Archive for January, 2008

Tracking the Raptors’ Key Stretch of 19 Games (#2)

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

The Anatomy of Wins and Losses in the NBA:
Breaking Down Key Possessions

Game 1 – TOR 116 vs Sac (15-21) 91, W 1-0
Game 2 - TOR 89 vs Atl (17-18) 78, W 2-0 … Boxscore, Full Play-By-Play


Lue Jump Shot: Made (5 PTS) 5:20
[ATL 73-75]
  5:12 Team Timeout:Regular
[TOR 78-73]
Parker 3pt Shot: Made (18 PTS)
Assist: Delfino (1 AST)
Johnson Driving Layup Shot: Missed 4:30  
  4:29 Delfino Rebound (Off:0 Def:4)
[TOR 80-73]
Moon Running Dunk Shot: Made (9 PTS)
Assist: Calderon (8 AST)
Team Timeout:Regular 3:59  
  3:51 Moon Foul:Personal (3 PF)
Horford Substitution replaced by Childress 3:51  
Johnson Driving Layup Shot: Missed Block: Moon (3 BLK) 3:39  
  3:37 Parker Rebound (Off:1 Def:3)
[TOR 82-73]
Bosh Layup Shot: Made (32 PTS)
Assist: Moon (2 AST)
Lue Foul:Shooting (2 PF) 3:30  
[TOR 83-73]
Bosh Free Throw 1 of 1 (33 PTS)
Lue Turnover:Bad Pass (1 TO) Steal:Parker (1 ST) 3:19  
  3:13 Delfino Driving Layup Shot: Missed
  3:12 Parker Rebound (Off:2 Def:3)
  3:10 Parker Tip Shot: Missed
Childress Rebound (Off:0 Def:3) 3:08  
Smith Layup Shot: Missed 3:05  
  3:04 Calderon Rebound (Off:1 Def:5)
  2:39 Delfino 3pt Shot: Missed
Williams Rebound (Off:3 Def:6) 2:38  
  2:28 Parker Foul:Personal (2 PF)
Lue Substitution replaced by Horford 2:28  
Johnson 3pt Shot: Made (25 PTS)
Assist: Horford (4 AST)
[ATL 76-83]
  1:50 Delfino 3pt Shot: Missed
Horford Rebound (Off:2 Def:7) 1:49  
Johnson 3pt Shot: Missed 1:43  
  1:42 Bosh Rebound (Off:1 Def:8)
[TOR 85-76]
Calderon Driving Layup Shot: Made (11 PTS)
Team Timeout:Regular 1:23  
Smith Jump Hook Shot: Made (24 PTS)
Assist: Johnson (7 AST)
[ATL 78-85]
[TOR 87-78]
Calderon Jump Shot: Made (13 PTS)
Childress Turnover:Bad Pass (2 TO) Steal:Calderon (1 ST) 0:44  
[TOR 89-78]
Bosh Turnaround Fade Away shot: Made (35 PTS)
Assist: Calderon (9 AST)
Horford Jump Shot: Missed 0:00  
Team Rebound 0:00  
End of 4th Quarter


Key possessions which determined the W-L result:

4:53 Anthony Parker made a ridiculous 3-pter (off balance, with a hand in his face, as the shot-clock expired) from the deep left corner, TOR 78 Atl 73
4:30 Joe Johnson drove the left baseline and missed a contested layup
4:07 Jose Calderon drove the right baseline, drew help, then hit a cutting Jamario Moon (from the top of the lane) for a running dunk, TOR 80 Atl 73
3:39 Joe Johnson drove into the lane and had his interior layup attempt blocked by Jamario Moon
3:30 Jamario Moon drove into the lane, drew help, and made a lay-off pass to Chris Bosh, who finished an acrobatic shot, was fouled, and then made his And1 free thow, TOR 83 Atl 73
1:23 Jose Calderon (versus Al Horford, in a defensive mismatch, following a “Switch”) drove the right baseline and made an uncontested layup, TOR 85 Atl 76
50.8 Jose Calderon made a pull-up, step back jumpshot, TOR 87 Atl 78
20.7 Chris Bosh made an 18 ft, turn-around, fade-away left elbow jumpshot (Assist: Calderon), TOR 89 Atl 78

Key Raptors: Jamario Moon, Jose Calderon and Chris Bosh

Vital Components: 
Offensive Rebounds Allowed (0), Interior Baskets Allowed (1), Free Throw Attempts Allowed (0), Missed Free Throws (0), Blocked Shots (1), Interior Field Goals Made (3), Assists (4)

Next Game:
@ PHI (tonight, 2nd half of back-to-back, Tor/-2)

Dino-mite or Also-ran?

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Winners of 47 games last year and an inaugural Atlantic Division title, the Toronto Raptors have now reached a critical point in the 2007-2008 NBA Regular Season.

Currently, in 2nd place in the Atlantic, behind the juggernaut Boston Celtics (31-6), Toronto (21-18 ) is 5th (overall) in the Eastern Conference and, if the Playoffs were to start today, slated for a 1st Round match-up with the Washington Wizards (20-17, 4th place, with Home-court).

