send the whole team to Wasaga Beach ahead of their first playoff appearance in six seasons. Anyway………………..here’s the highlights of Valanciunas’ performance which, amusingly, appear to have no continuity whatsoever:

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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