December 11, 2006

Sunday Sports

It was the Sunday of Sports.

I caught a lot of action today on the tube, and unfortunately I did watch the Raptors lose to the Portland Trail Blazers, minus the franchise Chris Bosh.

I fully expected the Raps to win this game. They play good ball at the ACC, and I think the Raptors are a better team than the Blazers. I almost had it labelled as a "for sure win." Now I don't know why I think the Raptors are entitled to any "for sure win" games anymore, but clearly they're not ready to be given that right.

The Raptors played like the Craptors, let me tell you. It was a sad performance that highlighted the teams weaknesses, and without Chris Bosh, who's out for a few games with a sore knee, the Raps didn't have a chance.

Weakness #1: Way too much perimeter shooting

Why do the Raptors love to just jack three ball's all day long, when none of them are dropping? Why do the Raptors love to take the long jumper, that don't usually go in, and have no one under the bucket to rebound? Why are the Raptors so reluctant to drive to the basket?

Toronto shot 35% from the field today. They pulled down a measly 34 rebounds. They played with zero energy and zero intensity. If this team continues to settle for the jump shot, they simply won't win ball games. Granted, they were missing their best player and inside performer, so other guys had to take more shots. Mo-Pete and TJ Ford were those guys tonight. Ford was 7-19 from the field while Peterson was 8-15. Ford has got to be better than that, and he needs to look for the pass a little bit more. The Raptors simply didn't share the ball much today, and I think that was mainly due to the fact that the team was minus CB4.

The Raptors shot only 26% from beyond the arc. 6 out of 23. That's not NBA-calibre shooting, to say the least. The team has simply got to be more aggressive, cause right now it's just too easy to beat the Raptors.

Weakness #2: The Raptors have no clue how to play defence.

Forget about their shooting woes, the team can't play defence very well either. That's been a problem for years now, and the Raps miss Bosh's presence on the boards too, big time. The Blazers were blazing and shot over 50% in the first half. The Raptors just didn't bring it today, and it was evident in the game. Portland had far too many easy looks.

Not a very good game to watch. Now the Raps are off to Florida to face Miami and Orlando. The Raptors are a pathetic road team, and without Bosh, it's going to be a wee bit difficult on the road.

After the debacle by the Raps I settled in to watch the Buffalo Bills take on the New York Jets. It was a big game for the Jets, who's playoff aspirations could have gotten a huge lift had they beat the Bills.

Buffalo played a great game and won it 31-13. JP Losman and Lee Evans hooked up for another long touchdown pass. They've got great chemistry on the long passing plays. That's about all JP Losman can do, but he has been better as the season has gone on. The Bills are at 6-7 and are still mathematically alive in the playoff race. Progress people. Progress.

Props out to Willis McGahee today. He was fantastic and rushed for 125 yards on only 16 carries. After his 57 yard touchdown run in the first quarter I was up on my feet yelling "What you talkin 'bout Willis!" repeatedly. He was sick too, literally. Puking on the sidelines in the first quarter. He's a soldier though, and stayed in the game and dominated the Jets defense. McGahee has struggled a bit this season, and he's always got nagging injuries, but games like today's make you see that he really does have the potential to become one of the NFL's better running backs.

The Bills played a perfect road game. The offence played well. Losman finished with two touchdowns and the defence was solid in shutting down Chad Pennington.

The playoffs are a stretch but hopefully the Bills can finish the season above .500, and build towards a playoff run next season.

The Bills make me wanna SHOUT!

Other interesting tidbits from the day in sports:

- LaDainian Tomlinson is a touchdown machine. He broke the single-season touchdown record today, with this 29th TD in only his 13th game. That is ridiculous. That is more touchdowns than the Bills offence has all season. LT is far and away the best running back in football, and it's not even close.

- Welcome back Martin Havlat. With another 2 points tonight, that's 5 in two games since coming back from an ankle injury. The Hawks won both games and they're clearly happy to have him back. The Hawks are playing well since the coaching change that brought in Denis Savard. Gotta love the Savardian Spinorama!

- How bad is Martin Gerber? Very bad. The Senators lose back-to-back games on the weekend after getting pasted by the Blue Jackets 6-2 in Columbus. Gerber played a horrendous game and was replaced by Ray Emery. The Gerber signing is clearly turning out to be a mistake, and Ottawa must be regretting it, especially after tonight. The Ottawa media is going to be all over Gerber and the Sens, and Emery has got to be the number one man in the crease. As a team, they've been extremely inconsistent. With 31 points they're tied with, guess who, the Maple Leafs. That's got to be pissing them off a bit too. And so is watching Martin Havlat tear it up, I'm sure. Good call letting him walk away for nothing! I'm definitely enjoying that one. And they should have kept Chara, not Redden, who can't stay healthy this year. Hopefully our rivals in the capital can keep up the good work.

- Andy Pettitte is returning to the Bronx to pitch for the Yankees. Great news for Blue Jays fans. And the Cubs are reportedly going to sign Jason Marquis to a 3 year deal worth around $20 million. Marquis' ERA last season was above 6.00. This signing has made me reach a decision - my son, when I have one, is going to be a pitcher. Even the bad ones make millions.

- As of tonight, there are only 3 teams in the NBA's Eastern Conference that have a winning record; Detroit, Cleveland and Orlando. The Atlantic Division, in which the Raptors play, does not have a team with a winning record. The Western Conference, in contrast, has 9 teams with more wins than losses. Disparity, please.

- Steve Nash is once again improving on his incredible statistics of the past 2 years. He's in line to win an astounding third-straight NBA MVP. Steve Nash is a true Canadian hero, and I like the fact he cut his hair. I never really was feeling the long locks.

Goodnight, Toronto...