Posts Tagged ‘Toronto Raptors’

Toronto Raptors release cool playoff promo

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Canada has some of the most intense basketball fans in the world. Unfortunately, the NBA’s lone franchise in Canada, the Toronto Raptors, has had a five-season drought of not qualifying for the postseason. All of that changed last night, however, as the season ended and the upstart Raptors officially won the Atlantic Division. Now, as they ready for the postseason, the Raptors have released a pretty cool video to rally their fans. As the video says, “We are the North side, a territory all our own. If that makes us outsiders, we’re in.”


VIDEO: We The North

Amir Johnson takes fans to Medieval Times

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Toronto Raptors center Amir Johnson is one of my favorite people in the NBA, because he honestly and openly is thankful for his fans. Earlier this season, for instance, Johnson showed up at a Toronto record store and bought all the Drake albums and handed them out to fans.

For a few seasons now, Johnson has put together occasional events he calls “I Roll With Amir,” where he covers the cost for group of Raptors to catch a game and then grab a meal or hang out with him. This year, though, Johnson really went all out, taking 70 of his biggest fans last night to a Toronto-area Medieval Times restaurant, one night after giving them tickets to the Raptors/Sixers game. As Johnson told the Toronto Star

“It’s just a token of appreciation for my fans because we have the greatest fans in the world,” Johnson said before the show began, a black velvet cape trimmed with gold threads and sparkles draped around his hulking frame. “The fans are what makes our team.”

He picked Medieval Times for this year’s party because he has fond memories of coming to the show as a child.

“It looked a lot bigger when I was a kid,” said Johnson, now six-foot-nine.

Here are some images of Amir’s big night/knight out…

Pat’s Picks: Gladiator gore

By Patrick Patterson, for NBA.com

Time for another #PatsPicks movie review! Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to an advance screening of 300: Rise of an Empire. For a movie lover like me, it’s always special to see something before it is actually out in theaters. I had seen the first 300 when it was out and was a big fan, so I was very excited about the sequel.

Walking out of Rise of an Empire, I was satisfied, but let down a little bit. The best things about the second one were the battle scenes — there were a lot more visual effects, slow-motion film, and a lot more blood and gore. The visual effects actually helped make it a lot better of a movie than what it truly was, if you pared it down to just the script and characters.

The storyline was underdeveloped and the characters were a little shallow. I was specifically hoping the sequel would explore more of the character Xerxes from the first movie, get more into his background and where he came from, but there wasn’t much of that. It just went back to the fight scenes and attacking Greece.

Another character they could have done more with was Themistocles, again developing him a little bit more, explaining his family history and digging deeper into his life and the way he is.

The female villain Artemisia felt a little bit forced to me — they needed someone strong, someone nasty and ugly, and it didn’t feel like an organic fit in this instance. I did like that they picked an attractive actress; it added another weapon to her battle arsenal. She wasn’t only a skilled combat warrior, but could also make men want her to their own peril.

Overall I give it a thumbs up, a seven on a scale of one to ten. There were eight years between the two movies, I wish they had done more with the sequel instead of relying on visual effects. 300: Rise of an Empire was a fun movie adventure, but don’t go to the theaters expecting academy-level acting. Go see it if you have the time, but you also won’t lose anything by waiting for the DVD rental.

Patrick Patterson is a forward for the Toronto Raptors. You can follow him on Twitter @pdpatt.

The return of The Raptor

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the most crucial NBA injuries to occur during the preseason happened to the Raptor, mascot for the Toronto Raptors, who suffered an Achilles injury. As we noted at the time, everyone in the organization took the news hard.

We last saw the Raptor a few months ago on the road to a return as he attacked rehab. But yesterday, the Raptor finally made his big return. As you can see in the video below, his rehab took him to the ends of the earth, but he managed to get it together in time to rejoin the Raptors for the stretch run.


