Tag:Toronto Raptors
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:33 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 12:10 am

Report Card: Paul Pierce carries Boston

Posted by Royce Young

Your nightly report card gives you a big picture look at what happened each night in the NBA. Grades are granted based on team or individual performances, and are graded on a curve for each element. Leave your own grades in the comments.

Mo Williams

If anyone is taking advantage of Chris Paul's injury, it's Mo Williams. And here's the irony: Paul's injury may end up benefitting the Clippers. As a result, Williams has been able to showcase he still has a little All-Star ability in him after putting up another big line with 26 points against Toronto. With Williams playing so well, his trade value is climbing and the Clippers, who don't have a ton of need for him once CP3 returns, could dangle him at the deadline for a 2-guard or interior post defender.

Paul Pierce

The Celtics are looking old and hobbled, but Pierce still has a good amount left in the tank. Granted, it was against the Wizards, but Pierce was in triple-double territory with 34 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Pierce got his points on just 15 shots and did it as he likes to -- getting to the line, attacking the middle of the floor and hitting open shots when he got them.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers failed to make a statement earlier in the month in Miami, but did exactly that Sunday night notching a signature win over the Lakers in Los Angeles. All five starters scored in double-figures and the Pacers just played a wise, defensive game limiting Kobe's counterparts. It helped hitting 10-18 from 3 and the fact the Lakers missed 11 free throws. Regardless, the Pacers needed this type of win to really grab attention and they executed and got it done.

John Wall

Finally, it looks like John Wall might be turning a corner. After a disappointing start to his sophomore season, Wall has had a better week. Against Boston Sunday, he put up 27 points, seven assists and 10 rebounds. In order for Washington to stay competitive with anyone, that's how Wall has to play. I'm sure the dysfunction and losing have weighed on him, but he has to realize a lot of it is on his shoulders. And if he can bring it like he has lately every night, the Wizards can play with people.

Washington Wizards

The Wizards lost again dropping to 2-14, but they kind of hand a decent week. They beat the Thunder, were competitive against the Nuggets and nearly beat the Celtics. I wouldn't say they're coming around to get excited, but it definitely is encouraging to see they haven't completely quit. Continuing to play hard and competing is often the first step in turning things around.

Brandon Jennings

Check out his line: 23 points (good), 5-20 from the floor (not good), 12-13 from the line (good), 1-10 from 3 (not good). Milwaukee got good games from Ersan Ilyasova and Andre Bogut which was enough to beat Miami, but Jennings' night was a little bit of a mess.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors kind of had a little promise to them early in the season. Dwane Casey had them defending, Andrea Bargnani was off to an All-Star caliber start and there was some legit optimism about the direction. But they've now dropped eight straight games, the most recent being at the hands of the Clippers in a game they were handled with relative ease (just 11 first quarter points for the Raptors). Things may be improving in Toronto, but not quite at the pace some might've thought.

Heat players not named LeBron or Chris

LeBron James and Chris Bosh combined for 61 of Miami's total of 82 against the Bucks. Only one other player scored in double-figures (Mario Chalmers) and no other player scored more than six. It was an extremely weak effort from the Heat's role players and without LeBron playing an incredible game, Miami wasn't going to win like that.

Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:09 am

Andrea Bargnani All-Star video

By Matt Moore

Andrea Bargnani has been a revelation this season. Not only is he scoring, being aggressive towards the basket, and leading, but he's actually playing pretty solid defense. He's been so good for a surprisingly competent Raptors team that some people, including those at the Basketball Jones who have traditionally bashed the Big B are advocating an All-Star berth for the Italian forward centre (see what I did there?). And so, we get the below video, which is just... wow. 

Posted on: January 7, 2012 1:11 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 1:15 pm

Fans mock Humphries with giant Kardashians

Posted by Ben Golliverkris-kutout

Opposing crowds have been giving Kris Humphries the business so far this season. But nobody did it bigger than a group of Toronto Raptors fans.

There's been a major backlash against the New Jersey Nets forward for his 72-day marriage with reality television star Kim Kardashian, which abruptly ended in divorce back in October. A rebounding specialist who mostly flew under the radar prior to the relationship, Humphries has been booed by crowds around the league and was even voted the most disliked NBA player in December.

