Archive for March, 2009

Minor Moves

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Tuesday March 24 2009 – 12:00pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)

So much for a day off (kidding).

Two roster moves have come down for the Raptors in the last 30 minutes.

IN:  Guard Quincy Douby
OUT:  Guard Marcus Banks (not really “out” … but … done for the year)

Douby was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in 2006 (19th overall) and played 2 seasons in Sac-town before being released earlier this years (January 21).

Banks is scheduled to have surgery later today (in Toronto) to remove a bone spur in his right big two.

The official press releases from the Raptors Media Relations department are below

E. Smith

—–

BANKS TO UNDERGO SURGERY 

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday that guard Marcus Banks is scheduled for surgery today to remove a bone spur on his right big toe. Banks is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.

The procedure will be performed by Dr. John Lau at Toronto Western Hospital .

Banks was acquired February 13 in a four-player trade with the Miami Heat. The six-year NBA veteran has seen action in six games with the Raptors, averaging 2.3 points and 1.0 assists.

RAPTORS SIGN GUARD QUINCY DOUBY TO 10-DAY CONTRACT

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have signed guard Quincy Douby to a 10-day contract. He is the 17th GATORADE Call-Up of the 2008-09 NBA Development League season and the 135th overall since the league began play in 2001. 

Douby, 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, averaged 18.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 28.6 minutes in five games with the D-League’s Erie BayHawks this season. He scored in double figures in all five games, with a high of 23 points at Albuquerque .

Douby, 24, was the 19th selection as an early entry candidate by the Sacramento Kings in the 2006 NBA Draft. He averaged 4.1 points, 1.0 rebounds and 10.7 minutes in 116 career games with the Kings. He posted a career-high 32 points at the Los Angeles Lakers on April 15, 2008. He was released by Sacramento on January 21. 

Douby averaged 17.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 95 career games at Rutgers University . He finished his career ranked sixth in school history in scoring (1,690) and holds the school record for points scored in a single season (839 in 2005-06). He averaged 25.4 points as a junior, leading the Big East in scoring and finishing sixth nationally. He earned first-team All-Big East honours in his junior season. 

Bosh And Madness

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Tuesday March 24 2009 – 11:00am Eastern (Toronto, ON)

It’s been more than a week since I have VLOGGED.  I’m starting to get the itch.  But I’ll save that for the road — that’s been the tradition for Jonesy and I this year.

I won’t be covering the Raptors’ practice today.  The FAN bosses wanted to give me a day off for some reason — must be all the hard work!  Or maybe they saw that I needed some time to recover from all of the messages and responses that came in from Saturday’s blog!  At any rate, it’s good to get some down time because today is my wife’s birthday so I can now take her to lunch and spend a little more time with family and friends.

However, I did want to check in with a few quick things …

BOSH

If you haven’t seen or heard about this already, check it out:  http://www.thestar.com/Sports/NBA/article/607198

This is all I will say on the “issue” …

I’m not a gossip columnist and I’m not a host or reporter for Entertainment Tonight.  And this isn’t TMZ.com

I have zero-to-no interest in getting into the gory details of this case.  I’ll leave that for the courts to figure out. 

If the story is completely legit – as it’s written – Bosh needs to step up and be a man and be a Dad. 

HOWEVER, from the rumblings I’ve heard,  this is a sensitive situation and a lot of the details have not yet been revealed.  This story will likely make more sense to you when you hear what Bosh has to say and ALL of the details are released.  There are two sides to every story and Bosh’s has yet to be heard.  When it is, a greater understanding of the complexities of this case will come to light and I have a feeling there’ll be more support for Bosh. 

None of us know Bosh as a CLOSE friend (including me – and I have traveled with the guy for 4 years and covered him since he came into the NBA), but it would seem strange to me for any man to date a woman for an extended period of time … move in with her … allegedly propose to her … have her front and center at every game/party/event you’re at … attempt to have a child with her … and then leave her high and dry while 7 months pregnant.

This reeks of a story/case that has a lot of holes that still need to be filled.

