Archive for November, 2009

By: David Alter

Marco Belinelli will return to the Raptors lineup when they host the Pacers on Tuesday.

After missing Sunday’s loss due to a groin injury suffered against Miami, Belinelli says he’s eager to help the Raps get back into the win column.

“I’m happy to come back” says Belinelli.  “I lost one game and I want to play.  This is my first year where I really play, I don’t want to stay out.  I’ll be ready for tomorrow.”

Wright’s status still not as clear

Having played in just one of the Raptors past five games, Antoine Wright is hoping that his sore left ankle heals enough to allow him to suit up on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Wright along with Belinelli did take part in practise..saying he wasn’t feeling any pain

“I practised hard, we have two good teams back-to-back” said Wright.  “Obviously they’ll need me out there, we’ll see what happens.”

Raps take on the Pacers at the ACC tomorrow night at 7pm right here on THE FAN 590.  Paul Jones and Eric Smith have the call.  Jarrett Jack takes on his former mates for the first time since signing with the Raptors in the off-season.

Magic Put A Spell On Toronto

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Sunday November 22 2009 – 3:43pm Eastern - Toronto, ON 

Magic @ Raptors

Final Score:
104 - 96, Magic (Toronto now 6-8)

“Smith and Jones” Player of the Game:
17 points
12 rebounds
* In spite of “average” numbers for Howard (and a poor FG % (4/13)) his “presence” still made a huge difference and caused a lot of issues – inside and out – for Toronto’s D

“Alice Fazoolis” Player of the Game:
16 points
3 assists 
5 rebounds
2 steals
0 turnovers

Shout-out to the Raptors:
14 points
8 rebounds 
2 steals
6/7 FG
* Great hustle and energy off the bench 

Stats that stood out:
- Jarrett Jack ties a career-high with 11 assists (0 turnovers)
- Raptors led by 11 in the first half but trailed by as many as 13 in the second half (a 24-point turn around for ORL)
- Magic out-rebound the Raptors 46-43 … with 14 on the offensive glass
- Solid off the bench:  JJ Redick with 19 points and 5 assists (4 of 7 from 3PT)
- VC struggled … starting the game 2 of 11 … finishing 9 of 24 … but still led ALL scorers in the game with 24 (8 REB too)
- In spite of the presence (on both ends) of Howard, TOR outscores ORL in the paint:  42-28

Thumbs Up:
- Bench production from Jack, Johnson, and even Sonny Weems.  Without Antoine Wright (ankle) and Marco Belinelli (groin) … the rest of the second unit stepped up.

Thumbs Down:
- 4TH QRT execution … Toronto was just 6 of 16 from the floor.  After going on a nice run to close out the 3RD and tie the game at 76-76, the Raps were out-hustled and out-scored (28-20) in the final frame and dropped their 2nd game at home this year.

Smith says:
- “Tough one to drop after the solid start.  The Raptors are now 4-2 at home … but as long as the struggles continue on the road, Toronto HAS to take care of their home floor.  The Tuesday-Wednesday back to back against the Pacers and Bobcats is big.  It COULD (and should) get the Raps back to .500 before having to deal with the Celtics on Friday.”

Jones Says:
- “The defence was actually good today.  It was a lack of ball movement that hurt Toronto – offensively – when they were trying to come back.”

Keep the 3-ball Steak Alive (874 games and counting):
- The Raptors were 6 of 16 from 3PT range

Next game:
- Pacers @ Raptors – Tuesday November 24 2009 – 70pm Eastern
- Tune in at 7:00pm for the “Pizza Pizza” starting line ups

Missed The Rap?  Listen to it here:


Belinelli and Wright – OUT

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Sunday November 22 2009 – 11:45am Eastern – Toronto, ON

Just a couple of quick notes for ya for today’s game against the Orlando Magic …

Marco Belinelli (groin) and Antoine Wright (ankle) will not play today for the Raptors.

Andrea Bargnani – who was ill yesterday and did not take part in practice – will play.

With the injury to Belinelli, guard Marcus Banks has been activated. 

Belinelli joins Reggie Evans (foot) and Wright on the inactive list.

