Posts Tagged ‘Vince Carter

No shame in Raptors dropping that game; Welcome back Amir Johnson; Rare rebounding domination doesn’t pay off; Turnovers were the issue; Rose proud to see the progress of Canadian hoops

- November 29th, 2014

There is nothing wrong with losing to a team as good as the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs lead the NBA, averaging 109.7 points per game, rank second in field goal percentage, first in offensive rating (a ridiculous 114.1 points scored per 100 possessions, well ahead of second-place Toronto’s 110.7), tops in assist-to-turnover ratio and second in effective field goal percentage. It is not hyperbole to say this Dallas squad boasts one of the five best attacks we’ve seen in the NBA in the past 10-15 years.

- Dallas spreads out opponents with lethal three-point shooters everywhere, Dirk Nowitzki remains a sublime, nearly unstoppable force, Monta Ellis can score at will and Tyson Chandler and Brandon Wright are too long and athletic to contain inside and get a ton of easy buckets and put-backs. Whether it’s pick-and-rolls, pick-and-pops or getting easy points off of turnovers, these Mavericks are for real (as Dwane Casey said afterward, they’ll be in the money in the West when it’s all said and done).

- Dallas forces a lot of turnovers, but the Raptors were quite sloppy on Friday night too. The team had 17 miscues, nearly twice what they had been averaging coming in (11.2, behind only New Orleans for fewest per game in the NBA) to go with only 17 assists. Meanwhile, Dallas had a ridiculous 27 assists and just eight turnovers. Looking at that number, it is pretty amazing that the Raptors even made a game out of it in the end. 95% of the time, a team will have no chance against an opponent operating at that absurd level of efficiency.

- The turnovers weren’t just one guy having a rough night, six players had at least two, but the starters only had six turnovers – total, none by Jonas Valanciunas in his 28 minutes, which is an excellent sign.

- Amir Johnson had one of his best outings of the season, scoring 20 points, grabbing six offensive rebounds. Johnson was a force, helping compensate for the loss of DeMar DeRozan due to a groin injury. Patrick Patterson also was excellent, turning in a 10 point, 12 rebound double-double. Johnson and Patterson combined to haul in 10 offensive rebounds, four more than the entire Dallas team managed. The board-work (55-37 edge overall) helped keep Toronto in this one.

- Credit Valanciunas for bouncing back after getting dominated by Chandler in the first half. Valanciunas was a different player in his 12 second half minutes, grabbing eight rebounds and scoring eight points. He had no points and five boards through the first two quarters. Chandler still had a big third, but did nothing in the fourth (though Valanciunas only played half of the fourth).

- Currently at practice awaiting word on DeRozan’s status. Not much is known at this point.

- Caught up with Mavs owner Mark Cuban for a one-on-one pre-game and he said Dallas doesn’t win the 2011 title without Casey. Also, was in a scrum with another one of the NBA’s best entertainers, Jalen Rose, and he did not disappoint.

One Jalen quote that didn’t make the paper, on the growth of Canadian basketball: “I’m happy to see the growth that Canada and Toronto in particular has had in basketball. Wiggins came up earlier, being the No. 1 pick, Anthony Bennett, I played with Steve Nash, who is a two-time MVP, so it’s not a novelty anymore, for a lot of people to feel: can they really play ball in Toronto? I remember being in eighth grade, I came over here with Michigan AAU, when I was rebounding, that was the only way they were going to keep me around, I was the ball boy. Run and get the Gatorades, rebound for the team. I remember standing on the baseline and we had some great players on our team, Steve Smith, a lot of notables. But I was watching the other end, watching the Toronto players warm up and it was between the legs, 360, I’m  like ‘You guys are going to get killed.’ That’s what I told them. They said ‘Well if they beat us, you’re going to stay here with them.’ Fortunately it was a good game and Michigan won, but I knew at that time that Toronto was on the rise.”

- Rose also said the misconceptions about Toronto as a basketball city are gone: ” I think people get the message now. You don’t hear the mumbling and groaning about players re-signing here. You just got Lou Williams to sign, Kyle Lowry re-signed, DeMar’s on his second contract, Amir’s been here for a long time. I think that novelty is over as it relates to winning. And when you follow winning in the NBA, it always starts from the top down. And I appreciate what Tim Leiweke has done with the franchise, creating a culture, bringing in Masai, who undid a lot of moves in the past that probably weren’t the best moves. So now the city has a team they can really be proud of.”