Remember,  there is ( a ) Bosh’s side of the story, and ( b ) Allison Mathis’ side of the story.  The truth is there somewhere.  So don’t rush to judgement on anyone just because of some court documents have been filed. 

Now, moving on to a lighter topic …

NCAA ACTION

I can’t puff out my chest TOO much because I told you before the tournament began that I had never won an office pool in the past.  But apparently I’m proving to know SOMETHING in 2009 …

Check out the FAN 590 staff pool for March Madness – heading into the Sweet 16:

JOSH GOLD SMITH (Raptors Radio Producer), 40-8
RJ BROADHEAD (TV Host), 40-8
ERIC SMITH (Raptors Radio Analyst / Host), 39-9
GORD STELLICK (Morning Show Host), 39-9
LANCE KENNEDY (Bullpen Producer), 39-9
KEN RODNEY (Hoops Producer), 39-9
JACK ARMSTRONG (Game Plan Host), 36-12
JEFF SAMMUT (Morning Show Producer), 36-12
NORM RUMACK (Late Night Host), 36-12
MIKE HOGAN (Bullpen Host), 36-12
ZACK COOPER (Sportscaster), 36-12
ALEX SIXIERO (Sportscaster / Host), 35-13
DOUG FARRAWAY (Host / Sports Director), 35-13
ROB WONG (Sportscaster), 35-13
BRYAN ANGUS (Bullpen Producer), 34-14
STEPEHN BRUNT (Primetime Sports Co-Host), 34-14
ROGER LAJOIE (Host), 34-14
ANDREW NIE (Sportscaster), 32-16
RYAN FABRO (Game Plan Producer), 33-15
BOB McCOWN (Primetime Sports Host), 31-17

E. Smith

Jawai Is Back

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Monday March 23 2009 – 6:14pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)

The FAN has learned – it’s official – center Nathan Jawai is back with the Toronto Raptors.

Following a 10-game stint with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA’s D-League, Jawai has been brought back to the Raps for their final 12 games of the season.

The Australian big man average 12.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 25.0 minutes with the Stampede.  He started in 9 of the 10 games he appeared in.

E. Smith

By: David Alter

Andrea Bargnani says his injured left heel felt a lot better and took part in a full practice today.  Depending on how his foot holds up tomorrow, he could be back in the lineup on Wednesday.  C Nathan Jawai was back with the Raptors today as he had a check up on his heart.  It looks as though he could be sticking around with the Raps.

Check out the video report exclusive to FAN590.com

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Off The Beaten Path

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Monday March 23 2009 – 12:35pm Eastern (Toronto, ON) 

Jonesy and I tape “Double Dribble” on Mondays (when we’re in Toronto and not on the road) so this is normally a sort of off-day for me RE: covering the Raptors’ practice.  You’ll probably get an update from David Alter at some point this afternoon (and hopefully we’ll know more about the status of Andrea Bargnani’s heel and whether or not Nathan Jawai is in T.O. to stay or if he’s heading right back to the D-League after his cardiac tests are done).

But I still wanted to check-in today – even if it’s briefly – with a minor break from our usual Raptor reality.

Toronto doesn’t play the Philadelphia 76ers again for another few weeks so this story/video may not be “timely” for today.  However, I wanted to post it anyway – so it didn’t get lost in the shuffle.

And, heck, it’s always good to give a little love to a fellow Canadian / former NBA’er / former radio broadcaster.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4005517&categoryid=2378529

Todd MacCulloch is a great guy – with a very dry sense of humor.  You probably got a glimpse of that in watching that ESPN video.  He was always pleasant to deal with as a player or as a fellow broadcaster in recent years.

It’s sad to see what has happened to Todd – physically – since being forced into retirement in 2004 after being diagnose with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (a genetic neuromuscular disorder that affected his feet).  Walking comfortably can be a chore with this disease, let alone playing ball or working out regularly.  But it’s even greater to see that his physical limitations (if that’s fair to say) haven’t dampened his spirits or his youthful vibrancy. 

