“Never say never, because limits, like fears, are just an illusion.”
— Michael Jordan.
Thank you for stumbling onto my blog! This blogs aims to capture a Canadian perspective on all news relating to the NBA and other cultural topics that relate to the world of basketball in Toronto. When you think of Toronto, basketball is not the first think that comes to mind. You may think of Drake, or the CN tower or maybe the Toronto Maple Leafs, as Canada has fostered a strong hockey culture, until now.
Last year changed the entire landscape for Toronto sports. As the Toronto Raptors clinched their first NBA title in the history of the franchise. Something that no one ever thought of seeing, at least not at this point. Taking the chip has to be one of the greatest achievements in Canadian sports, as the “True North” finally validated itself over the 24 years of disappointment. The attitude in Toronto changed, as we now see ourselves as a true contender in the East and we should be. After recently passing the Miami Heat for second place on January, we have a shot at knocking out of the Bucks and potentially making it to the finals. The players are there, the chemistry is present, and we have the experience….we were there less than a year ago!
Anyways stay tuned for more information as I will be discussing general news in the NBA, with a more specific analysis on the Atlantic Division and the Eastern conference as we head into the playoffs! Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any suggestions on topics relating to the NBA.
How I continue to die of boredom hoping for an answer…
With almost a month in the NBA shut down because of Corona Virus, questions begin to emerge as to whether the season will continue to go on. With more cases arising with the NBA, such as the New York Knicks owner James Dolan contracting the virus on Saturday. The League continues to communicate with health officials and is taking every necessary step to ensure the safety of their fans and players.
However, we need to keep safety a top priority. We also need to keep our heads high and practising social differencing, the sooner we continue to keep our distance, the quicker the NBA season can resume. Here are a couple of options that the NBA could consider.
Playing without fans: The ideal situation was to continue the rest of the NBA season without including NBA fans attending the games, and the entire game televised. It’s also reported that the NBA would host the games at nine independent stadiums to limit human contact. Multiple NBA players have gone against this idea, including NBA Superstar LeBron James, stating, “I ain’t playing if we haven’t got the fans in the crowd, that’s who I play for.” Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks Owner thinks its the best way to resume the season, as he believes that we need something to cheer for in these difficult would not be the most significant outcome, but if this is the only way to save the season, then I’m all for it.
Limiting the number of fans: Colin Cowherd, the sports commentator for Fox Sports, mentioned an exciting idea that could involve fans but limit the amount to 1 person every 3-4 seats. Even that idea wouldn’t make the experience the same and would be a long shot to help contain the virus. It will be an uphill battle, and the NBA has a tight deadline to finish the season, but we MUST remain optimistic.
Mark Cuban believes that the NBA season could resume in May if the teams can guarantee the safety of the players and staff, while the NBA believes a more appropriate would be in June. Meanwhile, some of the players have taken up the habit of video gaming and Tik Tok dances to distract them during quarantine. However, don’t underestimate the intensity that these playoffs will bring, as many NBA players will be fully rested, ready to play for the championship. This season won’t be the same but still has the potential to end off with a bang.
As we go into day 12 of quarantine and no NBA basketball, One may start to become delusional and extremely bored (me), to the point where old NBA postseason games are the only thing keeping me going at this point. During these very uncertain and very BORING times, one must create activities and goals to help stay sane around the house.
In this post, I have decided to go over my personal top 10 NBA finals that you should consider rewatching if you want to flood with extraordinary talent during your social distancing break (this is what I’m calling it now).
Number 5: Detroit Pistons VS Los Angeles Lakers 2004 NBA Finals
This matchup was a final to remember, as the defending champions (LA Lakers) look to capture their fourth straight title in 5 years amid their dynasty championship run in 2000,2001 and 2002. The opponent was no other than the powerhouse Detroit Pistons that had a defensive duo at power forward and center, Rasheed and Ben Wallace. At the guard, the Pistons had Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince on the wing.
With this superstar team that dominated the East for half a decade, they still needed to get past the legendary Kobe Bryant and Hall of Famers, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton and Karl Malone! If you’ve never heard of Karl Malone, not to worry, I will be diving into him quite a bit, as I do think he is the most underrated NBA player of all time.
The 2004 NBA finals was a story of an utter breakdown between Kobe and Shaq, and a statement made by the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons were considered the underdogs and came out the undisputed Champions with a 4-1 win over the Lakers.
