Posts Tagged ‘Terrence Ross’

Terrence Ross and two guys I had never heard of were among the highlights of going back to the ACC.

Terrence Ross and two guys I had never heard of were among the highlights of going back to the ACC. (Photo: rantsports.com)

I went to my first Raptors game in about 10 months today, and it was…good.

Remember when you went back to your old high school for the first time since graduation? And everything was familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time? And it feels like it’s been a hundred years, but it feels like you never left? Yeah. Like that. To add to the high school reunion-type feel, the game opened with a video retrospective to celebrate the ACC’s 15th birthday. It was like watching a video yearbook. All that was missing was that Green Day “Time Of Your Life” song.

Anyway, it was good to be back. Here are some things I noticed.

Things that were the same:

1. The Dance Pak’s favourite move is still the hair flip. To the casual observer, there is no difference between a Dance Pak member and a woman in a Raptors bikini trying to remove a wig without using her hands.

2. The Raptors’ shooting is still excitingly unpredictable. In the first quarter, they shot approximately 6 for 832 from the field. Next thing you know, they’re up by 7.

3. During the “free t-shirt throw”, the people most likely to catch a t-shirt are the people seated 3 inches beyond my reach.

4. Jamaal Magloire is still there. I’m not sure in what capacity exactly, but there he was, helping some of the players work out before the game. It reminded me of that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer starts working at that company, but he isn’t actually employed there. He just shows up and does stuff.

Things that were different:

1. New faces. Psycho T. Greivis Vasquez. John Salmons. Pat Patterson. Then there’s the replacement mascot, “Stripes”. He was kind of a non-mascot. He was invisible for most of the game, and then he’d look like he was gearing up to do something really big, sprint across the court, and…do nothing. This guy is the New Coke of the mascot world. Where did they find him? Was Aaron Gray unavailable?

2. The Free Pizza Deal has changed. It still exists, but now the Raptors have to get 100 points and win in order for your ticket to be worth a free slice. So now, nobody can accuse us of incentivizing failure, and Pizza Pizza can save itself some money. Everybody wins!

3. Jonas has a beard. The face that was once as patchy as a Lithuanian corn field in January is now sporting a very manly mane. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

4. THE RAPTORS ARE WINNING. The win against the Cavs puts them at 30 wins for the season. That’s more wins than I witnessed in two years as a season seat holder. They’re sitting in first place in the Atlantic Division…and yes, being first in the Atlantic Division is kind of like winning an arm-wrestling championship at a nursing home, but still. The last time I watched them play Cleveland, this happened, so I was happy to see them get the win.

In conclusion, we should do this again sometime.

Thanks, Cleveland.

 

Advertisements
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.

(cartoonstock.com)

(cartoonstock.com)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the midway point of the season. A variety of publications have released their “mid-term report cards” on the Raptors, which kind of made me feel bad for the Raps. A lot of them weren’t exactly the type of reports you’d want to put up on the fridge.

I know, I know, I spend a lot of time making fun of the Raptors. But like that parent who just can’t see how ugly and stupid their kid is, I’m an eternal optimist with this team. They’re all…special…in their own way.

So below is a summary of the grades dished out by the teachers at TSN and The National Post, with a special bonus from me. Because everyone’s good at something. Right?

Player TSN says… The National Post says… Yeah, but…
Quincy Acy C-
“Has to cut down on blown defensive assignments.”
C
“Has been a willing learner.”
Beard-growing: A+
Alan Anderson B+
“Game-altering performances.”
B
“It is difficult to get past Anderson’s accuracy from the field.”
Alliteration: A+
Andrea Bargnani D-
“His laconic play has finally soured the front office on him.”
F
“Ineffective offensively and regressed defensively.”
Looking slick in a suit: A+
Jose Calderon A
“His leadership has been invaluable.”
B-
“Struggled badly in his 15 games as Kyle Lowry’s backup.”
Ability to grow 5-o’clock shadow before noon: A+
Ed Davis A
“A revelation.”
B+
“A revelation.”
Being a revelation: A+
DeMar DeRozan C+
“His play has fallen off dramatically.”
C+
“His defense remains a mystifying negative.”
Having capital letters in his name: A+
Landry Fields C
“His jumpshot has remained horrendous.”
C-
“Still digging out of an early-season hole.”
Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Drake: A+
Aaron Gray C-
“Rebounding, his one great strength, has been missing all year.”
D+
“Has not been of much use.”
Looking confused: A+
Amir Johnson A-
“Still struggles to guard his position one-on-one.”
B+
“Johnson’s ceiling is limited, but he has maximized his ability.”
Hairstyle choices: A+
Linas Kleiza D
“Cannot replicate (or even approximate) his international effectiveness.”
D
“Has been totally ineffective.”
Being one of two Lithuanians I can name: A+
Kyle Lowry C
“Biggest disappointment of the season so far.”
C
“Lowry’s play has varied wildly.”
Making me nervous in close games: A+
John Lucas III C-
“Doesn’t offer enough elsewhere to offset his lack of scoring.”
C-
“Started off the year on a tremendous cold streak.”
Being more famous than John Lucas I or II: A+
Mickael Pietrus D+
“Doesn’t have it in him to contribute to an NBA team like he used to.”
C-
“Terrible offensively.”
Keeping knee doctors in business: A+
Terrence Ross C+
“He needs to shoot much better and learn to pass more often.”
C
“Flashes of brilliance to go along with complete no-shows.”
Potential to be the third Raptor to lose a dunk contest: A+
Jonas Valanciunas C+
“Fouls far too much.”
C
“Perhaps the Raptors’ worst defensive player.”
Looking absolutely nothing like his bobble-head doll: A+
Dwayne Casey N/A C
“Has relied a little too much on his veterans.”
Having gone from coaching a championship team to the Raptors without killing himself: A+

Terrence Ross, seen here emerging Alien-style from Amir Johnson’s chest, had a crazy putback dunk against Brooklyn last week. (Photo: hoopsfix.com)

Record:   14-26 (4-6 over the past 10)

Low point: A brutal bench performance agains the Bucks on January 13: Milwaukee’s bench outscore’s Toronto’s 43-7. A 20-point Raptor lead turns into an 11-point loss.

High point: Being on the happy end of back-to-back blowouts of the 76ers and Bobcats.

Stuff I’ve Noticed:

  • Overtime makes me nervous.
  • Quincy Acy might be James Harden’s long-lost (and less talented) twin.
  • I heard someone say that Aaron Gray looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing when he plays, but I disagree. Sometimes he looks like he knows what he’s supposed to be doing. It’s doing it that’s the problem.
Memorable Quote:
“Those guys are really happy over there. Or they’re just drying their towels.”
-My wife, after watching the Raptors bench celebrate a Terrence Ross 3-pointer against Portland.