I wish the Winnipeg native all the best, and hope our paths cross again some day in the NBA – or even in the pinball world!

E. Smith 

* FYI – “Double Dribble” airs on Raptors TV at 5:00pm on Mondays – and then repeats throughout the evening as well

http://twitter.com/Eric__Smith
http://www.ericsmithphotography.webs.com

Raptors Clip L.A.

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Sunday March 22 2009 - 6:24pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)

Clippers @ Raptors

Final Score:
100-76, Raptors

“Alice Fazoolis” Player of the Game:
CHRIS BOSH
16 points
13 rebounds
7/15 FG

“Smith and Jones” Player of the Game:
- ANTHONY PARKER
10 points
8 rebounds
5 assists
4 steals
2 blocks
4/8 FG

Shout-out to the Clippers:
- ZACH RANDOLPH
20 points
7 rebounds
10/17 FG

Stats that stood out:
- Points in the Paint:  50-38 Toronto
- Yes, it was a blowout, but Toronto got *42* points from the bench in this game!
- Toronto wins every quarter of the game (holding the Clips to only 36 points (total) in the 2ND half)
- Raptors shoot 64% from the field in the 1ST Q
- Toronto out-rebounds L.A. 57-34

Thumbs Up:
- Against a big front line with guys like Randolph, Marcus Camby, and Chris Kaman, the Raptors manage to out-rebound the Clippers 57-34 … doing so without Andrea Bargnani (who missed the game with a left heel injury)

Thumbs Down:
- Honestly, in this game, there wasn’t much to complain about.  Let’s give a thumbs down to Bargnani being hurt … and hope he doesn’t miss any significant amount of time down the stretch.

Smith says:
- “Nice to finally be on THIS side of a blowout.”

Jones says:
- “A win is a win.  I know it’s only the Clippers but a win is a win.”

“V-Tech” 3-In-To-Win Give-Away:
The Raptors were 3 of 13 from 3PT range

Next game:
- Bucks @ Raptors
– Wednesday March 25 2009
- Tune in just after 7:00pm Eastern for the “Pizza Pizza” starting line ups

E. Smith

Missed the post-game show? You can listen to it here:

[audio:http://qml.quiettouch.com/files/radio/fan590/hotaudio/rapspostgame-fan-20090322.mp3]

Bargnani Is Out Today

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Sunday March 22 2009 – 3:35pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)

This was supposed to hit the web about 20-30 minutes ago but apparently there were some bugs in getting it posted.

—– 

Quick update for you folks …

Andrea Bargnani will not dress for today’s game against the LA Clippers.

I just found out he is n/a due to a sore left heel. 

Jake Voskuhl will start in Bargnani’s place. 

Andrea has not missed a game with the Raps since December 9 2007.

E. Smith

For The Record

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Saturday March 21 2009 – 1:25pm Eastern (Toronto, ON) 

Rather than responding to some of the ”comments” in my previous blog (in last night’s Raptors/Bobcats recap), I figured I would write something fresh …  

I am open to criticism.  It comes with the job.  It’s part of the business.  And when you’re covering “sports” and interacting with the fans it’s only a given that there are bound to be differing opinions and disagreements.

But some of you have to realize the difference between optimism, pessimism, and realism. 

And the word “objectivity” comes to mind as well.

You’re entitled to think what you like — that we (Jonesy and I) have rose-coloured glasses or that we’re too supportive of Jay Triano — but, of course, I/we beg to differ.

When have we not said that this has been a “brutal year”?  When have we not said this has been a “disappointing year”?  And have we not be saying for almost 6 weeks now that “we won’t mention the ‘P’ word (playoffs) anymore because this team simply isn’t good enough and hasn’t warranted that kind of respect; the respect that would deservedly put them in any post-season discussions”?

