Smack / Jan 11, 2010 / 2:57 am

Toronto Generals

Rajon Rondo (photo. Christian Kozowyck)

Perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but the Raptors are the hottest team in the NBA. (Except when they play the Celtics, but we’ll get to that in a minute.) Having won eight of their last 10 games, one of the reasons for Toronto’s turnaround is their defense; historically soft but currently pretty solid. In the eight W’s during this stretch, the Raps have given up 93 points per night. But when they’ve come across the Celtics, the Raps still can’t get over the hump. Chris Bosh and crew’s only two losses since Dec. 16 have been to Boston, who gave them 114 points and another L yesterday. “They hit shots as soon as the game started,” Jarrett Jack said afterward. “It’s not as though we were just giving them layup after layup and it was like the Globetrotters.” … Rajon Rondo posted a triple-double (22 pts, 10 rebs, 13 asts), and early on you knew it was his day: In the first quarter he took a three with Jack draped all over him that went in off-glass, then did a great job selling it like he meant it … T-Dot had one glaring defensive lapse: Down six with under a minute to go, their biggest defensive possession of the game, and of course Paul Pierce is getting the ball. So who do you have guarding Pierce? Jay Triano went with Marco Belinelli, and guess the rest: Pierce took him to the elbow and dropped an easy pull-up for the dagger … On NBA TV the other day, Matt Harpring was picking his All-Star reserves and gave Ray Allen the last spot over Rondo. Harpring’s rationale? Ray is the guy Boston goes to when they need a big shot (we thought it was Pierce), and Ray “has deserved to go [to All-Star] the last couple years and been left out.” Huh? Ray has been to the last six All-Star Games … In yesterday’s Smack we predicted Kobe Bryant would have a monster game against the Bucks, considering L.A. was coming off back-to-back losses and Kobe had to listen to Portland fans chanting “M-V-P!” for Brandon Roy the last time out. Didn’t quite go down like that. Kobe was off, shooting 4-for-21 and finishing with 12 points, but the Lakers’ defense was so good it didn’t matter … The Bucks couldn’t get ANYTHING going: Michael Redd went scoreless (0-4 FG) before leaving with a knee injury, Brandon Jennings was 4-for-17, Andrew Bogut scored three points, and the starting five combined for 24 points. On the other end, Andrew Bynum put up 17 points and 18 boards, and Shannon Brown scored 19 in the blowout. Or put it this way: Adam Morrison got in during the first quarter …

Brandon Roy (photo. Aaron Hewitt)

Meanwhile, MVP candidate Brandon Roy hosted LeBron in Portland. LBJ started out on fire, dropping 20 in the first quarter on balanced mix of drives and jumpers, and finished the first half with 31 as the Cavs were up big at the break. B-Roy (34 pts, 14-23 FG) tried to take over in the fourth and stage a late rally, getting the Blazers within six with 1:30 left, but they never scored again and the Cavs made their free throws. LeBron ended up with 41 points, 10 boards and eight assists … Daniel Baldwin (the one who was kind of nuts on “Celebrity Fit Club” and “Celebrity Rehab” and “Wait, I’m Still Considered a Celebrity?”) was sitting courtside in a Blazers jersey. One time Shaq got pushed out of bounds and into Baldwin’s lap, where they kissed each other on the cheek. Shaq kind of aged himself on that one, though; most guys in the League below 30 probably don’t even know who Daniel Baldwin is … Other stat lines from Sunday: Tim Duncan put up 14 points and 17 rebounds to beat the Nets; Chris Kaman had 22 and 14 as the Clippers knocked off Miami; and Chris Paul had 26, 14 dimes and three steals to beat the Wizards … The Wizards organization is in full Gilbert Arenas never happened” mode — taking down the huge banner featuring Gil outside of the Verizon Center, removing him from the player-intro video, and even taking his jerseys out of the team shop — but DeShawn Stevenson isn’t giving up on his guy. D-Steve had “AGENT ZERO” written on his ankle tape yesterday … Most disturbing Twitter update of the weekend, courtesy the Blazers blog BlazersEdge from the Cleveland game: “Zydrunas Ilgauskas, in a towel, lip-synching along to ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ in the locker room.” … If you didn’t know already that we’re in one of those college basketball seasons where there isn’t one dominant team and the 20th-ranked squad could thoroughly whup #1 and it wouldn’t be that surprising, yesterday’s Kansas/Tennessee game was a reminder. The Vols (#16) just kicked their best player (Tyler Smith) off the team, they were missing three other guys due to suspension, not to mention two of their starters got in early foul trouble. And they still outplayed the top-ranked Jayhawks and pulled off the upset. We haven’t seen the new Top-25 poll yet, but we’re guessing this opens the door for Kentucky to jump Texas into the #1 spot … We’re out like the inevitable Baldwin Brothers reality show …

