Well well well, look who’s back!

Hey, hey, hey! Haven’t seen you all in a little while eh? Can you blame me, school’s my life now.
Anyways, I’d like to re-introduce myself before I get into the more important stuff – Aish Abid, nice to meet you all and come across some familiar names and faces. Super crazy NBA fan. But lets be real, HUGE Raptors fan.

Alright folks, lets talk Toronto Raptors. Can someone say best team, fans, atmosphere in the league? These men have come a long, long way. Win or lose, the guys put out their heart and soul in every game, and it shows. But, come on though – it’s playoffs baby! The Raptors went from sweet and innocent to lets rip these guys apart kinda boys in a matter of 0.4 seconds [in the current series against the Brooklyn Nets].  How crazy was game 5, above any other game though? I’d say beyond crazy. Even after losing that built up 24 pt lead, I mean give the guys some credit – keeping it entertaining for the viewers! That’s playoff basketball for you.

Let me break it down for you – DeMar DeRozan, although had a rough game 1, showed his all star side in game 5 with 23 pts 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Improvements, improvements. Greivis Vasquez? Is this guard stealing anyone else’s heart? 15 pts in game 5, and those crazy shots. Moving on to the guy everyone’s obsessing about, Kyle Lowry. Am I right? The man is a hardwood genius. Scored 36 career-high points. Lowry constantly gives up his body game in and game out, helps the Raptors in the final minutes, shoots those buzzer beaters, I mean this guy is an all star at heart.

The edge of the seat moment however in the last couple minutes when the Nets brought the game to a tie – the Toronto Raptors still hung on, played hard and worked through it to beat the Brooklyn Nets 115-113.

Leading the series 3-2, the Toronto Raptors take the show to Brooklyn at the Barclays Centre May 2nd. [Lets get this game and move on up!]

PS; happy birthday to my homeboy, Amir Johnson!

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Watch Out Boys, He’s Back!

Yesterday was one of the happiest days for this little girl. Why? Because her favourite NBA player ever [Ricky Rubio] has officially been cleared to participate in practices. We all know what that means, he’s ready to get back onto the court and amaze us all once again.

I remember March 9th like it was last week. As did Rubio, I’m sure. [Check out my countless Rubio Blogs below to follow his journey.] I know I wasn’t the only one freaking out about how the Timberwolves lost one of their potential all stars. [Nightmares, nightmares, nightmares.] All of Minnesota was freaking out. That was Minnesota’s year, they were making playoffs. Instead, Minnesota’s heartthrob was injured on court versus the Lakers. [Cough, Kobe.]

After numerous doctor visits and trips to rehab, Rubio did it. He made it through those months without basketball. Practice after practice, he worked to heal his torn ACL. He did nothing without his positivity that ultimately kept the fans involved with his journey and thrilled for his return. [#BePositive.] The man worked hard to get his talent back. “We’ve missed him a lot. Once we lost him we saw the impact he had on our group because of his leadership — and not just at the offensive end. He defended people better than most point guards.” Coach Rick Adelman on his point guard.

Clearly, he’s the best. And just knowing that he’s coming back on court is getting everyone hyped, especially me.

There is no doubt that Rubio will instantly make the Timberwolves better. Even with his presence in the stadium, I find myself smiling like a weirdo at my television set. [Did I really just admit that? Yes, yes I did.]

“Life is good!” Rubio tweeted, and of course I retweeted, favourited and replied. [We all did!]

Yes, Rubio, life is good. 

New Guy in Toronto: Jonas Valanciunas

I don’t even know where to start off with this guy. How about the 2011 NBA Draft? Let’s be honest when David Stern called up the 5th pick, no one knew who Jonas Valanciunas was. [Unless of course you keep up with the Euro league] So, anyone guilty of Google-ing Jonas V on Draft day? I admit, I’m guilty. But once I did my research on the Lithuanian center, I instantly fell in love. Not only because of his good looks but because of his skill and “fighter” approach. After a few more hours of researching and youtube-ing, I finally approved that this 20 year old is a perfect fit for the developing Toronto Raptors. He just has that perfect style of game to help the Raptors improve. He kind of reminds me of Andrea Bargnani, actually a lot. Bargnani has done a lot for the team, so no doubt that JV will do the same.