- One Greivis Vasquez post-game quote: “We have just got to continue to grind. It’s not the end of the world. We lost a game. So what? On to the next one. We get better. We have to defend better. We have to rebound better. We have to play transition defence better. We have to do a lot of different things better. But we’re still, what, 13-3? That’s a pretty good record to me … We fought, we don’t give up that’s one thing about our team that’s going to win us a lot of games down the road

- OK, can never keep the Greivis quotes short because he’s an almost Jalen-level orator. On who steps up if DeRozan has to sit out: “I think we’ve got one of the best, and I say this in a humble way, benches in the league. Somebody else is going to step up. Lou will step in or myself or James or whatever coach wants to do. Now he’s got a squad. He’s got a team. And now he needs to, and he will, put it together. Somebody went down and we almost won. That wasn’t good enough. I think we have guys that can step up and do their job.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raptors-Mavericks Points Per Game: Vin-tage Carter with a side of Mayo negates strong DeRozan performance

- November 8th, 2012

DALLAS – Another horrible start has Dwane Casey thinking it might be time to shake up his starting lineup (more on that later on Thursday).

Aside from that start, it was a good bounce-back effort from the Raptors, but the hole was just too large to crawl out of.

- We’ll start with Vince, then the positives, then the negatives.

- There are a lot of things one can say about Vince Carter. One of them is the man loves to put on a show when the lights are brightest. Raptors fans know that well (aside from Game 7 against Philly). Toronto was buzzing apparently with the (old) news that Vince didn’t really want to be traded back in the day (he was just pouting about a few things that could have been worked out with some effort) and he wouldn’t mind coming back to the team to finish his career. Knowing all eyes were on him, Carter had one of his best performances in years, stuffing the stat sheet in a Shawn Marion-esque manner, important, because the Matrix was out due to an injury.

Carter had some huge plays early and some even bigger ones later, including a couple of threes and one emphatic block on DeMar DeRozan.

Afterwards, Carter had a few things to say:

I guessed correctly. More than anything, I just tried to stay in front of him and as he was making his move I just tried to stay by him. Feel good? That I can still get there? Like I said, I just guessed correctly. If he would have gone left, he would have got me.

He’s more confident. I think that’s the biggest thing. You can tell when you play against a guy in his confidence and he was confident in his moves. He was confident in his decisions that he made and I think that just comes with repetition, and of course, years,” Carter said of DeRozan.

- Which leads to a positive. DeRozan contributed across the board for the first time minus Kyle Lowry. He was solid and carried the team, along with Amir Johnson and Andrea Bargnani, at least offensively. Bargnani’s defence still wasn’t there, but he did grab nine rebounds and looked more engaged, though there still were frustrating lapses like the time he didn’t even pretend to go after a rebound, leading to a Dallas offensive board.

Amir Johnson’s play also was superb.

- The negatives were the failure to come out ready to play and the continued struggles of Landry Fields, who is shooting around 20% for the season and seems to have no confidence.

Jonas Valaniunas got into some foul trouble and was quite frustrated, but looked OK when he did play. He was still talking about the Kevin Durant dunk before the game and said “maybe I need to dunk on someone tonight.” That happened in the first quarter when he threw one down on Chris Kaman.

 

NBA talking franchise player tag; RIP Tractor Traylor

- May 11th, 2011

According to ESPN, David Stern and union director Billy Hunter have been meeting recently to discuss a new collective barganing agreement and will meet again next week.

That’s the good news. The bad news is union president Derek Fisher also told ESPN the NBA’s current offer is not any better than what has been presented in the past. The current collective bargaining agreement will expire on June 30th.

“Unfortunately, the proposal is very similar to the proposal the league submitted over a year ago,” Fisher said.

“This last proposal doesn’t look close to what we were expecting.”

According to Sports Illustrated‘s Zach Lowe, the NBA is trying to put in a franchise tag into the new CBA, although it would be very different than the one used by the NFL.

The union would prefer to keep things the way they are, instead of seeing things like a franchise tag and less guarantees on contracts.

My opinion has long been that a solution both side might be able to get behind would be to make the final year of all contracts longer than 2 years team options.

SI reports the proposed franchise tages would let each team pick one player for “preferential contractual treatment,  including more overall money, more guaranteed money and at least one extra year on his contract. A player would have to agree to such a designation. It is designed to work as an incentive to get a player to remain with his team rather than as a roadblock to free agency, the sources said.”

It is an interesting idea for a league that has to walk the thin tightrope of bringing in eyeballs through the spectacle of things like Boston and later, Miami forming star-studded “big threes,” while still keeping markets less appealing to star players happy and competitive.

Moves have been made to keep young stars in place longer which made it harder for young players to bail on their first teams for greener pastures – the way Tracy McGrady did to the Raptors, for example. Teams currently can offer an extra year and higher average increases in salary, but that wasn’t enough to keep LeBron James in Cleveland or Chris Bosh in Toronto.

This would be an even more radical step.

More on this later.

Finally, sad news out of Puerto Rico where former NBA big man Robert Traylor reportedly has died from a heart attack.

Traylor, just 34, famously was swapped from Dallas to Milwaukee on draft night, 1998, in exchange for Dirk Nowitzki.