The key to the victory was the defence played by Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace. Ben Wallace, only 6’10, was still able to leap over Shaq to get the put-back layup/dunk. This strategy was a key to winning games, as the Lakers ran their offence through Shaq at the time. After all, Ben Wallace put up 22 rebounds and 18 points. All five starters on the Pistons put up 10+ points. It was a series that would define the Pistons in the next six years.
Number 4: Los Angeles Lakers vs the Boston Celtics – 2010 NBA Finals
The finals were a long-awaited rematch for the two teams, as they both faced off in 2008 prior, and the Celtics took home the victory winning 4-2. This series was a matchup that would be on its third round hadn’t the Orlando Magic upset the Celtics in 2009. This seven-game blockbuster will keep you on the edge of the seat and sometimes make you forget that the Lakers would win the series. The Boston Celtics were still in their BIG 3 prime at this point, with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnet leading the charge with former NBA finals MVP Paul Pierce.
Number 3: Chicago Bulls vs the Utah Jazz – 1997 NBA Finals
The Series of the Legends if you ask me. Karl Malone and John Stockton against the GOAT himself, Scotty Pippen, and Denis Rodman. If you didn’t get the reference earlier, the GOAT refers ti Michael Jordan (for now).
You may have heard of the All-Star Chicago Bulls that sealed six NBA championships throughout the 90s. However, the Utah Jazz for another offensive force in general. With one of the best passers in NBA history, John Stockton and the dynamic talent that consisted of Karl Malone. John Stockton leads the league in all-time assists, and Karl Malone is second behind Kareem Abul Jabar in points. Their careers were very impressive and very long, then to a bitter end losing 4-2 to the Bulls.
The video quality may not be as good, but worth watching if you like close games. Game 5 ended 90-88 for the Chicago Bulls, 90-86 for the Bulls game six, which sealed the deal. This series was a defining series for Jordan and legitimized him as the most clutch player of all time. It’s just a shame that the dynamic duo on the Utah Jazz could not walk away with at least one championship.
Number 2: Cleveland Cavaliers VS Golden State Warriors – 2016 NBA Finals.
If you don’t like this final, you are most likely a Steph Curry fan. This was by far the most underdog comeback in the history of the Sport. No team has ever been down 3-1 in the NBA Finals and has come back to win it. The greatest upset with the Greatest player, LeBron James.
Now ill make myself clear. Jordan is the greatest offensive player and most clutch, but in terms of overall ability and impact on a team, it has to be LeBron.The Golden State Warriors were coming off of an incredible NBA season with 73 wins, and nine loses and were sure to defeat the Cavs in game five.
Then LeBron happened, putting up 29.7 points 11 rebounds and nine assists to push the Cavs through to the chip. With the help of his weapons Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving and Kyrie with the last-minute shot in the fourth quarter. LeBron was named the MVP, but the clutch gene of Kyrie Irving cannot be dismissed either. The nail biting final that I would recommend, the first championship for the city of Cleveland!
Number 1: Toronto Raptors VS the Golden State Warriors
Did you think I was not going to include this? I can remember this experience like it was yesterday. I was prancing down the streets after a few drinks to celebrate the game six victory that brought this beautiful city our first championship.
This is yet another underdog story. How the dynasty known as the Golden State Warriors continued their reign of Terror, except this time, it wasn’t King James that was going to get the wrong end of the stick.
It would be Kawhi Leonard that would hand them their final blow, in the last game ever to be played in the Oracle Stadium in Oakland, CA. The home of the Warriors for many years.
The Raptors started with an excellent 1-1 tie with Warriors going into Oakland, and the victories in games 3, 4, and 6 put the Raptors ahead. Kawhi Leonard came out with the NBA Finals MVP with 28.5 points, nine rebounds and four assists. The exemplary performances by Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakiam and Marc Gasol provided the foundation for Kawhi to power on through. If you are from Toronto or Canada, you know the feeling. The victory was not only the first Championship for Toronto but the first for the country, the Raptors victory will always have a place in Canadian hearts.
You’re probably thinking after that horrible announcement of the NBA’s suspended season, what do we do now? What is there to watch? Do I need to wait until June of 2021 to see another NBA Champion? The NBA and a majority of other leagues have suspended their seasons until an effective quarantined process and procedure ensures the safety of their athletes. After all, the NBA has stated that athlete safety is their highest priority.
Adam Silvert, the NBA commissioner, announced an NBA season suspension after one of the players on the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert (2 time defensive player of the year by the way) contracted COVID – 19, also known as the Corona Virus. The virus then spread to other Utah Jazz teammates, including one of their best players Donovan Mitchell leaving Adam Silvert with no choice but to suspend the league until further notice.