Although Mister Valanciunas made us wait a year before he decided to join the big league, he has really proved to all Toronto fans, and basically everyone else that he is ready for the NBA. During that time, and the off-season, Valanciunas was a named FIBA European Young Player of the Year and MVP in the VTB United League in February 2012. He won MVP again in the LKL All-Star game and also won the Eurocup Rising Star award in the All-Eurocup squad. And, he participated in the 2012 Olympics. [I know you’re all getting hyped to get him in Toronto already]

This young guy has the ability to help the Raptors and make the team stronger. I know I for one am more than thrilled to have October come faster so I can finally see Jonas in a Raptors jersey. If you’re late hopping the JV bandwagon, please do you’re research before he comes!

Basketball is like a “second religion” in Lithuania.

Hello 2012/2013 NBA Season

Hello 2012/2013 NBA Season

By Aish Abid

The NBA schedule was released just a few days back, and we all know what that means; the season is coming closer. The league faced many changes with teams, players and even coaches. Because of these changes, this season is going to be a thriller. In this post, I am going to note some upcoming games and teams that will be must sees this year [according to my preferences]. At number 1, the 2011/12 champs, Miami Heat take on the Celts. Ofcourse, the famous Big 3 will be there, only this time, Ray Allen will be playing with LeBron and the Heat. Next, at number 2, I know everyone is curious to see where Dwight Howard goes, but wherever he ends up, I want to see him take on the Magic with their new head coach, Jacque Vaughn. This off-season, the Dwightmare has been the center of attention, and it would be nice to finally see what Dwight chooses. Number 3, the new and improved Hornets begin this year with 2 of the biggest names in the 2012/13 Draft; Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers. [This one is completely biased] Hornets v. Raptors. If you know me well enough, you would know that I was dying for Rivers to come to Toronto. But, since he didn’t, I want to see him play against our own improved team, the Raptors. With our newest members; Landry Fields, Kyle Lowry, Terrance Ross and Quincy Acy, we are sure to see a difference in this team. Here’s a new one, number 4, the NBA welcomes the newest team in the league, the Brooklyn Nets. Their home opener should be broadcasted everywhere! Lastly, Number 5 is a big one, and I can bet anything that all NBA fans are looking forward to this game. Heat v. OKC [flashback to the 2011/12 Finals].

I will continue to add more games to my “Must-see List” as more changes occur in the big league. Feel free to throw some comments on games you are most excited to see.

Big Names, Big Day

Big Names, Big Day

By Aish Abid

“With the first pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Hornets select Anthony Davis.” The exact words basketball fans around the world have been waiting to hear. Crazy news went down in New Jersey last night as dreams became reality for several guys. Well known for his brow, Anthony went first overall as he enters the world of basketball and business; not to mention, all the spotlight attention. Another big name in this years draft was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who makes his way to Charlotte this coming season at number 2. Kentucky Wildcats became the first school to have the top two picks and tied a record with six players taken overall in the 2012 NBA draft. One more name that I can not forget to mention, Austin Rivers from Duke University. You may know him as Doc Rivers son or just a great Duke baller, but last night he was New Orleans second pick, and he went tenth overall. Lucky Hornets getting two big names on their team, things just fell in place. Lastly, for the love of my own team, I would like to make a shout out to the newest Raptors, Terrance Ross [8th overall] and Quincy Acy [37th overall]. Congratulations to all the boys who worked hard to get here and welcome to the big league.

