Saturday , Dec , 13 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Smelling like a Rose

Add up a struggling team, a rookie head coach (Kevin O’Neill ), and the fact that your playing basketball in Canada and you got yourself a awful situation, but thanks to the diligent work of Glen Grunwald (GM) the Toronto Raptors have turned their season around and in a wide open East are starting to make some noise.

After the blockbuster trade made to bring in Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall the Raptors have reeled off five straight wins and find themselves the current fourth seed in the East only 3.5 games behind Indiana (as of Dec. 12). Trading Antonio Davis and Jerome Williams did little to hurt this team, for they needed scoring in a bad way, averaging a league low 83 points per game, but adding a scorer like Rose and Marshall gives the Raptors that extra scoring punch. Also it rekindles some interest in the only north of the border basketball team, playing in a area where interest is low (especially with the Leafs playing) winning is almost a necessity to get your team noticed and get the fans to come out. With Vince Carter healthy and rookie Chris Boch giving them a legit post up scorer the Raptors may have gotten the shot in the arm they needed to get back to not only a playoff team but also one that can go deep as they did in 2001-02.

Smelling like a RoseWire-to-Wire

18-3 overall
12-0 at home
10 straight wins

The LA Lakers are definitely trying to send a message to the rest of the West. No sleep walking this year through the regular season for the Lakers, oh sure Kobe’s got tons of legal trouble, the starters are old, they have no bench, their giving up 93 points a game and their a Shaq injury away from .500, but as of right now this team is rolling and doing so in a big way. Don’t forget despite all those problems their 18-3 and when they won three straight titles they had no bench then either, and back then they also had no Gary Payton to fall back on. This year the favorite to win it all is showing why they are that, but before we go handing over the hardware to them, I think the Kings and Spurs may have allot to say about it before it’s all said and done.

NBA Notes

— Second hottest team in the league? Memphis Grizzlies 6 straight W’s.

— ANOTHER coach fired this week (Frank Johnson- Phoenix) owners are going through these guys like Kleenex.

— Break up the Magic, 2 game winning streak (3-19)

— Speaking of streaks Cleveland’s road losing one is up to 33.

— All Star voting has begun and Vince Carter is the leading vote getter. Other leaders East- Iverson, B.Wallace, McGrady, and J. O’ Neal. West- Kobe, Francis, Garnett, Duncan, Shaq.