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  • Raj S

    I know who Daniel Baldwin is. He played a part in the Sopranos as an actor for a movie, Cleaver, that Christopher Moltisanti wrote.

    I’m 24.

  • http://nba.com Factman

    Hi, I’m Factman.

    FACT: Another Jose Calderon injury is the best thing that can happen for Toronto’s defense this year.

    LESS WIDELY ACCEPTED FACT BUT VERY DEBATABLE: Toronto can play better zone defence with four players on the floor excluding Calderon, then they could with five players including Calderon.

    SPECULATIVE FACT THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE TRUE: Calderon apparently has two amputated feet, which he lost due to inactivity due to a lack of defensive agressiveness. This explains why it takes him a whole 2 seconds longer to react to anything that happens around him.

    You’re Welcome.

  • Name (required)

    Big Z is a Madivillain fan, he lip-syncs to all of Dooms songs.

  • http://www.petsocietyhelp.com Pet Society Help

    Adam Morrison needs more minutes.

  • dc

    ^ @PSH
    LOL good 1

  • Yoooo

    There’s NO WAY Kentucky jumps Texas for #1

  • the big fundamental

    @ factman
    calderon is terrible on defense and toronto’s defense to have gotten better as soon as he got injured

  • That’s What’s Up

    Texas should be first, Kentucky second…

    Kentucky is more hype and luck than an extremely solid squad at this point, but they have the potential to be great

  • That’s What’s Up

    DIME – all your translation flags are running off the page —>

  • fallinup

    It’s morning here. Aint nothing better in the morning than a song to be stuck in your head to set off your entire day! Alright! Here we go!

    Take it Zydrunas!

    “Like a RHINESTONE COWBOY!
    Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeoooooohhhhh
    Like a rhinestone cowboy
    Getting cards and letters from people I don’t even know
    And offers comin’ over the phone”

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    man, Kobe wasn’t just off–he was off AND greedy, taking 20ft turnaround lefthanded jumphooks and then shrugging when it didn’t go in from the same spot he already missed three jumpers from…someone needs to pass him some little kids book on the value of sharing…sharing is caring, y’all…sharing is caring…

  • Mike Mihalow

    When’s this Najera trade to the Mavs supposed to happen?

  • http://twitter.com/therealknowbody GABRIEL BROGDEN

    It’s safe to say the 3 BEST PG’s are playing at a very high level right now.

    I just hope CP3’s numbers don’t over-looked because this guy, this guy is flat out ballin!

    Did I mention he plays DEFENSE?
    …which contrary to what some of you might believe, it is NOT over-rated.

    POINTS FG% 3FG% Reb Ass Stl Blk FT% TO Eff
    DWIL 19.5 49.3 38.7 4 9.7 1 .2 .75 3.4 +22.48

    NASH 18.9 53.9 44.0 2.9 11.3 .5 .2 .94 4.0 +24

    CP3 19.7 49.9 42.5 4.5 11 2.3 .3 .83 2.4 +27.15

    A lot of production out of the pg position from the top dawgs.

    Quick observations:

    Deron’s 3-ball is not fallin’ like the others. Overall, he’s balling at a superior level than most pgs. A lil’ lax with the ball handling but still has a good ‘AssistToTurnover’ratio. Focus a lil’ more, and he gets his FTs up to the 80 percents.

    Nash is shooting everything at a high clip, his offense is at a high calibur level right now. Not so much his defense, and I might be nit-picking but those 4 turnovers a game is not pretty. Still, a very good ‘ATT’ ratio.