Now in his eighth NBA year, Humphries was a member of the Raptors during the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons. The Nets made their first trip to the Air Canada Centre on Friday night, and the Toronto crowd was lying in wait. A group of fans sitting in the lower-level brought giant cardboard cutout pictures of Humphries' ex-wife Kim and her family. The images created an immediate stir, leading fellow fans to snap photos of them, as you can see in the shot to the right. Picture via @JaySatur

The Toronto Sun has a picture of the whole posse plus an interview with one of the sign-holders, who provides their rationale.
Yet the New Jersey Nets power forward couldn’t escape his ex. About 10 minutes into the second quarter, a group of men in the fourth row held up huge signs bearing the faces of the Kardashian women.

“It’s just to rattle him a little,” said one of the sign bearers, who wished to remain anonymous for “obvious reasons.”

The men didn’t get much mileage out of their signs, which were confiscated by ACC staff for being malicious.

Humphries got the last laugh on Friday. The Nets got the road win, 97-85. While shooting just 2-for-8 for six points, he finished with a game-high 16 rebounds.

Hat tip: @Nat77
Posted on: January 5, 2012 12:03 am
Edited on: January 5, 2012 1:06 am

Report Card: Nuggets complete amazing alley-oop

Posted by Ben Golliver.

Here's the CBSSports.com Eye On Basketball nightly report card summarizing Wednesday's NBA action. 

A+: Nuggets complete no-look, over-the-head alley-oop

This is as spectacular and joyous as NBA basketball gets. Up big in the fourth quarter, the Denver Nuggets mercilessly pushed the ball down the Sacramento Kings' throat on their way to a dominant 110-83 victory. There was no bigger exclamation point than this alley-oop from guard Rudy Fernandez to trailing forward Kenneth Faried

Fernandez secured the ball as he approached the baseline, touch-passing it with two hands into the air over his own head without taking a second look or turning around. Faried, a high-jumping rookie, converted the oop for his first points as a pro. There's no possible better way to begin your career than this. Take a look.

A: DeRozan powers Raptors from deep

For a good long while there, it was looking like Canadian writer Holly MacKenzie was the only person besides DeMar DeRozan and his immediate family who believed that significant improvement on the perimeter was a realistic possibility for the athletic Raptors wing. I certainly counted out his potential as an all-around, defense-stretching presence after he managed to hit just nine 3-pointers in his first two seasons, connecting on less than 20 percent from downtown. It was a fatal flaw, and he apparently spent all lockout correcting it. Often seen at National Basketball Players Association meetings rocking the famous "Basketball Never Stops" t-shirts, DeRozan unveiled the fruit of his offseason labors against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, knocking in five 3-pointers -- as many or more than he made in each of his first two seasons -- to finish with 25 points.

That, plus 31 points from Andrea Bargnani and some stepped-up defensive intensity under new coach Dwane Casey has Toronto out to a 3-3 start. Nothing to write home about quite yet, but still quite a bit better than the dismal preseason prognostications.

B+: Spurs role players provide fourth quarter push

Any time reserved San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is so fired up late in a game that he's beelining onto the court in celebration, something is going unusually right. In this case, it was a purposeful 31-20 fourth-quarter that saw the Spurs put away the Golden State Warriors at home despite 38 points and 7 assists from Monta Ellis. Tony Parker had the prettiest highlight with a tear drop in the lane but a scoring burst from the unlikeliest of sources, T.J. Ford, and contributions from Richard Jefferson and Danny Green provided some reassurance after the loss of Manu Ginobili to injury earlier this week.

C: Timberwolves hang tough but fold

Everyone's favorite "little engine that could" continues to fall just short in the most painful ways. On Wednesday, they dropped a close one to the Memphis Grizzlies, who were reeling from the news that forward Zach Randolph would be out up to two months with a knee injury, 90-86. The loss saw a 27-point, 14-rebound, 2-block effort from Kevin Love and another double-double from rookie point guard Ricky Rubio go to waste. The culprit? Poor late-game foul-shooting. The Timberwolves knocked down 13-for-24 from the charity stripe for the game and made just 4-for-10 in the final frame. Instead of pulling even to .500, the Timberwolves left another win on the table.