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Season on the Line

Season on the Line

By Aish Abid

The Philadelphia 76ers look to force a game 7 tonight against the Boston Celtics; who are urging to advance to the Eastern conference finals. The Sixers coming this far into the playoffs has been a shock for everyone. This might be the last game the Sixers play this season, but in order to stay in the semi-finals, Sixers star player, Andre Iguodala must amaze the crowd and play a stellar game. Iguodala may not lead his team with points or assist, but he really stepped up this game this season in order to bring the 76er’s into the 2011-2012 playoffs as he has improved his points per game. If the 76er’s want to stay in the playoffs, Iguodala must be ready to put up as many points as he can.

Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics played their heart out in game 5 against the 76er’s to lead the series 3-2. Tonight, they are one win away from advancing to the Eastern conference finals. But, if they lose to tie the series 3-3, they will return for a thrilling game 7. Rajon Rondo recorded another double-double with 13 points and 14 assists and Kevin Garnett with 20 points in their 101-85 win over the Sixers, thanks to the help from Brandon Bass with a career night with 27 points.

Be sure to catch the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76er’s back in action at the Wells Fargo Center tonight at 8 p.m.

Unexpected Turn for the Bulls

Unexpected Turn for the Bulls

By Aish Abid

Despite the Chicago Bull’s 103-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, the famous Chicago guard, Derrick Rose was helped off the court late in the opening playoff victory. The star will miss the rest of the post-season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Rose landed awkwardly on his left leg and was forced to leave, with only two minutes remaining in the game. This could potentially be an injury that changes everything for the Chicago Bulls, although the Bulls have managed to lock up the number 1 spot in the Eastern conference standings even with Rose out for 27 games due to injuries throughout the regular season. This afternoon, Rose was able to score 23 points and 9 assists. Unfortunately, Rose’s season came to an end after crumbling down on court. Rose was taken to the hospital right after the devastating fall where MRI results were confirmed. Will the Chicago Bulls be able to carry out and continue to play strong without their reigning MVP? We find out Tuesday May,1 as the playoffs continue to game 2.

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2011-2012 Season Wrapped Up

2011-2012 Season Wrapped Up

By Aish Abid

The Toronto Raptors wrap up their 2011-2012 season stronger than ever. Last night’s 98-67 win over the descending New Jersey Nets, concludes the Raptors record with 23-43. In addition to their phenomenal win, point guard; Ben Uzoh achieved the first Raptors triple double in 11 years with 12 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. Centre, Solomon Alabi, dished his first double double with 11 points and 19 rebounds, followed by Ed Davis with a career high of 24 points. “I promise you we will get better… thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and continue continue continue to stick with us because we are going to improve and we are going to make the playoffs next year.” Centre, Jamaal Magloire said as he promises to make a post-season appearance. The Toronto Raptors finish one spot above the New Jersey Nets at number 11 in the Eastern conference. This season the Toronto Raptors upped their game significantly with their defence due their new head coach, Dwane Casey. As Casey played an astonishing role for the team, it has been announced today that Toronto Raptor’s GM, Bryan Colangelo had extended Coach Casey’s contract for the 2013-2014 season. “We knew this year was kind of in the middle, but I think that we grew as a team, and that’s the step that we need to do next year,” Calderon said. “I think we’re not that far from being a really good team, with coach Casey everything is different. I feel really comfortable with where we’re going and what our goals have to be.” We look forward for the future of the Toronto Raptors as they continue to build and grow. “Looking forward to next year, and I’m excited about this summer, the possibilities,” Casey concluded. Next season, as Toronto brings in new athletes, the Raptors have high hopes on making it far and growing together as a team.

Ricky Rubio Injury Update

Ricky Rubio Injury Update; April 10, 2012

On March 9, 2012 Minnesota Timberwolves, Ricky Rubio suffered an injury after colliding with Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant.  Rubio travelled to Colorado for more than two weeks to undergo surgery in order to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee. Rubio met with the media to discuss his injury for the first time this afternoon, back in Minnesota.

Ricky does not know when he will return and has yet to confirm a return for training camp. He will not participate in the Olympics this summer as well. “I don’t know when I’ll come back,” he said. “The most important thing is to make sure when I come back it’s 100 percent. I don’t know if it’s training camp, I don’t know if it’s first week, second week. I don’t want to put a date. It depends how my knee feels.”