VIDEO: The Raptor returns

Brooklyn ballboy shows good hustle

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I just spent about ten minutes trying (in vain) to find a video clip of a play from 2001, when then-Hawks guard Jacque Vaughn made a steal during a game in Cleveland, and had to forearm shiver an unsuspecting ballboy out of the way while sinking a lay-up. (There is a written recap of it here, though.)  This happens from time to time in the NBA, when a ballboy runs onto the court to do his or her job, and then the run of play suddenly reverses and the ballboy finds themselves caught out there.

This is exactly what happened last night in Brooklyn, where a ballboy ventured onto the court to clean up the floor and found himself in crosshairs of a Tyler Hansbrough fastbreak. What do you do when Psycho T comes crashing down on you? You dive off the court as fast as you can, that’s what you do …


VIDEO: Nets ballboy hustles to avoid Tyler Hansbrough

(via BDL)

The All Ball Crossover Contest (Vol. 1)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Throughout this season, perhaps you’ve seen our ongoing series, The All Ball Posterized Poll. In those posts, we examine which NBA players have been victims of the most vicious dunks.

We are proud to continue the tradition of highlighting the best of the best (and worst) with the new All Ball Crossover Contest. From time to time, we will check in and look at some of the best ankle-breaking dribbling exhibitions we’ve seen. We want to see the greatest moves, of course, but we also want to take note of who got shook.

So who broke out the best crossover in this edition of the Crossover Contest? We culled this selection of videos, and NBA.com’s Zettler Clay is providing the written commentary to accompany what you see.

Check out the videos below and vote at the bottom of the post …

NORRIS COLE ON DERRICK ROSE
Zettler Says: I know, Derrick Rose was only minutes into his first game back from an ACL tear. Still, as Avon Barksdale accurately summed it up, the game is the game. Norris saw an opportunity and made a quick decision. We’re rooting for a full recovery for Rose, if only for a chance at redemption, because this move is nasty.

VIDEO: Cole on Rose

JOHN WALL ON TERRENCE ROSS
Zettler Says: John Wall hits Terrence Ross with the double. If you were to ask for defining Wall plays to teach to youngsters, this would lead the reel. A stutter step to freeze Ross, then a crisp crossover followed by another, followed by speed to the cup. Great read, timing and execution.

VIDEO: Wall On Ross

STEPHEN CURRY ON REGGIE JACKSON
Zettler Says: There’s nobody else in the NBA that could pull this move off, save for Jamal Crawford and Kevin Durant. Curry’s ability to quickly set his feet after a move combined with his deadly deep aim gives his crossover another element. No spot on the court is safe for any Steph defender.

VIDEO: Curry On Jackson

DERON WILLIAMS ON CHRIS PAUL
Zettler Says: Classic end of half isolation clash between two of the league’s best. What gives this play flair is the stealthy rivalry between these two players since they entered the NBA in 2005, one pick behind each other (D-Will was the third pick, Paul fourth). On this night, multiple times, the third pick had the upper hand.

VIDEO: Williams On Paul

J.R. SMITH ON TRISTAN THOMPSON
Zettler Says: This is just Earl Joseph Smith III doing his thing. Thankfully Tristan Thompson took an unnatural fall, which not only made the play pop, but saved his ankle. If he doesn’t hit the deck, his talus is broken. Believe.

VIDEO: Smith On Thompson

And now you get your say. Who had the best crossover?

The 2013-14 All Ball YOLO All-Stars

j.r.-tucker

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If there’s one thing I’ve learned from attending a dozen All-Star Weekends, it’s that at its core, All-Star Weekend is about the fans. The fans actually select the starting line-ups, and fans travel from near and far to hit up Jam Session and All-Star Saturday Night and the Rising Stars Challenge and, of course, all the parties.

