Toronto Raptors Chat On The Fan 590

I was on The Fan 590 to chat about the strong start the Toronto Raptors have had to their season. We talked about Lou Williams giving the team a scoring spark, if Toronto can be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference this season, why Kyle Lowry is the heart and soul of this team and why the road trip at the end of December could be trouble.

I was on The Fan 590 to chat about the strong start the Toronto Raptors have had to their season. We talked about Lou Williams giving the team a scoring spark, if Toronto can be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference this season, why Kyle Lowry is the heart and soul of this team and why the road trip at the end of December could be trouble.

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Observations From Toronto’s Locker Room After Thumping Milwaukee 124-83

Here are seven observations, notes and quotes from Toronto’s locker room after they beat Milwaukee 124-83:

  • Bruno Caboclo stole the show after the game. The media scrum waiting for him was huge – one of the largest of the season for any player – and Lou Williams and DeMar DeRozan took turns joking with the rookie. Caboclo soaked up every second with a huge smile on his face.
  • Caboclo on getting into his first NBA game and the reaction he got from the crowd: “I had butterflies in my stomach.”
  • Somebody texted Caboclo a picture after the game that had him in a Raptors jersey hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
  • A casualty of the Caboclo scrum was Jonas Valanciunas’ post-game drink. Valanciunas wasn’t happy that it made a mess on a couple pairs of his kicks.
  • DeMar DeRozan on Bruno Caboclo: “The crowd got into it and I’m pretty sure he was happy. That’s definitely a memory he will have for forever.”
  • Lucas Nogueira was a popular player after the game, too. He was joking around with the media and he had a couple of reporters laughing.
  • Dwane Casey: “If we are going to be an elite team – or grow to be an elite team – we need to make sure we take care of business. Whether it’s a quarter, a possession, or whatever it is, we need to keep that business like mindset and not get caught up in all the craziness around us.”

David Blatt Finding Readjustment To Living In America Challenging

“It’s a readjustment to be back, yes, but the biggest change is in me. I see the world differently. I no longer see the world through the eyes of simply an American kid growing up here. I see them through the eyes of a worldly man who has experienced new sets of surroundings and made me look now at the world and the USA that I live in again, in a whole different way. I left the United States at 22, and I eventually found myself living in the former Soviet Union, the place that I viewed at one time, as a child of the Cold War, as the enemy to be feared, the threat to the U.S. and the world. After experiencing post-Soviet Union Russia, and living there, I had a totally different view of the place and the time period that I lived there. It changed my whole mindset about things. Now, when I’m looking at international events here through the eyes of an American again, I’m seeing it a lot different.”

David Blatt to Adrian Wojnarowski

Observations From Toronto’s Locker Room After Beating Memphis 96-92

Here are nine observations, notes and quotes from Toronto’s locker room after they beat Memphis 96-92:

  • DeMar DeRozan was fired up after the win and was yelling while walking up the tunnel and into the locker room. What was he saying? I couldn’t really make out exactly what he was yelling. All I could decipher was a bunch of smack talk about beating one of the NBA’s top teams so far this season.
  • Kyle Lowry did a live NBA TV hit after the game. I’m not sure if it will air in Canada due to NBA TV Canada’s post-game coverage of the Raptors. Weird, I know.
  • Lowry had a cute moment joking around with DeRozan’s daughter after the game. Just another example of the strong bond on and off the court between Lowry and DeRozan.
  • Dwane Casey on playing a flu-plagued Grizzlies team: “These games against a wounded animal are always the toughest to play because those players are playing with no pressure.”
  • The media scrum for Vince Carter after the game was intense. Besides a couple dumb questions – props to Carter for dismissing them and quickly moving on – Carter was open, honest and funny while dealing with the media.
  • Vince Carter on the ovation he received following the video montage: “It was amazing. They asked me earlier how I would feel or how would I react. You can’t prepare for that whether it was a surprise or you knew it was coming. It was just an amazing feeling and to just be in the moment. See it. Kind of relive it. As it was happening you see all of the stuff and all of the people you played with. As each play was happening I could remember it like it was yesterday.”
  • Dwane Casey on Chuck Hayes: “He knows who he is. He’s one of the best big man defenders in the league. He has a low centre of gravity and he knows how to use it.”
  • Legendary Sports Illustrated scribe Ian Thomsen was in the Raptors’ locker room after the game. I can’t wait to read what he writes on the team for SI.
  • James Johnson DeRozan’s fiancee were joking around comparing walking casts.