Toronto’s starting line up remains the same …

- Jose Calderon
- DeMar DeRozan
- Hedo Turkoglu
- Andrea Bargnani
- Chris Bosh

Finally, in case you missed my blog yesterday, Vince Carter has “respectfully declined any in-game recognition” at today’s game.  So there will be no video montage or ‘ceremony’ for VC.  Instead, it is expect that the Raps will have some sort of honour for Magic assistant coach Brendan Malone (Toronto’s first coach in franchise history).

E. Smith

* We’re on the air with the pre-game show at 12:00pm … with the tip-off of the Magic and Raptors set to go just after 12:30pm

VC Declines Honour

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Saturday November 21 2009 – 6:44pm Eastern – Toronto, ON

Word out of the Raptors is that Magic guard Vince Carter has “respectfully declined any in-game recognition” during tomorrow’s tilt between Toronto and Orlando at the ACC.

The Raptors are celebrating their 15th anniversary this season and in doing so … they plan to “honour” former players and coaches throughout the year – when they come to town with their current clubs, etc.

The organization has already held similar “ceremonies” (a video on the big scoreboard, the player (or coach) being introduced to the crowd;  they wave … have their moment in the spotlight … and the game moves on) for Charles Oakley and Alvin Williams and they apparently plan to also showcase guys like Morris Peterson, Matt Bonner, Jerome Williams, and Muggsy Bogues (and more) at future games as well.

The Raptors were prepared to do the same for Carter – knowing that the reaction/reception he’d get from the ACC faithful may not be pretty!  Thus, they left it up to VC himself to decide if he wanted to take part in any kind of festivities.

He declined.

And I can’t say I blame him.  Carter was in a no-win situation.  If he agreed to some sort of honouring, he would have (likely) been booed mercilessly — like it always is in his returns to Toronto — and, thus, there’d be no real point to subjecting himself to that.  For what?

But now that he has said “no thanks” … I’m sure a ton of folks will still label him unfairly and say that he should have taken part.

Like I said, it was a no-win situation for VC.

I’ve been on the record many times in the past – and recently as well – saying this team may not be in Toronto right now if not for Vince Carter and what he did to put this city and organization on the map.  He is still the greatest player – past or present – in franchise history (though Chris Bosh is right on his heels).

I had hoped that the fans of Toronto — even VC’s biggest critics — would have cheered Vince during the ceremony but then gone back to booing him (if they chose to) during the game;  dislike him for what he is now … or what you think he became … but like him and cheer for him for what he did in the past and the impact he had on your team.

But it’s a moot point now.

Knowing the negative reaction he likely would have received … Carter opted to stay out of the spotlight.  Instead, the Raptors are scheduled to honour their first head coach … current Magic assistant, Brendan Malone.

I hope when Carter’s career is over … folks can forgive and forget … and “Air Canada” will have his day in Toronto again.  We might just have to wait for another 15 years to pass for that to happen though!

E. Smith



- Marco Belinelli did not practice (sore left groin)
- Antoine Wright (ankle) and Andrea Bargnani did not practice … both were ill

Raps Torch Heat

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Friday November 20 2009 – 10:53pm Eastern - Toronto, ON 

Heat @ Raptors

Final Score:
120 -113, Raptors (Toronto now 6-7)

“Smith and Jones” Player of the Game:
29 points
12 rebounds
4 blocks
10/14 FG
9/13 FT

“Alice Fazoolis” Player of the Game:
24 points
10 rebounds
2 blocks
9/14 FG

Shout-out to the Heat:
30 points
8 assists 
5 rebounds
2 steals

Stats that stood out:
- Toronto scores 43 points in the 2nd QRT alone
- Heat outscore the Raps 34-20 in the 3rd
- Toronto was up by 23 (their biggest lead) in the 3rd QRT
- Raps come into the game leading the league in turnovers per game (only 12.2) but had 20 vs the Heat
- Jarrett Jack off the bench for arguably his best game … 17 points (including 2 HUGE 3-balls in the 4th QRT)

Thumbs Up:
- In spite of the fact that D-Wade went off for 30 points, Toronto held him to only 4 points in the 4TH quarter … thanks to some solid play / D off the bench from J. Jack

Thumbs Down:
- Coughing up the 23-point lead … seeing it trimmed to only 1 in the 4th QRT

Smith says:
- “Coming off a 4-game road swing … dealing with 3 losses in a row … Toronto was lined up for a letdown.  6-15 all-time when coming home off a 4-game west coast trip … they got a HUGE win.  This team is taking care of home court (4-1) and that’s a big plus for the season ahead.”