The NBA suspension was a serious decision to make to protect the safety of fans, players and staff involved with the league. When I heard of this decision, my world of sports had collapsed. I am an avid follower of other suspended sports leagues such as the NHL, NFL and Premier League, but the NBA affected me the most out of all. I started watching basketball when I was five years old after moving to Toronto, Canada, from Romania. I remember my father would always have the Raptors games on, and this was the 2000-2001 NBA season when Vince Carter was taking off the Raptors. Vince Carter was my first NBA hero, and ever since, I have been following the NBA and its extraordinary athletes through one season to the next, and I must say, I feel entirely lost.
The suspension of the season, however, is not set in stone. Adam Silvert stated that the NBA suspension would hold for at least 30 days. The fanatics of the league, hope that the 30-day mark will mark the end of this madness of a season, a season that has been plagued with injuries and shocking events that would change the world entirely.
Yes, we have seen the disappointing injuries of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin and many more. Just when the season began to heat up, we lost the legend Kobe Bryant in a terrible helicopter crash, which not only affected the league but the entire world. Not to mention the loss of David Stern, the great NBA commissioner that was the most influential person of the game off the court, the reason the NBA is so popular today.
For some people, sports are a way to help them through difficult times, something for them to look forward too and to keep their current life exciting. I have always been told in life to follow the things that make you happy. This massive interruption has, without doubt, taken the happiness that I look forward to every year. With the upcoming “Battle of LA” that needs to be settled between Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James, everyone was looking forward to the postseason. Even if the season needs to continue without fans in the stadium, it would be the best way to salvage what has already been a heavily interrupted season.
The King has risen, and this weekend that just passed showed the league just how dominant LeBron has continued to be. Many people have brushed LeBron aside after that injury year he went through last season when pulling his groin during the Christmas break (btw the Lakers were fourth in the West at the time). Now with a brand new weapon at his disposal, Anthony Davis, LeBron is heading into the playoff season first in the West, only four games behind Giannis and the Bucks in the Eastern Conference.
LeBron put up some high numbers on Friday against the Bucks (37 points, eight rebounds eight assists) and then a spectacular performance against the championship favourited Los Angeles Clippers, finishing with 28 points 9 assists and eight rebounds. These are SPECTACULAR numbers by LeBron, going into his seventeenth year at the age of 35 when most players are thinking about retirement.
Now with these two incredible performances and an upcoming game, tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, LeBron has not bowed out of the MVP race, as he is fighting head to head with Giannis for the award. However, we all know that an MVP award means little to LeBron. Of course, if LeBron wins his fifth MVP award, he will tie Michael Jordan. With a great achievement on the line, everybody knows what LeBron is competing for, and that’s a championship.
On a personal note, it isn’t very easy to compare LeBron to the legends that have played for the Los Angeles Lakers if he has not won a championship for the team. LeBron has played for the Clevland Cavaliers most of his career, with a brief four year period with the Miami Heat that won him two championships (2012, 2013) but has not achieved much for the Lakers. It is his second season with the team; however, when he finishes his four-year contract with the Lakers, he will be 37. If you paid much attention to NBA legends at that age, they are still useful for their team, but eventually, they will need to take a step back for the younger players to take over. I am not sure if LeBron is ready to pass the torch, but when the time comes, he will need to have a persuasive resume to be compared to Michael Jordan, who currently holds the title as the best player of all time.
For now, with less than 20 games left in the season, we will have to see how this showdown plays out. With Giannis injured and the Bucks on a three-game losing streak, LeBron can pull the upset and snatch the MVP award from the young Greek phenom, which would be quite an experience….speaking from a Laker fan. However, both teams have a tight schedule to rush through before they get to the playoffs. Both teams will have to take on a fierce competitor before the playoff, the good old Raptors (Bucks have two more games with them), which you will not want to miss!
The Toronto Raptors has had a rough two games with the Charlotte Hornets and the Denver Nuggets, a home game(Charlotte) that could have easily gone the other way. Shout out to Jamal Murray, the starting point guard for the Denver Nuggets and was born in Kitchener Ontario and had an unreal game. Either than that, there were a few things that had me sitting up at night.
Now raptors are sitting with two loses in a row and have a tough schedule coming as they will play the leading title contenders in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks, back to back!The Raptors, lost the to DenverNuggets 118-133, even when OG Anunoby put on a stellar performance. With seven steals and 32 points.
