Make It Four Straight For Toronto

By Clinton Hosannah
Updated: February 29, 2008

Toronto RaptorsTORONTO — Chris Bosh and The Raptors won their fourth in a row, against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Air Canada Center.

It was an ugly win but nonetheless a “W” is a “W” and like the damage they did to New Jersey, Orlando and New York, at home, this one was a blow out.

It took a minute for the Raps to get into the spirit, having an extremely slow start in the first quarter, but when they found their rhythm there was no turning back.

The Dinos were stagnant at 2 points until 7:27 left in the quarter, when Jamario Moon dropped a three pointer making the score 5-12 for the Timberwolves and sparking a scoring melee that put the Raptors within two at the end of the quarter.

From then on there was no retreat no surrender.

“In the first quarter we didn’t play as well but after that we got some easy baskets,” said Coach Sam Mitchell. “The point guards took control of the game and Chris, his game didn’t look as good as it did, like a quiet game, but you look at the results he had and I thought we just played well after the first quarter.”

Although there have been some lacklustre playing from the Raptors lately, they have been winning and the fans are happy. The management team has made it clear, by the Juan Dixon/Primoz Brezec trade, that it only wants players that want to be here.

And why not? The ACC has had 22 sell-outs since the inception of this season and for good reason. “The fans like this team and it’s just a great situation. [It’s] a great city to play [in], great organization, good teammates. I’m just excited and happy to be here,” said Brezec.

About the differences he notices in playing in a Canadian city, Brezec said, “It’s more European, you know what I’m saying, a lot of European people on the street, a lot of good restaurants to go [to] and places to go out, I love it man I love it.”

Although Brezec scored four points in nine minutes and going one for two on the court, his presence can be intoxicating. He always comes on the floor with optimum energy, even if it is just for a few minutes.

It will be interesting to see how his role evolves on the team as they incorporate this seven foot centre into the Raptor’s pick and roll game.

“He understands basketball…we know that he can post up any time,” said Bosh. “He’s got the sets down and he’s done a great job so far.”

Mitchell chimed in with a Brezec endorsement as well. “I think he’s doing fine, like you say he plays with a lot of energy and he’s happy to be here,” said Mitchell.

“For the minutes he’s played he’s played well.”

The trade was on the verge of meaningless in terms of offence that might be added or defensive prowess that can be enhanced for the Raptors. But the psychological boost cannot be measured at this time.

There is something to be said about the state of a team’s collective mental health. Look at Miami; they have lots of talent in Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Shawn Marion and Alonzo Mourning. They only just traded arguably the best big man to play the game and they are dead last in the league.

So the jury is still out on what Brezec will add onto an already great ball club but it is safe to say that his attitude will not be detrimental. This writer is glad that he is here and looks forward to seeing him develop as an effective centre and possibly becoming a starter along with Bosh, Parker, Bargnani and Calderon.