Plus, as recently as last night, did we not suggest that a major overhaul of the roster is needed?  I specifically remember talking about the glaring weakness at the 2-3 (needing a guy who can break down his man … create his own shot … and give you 18-20+ on any given night).  I remember talking about the weak bench – which was a strength just two seasons ago (and even last year to a certain extent) – and how it needs to be drastically improved.  I also recall a discussion about Jose Calderon (one of the favourite targets for many fans this year) that Jonesy and I had … where we both agreed that he has struggled – for many reasons – with his first full-time starting role.  And, finally, there was a quick chat on Shawn Marion too … and the fact that he may not be the right fit for this team.  He’s a piece to the puzzle but maybe not that SCORING 2-3 they need.

So I’m failing to see where we’re so overly positive about this team.  I’m not quite sure how those stances are rose-coloured.  They’re objective.  They’re realistic.  They’re not Chicken Little.

Of course, the other two targets are Bryan Colangelo and Jay Triano.

(A) Colangelo.  I think I speak for Jonesy when I say that we aren’t jumping on the ‘Attack BC’ bandwagon because I think many of you are hypocrites for doing so.  The only people that are justified in their criticism of Colangelo right now are the people that DIDN’T think this was a 44-48 win team at the beginning of the season.  If you didn’t think this team was capable of at least holding on to the 6TH seed they had last year – or finishing even higher at #4 or #5 – then kudos to you.  You called it.  And you have every right to voice your displeasure.  However, if you’re like me (and MOST of you are), you had greater expectations for this team.  And while the Raptors have come nowhere close to meeting those expectations, I don’t think it’s fair to pin it all on Colangelo.  We saw what he saw (and when I say “we” – I’m clearly referring to the majority of you/us out there that had great hopes for the 2008-09 Raptors).  Thus, I’m giving the man a chance to fix the problems.  I still have faith in his abilities as a general manager and I think it’s absolutely preposterous for anybody to think that Colangelo should be fired.  We can argue about whether or not BC is in the upper tier or lower tier of GMs in the league, but to say that he’s not capable of being a GM or that he deserves to be let go at this time is crazy. 

(B) Triano.  Some of you may call them “excuses”, but I call them “facts” …
Of the 6-7 coaches who have been fired this year, only one of the replacements has a record better than .500 (Tony DiLeo in Philly – who, by the way, has the security blanket of a front office job to fall back on when he’s done — something the other coaches, like Triano, don’t have.  Most of these coaches don’t know where they’ll be next year).  One of the greatest coaches of all time, Larry Brown, said as recently as this week that Triano is a great coach and that he needs (and maybe even deserves) a Training Camp to implement his style and his system.  Brown said it’s all-but impossible to come in mid-stream — whether it’s 17 games in or 47 games in — and magically turn things around.  Plus, as Jonesy has pointed out many times, take a look at Mike D’Antoni’s record in Phoenix the year he took over … and then look at what he has done since. 

I have yet to say “bring back Jay Triano”.  However, I have yet to say “fire Jay Triano”.  Quite honestly, I don’t know what Jonesy has or hasn’t said on the issue.  I’m objective and realistic enough to understand that if he is let go, it will be because Colangelo feels a new voice or vision is needed.  It will be because the team simply didn’t turn it around the way BC had hoped for when he replaced Sam Mitchell with Triano.  But if Jay IS brought back, it will be because Colangelo feels that the Canadian showed promise – even in all of the losses – as a head coach.  It will be because his players like and respect him.  It will be because of stability — wanting to keep a familiar face and voice in the fold instead of going with a 3rd coach in less than 12 months.  And perhaps it will be because Colangelo realizes that Triano has had to deal with no less than 2 major pieces being injured for 10+ games (Jermaine O’Neal and Jose Calderon (and Calderon hasn’t been truly healthy all season)) and a major trade (O’Neal and Jamario Moon for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks) completely altering the look and make-up of this team.  Sprinkle in the stress and circus (for the players, fans, media) of the coaching change itself, all of the speculation of Bosh’s future in Toronto (plus his injury too — which kept him out of the All Star game and still lingers slightly right now) and the lack of a quality back-up point guard (Roko Ukic will be there one day – but he’s not there yet) and it’s understandable why Triano hasn’t enjoyed a lot of success. 

