Sports And The City

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Viva White Vegas

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On November 9, after Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock tore Chris Bosh a new one, Jarrett Jack, Bosh’s bosom buddy and former teammate, opined on the quality of Toronto’s adult entertainment venues:

“I haven’t been to any of the strip clubs here, so they can’t be that good.”

Eleven days later, on November 20, Jarrett Jack was traded to the New Orleans Hornets. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Toronto’s reputation as White Vegas is taken seriously by the Raptors’ front office. It must not be compromised. Especially not by Jarrett Jack.

Jack, David Andersen and Marcus Banks for Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless. In reality: Jack, Anderson and Banks for Bayless and money. Stojakovic will shoot some threes for a few months, and be on his merry way. He could — and hopefully will be — traded at the deadline. As for Bayless, apparently he can defend. Something neither Jack nor Jose Calderon, once again Toronto’s starting point guard, do very well. Jack was brought to Toronto to appease Bosh. To convince the Raptors’ home grown star to stick around. Didn’t work, obviously. And with another two years and more $10 million left on his contract, he was more than expendable.

There is cause for concern, though. According to the National Post, the Raptors have about $24 million coming off the books next year. Add another $12 million and change to that total — what remains of the Bosh trade exception — and that’s enough money for the soon-to-be re-signed Bryan Colangelo to squash the rebuild Raptors fans so desire. The cycle of mediocrity in this town is nothing short of vicious.

But let’s focus on more positive developments: In their first Sunday home game of the young season, the Raptors beat the Boston Celtics. The first place Celtics. God bless 1:00 pm starts. God bless White Vegas.

Amir Johnson was spectacular off the bench, going nine-for-nine from the free throw line, the final two putting Toronto in the lead for good. More importantly, Andrea Bargnani, now the go-to guy for the young Raptors, dropped 29 on Kevin Garnett and the Celtics. That’s big. That’s clutch. In the previous three years, with Bosh as the number one option, CB4 dropped 29 or more points once against the Garnett-led Celtics. It was January 10, 2010. The Raptors lost 114-107, and Bosh scored 31 points on 9-17 shooting. Garnett wasn’t in the lineup that night.

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Written by Navin Vaswani

November 22nd, 2010 at 12:04 pm