The honouring, recognizing, whatever you want to call it of Vince Carter has been bandied about, so I’ll put in my two cents.
Like it or not, Carter helped put Toronto on the map from an NBA standpoint back in his days in the Big Smoke. His high wire act was just what the highlight reel junkies that run the nightly sports shows wanted. It seemed that every game Carter was regularly treading air and dropping jaws of not just fans but even the most grizzled NBA "lifers."
It did not end well in Toronto but it’s not like his trade away from the Raptors was the only acrimonious parting in NBA history.
Toronto fans need to get over it. Go ahead and boo him as a member of an opposing team when he comes to town, but at some point, Raptors fans need to remember what he did for the popularity of the game and the notoriety he garnered for the franchise, and when the franchise does recognize him it will be done for what he did as a Raptor.
I have spoken with people in the Carter camp and Vince is going to pass on any kind of acknowledgment from the Raptors during tomorrow’s game at the Air Canada Centre against the Orlando Magic.
Apparently when this idea was brought up, someone mentioned that Carter himself should be asked about the whole thing and as it was put to me, "Why would Vince subject himself to that?" The reference to "that" being the cat calls and boos that would engulf any cheers showing appreciation.
It was a very entertaining game last night at the Air Canada Centre as the Raptors almost let a 23-point lead slip away but came away with a win.
It was an important win for Toronto as coming home a tough road trip has not always meant that things would turn around.
Going into last night’s contest against the Miami Heat, the Raptors had a franchise record of 6-15 in the first game back from the coast after a trip that lasted at least four games.
Unlike the last game of the trip in Utah, the Raptors got off to a great start and thanks to some solid decision making by Hedo Turkoglu in the fourth quarter, Toronto finished strong.
Turkoglu showed the form that made him such a threat in Orlando last season and a prized free agent as he made shots along with some superb passes. As a 6’10" ball handler he made good decisions turning the corner in high screen and roll situations and finding open men often with cross-court skip passes leading to open shots.
Don’t tell me his influence and ball sharing tendencies aren’t contagious.
Did you see Andrea Bargnani swing the ball late in the fourth quarter to Jarrett Jack for a big trey in the corner after two Miami players ran at the big Italian?
Bargnani had just earlier made a triple from the same spot and this time made the extra pass.
Toronto’s bench provided energy and scoring last night, outdoing their Miami counterparts to the tune of 35-10 with Jack leading the charge with 17 points, 12 of them coming in the deciding final quarter. It was good to see Jack have a break-out game of sorts. He is one of the more outgoing players that is always chatting and throwing barbs at other players and it sure looked like his teammates were happy for him as he made some big shots.
It’s amazing what consistent effort on the defensive end does for a team as Toronto held Miami below the magic 45 per cent ceiling. Anybody notice the job Chris Bosh did defensively in the lane last night. He had four blocked shots and had many a Heat player pump faking and looking around before putting up the shot.
Lane intimidation and changing shots is not something associated with Toronto’s defence but they did a good job with it in the victory. Now, doing it consistently would improve the defense at another level inspiring trust in the perimeter defenders knowing that there is help behind them.
The Raptors also showed how potent their offense is as they shot 57.7 per cent from the floor and had 28 assists against a Miami team that came into the contest ranked right near the top three in opponent’s field goal percentage (42.9 per cent) and second in opponents assists allowing just over 16 a game.
There were just a few "did you see that?" moments of the game:
DeMar DeRozan’s alley-oop from Jose Calderon in the first quarter was "ri-dunk-ulous."
It may only have been topped by his "don’t-bring-that-low-lunchtime-YMCA-stuff in here" block on Dwyane Wade in the second half.
How about Wade’s reverse jam on the baseline during the first half that was almost as nice as his spin move and jam in the second half from the box.
And was that Andrea Bargnani coming down the lane for the "and one" jam after a beautiful feed from Turkoglu in the fourth quarter?