In some broader sense, the All-Star Game is about recognizing the best players from each conference. Sure, there are a couple of rim-rattling dunks and the occasional long-range shot that falls. And if you’re lucky, really lucky, the game is close down the stretch, and then everyone’s competitive juices kick in and you might just get a memorable finale. The main purposes of most participants in the actual All-Star Game? They wear funky uniforms, get a little run in, hang out with their buddies, and then they go back to their own teams for the stretch run and the Playoffs.

But that’s not why I’m watching the All-Star Game. And I think most people tuning in or even attending All-Star are looking to have a similar question answered: Are we not entertained? No matter what the Fun Police tell you, at All-Star weekend, nobody is looking at efficiency stats or plus/minus ratings. We want to see Shaq playing point guard. We want to see Gilbert Arenas joining the Elvis impersonators and dunking off of a trampoline. Simply put: We want the All-Star Game — and the entire weekend, really — to be fun.

So you can argue all you want about who does and who doesn’t deserve to be named to the actual Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. Instead, I present to you my annual YOLO All-Stars. (If you didn’t know, YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once.) These are the guys who deserve to be All-Stars based on my own vague All Ball Blog criteria. I considered all of the following elements: hilarity; social media proficiency; general swag; likelihood the player will do something memorable; dunking/dribbling/shooting ability; previous Shaqtin’ A Fool appearances; mentions on the All Ball Blog.

To be clear, those categories are listed in no particular order, with no importance or weight to any given specific category. These are just the players I think it would be fun to see in an All-Star Game. If we want to be entertained, these are the players that will give it to us. Meet your 2013-14 NBA YOLO All-Stars…

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
C – Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers — Always a blast on Twitter, and a man who appreciates good humor.
F – Chris Bosh, Miami Heat — Will be in charge of all videobombing.
F – LeBron James, Miami Heat — Not only is he a force on Twitter, which is good enough to qualify for the YOLO All-Stars, but he’s also the reigning MVP, so that wins him an invite.
G – J.R. Smith, New York Knicks — In the YOLO All-Star Game, untying shoes will be encouraged.
G – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers — UNCLE DREW!

Bench
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks — The Greek Freak is perhaps the most unconventional athlete in the league, so you never know what he’s going to pull off next. He also loves smoothies, and with the All-Star Game being played in the newly-named Smoothie King Center, what could be more perfect?
Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors — One of my favorites on social media.
Andray Blatche, Brooklyn Nets — Eurostep!
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons — Will be in charge of Vine videos throughout the weekend.
Metta World Peace, New York Knicks — Still the best.
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers — He may not have made the actual All-Star Game, but I can’t knock his hustle. Besides, he dunked on a ref, which is awesome.
Kevin Seraphin, Washington Wizards — Anyone with a pet snake named Snakey and a skeleton that rides a Segway is a lifetime YOLO All-Star.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
C – Robin Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers — He’s a nerd and he’s proud of it.
F – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves — We’ll have him making coffee for everyone.
F – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder — If LeBron is on the East, we might as well put KD on the West.
G – Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers — My favorite dribbler in the NBA.
G – James Harden, Houston Rockets — The beard is fun on its own, but Harden’s also made a heavy push into social media the last few years. Maybe he can perform at halftime.

Bench
Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers — You can’t have a YOLO game without Swaggy P.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers — Founder of #4BarFriday.
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies — Perhaps my favorite NBA player to challenge his team owner to a game of one-on-one.
Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs — Broken nose and all, Bonner is always entertaining.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors — Always a candidate to dunk on someone. Or to review an episode of “Breaking Bad.”
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings — Hard not to select someone who’s nickname is “Boogie.”
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Really the perfect player for this game.
Nate Robinson, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Go long, Nate will throw you the pineapple.

So there’s my YOLO All-Stars. Who would you put on your YOLO All-Star team? Let us know below in the comments!

The All Ball Posterized Poll (Vol. 3)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’re into the NBA’s most devastating dunks, we’ve got you covered over at the new-and-improved Dunk HQ. But because we’re the All Ball blog and we like to look at the NBA from non-traditional angles, we will focus on the flip side of the NBA’s best dunks: What we want to know is, who got got?