D: Knicks lose ugly one home to Bobcats

It was a pretty miserable night in the Big Apple for the Knicks, who mostly stood around and watched as the Charlotte Bobcats shot 55.3 percent as a team and had six players in double figures, led by the hefty Boris Diaw with a remarkable 27 points on just 15 shots. The Bobcats, who entered the game with just one win, aren't that good, the Knicks simply made them look like world-beaters with dumb fouls, dumb shots, and 17 turnovers worth of undisciplined play. Defensive centerpiece Tyson Chandler managed just six rebounds in 40 minutes and Toney Douglas shot a putrid 6-for-17, a performance that was so bad that the Madison Square Garden faithful was chanting in unison -- very loudly -- for Iman Shumpert to replace him during the second half.  

F: Kings roll over and die for Nuggets

The only time the Sacramento Kings did anything to make anyone cheer on Wednesday came when DeMarcus Cousins fouled Kenneth Faried with 13 seconds left -- and his team down by 25 -- so that Faried could convert two free throws and send the Denver crowd home with discounted tacos for reaching 100 points. Other than that, the Kings did a great impression of a team that has quit on its coach. How else to explain 2-for-20 shooting from deep, 32.6 percent shooting overall, plus 12 assists and 17 turnovers as a team? The Kings either quit on Westphal or they're playing like they're afraid he's going to write another press release about him.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:20 pm

2011-2012 Atlantic Division Preview

By Matt Moore

We're less than a week away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We finish with the Atlantic Division.

2011 Standings:
Boston Celtics, 56-26, lost second round of Eastern Conference Playoffs to Heat, 4-1
New York Knicks, 42-40, lost first round of Eastern Confernce Playoffs to Celtics, 4-0
Philadelphia 76ers, 41-41, lost first round of Eastern Conference Playoffs to Heat, 4-1
New Jersey Nets, 24-58, NBA Lottery
Toronto Raptors, 22-60, NBA Lottery

Best team: Boston Celtics

One more year. That's what the Celtics get. One more year to rule the roost. The Celtics have one more ride left with this core and then it's a sail off into the sunset while the team tries to figure out how to rebuild around Rajon Rondo. But with the extra time off, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce should be in good shape to make one more run at a title in order to validate themselves as one of the truly great teams of this era. (Pierce is already questionable for Sunday's opener vs. the Knicks.)

Without a second title, the Celtics have to be considered a disappointment. Winning a championship is supposed to validate everything, yet the Celtics were supposed to win multiple titles when the Big 3 formed. Good enough for the rest of the league is not good enough for the Celtics. But injuries and then a slow fade has denied them, as well as improvements in star power for the Heat and Lakers. The Celtics are still a dominant team, built around defense and reliable offensive weaponry. Their veteran experience helps them dismantle younger teams and their toughness helps them outlast weaker, more explosive teams.

But there's no stopping age, and this team is at the end of its run. They've got once chance, with a phenomenally weak bench, tougher competition, and continuing injury issues to try and surprise everyone and go out on top. One more chance to ride off into the sunset. Saddle up.

Worst team: Toronto Raptors

The Nets are hanging above this spot by a thread. A thin thread. A very, very thin thread. They have questions at every position except point guard and coach Avery Johnson has not taken the team by storm. But Deron Williams and the possibility of getting Dwight Howard keeps them out of the bottom.

We know who the Raptors are. They don't rebound. They don't defend. They struggle with toughness. They don't have a star. They don't have any complete offensive players. But there's reason to believe they might shake this bottom spot. Dwane Casey comes from Dallas with a determination to change the culture defensively. DeMar DeRozan has the chance to take the next step. Ed Davis looks like a beast in the making. There are good players on this roster. Unfortunately, everything hinges on everyone's least favorite Raptor, Andrea Bargnani. The fans are done with Bargnani for his lack of defense and rebounding. Unless he comes out dominant in the paint, he'll continue to be the object of scorn. With no real center on the roster (Jamal Magloire is starting), it's hard to see any real improvement for the Raps. They'll likely be at the bottom of the division, but there's always a chance they can surprise.

Biggest surprise: New York Knicks

The Knicks are going to surprise one way or another. Because if they fail to secure a top-five pick this season, it will be a letdown. Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler can't make a top-four seed? And if they do make a top-four seed, it means that the Knicks have started to play defense, which is a stunner all its own.

The Knicks are at once a title contender and a non-factor in the Eastern Conference. It's just a matter of which side of the Hudson you're on. Melo is either going to be an MVP candidate, or fail miserably at point forward. Tyson Chandler is either going to make all the difference, or be an injury-prone non-factor who can't cover for all the other weaknesses. There's little in-between. But the Knicks in a full season together with a better combination of talent should take a step forward. This is a super-team that has not been built with a clean carving. It's rough, it's wild, and it operates for the most inventive head coach in the league. The Knicks may wind up exactly where they were last season.