Given all of those facts and issues, do you honestly think that Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich would be better than 16-36 right now?  I know I don’t.

So there’s where I stand. 

Criticize all you like — that’s part of sports / sports radio.  But understand the difference between objectivity and subjectivity; pessimism and realism.

E. Smith

Bobcats Hammer Toronto, Again

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Friday March 20 2009 - 9:40pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)

Bobcats @ Raptors

Final Score:
103-89 Bobcats

“Alice Fazoolis” Player of the Game:
RAYMOND FELTON
14 points
7 assists
2 rebounds
2 steals

“Smith and Jones” Player of the Game:
- GERALD WALLACE
30 points
9 rebounds
8 assists
2 steals
2 blocks
9/13 FG
10/12 FT

Shout-out to the Raptors:
- CHRIS BOSH
35 points
7 rebounds
8/17 FG
19/20 FT

Stats that stood out:
- LOPSIDED Points in the Paint:  62-22 Charlotte.  Ouch
- Bosh ties the Raptors franchise high for FT’s in a quarter with 12 and in a half (14)
- Boris Diaw had a season-high 30 points for Charlotte (1 shy of his career high as well)
- Bobcats shoot 51% from the field
- Toronto gives up 25 points off 16 turnovers
- The Raptors get only 8 bench points

Thumbs Up:
- Bosh and Andrea Bargnani (27 points) continue to get it done in the front court but they were the only two players to score double figures in points

Thumbs Down:
- Toronto scored only 39 second-half points and they fell apart late in the 3RD quarter after tying the game and holding it close.  They were blown-out after coughing-up the lead again.

Smith says:
- “Just get me home … give me a beer … and give me some NCAA action.”

Jones says:
-

“V-Tech” 3-In-To-Win Give-Away:
The Raptors were 5 of 15 from 3PT range

Next game:
- Clippers @ Raptors
– Sunday March 22 2009
- Tune in at 3:05pm for the pre-game show and just after 3:30pm Eastern for the “Pizza Pizza” starting line ups

E. Smith

Missed the post-game show? You can listen to it here:

[audio:http://qml.quiettouch.com/files/radio/fan590/hotaudio/TheRap-es-20090320.mp3]

Odds And Ends

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Friday March 20 2009 – 1:00pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)

MADNESS

After a brutal start to the day yesterday, I came back in a BIG-TIME way.

My bracket wasn’t looking so good – losing 2 of the first 3 games on Thursday afternoon.  BYU and Butler let me down.

But I proceeded to go 11-0 the rest of the way (including my Western Kentucky upset pick; and surviving a scare in the UCLA/VCU game) to finish with a 14-2 record thus far.  Not bad at all.

And so far – with four games underway on day 2 as I’m writing this – I’m looking good to go 4-0 at this point.  We’ll see — it’s early.

THANKS JOEY

In case you missed it last night, Joey Graham was in-studio on the “Hoops” show with Jonesy, Jack Armstrong, and me. 

Audio of the interview is available as a podcast here:  http://www.fan590.com/onair/hoops/  and it’s in the Audio On Demand section of this website as well.

If you’d like to check out a couple of the pictures from Joey G’s appearance, check this out:  http://www.fan590.com/media/media.jsp?content=20090320_093051_5532

THE “P” WORD

I won’t say it.  I haven’t said it for about a month now.

However, the players aren’t quitting on the PLA_ _ _ _ _ just yet. 

Chris Bosh said this morning that Toronto has to look to run the table over their last 14 games – and play like one of the hottest teams in the NBA – if the Raps hope to make it into the PO_ _  SEAS_ _.

Considering how this year has gone, I’m sure none of you (and me) think it’s a legit possibility … but … for what it’s worth … Toronto does have 11 of their final 14 games against teams under .500

E. Smith

- Remember, Jonesy and I are on the air at 7:00pm with the call of the Raptors and Bobcats.  And we’ll be on the air after the game as well, with “The Rap”

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