Jones Says:
- n/a

Keep the 3-ball Steak Alive (873 games and counting):
- The Raptors were 9 of 15 from 3PT range

Next game:
- Magic @ Raptors – Friday November 20 2009 – 12:30pm Eastern
- Tune in at 12:00pm for the “Pizza Pizza” starting line ups

Missed The Rap?  Listen to it here:


James, Jordan, Jerseys and More

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Friday November 20 2009 – 11:58am Eastern – Toronto, ON 

I know I didn’t check in with a blog yesterday – sorry!  I had a busy day travelling back from Utah … and then hosting the “HOOPS” show with Jonesy last night.  By the way, if you missed HOOPS, check out the podcast … ’cause you missed one heck of a show with guests like Joel Anthony (Miami Heat), Jamaal Magloire (Miami Heat), Rick Mahorn (former NBA’er / Head Coach of the Detroit Shock) and more.

Moving on …



It was last Thursday that LeBron James – following a win of the Miami Heat – announced that as of next season he would stop wearing #23 … in honour of Michael Jordan.  With Jordan in attendance – in South Beach, watching LBJ and Dwyane Wade battle it out – LeBron said he’d switch to #6 next season.  He added that he shouldn’t be the only one giving up #23 … declaring that the entire *NBA* should retire MJ’s 2-3.

It was somewhat ironic that James made the plea … for a couple of reasons …

1 – Miami is the only team in the NBA outside of Chicago to retire #23.  Why?  I have no clue to be honest!  But if you’ve ever been to a game in South Florida, you’ve seen the black, red, and white banner hanging in the Heat’s rafters … “23″

2 – James says he’s switching to #6.  Yes, it’s his Olympic jersey number … but it’s also represents the number of championship rings that Jordan owns.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But how ’bout the fact that #6 is also the same jersey number that NBA *LEGEND* Bill Russell wore?  Heck, many would argue that Russell – and his 11 championships – is the greatest player in league history, not Jordan!  So isn’t it a bit of a slap in the face to Russell that while James is talking about “honouring” MJ, he’d be “dishonouring” Russell in a round-about way?  Aside from what Russell did ON the floor, he arguably had a greater impact off the floor … playing in an era that was still dealing with colour and race barriers (especially in Boston)!

And what about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?  The league’s leading scorer?

Funny that his “33″ … would add up to “6″ as well (3+3).  Okay, maybe I’m stretching there :)

Originally, I was okay with the idea that LeBron had presented.  But now I’m doing a 180.  I don’t like the idea.  And I hope the league doesn’t buy into the hype.


All of this jersey talk – and chatter of retiring numbers – got me thinking in Los Angeles last week …

This is maybe one of those old Arsenio Hall, “Things that make ya go ‘Hmmm’ … ” kind of things …

How strange is it that the Los Angeles Kings (NHL) have been to ONE Stanley Cup Final in franchise history (which they lost, to the Montreal Canadiens in 1993) but they have FIVE jerseys retired?  Meanwhile the Los Angeles Lakers, owners of 10 NBA Championship titles, have just two more retired (7)?  Doesn’t that imbalance seem a bit strange?

LOS ANGELES KINGS retired jerseys:

99 – Wayne Gretzky
20 – Luc Robitaille
18 – Dave Taylor
16 – Marcel Dionne
30 – Rogie Vachon

LOS ANGELES LAKERS retired jerseys

13 – Wilt Chamberlain
44 – Jerry West
22 – Elgin Baylor
25 – Gail Goodrich
32 – Magic Johnson
33 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
42 – James Worthy


This press release just came to be from the Toronto Raptors …

And while the sarcastic side of me says “Don’t forget, all 82 are available in English on the Fan 590 with Paul Jones and Eric Smith” … the nice guy / optimist in me says this is GREAT news and I’m proud to be working alongside Singh and Singh.  This kind of move shows the popularity of the sport and the team as both grow through the years in our multicultural city, province, and country.

