Posts Tagged ‘Rudy Gay’

Mmmmm....losing.

Mmmmm….losing.

Got some sporty friends coming over for a special occasion? Want to impress them with your ability to cook up failure, disappointment, and mediocrity? We’ve got you covered.

Chef Colangelo’s tried-and-true recipe should do nicely. First, the ingredients:

(Serves a city of 2.6 million)

  • 2 cups of marketing
  • 8 lbs of optimism
  • 1 tsp or less of talent (optional)
  • 1 point guard controversy
  • 1-2 talented but over-hyped rookies
  • 3 cups of NBA journeymen
  • 1 rock (for pounding)
  • 2 apologies for poor officiating
  • 1 secret ingredient (be sure to overpay grossly for this one)
  • A pinch of Primo pasta sauce
Directions:
1. Before cooking, tell your guests how awesome the meal will be.

In the pre-season, word was that the Raptors would be back in the playoffs in April. Last year’s defensive boost, thanks to Coach Casey, was sure to continue. We were a lock for the 8th spot, at least. And with Valanciunas the Lethal Lithuanian on board, this was bound to be a great year.

2. Start slowly. Very slowly.

One of the worst starts in franchise history had people screaming for a total rebuild before Christmas. Word spread around the league that this was a surprisingly bad team. One of my favourite quotes from the early season came from Ben Golliver at The Blazer’s Edge, writing after the 4-18 Raptors had visited (and lost by 18 points to) his hometown Blazers:

The horror stories bubble quickly around the NBA and the word has been out about the Raptors for a few weeks now. It’s never the same until you see it up close though. This wasn’t 2012 Charlotte Bobcats bad or 2011 Washington Wizards bad, but it was worse in a way, because the Raptors seem like genuinely nice and good people who are trying to win, or at least not actively trying to lose.

It’s a beautiful quote because it’s so completely Toronto. We’re the lovable losers. The dinner guests you invite over because you feel bad for them, and they bring you an awful bottle of homemade wine that tastes like tepid grape juice and gives you the runs.

3. After simmering for a while, change ingredients.

In one of the season’s most bittersweet moments, the beloved Jose Calderon was moved, along with Ed Davis, in a three-team deal that brought Rudy Gay to Toronto. Gay appeared to have an immediate impact, pouring in the points and hitting big shots. For the first time since Mookie Wilson, Torontonians had a sports star whose name could be chanted and sound like booing:

But the honeymoon didn’t last long, as folks started to realize that for every big shot he hit, Rudy was hoisting up about a thousand others that would clang off iron. His shooting percentage was shockingly low, and before you could say “buyer’s remorse”, fans were wishing we could go back to the days of a reliable, pass-first, shoddy-defending point guard.

4. Serve sheepishly, but with assurances that dessert will be amazing.

When the chefs at MLSE realized that they’d served Toronto yet another helping of lousy basketball, they were ready with 17 excuses reasons why fans should be ready for some serious contending next year. Seriously. For serious this time. They even made a website and video about it:

But in all honesty, we know what next year will be like. If the chef is the same, the meal will still have the same odd smell, the same mealy texture, the same bitter aftertaste.

The Raptors finish 2012-2013 moving into un-charted territory, even for a club with their sad history: for the first time, the team has seen five straight seasons with no playoffs. The drought has been on for so long that we’ve started to forget what water even looks like.

But don’t worry. Chef Colangelo’s cooking up something great for next year.

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Remember just a short while ago when we thought the Raptors might be able to sneak into the 8th spot? Ah, those were the days. (Photo: blog.benmarkets.com)

Remember just a short while ago when we thought the Raptors might be able to sneak into the 8th spot? Ah, those were the days. (Photo: blog.benmarkets.com)

Record:  26-44 (3-7 over the past 10)

Low point: Watching a late-game lead turn into another overtime loss, this time against the Lakers, on March 8th.

High point: Alan Anderson tying a team record for most points in a quarter (20) against the Knicks on March 22nd.

Stuff I’ve Noticed:

  • Sebastian Telfair looks like Caron Butler’s mini-me.
  • On most nights, Rudy Gay’s shooting percentage would make a reasonable batting average.
  • Now that we’ve entered the “who cares” part of the season, losses really don’t seem to bother me anymore, and when someone botches an inbounds pass or airballs a three, it’s almost adorable. Like watching a 4-year-old forget his lines in his kindergarten class version of Hamlet.
Memorable Quote:
“I fell asleep in the second quarter and just when I was settling into my dream where I was playing a tight game of chess with a unicorn, I was awoken to Matt Devlin and Jack Armstrong strongly suggesting what a great player Leo Rautins would make in ‘today’s NBA’.”
-Arsenalist of Raptors Republic, following a brutally boring game against the Bobcats on March 15th.
Watching the Raptors this week felt kind of...like this. (Photo: blutoro.ca)

Watching the Raptors this week felt kind of…like this. (Photo: blutoro.ca)

Record:    23-37 (5-5 over the past 10)

Low point: A 90-84 loss to the Wizards, in what may have been the ugliest, most boring game in the NBA this season.

High point: February 22nd vs. the Knicks: two-point win against a top team, Kyle Lowry bobblehead night, halftime performance by Young MC, and some crazy guy runs on court and gets tackled by security. Oh, and 100 points for free pizza. Who could ask for anything more?