    Chris Paul, by all accounts is doing more with less and also has the “The Man” status. To an ordinary, run-of-the-mill player that might be asking too much and the player may be overwhelmed. Not CP, he’s balling on another planet right now with his tenacity and motor, on O and an D. Has figured out in order for his team to be successful sometimes, it is MANDATORY for him to take over. Numbers good all the way around. Although by a lil’, he’s blocking more shots than the others. He’s grabbing picks at an alarming rate. His TOs are low – his ATT is 5 —}} WOW. In plain English, for every one of Chris Paul’s turnovers, he dishes out 5. Hmmmm, for every turnover he commits, he accounts for at least 10 POINTS. High efficiency, shooting the 3-ball over 40 percent…oh and like I said before, is doing more with less.

    Just giving props where props are due – CHRIS PAUL is getting better and playing better…arguably this SUPERSTAR is playing at an MVP level and let’s not forget, he hurt his ankle and has come back strong.

    SHOUT OUTS TO CP3

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    Attn All,

    does college basketball rankings even matter?
    so what if your the #1 ranked team thru January? what does it really mean for you? any given year a teen seed can beat a #1 seed — hence, the reason college bball teams dont/cant go undefeated.

    I mean shit….they are going to be four #1 seeds when the tournament starts anyway.

  • QQ

    ‘D-Steve had “AGENT ZERO” written on his ankle tape yesterday’

    One doofus repping another shitbag. How sweet.

  • QQ

    @ 2:

    Calderon being injured is the best thing to happen to Toronto PERIOD.

  • LakeShow84

    Man gotta love it when the D clamps down like that.. and Shannon Brown is growing on me quickly.. Dudes turning into my 2nd favorite Laker behind BIG BYNUM..

    and its unfortunate we NEVER OVERDRIVE the post.. we always play disciplined in the beginning and feed the beasts but 2nd qtr and on is mostly perimeter play.. ANNOYING.. but we all know its cuz of Kobe so i cant complain much.. but man if that kid got 20FGA a night who knows how motivated he would be..

    Speakin of the Hornets or more specifically Okafor.. you know i thought we would see how good he REALLY could be since he was getting a chance to play with CP3, who made even Tyson Chandler look good.. But its pretty clear so far dude never deserved to be NUMBER ONE OVERALL PICK..

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    Attn All,

    whats this rumor about Danny Granger being traded for Al Jefferson? any truth?

  • srb

    Lakeshow.. I’m pretty sure Okafor was the number 2 pick, and it was a weak class.

  • http://dime help

    @15…I think your the doof for making that comment. The N.B.A. could try it’s hardest to act as if he never existed which isn’t possible. What drives you to say that are you bored? How do you view yourself? When you judge other I hope you judge yourself SAINT? KARMA BOY. You remind me of the guy that threw the cup at Ron at the Palace. TOUGH GUY WHO ALWAYS HAS A COMMENT.

    Deshawn is actually doing the human thing & not caring what anybody thinks especially you. That’s his teamate/brother who’s he going to support & who knows a lot more than you about the whole situation. Did you sign the lifetime ban petition for Gilbert? Are you going to picket if he comes back? I want to blog mush you if possible.

  • http://twitter.com/TomGyorko TomGfromCanada

    adam morrison needs more minutes like everyone in the world needs cancer

  • LakeShow84

    @ SRB

    It was a weak class wasnt it??

    Who was # 1??

  • http://twitter.com/therealknowbody GABRIEL BROGDEN

    @LAKESHOW – DWIGHT

    2004 was actually pretty decent.
    No real superstars, but tons of SOLID talent.
    Good role players who still got gigs in the L.

  • TIP

    Another bad shooting night from Kobe? What are the odds?

  • LakeShow84

    Ohhhhhh thats right.. right on Brogden..

    Okafor was polished because he won the college chip right?? and Dwight was the raw talent coming out of highschool so thats what the hoopla was.. the gamble..

    Yeah i think Orlando got that one right lol..

  • http://www.petsocietyhelp.com Pet Society Help

    Adam Morrison needs more minutes like everyone in the world needs diabetes, oh wait.