Friday, November 21, 2008

Vince Carter Back to Visit Old Friends

Despite being in their 14th year of existence, the Toronto Raptors still doesn't really have a genuine rival. The only player or team who really stokes an emotion amongst the fans is ex-Raptor Vince Carter.

Vince makes his return to Toronto tonight when his New Jersey Nets are in town.(7pm EST, TSN).

There will be plenty of Raptors fans who still booooo VC15 with the same enthusiasm they did when he first sulked his way out of Toronto but for those of us who are over it and have moved on, we are mature enough to appreciate the good days of Vince.

The two fondest memories of Vince's time as a Raptor were the Dunk Comp in 2000 and that amazing seven-game playoff series against Philadelphia. For all Allen Iverson's heroics in that series, games three and six were the best. Vince toyed with Sixers in both those games and Toronto should have won that series. Should haves and could haves mean nothing of course, but it's great to sometimes just let yourself imagine what might have been with Vince.

While there still will be those who can't ever move on from what they felt Carter did to them, there won't be as many boo's as in the past, simply because Vince just isn't the same player anymore. He can still shoot with that sweet stroke and is capable of still going off for 40+, but everyone knows that if the game gets a bit too hard and the Nets drop behind, Vince isn't about to strain anything to try and get his team back into it.

He'll try to shoot his team back into it and that might work for a bit, but he won't just barrel into the line and fight till the death for a victory.

The Raptors on the other hand come into tonight's game on the back of a solid victory over the Miami Heat. The Raptors have been typically inconsistent this season. At times, they have looked well organized and efficient and at others, it's as if they've never even met each other let alone played a game of basketball together.

The inconsistency cost them last year and will do the same again unless Sam Mitchell can eradicate the errors.

The Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal partnership looked the best it has all season against Miami on Wednesday, but then again they were only up against Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony, not exactly beasts on the glass.

Jose Calderon was clearly not totally fit on Wednesday, but a half-fit Calderon is a better option than Will Solomon as the Raptors starting point guard. Solomon had an awful time in Florida and is not a long term solution at backup.

The Raptors need to win games like these tonight and they will, by 10 points.

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