The Player put on a defensive clinic, holding off centers such as Nikola Jokic, who is a 7 foot Slavic machine.The warning flags are starting to show with the Toronto Raptors as their playoff run approaches in April. Now before we were glorifying their unbeaten run, with a 17 game win streak, the Raptors were looking stronger with the departure of Kawhi Leonard.
Now lets get to a topic that tends to not be one of my favorites…the growing concern of the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have been neck-and-neck with the Toronto Raptors with the fight for the 2nd spot in the Eastern conference. They continue to put on stellar performances and have a talented back court of guards and forwards to score multiple points and guard the 3-point line.
To be honest, I can’t stand Boston sports teams. This comes from multiple years of the Boston Bruins, Celtics, Yankees, and New England Patriots continuously knocking out my favorite teams. I still remember when the Celtics defeated King James in the second round of the Playoffs in 2008 (I was 12 at the time) and mopped around my house and school for a week. Boston just has to much history, taking them down this season will be a great challenge.
The All Star of the Boston Celtics is Jason Tatum seems to be the biggest threat scoring 23.5 points a game and averaging 7 rebounds. The scary part is, he is only 21 years old. Never mind Zion Williamson or Ja Morant, people are going to have to acknowledge Tatum as a superstar, I will not be surprised if the Celtics are the Eastern Conference champions coming into the finals this year.
But that does not mean that the Raptors cant fight back! If we can secure the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference come playoff time, we will have more home games than the Celtics, and the last thing the Raptors want to do is to play game seven at the TD Gardens. If Raptors remain focused and healthy, can knock off the Celtics which will most likely pair them up with the Bucks for the third round.
Tuesday at the Staples Centre was a night to remember with an ultimate showdown between one of the greats (LeBron) and the new basketball phenomenon Zion Williamson.
At the age of eighteen, Zion took the stage with the NCAA at the University of Duke, dominating the NCAA and becoming the unanimous number one pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Just THIRTEEN games in and Zion is already averaging 23 points a game, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. With a very late start to the season, Zion is already in the discussion in regards to being the rookie of the year. Some NBA analyst have even speculated that Zion Williamson could steal the Rookie of the Year Award from the favorite, Jamal (Ja) Morant, the young point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Right now Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans are three games back from the 8th seed of the Western Conference Playoffs. If Zion can catch up to Ja’s Grizzlies, then Zion will be undoubtedly the Rookie of the Year, starting him off on a similar path as a young man who won the Rookie of the Year Award 17 years ago, LeBron James himself.
In LeBron’s first year he average 21 Points, 5 rebounds and 6 Assists which is quite similar to Zion in terms of immediate impact. Both players started off with lower level teams and LeBron was able to elevate the horrible record of the Cleveland Cavaliers to a NBA championship in 2016. Can Zion make the same impact as Lebron? LeBron has been the leader and economic engine of the NBA for the last decade, as continued to be one of the most influential players on and off the court. For Zion to follow in his footsteps, he would have to do a lot more then just demonstrate pure talent.
One strength that LeBron James has over most players is the ability to elevate his teammates once he is on the court. LeBron James doesn’t just score the ball and take the final shots, the moves the ball around to make sure all team mates can have the best chances of making the basket. He turned a bottom feeder (the Cavs) the lead them to the NBA Finals FIVE times, something never done in the franchises history.
The good news is that Zion has the physicality and personality to fulfill that role. Zion portrays a very humble young man with an ambition to prove himself in this league. He has already signed an $80 million endorsement deal with Nike and is building a strong social presence with 4.8 million followers on Instagram. However, he has a very long way to go if he wants a similar resume as the King. Zion needs to dominate in multiple skills to become an all time great, hes shown great scoring and rebounding abilities, but his passing and clutch moments must elevate in order to take throne.
If you watched this game from the start, you would have been and a great mood the ENTIRE TIME as the Raptors put on quite the clinic in front of the Pacers.
What better way than to do it than on a Sunday afternoon in the Scotiabank Arena after a nice relaxing day before the grueling Monday awaits. Raptors showed the league that they don’t need Kawhi. That we are good with the amazing chemistry that is composed of this roster.
46 point lead after the fourth? Against a playoff team with multiple stars? You can make this stuff up. Especially with Malcom Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis (Who did put up 11 rebounds tonight). That’s not the point. The point is that the Raptors have a way to the NBA finals, and if they continue to guard the rim and score off turnovers, there is no one there to stop them.
What was the highlight of the game? Was it Serge Ibaka’s fifteen rebounds? Or Kyle Lowry’s 5 steals? What about Pascal Siakiam’s 21 points? This is what I mean when I say the entire team is coming together. Its very much like the San Antonio Spurs squad in the 2000s. Filled with talent with everyone knowing their roles and working together as a unit. It was 34-12 after the first quarter the Raptors were just getting started.