The Raptors were very high on Traylor and might have taken him had Vince Carter been off the board. Carter only surpassed Traylor in the eyes of then-coach Butch Carter and Toronto’s brass after a jaw-dropping individual workout.

On to boo or not to boo Bosh + the future of Bryan Colangelo

- February 15th, 2011

Chris Bosh made some mistakes on the way out, but is he worth booing to the same degree Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter have been?

I don’t think so.

Yes he said a bunch of incredibly stupid things and might have mis-led general manager Bryan Colangelo into thinking Toronto had a better shot than it actually did of bringing him back (though Colangelo has been around long enough to read the tea leaves and surely knew Bosh wasn’t coming back), but Carter and McGrady’s offences were far worse.

Carter quit on the franchise, might have given away a play (according to now-Raptor Reggie Evans who later took the accusation back), stopped playing hard and submarined his trade value after asking to be traded.

McGrady told Glen Grunwald there was pretty much a 50-50 shot he would re-sign in Toronto when his rookie deal was dealt, preventing the then GM from pulling the trigger on a number of enticing trade offers (a prime Jerry Stackhouse  or Larry Hughes among others) and left town as soon as humanly possible.

Bosh played hard and gave his all for pretty much his entire tenure. Maybe he should have played with a mask after breaking his face and made more of an effort to get back in the lineup to get the Raptors into the playoffs last season, but everybody’s pain tolerance is different. Only Bosh knows if he checked out down the stretch, thinking of greener pastures.

It isn’t all on Bosh that things didn’t work here. He re-signed with the team and though he enjoyed being miscast as a No. 1 option, or franchise player, he clearly wasn’t and that isn’t his fault.

It’s up to management to build a strong team and take advantage of what it has. Bosh, while not that uber-stud, was the closest thing to an elite player Toronto had and the team couldn’t properly build around him. While every good team had a steady swingman or two capable of breaking down defences, Bosh was never given that complementary and crucial teammate.

Bosh deserves to be both booed and cheered. In what order? I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps booed now while the wound for Raptors fans is fresh and cheered sometime down the line when he is recognized for the records he broke while here.

In any case, he isn’t the villain that Carter and McGrady were. Their actions seemed malicious, Bosh’s silly comments, though stupid and shockingly lacking in common sense never did.

Back to the man who took some good swings, but couldn’t find a way to make things work with Bosh.

It appears all but certain that Colangelo will get ample time to sort things out in Raptor-land.

While there is no timetable for an announcement, according to a source with knowledge of the thinking of the upper echelon of the MLSEL board, “It is 99% certain that (Colangelo) will be re-signed before the end of his current contract (which is due to expire on June 30th) and likely for a further 5 years.”

Interestingly though, the same source added that Colangelo was eager to add veterans in order to make a playoff push (prior to the losing streak that sunk the season),  “but other voices wanted to stay with the youth and future drafts and they won out.”

So does that mean Colangelo will be back with less autonomy or was the decision to extend him made after he got on board with the rebuild?

Also unclear is whether he will get five more years because the board is happy with the job he has done so far (A off the court, C- at best on it), or because there simply isn’t another candidate out there as qualified.

- February 13th, 2011

The buzz in the Air Canada Centre showed once again what has been lacking for far too long in Raptor-land.

Star power. It shows in the attendance figure (Toronto’s 16,093 per home game is just 20th out of the NBA’s 30 teams).

The Raptors are just 22nd in road attendance, a far cry from the glory days of Vince Carter, when the team was actually a must-see. At home back in 2002, the height of Vinsanity, the Raptors were fourth in the league, drawing 19,783 to the ACC and were fifth in road attendance.

Even just a season ago, the Raptors drew 17,897 fans a night to the ACC, 14th in the NBA.

Meanwhile, with Griffin a nightly staple on the highlight reels, the Clippers have gone from 2oth in home attendance and 21st on the road to 15th at home and away, totals that surely will rise as Griffin’s legend grows.

With nobody like Griffin, or even Carter, lurking in this draft, Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo has his hands full trying to bring some excitement back to Toronto.

Raptors: Blake’s great but Vince is still the best in-game dunker ever

- February 12th, 2011

While Blake Griffin’s dunks have been spectacular this season and he is already surely high up the list of the NBA’s all-time dunkers, it is hard to agree with those who think he already is the best in-game dunker in NBA history.

Very few people in Toronto, in particular, would put Griffin at the top.

Not when they witnessed the aerial exploits of a young Vince Carter.

Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans both chose Carter as the top in-game dunker, while DeRozan gave Carter his due, while also supporting the greatest player ever, Michael Jordan, who, as most would remember, was a pretty special dunker himself (you don’t get called “Air” for nothing).