So welcome to Volume Three of The All Ball Posterized Poll. We will check in from time to time and examine the worst of the best, and use a highly scientific polling method to determine which NBA player got dunked on (a.k.a. posterized) the most egregiously. And at the end of the season all of our winners will battle it out to determine who it is that most belongs on a poster.

The winner of Volume One was New Orleans’ Jeff Withey, who was placed on a poster by Lakers’ wingman Xavier Henry, his college teammate. The winner of Volume Two was Atlanta’s Al Horford, who was posterized by Victor Oladipo.

But can anyone top Withey? We have five brand new nominees. We checked in with NBA.com’s own slam dunk specialist, LeMont Calloway, for his informed perspective on the matter. “What I’ll say most about these defenders is that at least they’re trying to show help-side D,” LeMont notes. “There’s a defender or two around the league who wouldn’t even dare, let alone probably couldn’t even make the proper rotation. (Calling you out Boozer!) But, it’s like Bill Walton used to say: What are big men doing trying to take charges anyway?”

Now, to the latest nominees …

1. Terrence Ross on Kenneth Faried
LeMont’s Take: “Not only does this one have all the qualities needed to make it a great posterizer (elevating over a jumping, contesting defender, finishing tough), but the still shot of the play makes for an amazing visual. From Faried’s honest attempt at defending to Ross’ acrobatic cock-back wind-up, you have to appreciate both players’ intensity.”
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VIDEO: Ross on Faried
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2. Kevin Martin on Tayshaun Prince
LeMont’s Take: “No shots fired, but has Kevin Martin ever had a play like this in the NBA? Wanna know what sticks out to me the most about this banger? It’s the fact that Martin’s swagged-out slow walk after the dunk suggests that Kevin Martin posterizers, like a LeBron jam, for instance, are household plays. It’s like Martin is saying, ‘This is what I do.’ Love it!”
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VIDEO: Martin on Prince
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3. Taj Gibson on Bismack Biyombo
LeMont’s Take: “Bulls announcer Stacey King knows a poster when he sees it. And if there’s one Bull who has a pretty good resume of big facials, it’s Taj Gibson (ask Nikola Vucevic or a 2011 D-Wade about their Gibson experiences). Game film is key in this game, and if Bismack Biyombo was paying any attention, he’d know that Gibson usually means serious two-handed business at the rim.”
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VIDEO: Gibson on Biyombo
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4. Anthony Davis on Big Baby
LeMont’s Take: “I feel pretty confident calling it right now: Anthony Davis may turn out to be one of the best big man to utilize the pick and roll. A lot of his dunks and alley-oops this season have come in this manner, and he’s only going to keep learning and getting better at it. It just so happens that his play-cousin Glen Davis is part of the education.”
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VIDEO: Davis on Davis
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5. Lance Stephenson on referee Ed Malloy
LeMont’s Take: “No man is safe from getting dunked on. Not kids on Nerf hoops, not unsuspecting rookies, not even referees. How many people can say they dunked on an official and got away with it? Lance Stephenson can, and he’s probably the envy of many a player in the NBA. (I’m sure there are plenty of guys who’d love to dunk one on Joey Crawford.) The Pacers’ spark plug may be ticked off that he didn’t make the All-Star team, but hopefully he was able to unleash some of that anger here, even if it was at the expense of a ref.”
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VIDEO: Stephenson on Ref
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Now we need your vote! Who got dunked on the worst?

NBA Journal: Patrick Patterson

New Raptor Patrick Patterson takes in the sights at Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto.

New Raptor Patrick Patterson takes in the sights at Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto.

by Patrick Patterson, for NBA.com

Life has been busy since I last checked in with you all.  My NBA season began in Sacramento, but I am writing now as a Toronto Raptor!  Going through a trade and relocating mid-season is a challenge, but I am very excited about where I am.