The greatest thing was that the entire team was involved. Five players on the team had double digit points, and our entire bench put up 26 rebounds for the night. Lets hope that this massive energy continues on in the playoffs.
I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens in May. We our Raptors healthy as ever because they will be going up against a big giant in the East on Tuesday, the Milwaukee Bucks. First in the Easter Conference and only seven games back…..we need a win. The Raptors and Bucks faced off in November of last year, loosing by ten points with a final score of 115-105. If we can pull off a win on the 25th, we can have a solid chance of matching up with the Greak Freak, our biggest enemy.
The Bucks aren’t looking forward to making any mistakes in this post season. Which why shutting down this 30 PPP 5 APG and 13 REB monster isn’t going to be easy, especially without our greatest weapon…..well former weapon, the Claw.
What were you doing on a calming Sunday night in Toronto? If you weren’t watching the intense fourth quarter of the 2020 NBA all star game, you were defiantly missing out. With an all intense, jaw dropping turn of events that turned an average, easy going game into a defense battle for the ages.
The format for the 2020 All Star game has completely changed this year, with the score resetting after every quarter, for the first three quarters. The team with the highest score at the end of each quarter would receive $100,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. The teams were lead under two captains, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lebron James. In the fourth quarter, the victory would be granted to the team who can score 24 points first, in honor of the legendary Kobe Bryant who wore the number 24.
The “Greek Freak” and “King James” have been the most dominant players this season, with both of their teams in the first seed of the of both of their conferences. LeBron James leading the West with the Los Angeles Lakers (41 wins, 12 loses) and Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the East with the Milwaukee Bucks (46 wins, 8 loses). Both players are averaging 20+ points, 5+ assists and rebounds, and multiple triple doubles (LeBron 12, Giannis 4). Both players had a chance to pick their teammates and go head to head to what was for sure a game to remember.
But it was KAWHI LEONARD WHO STOLE THE SHOW!! 30 points, eight 3 point shots made, and won the first ever Kobe Bryant All Star MVP trophy. Yes Kawhi put on a show last night, with Anthony Davis sinking the last shot to win the game for team Lebron. If you don’t know who Kawhi is, you should probably Google him before reading more into this page. In the past, the NBA All Star game has received criticism for not being as entertaining as it was in the past. While NBA players didn’t take it seriously and just used the All Star game as an opportunity to show of their skills. This time, the winner of the fourth quarter would receive $300,000 dollars towards a charity of their Choice.
This increased the stakes by a landslide. With every player aggressively moving the ball in order to score 24 points first. This lead to increased fouls, timeouts, offensive fouls and challenges on calls. Yes those are all present in a regular season or playoff game, but in an Allstar game? The intensity sharply rose which had EVERYONE off their seats.
This was quite the performance. Never have I seen NBA all stars vigorously guarding the 3 point, and contesting for every rebound. From the presentation to the competitiveness, this will definaltley be an All Star game that will be remembered for years to come. Hopefully this new format can inspire the NBA to create more intense formats which bring out the best of every all star player.
Of course, I cannot forget the two all stars representing my hometown of Toronto! Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry! Both with great performances and Pascal’s first All Star appearance. Both players had a combined total of 28 points in tonight’s game, I am looking forward to how they finish off the season and prepare for a hopefully deep run in the playoffs. It won’t be easy, but there is still a chance! If we display that raw-dog competitiveness like we did last year, we could have a chance to make a second visit to the NBA finals. Today showed that our boys can play in the big leagues, and although they made some mistakes in terms of foul trouble, there is no doubt that they will be ready.
Growing up in Canada has been a wonderful experience. Having the opportunity
to engage in different activities and figure out who I am has always been a
blast. No matter what it comes too, if you like doing it, you’re livin.
Growing up in Richmond Hill, just outside of Toronto, I have always enjoyed
playing sports, and watching our Toronto teams go head to head. As many we’ve
had some rough seasons, but now I can safely say that our Raptors team has the
tools to secure another NBA championship.
Why start this blog?
Why not? We live in an age where everyone has a voice. Where everyone can
pitch in on sporting events and bring something to the table. With this blog, I
hope to offer some insight and portray a version of an NBA fan in Canada.
The thing I love most about sports is that it unites people in a way. Last
year in the NBA finals, I saw a city that was united like no other way before.
Observing such greatness is what motivates me to start something of my own.