Toronto annihilated the Knicks last night 131-113 (if we were playing Mastermind we’d say at least the Knicks’ score got all the same correct #s as Toronto, but just in the wrong order). In the first half, the Raptors shot 70%. No, not from the free-throw line, but from the field where you’re supposedly allowed to play defense. The Canadian fans were excited, so why the depressed looks on the bench? While Toronto needed this final win to get into the playoffs as the eighth seed, they also needed something else: the Chicago Bulls to lose their simultaneous game against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bulls didn’t play their part, instead winning and thus hanging onto their last-minute theft of that final playoff spot.
More depressing to the people of Toronto is that perhaps this helped further the death knell of Raptors’ all-time-scoring-and-rebounding-leader Chris Bosh’s stay north of the border. The man is on record as having said he wants to be surrounded by enough talent to make his team a contender. It’s pretty clear that Toronto ain’t nowhere near that.
Look, earlier in the season they were as high as fifth in the east, but then Bosh got injured. Even after he returned, the team never regained it’s mojo. And what little mojo it had left, that all drained away when Bosh had his face accidentally destroyed by Cleveland’s Antawn Jamison, causing him to miss the season’s final games (& the Raps’ ultimate free-fall out of contention).
However, that fifth place spot was also fool’s gold. They only were that high ‘cuz several Eastern Conference teams started slow. After Charlotte acquired Stephen Jackson and Milwaukee traded for John Salmons, both those teams started playing serious ball. Even Miami’s middling record wasn’t fully accurate ‘cuz the Heat had a tough early schedule (in the past months Miami was able to take advantage of its easy end-of-the-season competition to climb up to 5th).
And let’s be honest, there’s still a big jump from those bottom four teams to the East’s top tier. If Bosh wants to play for a contender, he’s got a long way to go. Plus, with Toronto having signed Hedo Turkoglu to that big contract this summer, it ain’t like they can go out and get some more help. So while the Knicks lost last night, we may get the last laugh if Bosh decides to come here this summer. Of course, if winning’s what matters, he should only agree to come to New York if he’s sure another big player will come too. After all, this game proved that even when you take Bosh out of the equation, Toronto still has a better team than New York.
-Bosh and David Lee aren’t the only ones who become free agents this summer. Knick newcomer Bill Walker went out with a bang, upping his stock by scoring a career high 28 points, hitting a darn impressive 6 of 10 from long range while also nabbing a nice seven boards from the shooting guard spot.
-Tracy McGrady again didn’t play due to lameness injury. He said that if he can’t get back to his normal self this summer, he’ll retire. I gotta say, the way his performance petered out with the Knicks, if he wants a shot on some team he’s gonna have to like play summer league or tryout during training camp. No GM is gonna offer him even the minimum unless he can prove he’s got something left in the tank (actually I guess as long as the contract’s non-guaranteed they would, but I dunno if he’d accept that. Even Earl Barron refused the non-guaranteed contract we offered him).
Topics: Antawn Jamison, Bill Walker, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Chris Bosh, David Lee, Earl Barron, Hedo Turkoglu, John Salmons, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Playoffs, Stephen Jackson, Toronto Raptors, Tracy McGrady