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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Slow and Steady Wins a Ring?

Yes, I know what I said; the Raptors will be phenomenal this year. As did many of you fans. But don’t lose those hopes just yet, it’s only been a month into the season and we’re still waiting for the team we saw during pre-season, but rest assure, they will come soon. With any team, be it Chicago, Miami and now the Lakers, with great players comes great responsibility. No, I’m kidding, with great players comes time and effort to learn how to play the right kind of basketball with the right guys. See where I’m headed? Half the roaster in Toronto this year are new guys! There’s no way you can throw a bunch of tall guys onto a court and expect them to win a championship. Unless of course this is Space Jam, then yes you can. So please, give our boys some time to adjust and just be the friendly Toronto people that I know you are and just cheer on. And soon enough, we will be winning.

Okay so, Mister Bargnani; I have to start with him only because he is basically Toronto’s face [no arguing, please.] He’s off to a slow start, but then again anyone in his position would be just as confused as he is. Especially with the new Euro boy, Jonas V stealing the spot light. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but Bargnani is having a hard time finding his place on the team. Don’t worry just yet, they’ll all find their roles.

The new guys in red, lets talk. Was I the only one who was overly thrilled to get Landry, Lowry, Ross, Acy, JV and all the new Raptors in Toronto? I highly doubt it. I’m keeping my high hopes and expectations for these boys, because from what I’ve seen so far, they’ve really been putting in their best to help the Raps go far. [And by far I mean, win more than 20 games.] Really though, the new guys have had some good moments in the NBA with the team so far; Lowry before his injury, Ross with those threes, Landry Fields, I’m still waiting for his moment. And, JV, well, he’s just JV. Everyone loves him. Jonas is definitely living up to what we’ve been anticipating since the 2011 NBA Draft. [New Toronto heartthrob?]

Back to our golden Toronto Faces. No more hating on Jose Calderon. [This needs to stop.] I can go on and on about how furious I was about “fans” telling Jose he can’t ball. Clearly, he can; he’s in the NBA. He may not be the starting point guard, but he’s done a whole lot for the team since 2005. [Show some respect for the man.] Now that that’s been cleared up, let’s move on to DeMar DeRozan. DeMar agreed to a four-year contract earlier, which means Toronto’s love story with him isn’t coming to an end anytime soon, thank god. As always, he’s playing his heart out on the court every game. Finally, our favourite NBA friend, Amir Johnson, what could he be doing wrong? Nothing. This guy doesn’t always shoot threes, but when he does it’s always at the right time and he just happens to be in the right place. “I think Jose’s probably the only one who would actually pass it to me on the three-point line, so kudos to him!” [Kudos to all my boys working hard to make us happy!]

So, if you haven’t caught on to what I’ve been trying to say, let me sum it up for you; Give the Raptors time. That’s all they need. 

 

 

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.

Amir Johnson: Passion for the Fans

Amir Johnson: Passion for the Fans

By Aish Abid

If there’s one man in the league that cheers as hard for the fans as the fans do for the boys, it’s Toronto Raptors, Amir Johnson. Johnson was the 56th pick in the 2005 NBA draft and was selected by the Detroit Pistons. Since then, his career has led him to here, the beloved city of Toronto. Johnson began playing for the Toronto Raptors in 2009. In the three season he has been in Toronto, he has done nothing but good things for the remarkable Raptor fans. When an opportunity comes knocking for fan interactions, Amir Johnson is right there, front of the line. This season, Johnson has done outstanding things in order to give back to the fans of Toronto.On March 31, 2012, Johnson participated in the All Access at Real Sports; an opportunity to interact with fans and answer their questions.”I love my Twitter fans, I recognize some of them here today. Everyone on Twitter, I love.” Johnson answered when asked who his favourite person on twitter was. As the Toronto Raptors season came close to an end, Johnson wanted to do something that shows his love for Toronto and the fans. He held his second annual “I Roll with Amir” contest; where he treats the 25 biggest fans each along with a guest to a Raptors game and dinner. Once again, the event was a success. The fans attended the Raptors v. Hawks game on April 16, 2012 followed by dinner at ‘E11even’. Even with the season finished, Johnson could not get enough of the fans. He celebrated Cold Stone Creamery’s one year anniversary with the fans in Toronto, where he designed his very own Cold Stone Creation with proceeds benefitting the Remix Project. “This is my way of giving back to the community, doing certain things around the neighbourhood. The Remix Project was the one I found and I definitely like it, so I did something to give back.” Johnson said when asked about giving back to his fans. This year, Johnson was able to raise 2000 dollars for the Remix Project. By the passion and love he shows for the fans year in and year out, there is no doubt that Amir Johnson will continue to take part in opportunities to give back to his biggest fans. Toronto wishes Johnson the best of luck for the bright future of his team and hopes he continues to work his best. Happy Birthday Amir Johnson!

Interview with Amir Johnson on Giving Back. http://pptv.ca/videos/movernie-and-amir-johnson-giving-back-to-toronto

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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Fighting for Another Win

Fighting for Another Win
by Aish Abid

Toronto Raptors point guard, Jose Calderon took an elbow from Elton Brand below his right eyebrow Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Sixers, late in the second quarter. In a 99-78 away win over the Sixers, even with an injury, Calderon fought through the game and finished with 12 points and 13 assists, and played a total of 33 minutes. Calderon briefly left the game, and returned with four stitches and a bandaged eye. On top of his outstanding performance, he nailed a three late in the third quarter, allowing the Raptors to enlarge their lead and keeping the Sixers from catching up. “We keep competing. Every guy in this room is getting better and improving. We have to finish as strong as possible.” Calderon said in his post game interview. Although the Raptors season will come to an end soon, Jose Calderon devotes every inch of passion in him to the game, his team and to Toronto. Last nights win over the Sixers, makes this a three game winning streak for the Raptors. “I felt good out there and I wanted to give it a try after they stitched me up.” Calderon said. The Toronto Raptors are looking for another win; making it their fourth straight, Friday April 6th at 7:30pm as they host the Cleveland Cavaliers back in Toronto.

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