“I’ve seen a lot of great dunkers, he’s been one of the good ones this season (but) I wouldn’t call him that (top in-game dunker ever),” Johnson said

Added DeRozan, who will face off with Griffin next week at the all-star festivities:

“You can’t top Vince’s dunks (and) nobody can top MJ’s dunks.”

DeRozan said if he gets a breakaway on Sunday against the Clippers he will try to send Griffin a message that the Slam Dunk contest is not already wrapped up.

“If I get an opportunity I’d love to (do something special),” DeRozan said with a laugh.

Evans, who has known Carter for years, was most in favour of Carter being the untoppable of dunkers.

“Vince Carter was on a whole ‘nother level. That’s a whole nother level I’m biased too because we’re Florida boys,” Evans said.

“Blake’s got some nice dunks, but you’ve got to understand I’ve been watching Vince since high school. He had some amazing dunks in North Carolina, here, everywhere he went . (But) Blake Griffin got some nice dunks, he’s doing a great job, you can’t knock him. Talented player, strong, got a bright future ahead of him.”

Who do I pick as the best in-game dunkers I’ve seen during their primes:

Vince Carter

Michael Jordan

Dominique Wilkins

Shawn Kemp

Clyde Drexler (Portland version)

Blake Griffin

Charles Barkley (Philly version)

Larry Johnson (Charlotte version)

Carter continues to disappoint

- May 25th, 2010

That Orlando-Boston game Monday night was great entertainment. Back-and-f0rth, hard fouls, determination (aside from one guy that I’ll get too) and even an overtime session. Even the usually insufferable Mark Jackson didn’t grate on me.

These playoffs have been pretty terrible, overall, so it was nice to see. Looks like the Lakers-Suns series is picking up too.

Jeff Van Gundy called out Vince Carter a couple of games ago and thousands of people have been saying it for years. What a waste of talent. Nothing separated Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter talent-wise 10 years ago. Vince could have been just as good. He was a better jump shooter at the time and an even more ridiculous natural athlete. But, he never put in the work and just doesn’t have the mental makeup to take advantage of his gifts. He was atrocious in game 4 Monday. He almost shot the Magic out of the game and he haphazardly fought through screens all game and generall let Paul Pierce have his way with him.

After five years, nobody would have said Pierce would have the better career than Carter, but pretty clearly, he has. It’s a shame for fans of the game that Carter’s will never came close to matching his phsyical gifts. He could have been an all-time great.

It’s ironic that Hedo Turkoglu, a complete flameout in year one in Toronto, yet, is exactly what the Magic is missing right now. Jameer Nelson is the only facilitator on the floor. He can’t do it all himself. When the ball was in Turkoglu’s hands, everybody else looked much better offensively, particularly Rashard Lewis and Turkoglu’s defence wasn’t any worse than Carter’s has been. If I’m both sides, I find a way to send Carter to a third team and return Turkoglu to Orlando for something like Gortat and Bass. It will never happen because Otis Smith badmouthed Turk and who really wants Carter at this point, but it would help both teams a lot.

Previewing Suns-Lakers and Magic-Celtics

- May 14th, 2010

I’m going to hold off on commenting on LeBron James, he gets enough attention.

If you’re desperate to read about the King Without a Ring, here‘s a great take on it.

The NBA’s Final Four is one of the most intriguing in years.

I said at the beginning of the year at full health, the Celtics still had enough in them for one more run. But I think Orlando is just playing too well right now to be beaten.

Big fan of Kendrick Perkins, but Dwight Howard is going to overpower him. Yes, Rajon Rondo should eat up Jameer Nelson, but Mr. Howard will be waiting at the rim. Ray Allen and Vince Carter go back a long way so that will be an intersting matchup to be sure. Kevin Garnett and Rashard Lewis are two very different players, but both are keys for their team.

In the end, I take Orlando in six because I don’t see how Boston stops Howard at one end and I don’t see how Rondo dominates with Howard protecting the rim.

In the West, a Suns victory would be what most of the free world is rooting for, but again, in the NBA, size matters, and I feel the Lakers are too big to be beaten by the Suns.

The Suns have nobody who can stop either Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol. If both are at their best, this will be over quickly. If Bynum goes down with yet another injury, Phoenix has a legit shot. I also like the huge advantage Phoenix has at the point and in terms of pace.

The Lakers struggle against great point guards, Steve Nash is one of the best. I expect him to do damage even if Kobe or Artest try to check him. The Lakers also are at their weakest when teams push the pace agains them. The run-and-gun Suns must attack as much as possible and keep the Lakers on their heels if they are to have a chance.

The Suns have a chance, but if the Lakers stay healthy, they will win in six and we will see an NBA Finals rematch.

This time the Magic just might come out on top.

What  summer it would be for Raptor fans if Vince Carter wins a title and Chris Bosh bolts. And you thought the riots in Montreal were bad.