There were a number of guys at my position on the Kings roster, and I felt like one of the guys who was currently injured would be the go to when he came back, so I was aware of the possibility of being traded.  I also had been hearing rumors about Toronto wanting to move Rudy Gay and had been reading about possible trades online.  I was at the movies with my mom when I received the call from my agent and life got busy from that moment.

I first had to go to the practice facility and grab the things I needed from my locker, like my shoes and a couple of t-shirts.  Then I had to go back to my apartment and pack up everything so I could move.  Clothes were the hardest to pack because it was nice and warm in Sacramento in the winter, and I was headed to Toronto where it was already really cold.  All of my winter clothes were in my house in Houston so I had to have them shipped to Toronto.  I ended up heading to the airport with about three or four suitcases to fly across country to start the next stage of my career.  Luckily, Chuck Hayes and John Salmons were on the flight with me so I wasn’t traveling alone.

As soon as I stepped off the plane, I could see the snow and feel the cold.  There were some people from the Raptors waiting to meet us, we did a few quick videos so the fans could get to know us, and then the transition in Toronto really began.

I have been living in a hotel as most traded players do right after a trade.  We are lucky as NBA players in so many ways, including that we usually eat as a team before and after every practice and game, so I haven’t had to worry too much about cooking.  Plus, there are a couple of restaurants around our hotel that are easy spots to go to and even a grocery store, so I can just walk downstairs if I need anything. For the past couple of days I’ve been looking at apartments and think I have found a new place to call home.

Skyline view of "really cold" Toronto.

Skyline view of “really cold” Toronto.

Toronto is a great city – I had no idea it was the fourth largest city in North America. The people here are great and have been extremely nice.  I have been trying to explore as much as I can but the winter here is brutal!  People rave about the spring and especially the summer, how lively the city becomes, so I am definitely looking forward to that.

Transitioning to a new team can sometimes be tough, but this whole process has gone really smoothly.  I already feel comfortable in the system and have the faith and confidence of the coaches and teammates.  An added plus is that I’m around a great bunch of guys including a few fellow Kentucky alums like our head coach, so it’s nice to be around the Kentucky brotherhood again.

One of the coolest things about the trade is that the Raptors were playing in Washington D.C. very soon after I joined the team, and that is where my mom’s side of the family is from.  I haven’t seen some of them in a long time so I just really wanted to play my best.  When the game was over, I could hear people yelling down the hallway and I already knew it was them. I turned the corner and there were about 30 – 35 of my family members grabbing my teammates for pictures as they walked by, and they went into a big uproar when they saw me.  Just to be able to see them and play well for them meant so much to me.

Here’s my #Patspicks Movie Review!

This week I saw “Paranormal Activity: Marked Ones”, and I have to say, it was a pretty big letdown.  I was expecting it to be scarier with more chilling moments that had you on the edge of your seat.  There were so many times in the first three movies where you wanted to close your eyes, but you were still so interested in what was happening next.  In this one, I felt like there were certain times when they were trying to do too much instead of just keeping it simple.  The demon and spirits in this one also seemed more geared towards a teenage audience. I wish they had just stuck to the formula from the previous movies because I really liked those.

Until the next post, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @pdpatt.

Terrence Ross Gives 51-Point Ball To His Mother


VIDEO: Ross goes for 51 Points

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Perhaps it was a bit overshadowed by Carmelo Anthony‘s 62-point explosion just one night earlier, but on Saturday night, Raptors swingman Terrence Ross had himself a huge game, going for 51 points and 9 rebounds in a loss to the Clippers. This after scoring a combined 4 points in the week leading up to the game, averaging 9.2 points per game on the season, and sitting on a career scoring high of 26 points in a game.

After his big night, Ross announced that he was going to give the game ball to his biggest fan and former coach, his Mom. And since Ross had plans to see her at the Raptors next game, at Brooklyn, he just carried the ball to the meeting himself. Thanks to Twitter, we can report that the presentation has been made.