Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back in the U.S.S.R. ...@ the ACC.

Unlike many people, I like going to pre-season basketball games. It provides an opportunity to check out the new talent and see if the bench players have improved, or give me some tips on fantasy hoops. You see, just because players post great summer league stats for three seasons, doesn't mean that they've turned the corner, case in point, Joey Graham.

So when a good friend offered a pair of tickets to the Raptors vs CSKA Moscow last night, I was more than delighted to take in my first game of the season. The Raptors play an international club every year, and this year host the current Euroleague Champs. Now I'm not going to give a detailed game analysis, for that you can go here or here. But CSKA are the best club outside of the Association, and boast ex NBA players Zoran Plannic, Viktor Khryapa and Trajan Langdon. Whom were more than enough for the Raps second unit, as the home team didn't lead until the fourth quarter. Yes, we won, but Bosh and Calderon played 35 and 33 minutes respectively, a lot for two guys who played in the gold medal match at the Summer Olympics.

JO looked OK, but settled for too many jumpers, Barganni looks like he gained 15 pounds of muscle, and was more aggressive than I've ever seen him. CB4 and Jose were their usual superstar selves, and aside from Kapono, (who should be starting, and I speculate is tanning between games), and Humphries, there was nothing else of note. Well aside from the new LED display system, I read about it, but man the resolution from the "Black Package" LED screens is a noticeable improvement, particularly from my seats. Oh and everyone wearing Nikes on either team were rocking the Nike Hyperdunks, even Chirs Bosh with his special make-ups, it's been a while that I've seen a pair of shoes so prevalent throughout the league.

So what did I take from my first pre-season game? Not enough to base the season on, but it was great to be back at the ACC, and all things are positive. Barring injuries, we're going to be competitive this year, but we're definitely thin in terms of depth, the dance pack still sucks, and Joey Graham is still around... but hey, there's still time for change.

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