Check it out:

The Toronto Raptors and CBC Sports announced Friday that they will partner together to broadcast eight CBC Raptors home games in Punjabi during the 2009-10 season. Last season’s Raptors game versus Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, March 22, 2009 marked the team’s first South Asian language broadcast in franchise history.

Parminder Singh, voice of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi broadcast and OMNI Television host, will handle play-by-play responsibilities and Harnarayan Singh, CBC Calgary radio news reporter, will call the colour commentary.

“We’re excited to extend our Punjabi language broadcast relationship with CBC Sports to our basketball team given the initial success of last season’s broadcast,” said Chris Hebb, senior vice-president of Broadcast and Content for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “Basketball resonates with many Canadians and newcomers to Canada whose primary language or mother tongue is Punjabi. Our Raptors broadcast in Punjabi will enable us to continue connecting and engaging with Raptors fans in the South Asian community in a meaningful way.”

According to Statistics Canada census data, Punjabi is considered one of the top 15 languages outside of English and the top South Asian language spoken in Toronto. Punjabi is also one of the top five languages spoken at home in Canada.

“CBC continues to reach out to all Canadians and provide them with the most comprehensive and accessible sports coverage in the country,” said Scott Moore, executive director, CBC Sports and general manager, CBC Media Sales and Marketing. “This is an opportunity to grow the Raptors fan base and connect families with each other and the sport. The Punjabi community has embraced CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada by Parminder Singh and Harnarayan Singh and I know the response to the Toronto Raptor broadcasts will be just as positive.”

The first Raptors Punjabi broadcast takes place on CBC Television Sunday, November 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET when the Raptors host the Orlando Magic at Air Canada Centre.


Antoine Wright (ankle) will miss his second-straight game for the Raptors. 

Hedo Turkoglu (hip) will play.


Have a good day folks.

Remember, Jonesy and I are on the air at 7pm tonight with the Raptors and Heat from the ACC … and I’ll be back (FINALLY) on “The Game Plan” this afternoon from 2pm-4pm with Jack Armstrong.

E. Smith

Slow Start Sinks Raps

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Wednesday November 18 2009 – 9:55pm Western – Salt Lake City, UTAH

Raptors @ Nuggets

Final Score:
104 – 91, Jazz (the Raptors are now 5-7)

“Smith and Jones” Player of the Game:
20 points
9 assists
6 rebounds
8/16 FG
“Alice Fazoolis” Player of the Game:
* we were not joined by a player tonight, but had we chatted with someone it would have been:
22 points
18 rebounds

Shout-out to the Raptors:
32 points
17 rebounds
13/25 FG
Stats that stood out:
- Toronto down 18 in the 1st QRT … and NEVER led in this game
- 54 points in the paint for the Jazz
- Toronto started the 4th just 1 of 13 FG
- Raps out-rebound the Jazz 50-49
- Jose Calderon just 4 of 14 from the floor … Jarrett Jack only 1 of 6 … Andrea Bargnani, 3 0f 10
- Toronto shoots a mere 37.4% for the game
- Jazz rookie Eric Maynor comes off the bench for 15 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds
- Jazz had 3 players score 20+ (Boozer, Williams, Kirilenko (20 points))

Thumbs Up:
- No quit in the Raps (not that any pro team should “quit”) … they fight back from down 18 to cut it to 2 early in the 4th … before the wheels fell off.

Thumbs Down:
-That first quarter sank the Raptors.  33-17 after one (down by as many as 18).  Dig a hole that early and it’s VERY hard to climb out of.

Smith says:
- “Tired legs?  Back-to-back?  Or just inefficiency in the 4th?  Either way … the Raps fell apart down the stretch.  Friday becomes VERY important for Toronto.  You don’t wanna fall 3 below .500.”

Jones Says:


Keep the 3-ball Steak Alive (872 games and counting):
- The Raptors were 6 of 25 from 3PT range

Next game:
- Heat @ Raptors – Friday November 20 2009 – 7:00pm Eastern
- Tune in at 7:00pm for the “Pizza Pizza” starting line ups

Missed The Rap?  Listen to it here:



Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Wednesday November 18 2009 – 1245pm Mountain – Salt Lake City, UTAH

We’ve been vloggin’ like crazy during this road trip … but this is our final one for a few days.  After tonight’s tilt against the Jazz, we’re back home for a few days … so the digital cam will get a rest … and you won’t have to look at our ugly mugs anymore!