Since New Year’s Eve, and prior to last night’s home-court victory against the Kings (15-22), the Raptors had been playing .500 basketball (3-3), losing to the Pistons (29-10, home and away) and the Cavaliers (20-18, home); while winning versus the 76ers (15-24, home), Knicks (12-26, away), and Trail Blazers (23-15, home, Double OT).

But, with this schedule, for the next 6 weeks:

Week 1
Jan 17 vs Sacramento/15-21
Jan 18 vs Atlanta/17-18 
Jan 19 at Philadelphia/15-24 (back-to-back)
Jan 23 at Boston/31-6
Week 2
Jan 25 vs Milwaukee/16-23
Jan 29 at Washington/20-17
Jan 30 vs Washington/20-17 (back-to-back)
Week 3
Feb 1 vs LA Lakers/26-11
Feb 4 at Miami/8-29
Feb 8 vs LA Clippers/11-23
Week 4
Feb 10 at Minnesota/5-32
Feb 11 vs San Antonio/25-11 (back-to-back)
Feb 13 vs New Jersey/18-20
Week 5
Feb 20 vs Orlando/24-17
Feb 22 at New York/12-26
Week 6
Feb 24 vs New York/12-26
Feb 25 at Indiana/18-22 (back-to-back)
Feb 27 vs Minnesota/5-32
Feb 29 vs Indiana/18-22

- Only 6 of 19 games against teams with .500+ W-L records
- Only 2 of these 6 games on the road

Toronto now has the chance to separate itself from the other “quasi-contenders” in the Eastern Conference, and solidify its position as a top team (#3 or 4), in this half of the NBA, entering the final third of the Regular Season and driving for Home-court Advantage in the Playoffs.

Overall, the Raptors two most recent games (versus Sacramento and Detroit) are indicative of the way Toronto has performed this season.

In a TYPE 1 GAME … against a lesser team, like Sacramento (15-22)

Toronto dominated several different phases of the game (i.e. FGM, FG%, FTM, FT%, TOT REB, AST, TO and STL).

SAC/TOR Boxscore (Wed Jan 16/08 )

In a TYPE 2 GAME … against a quality team, like Detroit (29-10)

Although Toronto did a solid job on the boards (TOT REB: TOR/47, DET/41) the Raptors were dominated by the Pistons in almost every other phase of the game (i.e FGM, FG%, 3FGM, 3FG%, FTM, AST, TO, STL, BS and PF).

TOR/DET Boxscore (Tue Jan 15/08 )

If the Raptors are going to re-establish themselves this season, as a top team in the East … it will happen during this stretch of 19 games, in conjunction with their commitment to: (i) TEAM REBOUNDING (#23), (ii) SHOOTING HIGH PERCENTAGE SHOTS (#14), (iii) MINIMIZING TURNOVERS (#2), and (iv) GETTING TO THE FREE THROW LINE (#30).

Should the Raptors emerge with a 13-6 (or better) W-L record from these games, they will once again find themselves ensconced in the Top 4 of the Eastern Conference Standings, with a 34-24 W-L record (.586) and be well-equipped to gain home-court advantage for the 1st Round of the Playoffs (at least), with the opportunity to amass a Wins Total (e.g. 48, should they finish 14-10, .583) which exceeds last year’s final number (47).

The problem with Da Bulls

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

A team that won …

49 games during the ’06-07 season, swept the Heat in the 1st Round of the Playoffs and was eliminated by the Pistons (2-4) in the 2nd Round;

41 games during the ’05-06 season and was eliminated in the 1st Round of the Playoffs (2-4) by the eventually NBA champions (Miami Heat);

47 games during the ’04-05 season and was eliminated in the 1st Round of the Playoffs (2-4) by the Wizards; and,

23 games during the ’03-04 season, missing the Playoffs completely;

need look no further than the following incident when it attempts, in earnest, to retrace the steps which have led to this year’s debacle (14-22) … where they’ve now fired their head coach (Scott Skiles) and are mired at the bottom of the Eastern Conference … i.e.

Big Ben allowed to wear headband

When an authoritarian taskmaster, like Scott Skiles, allows himself to be undermined by his own players, in this way, while working for a cohesive organization, like the Chicago Bulls … it becomes a no-win situation for all concerned … and eventually, inevitably, leads to untenable circumstances like these … e.g.

Bulls vote to bench Noah 
Struggles – and apparently strife – continue for Bulls

The Chicago Bulls will not turn around the fortunes of their franchise until Ben Wallace is no longer a part of their team, and order has been restored in their decision-making process.

Despite how it might look to team outsiders, the worst mistake Coach Skiles could have possibly made was to relent on his initial stance pertaining to the “headband issue” which first surfaced with this team last season.

Until this “type of cancer” is cut out, completely, Da Bulls are going nowhere.

NFL Divisional Playoffs

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

There are 4 playoff matchups scheduled for this weekend, with the following wagering lines:

Sat Jan 12 2008
GREEN BAY -9 Seattle
NEW ENGLAND -13.5 Jacksonville

Sun Jan 13 2008
DALLAS -7.5 NY Giants

Visit to view my results for the entire 2007-2008 NFL season and to purchase a selection for this weekend:

11-7, 61%
+16.5 Units

18-8-3, 69%
+9.2 Units

7-5, 58%
+1.5 Units