Stuff I’ve Noticed:

  • When Aaron Gray shoots, he puts side-spin on the ball. Not making this up. Take a look next time he shoots a free throw.
  • Raptor fans move from “we’re making the playoffs” to “the end is near” faster than any fans in the NBA.
  • The average height of the Raptors’ point guards is about 4’9″.
Memorable Quote:
“I know the Raptors have been succeeding despite his problems, but it’s hard to see what he really adds to a team besides clanking mid-range jumpers.”
-Mike Prada of the Bullets Forever SB Nation Blog, analyzing Rudy Gay.

Needless to say, Amir Johnson left the game after this incident against Golden State on January 28th. He was later seen in the locker room, compulsively washing his face with industrial-strength soap. (Photo: thestar.com)

Record:  18-32  (4-6 over the past 10)

Low point: Saying goodbye to Jose Calderon.

High point: Saying hello to Rudy Gay, as he comes off the bench with 20 points in a 98-73 rout of the Clippers.

Stuff I’ve Noticed:

  • Having John Lucas as your backup point guard is like having a cardboard box as your backup airbag.
  • I’m not sure if Mickael Pietrus used to play for the Raptors, or if I dreamed it.
  • There should be some kind of “handicap” when teams like the Raptors play against top-level teams. Like maybe we get to pick one of their players, and that player has to wear oven mitts for the whole game.
Memorable Quote:
“I’m tired of this. I’m tired of losing games because of missed calls at the end of the game. I know the league’s going to come down on me but I don’t care.”
-Dwayne Casey’s $25 000 comment after losing to the Hawks on January 30th.
2000 – Tracy McGrady

When Tracy McGrady lost the 2000 slam-dunk contest to Vince Carter, he was not just another victim of Vinsanity. He was the first in what would become a long and proud line of Raptors to lose the NBA’s dunk competition.

McGrady’s dunks are now footnotes to the night that belonged to his cousin, but they were all solid. Had he been in the competition a year later, he may have won with dunks like this one:

2008 – Jamario Moon

As the decade continued, Raptor participation evaporated, despite Toronto’s roster being filled with human highlight reels such as Lamond Murray and Loren Woods. But then, in 2008, Jamario Moon appeared came out of nowhere and started dunking on everybody. The former Globetrotter had the difficult task of being the first dunker in the competition. (Interestingly, McGrady and DeRozan also had to break the ice in their respective years.) But in 2008, Moon broke the ice with a gorgeous dunk:


(Note: The 2008 contest also featured two familiar faces teaming up for this dunk.)

2010-2011 – DeMar DeRozan

Next up was DeMar DeRozan, who turned losing the dunk contest into an art form. He lost to sentimental favourite Nate Robinson in 2010, and returned the next year, only to lose again to the prop-heavy theatrics of Blake Griffin and JaVale McGee. In 2011, rumours circulated that the contest was rigged, and DeRozan swore he was done with the whole thing. Only a Raptor could put together such an impressive repertoire of dunks and come home empty-handed two years running:

2013 – Terrence Ross

After last year’s yawn-fest, the 2013 edition boasts an impressive field of former champions, young stars, and international dunking legends. And right in the middle of all this is Terrence Ross, the only person who will be attending All-Star weekend in a Raptors jersey. Here’s the official Holy Craptors prediction for this year’s contest:

  • Kenneth Faried will finish 6th. A good in-game dunker, I have a hard time seeing how Half-Man/Half-Hair will impress in this one, especially given the competition.
  • Eric Bledsoe will finish 5th. He’s short, but not Spud Webb short. And without Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler making the call, his dunks might not be as impressive.
  • Jeremy Evans will finish 4th. Won it last year, but his closest challenger was Chase Budinger. I’m pretty sure John Lucas could beat Chase Budinger in a dunk contest.
  • Terrence Ross will finish 3rd. But his dunks will be beautiful. Some players just look good dunking. Vince Carter was one; give him a run-of-the-mill dunk, and he’ll make it look good. Something about Ross’ dunking motion is smoother than most players, and not many people outside of Toronto are familiar with his athleticism.
  • James White will finish 2nd, Gerald Green 1st. All eyes will be on these two, who competed in the 2010 Russian league dunk contest, cited by many as the best competition ever to take place outside of the United States. White will be framed as the journeyman, the dunking specialist who, at age 30, is taking his last shot at the spotlight. Green will be framed as the former champ (2007) who has bounced around internationally, and fought his way back to the top.

Never mind that Ross’ dunks will probably be nicer than White’s or Green’s. He will bow out early to give someone else a chance to shine. Because that’s what Raptors do.

Go get ’em, Terrence.

Through all the ups and downs of the past decade in Raptorland, there has been one overlooked fact: the Raptors were the owners of the longest 3-point streak in NBA history. It started on February 26th, 1999, and from that point on, game after game, year after year, the Toronto Raptors hit at least one 3-pointer in every game.

That streak ended painfully short of 1000 games, 986 to be exact, on January 24th, 2011. And in true Raptor style, they ended it with a bang against the Memphis Grizzlies, when they decided to let Memphis star Rudy Gay have an open look at the last second.

Final score: Memphis 100, Toronto 98.

Watch the video below…the guy holding the camera knew it was coming. His foul language and screams of pain echo throughout the entire Raptor universe.

Can anyone name the player who began the Raptors’ 3-point streak in 1999? Why, it was Vince Carter, of course.