News » Bosh's birthday bender overshadows basement battle

Bosh's birthday bender overshadows basement battle

Bosh's birthday bender overshadows basement battle
It has been more than three years since Bryan Colangelo arrived in Toronto, since the Raptors' coaches and players and big brains began talking and talking and talking about playing up-tempo Basketball with high-volume shooting.

And yet it was only yesterday at the Air Canada Centre - three seasons after since-deposed coach Sam Mitchell broached the idea of the club ideally taking around 100 shots a game - the Raptors finally got up 100 regulation-time shots in a game.

If Toronto's 100-76 win wasn't proof that go-go Basketball is a strategy of unparalleled genius - and, given that the elusive milestone was only reached in a game against the woeful L.A. Clippers, it wasn't - at least the high-quantity gunning brought a buzz to the Raptors locker room.

The locker-room talk, of course, wasn't about the style of play but of the style of the players. Last night, after all, was a big one in Raptorland for reasons more pertinent than the final score. Chris Bosh, the resident all-star, had invited a few hundred of his closest friends to his self-described "25th Birthday Gala" at the Maro nightclub in Liberty Village. So the smell of post-game cologne seemed a little more pungent than usual. The post-game primping took a little more time than usual. The post-game interviews were a little more giddy than usual.

"(Bosh) has had a birthday party every year I've been here," said Joey Graham, the fourth-year forward. "And they've gotten better and better. There's more glitz and glamour at his parties."

The parties get better and better and the seasons, sadly, get worse and worse. And the games don't get much worse than yesterday's.

Yes, it was a win in a season short on them, and yes, nobody on the home roster took fewer than four shots. But it was a win in an NBA game in which the starters included Fred Jones and Jake Voskuhl.

Nothing against Toronto's Voskuhl, who is an unfailingly friendly and apparently hard-working NBA citizen. But the guy hadn't started an NBA game since 2006-07 and he hadn't been a regular NBA starter since the 2003-04 season, when he was in the first five for 43 games for Colangelo's Phoenix Suns. Those Suns, of course, won 29 games. And Voskuhl also started games for the 2000-01 Chicago Bulls (winners of 15 games), and the 2005-06 Charlotte Bobcats (winners of 26). The 2007-08 Milwaukee Bucks, which won 26 games, were solid enough up front never to require big Jake's services at the opening tip.

And as for L.A.'s Jones - one of Colangelo's free-agent acquisitions gone awry who is now somebody else's problem - he went 1-for-6 from the field, at one point jacking up an air ball that was followed by a Roko Ukic air ball that was followed by the mass shaking of heads by anybody who cares about the sport's future welfare.

The other highlights: The Clippers, as a measure of how interested they were, registered precisely two offensive rebounds against one of the NBA's worst rebounding teams. And Patrick O'Bryant, the Raptors' bench-warming centre who played about six minutes of garbage time, ensured one of the 100 shots would be the 7-footer's first career three-pointer.

"I figured, 'Why not?' " said O'Bryant, the ninth-overall pick in the 2006 draft, whose continuing presence in the NBA can be explained by a contract that pays him $1.5 million (U.S.) this season.

Grim stuff, indeed, but the players had their eyes on the door prize. Graham, who had 13 points off the bench, spoke of an impending visit to the birthday-party dance floor - "Me and (Shawn Marion) are going to cut a little rug," he said. And Graham, too, was predicting a Monday morning hangover for Bosh, whose actual birthday isn't until tomorrow.

"He's going to go crazy, I'm sure," said Graham of Bosh.

"I don't know what time practice is (this morning), but Chris is going to go a little wild."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: March 23, 2009


Copyright ©, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.