Podcap: Raptors Beat Grizzlies 96-92

Here’s audio from Dwane Casey, Vince Carter, Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez after Toronto’s 96-92 win over Memphis.

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Vince Carter Talks About Being Honoured Tonight At Air Canada Centre

“It was amazing. They asked me earlier how I would feel or how would I react. You can’t prepare for that whether it was a surprise or you knew it was coming. It was just an amazing feeling and to just be in the moment. See it. Kind of relive it. As it was happening you see all of the stuff and all of the people you played with. As each play was happening I could remember it like it was yesterday.”

Vince Carter talks about the video montage the Toronto Raptors created and showed to honour his contributions to the franchise

Off The Dribble – November 15, 2014

Jordan Mercier and I talked about what the Toronto Raptors learned from playing in a nationally televised game, Derrick Rose's latest injury setback and Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving learning a tough lesson.

This week on Off The Dribble for Extra Peterborough 90.5, Jordan Mercier and I talked about what the Toronto Raptors learned from playing in a nationally televised game, Derrick Rose’s latest injury setback and Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving learning a tough lesson.

We also did our 24 Seconds, Hot or Not and Games To Watch segments.

Click here to listen to this show online.

Observations From Toronto’s Locker Room After Losing 100-93 To Chicago

Here are seven observations, notes and quotes from Toronto’s locker room after they lost 100-93 to Chicago:

  • This was the first time all season Toronto’s locker room had a somber vibe to it. Terrence Ross didn’t want to look at the stat sheet and nobody was laughing or joking around. The team clearly took this loss hard and from talking with players it’s clear they were embarrassed about the loss and how the third quarter in specific played out.
  • Dwane Casey on Pau Gasol’s big game: “One of the things we wanted to do was take the 3-ball out and to a certain extent we were able to do that as they were 4-15. Coming into the game they were one of the top 3-point (shooting) and transition teams in the NBA. We just felt like we were going to make him score and make it as hard on him as we could, but not go into a double team and leave (Mike) Dunleavy and (Jimmy) Butler and all of those guys open on the weak side. We went to more traps there in the fourth quarter, but, again, he’s good at what he does and he made it hard on us.”
  • Jonas Valanciunas compared the loss to a “cold shower” because it will humble the team a little bit.
  • James Johnson on what the team can learn from this loss: “You find out you really aren’t as good (as you think).”
  • Greg Stiemsma has some slick “gator” dress shoes he wore out of the locker room.
  • Speaking of shoes, Greivis Vasquez has a pair of white and another pair of red Maryland kicks. He has taken a Sharpie to the red kicks.
  • Former teammates in Houston, Kyle Lowry and Aaron Brooks, met up in the tunnel after the game to chat for a bit.

Podcap: Sloppy Third Quarter Dooms Raptors Against Bulls

Here’s audio from Dwane Casey, Jonas Valanciunas, James Johnson and DeMar DeRozan after Toronto lost 100-93 to Chicago.

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In The Scrum With Jacque Vaughn

Jacque Vaughn chatted with the media about rookie point guard Elfrid Payton, the growth of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan and matching up against the Toronto Raptors twice in less than two weeks.

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Podcap: Toronto Pulls Off A Magic Trick And Steals A Win From Orlando

Here’s audio from Dwane Casey, Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson after Toronto’s miraculous 104-100 win over Orlando.

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Observations From Toronto’s Locker Room After Beating Orlando 104-100

Here are 11 observations, notes and quotes from Toronto’s locker room after they beat Orlando 104-100:

  • Lucas Nogueira was in a great mood after the game and borrowed a reporters recorder for a mock interview with Greg Stiemsma. Also worth noting is Nogueira was rocking the purple shirt fans were given at the game last Friday.
  • Dwane Casey: “We can’t be annoyed when teams come out and give us their best shot.”
  • Greivis Vasquez and Terrence Ross appear to be in a battle to see who has the flashiest kicks. Both players had bright neon kicks in their lockers.
  • Speaking of kicks, you probably can’t tell on TV that Vasquez takes a Sharpie to his shoes and writes motivational stuff on ‘em. Pretty cool, though.
  • Vasquez on Toronto’s defence tonight: “I think our focus wasn’t there and that’s on the players. We should have been more focused. It was a test for our character and we got the win, but it wasn’t pretty.”
  • Patrick Patterson wasn’t happy with Toronto’s effort on the defensive end tonight: “For the first half, pretty much the first three quarters, I thought the lack of effort was pretty much shown throughout those time periods. Our inability to communicate meant we couldn’t stop them in transition or from getting easy buckets in the paint and at the perimeter when they were shooting 3’s. We know they are a 3-point shooting team and a transition team, but, with that being said, we were unable to follow the scouting report.”
  • Orlando shot better from beyond the arc (48%) than Toronto did from the field (45.5%). Ouch.
  • Dwane Casey explained what Orlando did to slow down DeMar DeRozan: “They changed up matchups. They were bringing two and a half guys over on him. (Nikola) Vucevic wasn’t really double teaming, but he was meeting DeMar halfway. It made it tough on DeMar. The good thing about it is he found people and he moved the ball. He started passing the ball and then when we got him in some good mid-screen rolls and that really helped us in that situation.”
  • Dwane Casey on the game being too quick for Jonas Valanciunas: “Yeah, when they had (Channing) Frye at the five and (Tobias) Harris at the four, yeah, it was really quick. That’s one of the reasons why he put Patrick Patterson at the five and James (Johnson) at the four and tried to match down to them. That helped us because they came out and were pushing the ball down the floor and they really pushed the tempo on us. That’s one of those things where I thought we had to go to a smaller lineup.”
  • Valanciunas was openly mocked by his teammates for his choice in shirts. Personally, I admire a man who is confident enough to wear a shirt covered with bright pink flowers…
  • Vasquez: “We need to remember we are nobody in this league just yet.”

2015 NBA Championship

The new basketball season is now well and truly under way and based on the games that have been played thus far, the bookies have not changed their outright championship prices much at all. Over at betfair.com, it’s the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers who head the betting for the 2014/15 NBA Championship at odds of 3/1. David Blatt’s side have won three and lost three of their first six games and currently sit in second place in the Central Division behind the Chicago Bulls. The Cavs have invested a lot into this new campaign and the appointment of Blatt was one of the biggest coups of the off-season. Having been named 2014 Euroleague Coach of the Year, David Blatt’s signature was one of the most sought after in the NBA and he is sure to get the Cleveland Cavaliers in shape and make a sustained challenge for the NBA title. The return of LeBron James was another huge positive for the Cavaliers and his presence on the court will undoubtedly give the team a lot more confidence. With other top class players also having joined during the off season, the Cleveland Cavaliers would appear to be worth favourites for the biggest prize in basketball.

Defending champions the San Antonio Spurs are well fancied to make a successful defence of the crown they won last season, and have been put in at odds of 7/2 by the odds compilers at Betfair. Two wins and three defeats have left the Spurs bottom of the South West Division, but there is little between all fives sides in the table at this relatively early stage. Having won their Division title for the last four years the San Antonio Spurs are one of the most consistent teams in the NBA and under Gregg Popovich, have achieved great things. The Spurs made the shock decision to appoint Becky Hammon as an assistant coach at the conclusion of the 2014 WNBA season, and she becomes the first full time female coach in NBA history. It will be interesting to see whether the arrival of Hammon has a big influence on the Spurs over the course of the season.

Having made a good start to the 2014/15 season with six victories in total including four on the road, the Chicago Bulls are definitely a leading contender for the NBA Championship. The Bulls were the dominant force in professional basketball during the nineties, but they have been unable to replicate that success in the nighties and beyond. Things have definitely taken a turn for the better as far as the Bulls are concerned over the past few seasons, and they have managed to win two of the last four division titles. Additions to the squad such as Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott will bolster options for Gar Forman and this team should be able to build on their positive start throughout the remainder of the 2014/15 NBA season.

Keep up to date with all the latest NBA Championship price changes at betfair.com.

Podcast: Buckle Up For Another Wild NBA Season

McNeill and Cheel talked about a wild start to the NBA season, Anthony Davis being in beast mode, Carmelo Anthony’s legacy, Ed Davis talking smack to Charles Barkley and rumors of Kevin Love opting out of his contract this summer.

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“Off The Dribble” Pilot

I’m excited to announce that I’m co-hosting a basketball show on Extra Peterborough 90.5 with Jordan Mercier. We recorded the pilot this afternoon and we are hoping to get the green light to make this a weekly show starting next week.

A big thanks to legendary Toronto Raptors beat writer Doug Smith for being our first guest.

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