Tough loss last night for the Raptors … and another tough test tonight in Utah.  The Jazz have struggled so far this season but they’ve won 8-straight against Toronto and they’re well rested (haven’t played since Saturday) … licking their chops at the prospect of seeing the Raps on the back to back.

We’re on the air with the pre-game show at 830pm Eastern tonight … the tip-off just after 9pm

E. Smith

Mile High Meltdown

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Tuesday November 15 2009 – 9:48pm Western – Denver, CO

Raptors @ Nuggets

Final Score:
130 – 112, Nuggets (the Raptors are now 5-6)

“Smith and Jones” Player of the Game:
32 points
5 assists
12/15 FG
8/10 FT

“Alice Fazoolis” Player of the Game:
7 points
10 assists

Shout-out to the Raptors:
17 points
3 rebounds
* Career-high points for DD

Stats that stood out:
- Toronto had 14 turnovers leading to 21 Nuggets’ points
- Nuggets had 34 assists on 48 field goals
- Raptors outscored 66-48 in the second half after being tied at 64 at the half
- Toronto had 2 separate 11-point leads in the 1st half
- JR Smith had a season-high 29 points
- The Nuggets had a whopping *68* points in the paint

Thumbs Up:
- Depth (at least in the 1st half) was solid when you factor-in the performances of Sonny Weems (12), DeRozan (17), and Marco Belinelli (16)

Thumbs Down:
- Where to start?  61.5% for the Nuggets.  3 of 4 quarter at 33 or more points for the Nuggets.  130 total points.  Need more than THAT?

Smith says:
- “The Nuggets found a way to take the Raptors – especially Jose Calderon and Chris Bosh – completely out of their pick and roll game and they slammed the door on Toronto in the second half.  It got ugly in a hurry.”

Jones Says:
- “Until the Raptors decide to ‘push back’, physical teams will continue to give them problems all season.”

Keep the 3-ball Steak Alive (871 games and counting):
- The Raptors were 7 of 16 from 3PT range

Next game:
- Raptors @ Jazz – Wednesday November 18 2009 – 9:00pm Eastern
- Tune in at 8:30pm Eastern for the pre-game show and just after 9:00pm for the “Pizza Pizza” starting line ups

Missed “THE RAP”? You can listen to it here:


* Breaking News * – Raptors Sign Pops

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Tuesday November 17 2009 – 4:31pm Mountain – Denver, CO

I’ll have more to come on this shortly … but … the Toronto Raptors have just signed forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu … claiming him off waivers.

He was released/waived by the Houston Rockets on Friday November 13.

This is Mensah-Bonsu’s second stint with the Raptors.  In 19 games with Toronto last year, the energetic forward averaged 5.1 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Jonesy and I look forward to dusting off the “British Bulldog” moniker we gave him last season!

Mensah-Bonsu is with the team in Denver and will likely be in uniform tonight.

E. Smith



The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have been awarded forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu on a waiver claim. The 6-foot-10, 235-pound Mensah-Bonsu, who signed with Houston this past offseason, was waived by the Rockets on Friday. He appeared in four games with Houston, averaging 1.3 points and 3.3 minutes.

Prior to signing with the Rockets, Mensah-Bonsu, 26, averaged 5.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 13.8 minutes in 19 games with the Raptors. He was signed as a free agent by Toronto on March 6, 2009.

Mensah-Bonsu saw action in three contests with the San Antonio Spurs in 2008-09, averaging 5.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 6.7 minutes. He appeared in 12 games with the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006-07 season where he totaled 29 points and 22 rebounds in 72 minutes. He also spent part of that season in the D-League with Fort Worth, averaging 15.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 30.7 minutes in 26 games. He earned 2007 D-League All-Star Game MVP honours with 30 points and seven rebounds.

The native of London, England spent two seasons overseas, playing with Benetton Treviso in 2007-08 and DKV Joventut in 2008-09. He averaged 9.2 points and 8.3 rebounds in 31 regular season games with Benetton. He saw action in just two games with Jovenut before returning to North America to play in the D-League.

A four-year athlete at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Mensah-Bonsu averaged 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in his senior season leading the Colonials to a 26-1 regular season mark and a Top 10 ranking.

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