But the ride should be full of surprises for someone, anyway.

Three Best Players: Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Amar'e Stoudemire

I couldn't win here. I left off Carmelo Anthony, which is going to drive Knicks fans batty. I included Amar'e Stoudemire, which is going to light the fires on half the people who read this. I excluded Ray Allen, the best pure shooter in the league. Paul Pierce isn't on here despite being the clutchest of the clutch. Kevin Garnett's on here, and some people think he's past the point of no return. Andre Iguodala is one of the best all-around players in the league and he's not even close to being on here. Deron Williams' team may win 20 games this season and he's on here. And Andrea Bargnani... no. Andrea Bargnani would not be on here. But the point is this division is long on players with top level ability. There are seven to eight names you can put on here as "the best."

Biggest Question: Can the Knicks gel?

Putting together a three-headed monster all in the frontcourt is a risky proposition. There's not a player to bind it all together. No creator. The absence of a viable point guard for the Knicks, at least until Baron Davis gets healthy, means that the frontcourt has to run an offense itself. It's like asking a plane to fly itself without navigation. The Knicks were up and down all season, including during the stretch with Melo and STAT, mostly on account of not knowing how to work with one another. But with one being a high-usage small forward and the other being a high-usage power forward, can they work together? Is this a combination of players that makes sense?

The Knicks can win with this group because stars win games. But can they win the big games, can they make the jump to an elite team? More importantly, can they establish an identity going forward? The Knicks have tossed together two of the best players in the game and then added one of the best big men in terms of rebounding and defense out there. But can talent alone spell greatness? And if not... what does that mean for Mike D'Antoni?

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Boston Celtics
2. New York Knicks
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. New Jersey Nets
5. Toronto Raptors
Posted on: December 21, 2011 1:39 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 1:39 pm

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver


The 2011-2012 NBA season starts on Sunday, and with that comes the inaugural batch of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 7
Let's pump the brakes just a bit on the Grizzlies bandwagon right now. They look good and they made a lot of noise in the postseason, but how much of that was overachievement? How much of that was because of favorable matchups? The Grizzlies could be a really nice team, but a top eight power? I'm not ready to go there until they show they're actually something to be taken seriously. -- RY

2. Too Low: Portland Trail Blazers at No. 17 The Blazers had about as sucky an offseason as you could have. And we're talking about the Blazers here, a team that's had their fair share of sucky things. Greg Oden had his annual setback, Brandon Roy retired and the team still doesn't have a general manager. That said, Jamal Crawford is a perfect signing, LaMarcus Aldridge may be the West's best power forward and Nate McMillan seems to keep winning despite all the crap that falls down around him. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Boston Celtics at No. 6 The roster is worse at virtually every position, injuries are mounting and Father Time is grasping to claim this group with both hands. The Celtics were dropkicked out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat, and the gap between the two teams has transformed into a canyon. The Big 4 can still get it done but they aren't scaring teams like they once did. It's possible to show the veterans too much respect, and that's what happened here. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Indiana Pacers at No. 12
The small-market Pacers have the best roster that no one is talking about. With talent at all five positions, a former All-Star added to the mix in David West plus expected growth from Paul George, Indiana could wind up being a top-5 team in the East. Their frontcourt has sneaky depth thanks to Jeff Foster, Jeff Pendergraph, Lou Amundson and Tyler Hansbrough, four guys who will do the dirty work and make life easier for West and franchise guy Danny Granger. More credit due! -- BG

5. Sure Thing: Toronto Raptors at No. 30 They stink. There's no way around it. I like DeMar DeRozan. I like Andrea Bargnani. I like Dwane Casey. I want to like the Raptors. But they aren't going to be good. -- RY

6. Wild Card: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 9 Take one look at the highlights from their preseason opening win over the Lakers and it's tempting to think the Clippers should be much higher than the No. 9 spot. Is No. 3 or No. 4 really out of the question for the league's latest and greatest flavor of the month? Of course, it's one thing to fill up highlight tapes and it's another to stack up wins. Where the Clippers settle in the West's hiearchy will be one of the biggest NBA questions to watch in January. -- BG
Posted on: December 10, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:39 pm

Free Agency Buzz 12.10.11

Posted by EOB Staff

Saturday, December 10, 2011

On a shortened schedule with the conclusion of the NBA lockout, free agency is going to be fast and furious. To keep track of all the wheelings, dealings, rumors, and reports, check Eye on Basketball daily for the Free Agency Buzz. 