When asked, if he’s worried about begin the same player when he returns, he answered, “Of course, I always think in my mind what can happen, especially the first couple of days after surgery when you can’t move your knee. You just think about it, think about if you can come back. You just have to be strong and do your best to come back even harder. I love basketball. I love playing basketball. I’m going to do my best.”

“You always have to think about everything. You just have to keep the right one. If not, I think, ‘I got hurt, I’ll be out 6-9 months, maybe I won’t be the player I was before.’ It’s not the right thing. I mean, it can be. It can be that you are better than you were.”

Rubio will have a check up in four weeks in Vail with Dr. Richard Steadman, he will talk with his doctor about any updates at that time. At this point, Rubio is not sure if he will continue his rehab in Spain or Minnesota this coming summer, but by the sounds of it, he was leaning towards Spain.

“I don’t know yet. See how the knee goes. Everything after that, we’ll talk about it. I want to make sure my knee is 100 percent when I get back. I think being back in Spain is an option for my mind, especially to be with my family. But I don’t know yet.”

When questioned on what he thought the night he was injured, Rubio replied; “It was hard, because when I got hit in the game, I was thinking it hurts. I didn’t think it hurts to be out 6-9 months. But when they explained the injury I had, it was sad. But after seeing all the support from my teammates, all the players from the league, I was feeling good. I knew it’d be a long process. I just have to be positive.”

Rubio was asked about losing the season and miss this summer’s Olympics in London; “It’s going to be sad losing an Olympic Games, but the good point is that I played one already so I know what I’m going to lose. It’s hard. It’s going to be hard. Like I said, there’s nothing I can do to be there right now.”

“It’s hard to watch games and you know you can’t play. You want to play so bad. You just have to enjoy watching basketball, it’s the only thing you can do,” Rubio said. “This year was good for me. I learned a lot of things. It was a short season, but it was good.”

Ricky doesn’t want to look father than four weeks into his rehab schedule. That is when he comes off his crutches for the first time. Lastly, when asked if he thinks it’ll be closer to one or the other, he said, “I don’t know. The doctor said that he put nine months and everything that we take more is good. I don’t know, it depends on the knee. Everybody has knee injures, not everybody answers the same surgery the same way. I have four weeks now to take off these crutches that I start hating them. We will see.”

“We are a young team,” Rubio concludes. “We have to finish hard and show everybody what we can do.”

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A Season to Remember

A Season to Remember

By Aish Abid

Heading into the playoffs brings us closer to the end of the Toronto Raptors season. The Raptors began their compressed season on December 18th against  the Boston Celtics and will play their last game at the Air Canada Centre on April 26th, 2012 as they take on the New Jersey Nets. As the lockout came to an end, preparations began to start the 2011-2012 NBA season. Many changes took place in Toronto for the Raptors. Dwane Casey stepped up as the head coach and new additions to the roaster were made, bringing in veterans like Centre; Jamaal Magloire. As the season went on, the Raptors experienced several ups and downs; forward, Andrea Bargnani due to a strained calf, missed 26 games and as of April 6th, the Raptors have lost two guards, both due to injuries; Jerryd Bayless who is out for the remainder of the season with a partially torn left oblique muscle and Jose Calderon out with a right eye injury. Toronto has signed Ben Uzoh and Justin Dentmon on a 10 day contract to replace Bayless and Calderon as they are not able to play. Although the team has suffered and fought through the season, they achieved many accomplishments. Jose Calderon took the number one spot for most assists for the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani worked his way up to number 4 for the most points scored as a Raptor with Calderon following behind at number 5. The team also executed a 3 game winning streak which brings the Raptors to the 11th spot in the Eastern conference standings.  At this point, the Raptors have won 20 games and lost 36. Going forward as the Toronto Raptors season winds down, we hope that the team returns stronger than ever for the 2012-2013 season.

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