Analyzing games in the final week or two of the NBA season is a foolish exercise. There’s nothing to be gleaned from teams either going through the motions with visions of sitting on a beach in the heads of the players while others desperately try to avoid suffering injuries ahead of the playoffs.
- So, we’ll sum up Wednesday’s Raptors-Knicks tilt as a win for both sides. A nice going away present for Mike Woodson, who everyone expects to be ousted by Phil Jackson this summer and a (relatively) pain-free experience for Toronto’s players (though Amir Johnson scared more than a few people when he tweaked his ankle yet again). The starters got a bit of a run, which will help, since there will be two off-days before the playoffs start, but they didn’t get too much time. The bench got a chance to play extended minutes.
- People were e-mailing me months ago saying a Raptors-Nets series was pre-destined. Many came from people that have been fans of the Raptors since the inception of the franchise, who, know how things work when it comes to the Raptors. But hold the doom and gloom, “this is an exact repeat of 2006-07″ talk. It’s not. This is a better Raptors team and, arguably a worse Nets group (certainly an older one) and the Raptors aren’t missing a glue starter (Jorge Garbajosa) and have far more depth than the Chris Bosh-led group that wilted against Jason Kidd, Vince Carter (and Mikki Moore!). The black cloud that seemed to always follow the Raptors over the years took off this season following the Rudy Gay trade. There’s no guarantees it will return just for the playoffs. I think the series will go seven and I think the Raptors will win. But much more on that later this week.
- Got an early look at the ‘We the North’ promo on Tuesday and I’m not at all surprised how much the fans have loved it. It’s well done. Tim Leiweke said the ad agency kept throwing ideas at he and Masai Ujiri, but they refused to let this one go. They liked it too much and kept going back to it. In the end, it got moved up for these playoffs, instead of heralding the 20th anniversary season next year. Seems like the right call. The players saw it Thursday morning and loved it, though another version could have more of the players in it, instead of just a select few.