7:37 p.m. ET
  • Magic general manager Otis Smith said the team is close with re-signing Jason Richardson and could have a deal finalized by Monday. Yahoo Sports reports the deal is done and it's four-year, $25 million deal.
7:16 p.m. ET
  • The Pacers told James Posey not to show up for training camp. "He's not going to be with us," head coach Frank Vogel said. "We're going to make a decision what to do with James at a later date, but he's not going to be in camp." Posey is on the books for $7.5 million next season. The Pacers won't be using the amnesty on him, but can buy him out or trade him.
  • The Bulls sent out a press release saying they are evaluating the situation with Keith Bogans and he won't be in camp until then. I think the better way to take that is, Chicago is looking for a new shooting guard and wants to see what happens first.
  • The Celtics have signed Jeff Green to a one-year deal for $9 million. What are the Celtics doing? Hedging their bets. They need wing depth and scoring for next season but will also leave open their options in free agency for 2012.
1:30 p.m. ET
  • CSN Bay Area reports that the Nuggets have offered a four-year, $19 million offer sheet to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, a restricted free agent for Milwaukee. Milwaukee might match, depending on their contract situation, but if Denver pulls it off, that's a great quality signing.
11:00 a.m. ET
  • The Mavericks are planning on using the trade exception they nabbed from the Tyson Chandler Knicks sign-and-trade to swing it to Sacramento, in exhange for a sign-and-trade for Samuel Dalembert. ESPN reports the idea is to make a huge one-year offer for Dalembert, which allows them to contend this year with a decent Chandler replacement for one year, then have room to make a splash in the big 2012 free agency... if there are any free agents left by that point. 
  • We've started to hit the lower end of the barrel. Gary Forbes has signed a multi-year deal with the Raptors. Forbes is 26 and has a ways to go on defense, but he also scored 15 points per 36 and shot 45 percent from the field last year. Depending on the money, it's not a bad pickup.
Posted on: December 5, 2011 4:29 pm

Valanciunas not playing the NBA this season?

Posted by Royce Young

The Raptors might just have to wait a year too see exactly what Jonas Valanciunas is. They were already planning on that, but it's looking more official now.

The intriguing fifth overall pick in last June's draft tore up the U-19 FIBA games and has slowly become sort of a cult favorite to become a big NBA hit. There was concern with his buyout situation in Lithuania, mainly because he doesn't have one, but ESPN.com reported over the weekend that could be settled, opening the door for him to join the Raptors this year.
[A] source close to the team told ESPN.com on Saturday that there's a small chance they might be able to get him this season. The source said that the team reached out to Valanciunas' agent over the weekend to gauge the center's interest in joining the Raptors in 2011-12. If Valanciunas has interest, the Toronto would have to work out a buyout with his team in Lithuania, Lietuvos Rytas.
His Lithuania team didn't qualify for Euroleague this season and is losing serious money. Bryan Colangelo said after the draft that he could "confirm" that Valanciunas's buyout was in place. However, that doesn't appear to be happening because Valanciunas does have the needed interest. Consider this from Monday via TSN.ca:

According to the Lithuanian Basketball official site LithuaniaBasketball.com, Valanciunas, who the Raptors took with the fifth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft will remain with his current team until the end of the season.

"I'm currently with Lietuvos Rytas and I'm not really interested in those talks, Valanciunas said.  "There's a lot to be done here. I'm in Lietuvos Rytas, not the Raptors."

It's not a shock to the Raptors because again, they anticipated waiting a year to team the seven-foot Valanciunas with Andrea Bargnani, but of course the team would've loved to get some time working with him. Valanciunas, 19, himself even told NBA teams he felt he needed at least another year in Europe to get stronger.

in the U-19 games against Team USA and Florida's Patric Young, who is a projected first-rounder in 2012, Valanciunas had 30 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.

Again, the Raptors were planning on 2012-13 to welcome their new center to the fold and even then, he might not see much action. He's a raw, talented big man that needs some strength and polish but as he showed this summer, has the chance to be something pretty special if the right amount of patience is shown developing him.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com