Raptors vs Pacers NBA Playoffs – Key to Success

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First of all, congratulations to the Toronto Raptors for making the playoffs, shattering a number of new franchise records and finishing 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.

It’s a luxury for Raptors fans to know that their team has pretty much secure a playoff spot way back in December. Remember those times when back in the days we wouldn’t even know if we make the playoffs until the last game is played? Those days are long gone! Not any more, this Raptors team have depth, experience, consistent team winning performance.

However, franchise records are sexy and awesome, but these accolades are meaningless if the Raptors get kick out of the 1st round yet again. So, to me, the motto is…”Round 2 or Go Home!”.

I am a realistic guy, if Raptors make it out of the 1st round of the playoffs this year, I am happy, it’s a goal accomplished. It’s a baby step moving forward, as long as there is progress, I am happy.

Below are some of the areas that I think are KEY to Raptors success to get out of 1st round:

  1. Coach Casey needs to make good adjustment

    In the past few playoff seasons, Coach Casey has a habit of sticking to its starting roster even when the roster don’t seem to be clicking. He has a stubborn nature of not making any roster changes to the starting lineup, not even bother to shake things up during the game, making things super predictable for the oppoents to guess what’s coming next from the Raptors. A great example was when the Raptors got swept by the Wizards last year.

    There is absolutely no more excuse for Coach Casey to fail yet again, that’s because Raptors GM Masai Ujiri had given Casey lots of options this season. The weakest link from last year’s roster was at the SF spot. Not this year, Masai went out and address this issue with the addition of DeMarre Carroll. Despite Carroll is slowly returning into form from his months long of injuries, his strong defense against opponents’ top dog such as Paul George or Monta Ellis shouldn’t be a problem for Carroll. Furthermore, if Casey wants some outside shooting, Terrence Ross has improved his 3pter shot this year. Want some more aggressive defense and energy? No problem, throw in the 6’9″ James Johnson. Better yet, on a surprising turn, rookie of the month in April, Norman Powell added grit, defense, size, 3pter and scoring in the paint. The BEST part about Powell? He is fearless, that’s what we need.

    With such an in-depth roster of players for Casey to choose from, Casey has no excuse for failing because he has so many different options, giving different looks and rotation against the Indiana Pacers, who has a relative weaker bench than the Raptors.

  2. