Dec 31, 2002 12:57 PM EST
The temptation was to look at the facts, and chuckle.
Toronto came to Utah 8-22, loser of six straight and 10 of its previous 11 games. The injury-depleted Raptors arrived quite short-handed, missing star Vince Carter and fellow starter Antonio Davis, among others. And they were playing their fourth game in five nights, all out West.
Should be a real laugher, huh?
Well, Utah's 107-85 victory over Toronto on Monday night was no joke.
Dec 31, 2002 11:46 AM EST
Hoops history may show that Karl Malone and John Stockton were unable to lead the Utah Jazz to an NBA championship.
Having played with them and having learned from them, Greg Foster has a different perspective on the future Hall of Fame tandem of Malone and Stockton.
"I don't think people know the true scope of what John and Karl have done in this league," Foster said as he returned to Utah last night with the Raptors. "These are two guys who show up for practice each day and work hard each day, two guys who play hard every single game."
Dec 31, 2002 11:45 AM EST
The Raptors find themselves in seventh hell.
Their game has turned into a joke, only there's nothing funny about a losing streak that now has stretched to a season-high seven games.
Toronto jumped out to an impressive 17-9 lead last night against the host Utah Jazz, led 26-24 after the opening period and then began to self-destruct.
Dec 31, 2002 11:44 AM EST
Vince Carter was a no-show.
Then again, quite a few of the Toronto Raptors fell into that category Monday night at the Delta Center.
But unlike Lindsey Hunter, who went 1-for-4 with four turnovers and a technical foul in 20 minutes of action, or Jerome Williams, who played 35 minutes yet managed just three points and two rebounds, Carter wasn't even in the building to witness the Raptors' 107-85 loss to the Utah Jazz.
Dec 31, 2002 11:41 AM EST
The Jazz's bench is full of guys who could start. The Raptors' starting lineup includes guys they would rather bring off the bench.
Guess which roster works better.
Utah's bench outscored Toronto's 55-17, and a lineup that included reserves Mark Jackson, Andrei Kirilenko, Scott Padgett and Tony Massenburg drilled the Raptors with defense in the decisive second quarter, sparking the Jazz to their fifth win in six games Monday, 107-85 in the Delta Center.
Dec 30, 2002 3:52 PM EST
If Christmas is a time to relax, if New Year's is a chance to get away from the grind, if the holidays are supposed to be a vacation, then consider the Jazz a bunch of scrooges.
Fresh off their 98-69 dismantling of Philadelphia on Saturday, the Jazz took Sunday off. They face injury-depleted Toronto tonight (7 p.m., FSN), then don't play again for four days, Friday night in Milwaukee. Coming off a similar four-day gap over Christmas, the three-games-in-10-days stretch seems like a placid Caribbean cruise compared to the shoot-the-rapids pace the NBA schedule normally imposes.
And Jazz coach Jerry Sloan doesn't like cruises.
"I never want any time off," he said. "When you play four games in five days, that's what players like, because they stay in a rhythm."
And if they don't play, that rhythm eludes pro basketball players like a grade-school orchestra. Proof of that was provided Saturday by the 76ers, who had not played in a week -- and looked like it had been much longer.
Dec 29, 2002 9:11 AM EST
Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reports that Raptors GM Glen Grunwald denied any trade talks involving Vince Carter and the Cleveland Cavaliers. After reports that Toronto may be talking about trading Carter to Cleveland for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Darius Miles, Grunwald reacted.
"There is absolutely no truth to that story whatsoever," Grunwald said yesterday. "Someone doesn't know what they're talking about."
Smith adds that the Raps would not trade their franchise player for a Center who has missed 185 of his last 325 games due to injury and a kid who has done nothing in the NBA except jump high. Not only that, but the deal does not come close to working financially under the Collective Trade Agreement trade rules.
While the Raptors are not trading their star player, they are coming apart on the court.
Missing Carter and Antonio Davis has taken a huge toll on the team. Smith writes, "So far, the public displays of acrimony have not emerged, but there's an uneasy feeling that an explosion lies not too far beneath the surface."
"Adversity is always tough. I understand adversity and I know what it can do to you emotionally and physically," said 10-year veteran Lindsey Hunter. "It's just a matter of staying focused. Somehow, we'll do it."
Players are getting frustrated with each other and their coach. "You can't get down on your teammates. Everybody out there is trying hard and doing the best they can do," said Jerome Williams, who sat for long stretches of Friday's loss in Golden State as Wilkens went with Michael Bradley. "You definitely don't want to go to pointing fingers because there's no one to point at."
Dec 28, 2002 9:38 AM EST
Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun reports that there may be some trade talk going on between Toronto and Cleveland. Vince Carter's name is being linked with a trade rumour involving Darius Miles and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
Zicarelli says that it is unknown how serious the talks are, but that there is an uneasiness between the Raptors and their oft-injured star. Carter is unhappy in Toronto and would not object to a trade according to various sources.
Sources also say that the Raptors are unhappy with Carter. They feel that he hasn?t worked hard enough to come back from his various injuries and hasn?t practiced with the team when healthy.
Zicarelli notes, "At first glance, a Carter for Ilgauskas and Miles swap makes sense."
The Cavs have given up on this season and would love to have a box office draw like Carter to fill the empty seats at The Gund.
Miles and Ilgauskas have battled injuries, but each brings something to the table that is lacking in Toronto. Ilgauskas is a legitimate center and when his game is on there aren't many centers better in the Eastern Conference and Miles is an emerging star who is young and extremely athletic.
RealGM Note: Carter?s BYC status would make this particular trade impossible and any trade involving Carter very difficult to complete.
Late Evening Update: Responding to today's rumors, Sportsnet.CA reports Raptors GM Glen Grunwald has deemed Carter "untradeable" and stated that there's "no truth" to the Cleveland trade rumors.
Dec 18, 2002 10:34 AM EST
Former Jazz center Olden Polynice -- awaiting a second trial for assaulting a golfer earlier this year -- was charged Tuesday with disturbing the peace for allegedly yelling obscenities at a prosecutor after a Dec. 2 court appearance.
Polynice followed Holladay City Attorney Lohra Miller into an elevator at Salt Lake City's Matheson Courthouse, swore at her, accused her of racism and touched his middle finger to her forehead, according to a police report.
Earlier this year, Miller successfully prosecuted Polynice for class B misdemeanor assault for punching a golfer in the face in July 2001.
Dec 14, 2002 1:59 PM EST
Vince Carter strained his right knee during Monday's practice. Earlier this year he missed 10 games after aggravating the tendon in his left quadricep.
Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun says Vince Carter isn't about to rush back and risk further injury and jeopardize his career. Carter doesn?t know when he?ll be back in action.
Carter said, "I'm past the stage where I worry if I'll be back in two or three days,'' Carter said. "I just need to make sure that everything is healed to the best of its ability. Until then, I'll keep my head up and stay positive.''
The Raptors are struggling without Carter, Antonio Davis and Alvin Williams. These are their three best players. Zicarelli says the Raptors are ?positively in no position to win games.?
In Friday night?s loss to Seattle, the Raptors starting lineup included Jermaine Jackson, Voshon Lenard and Greg Foster. All three of them were pickups at the start of the season to replace injured players.
Carter said, "I guess we'll take all the injuries now and be ready after the all-star break.? By then the playoffs may be out of reach for the Raptors.
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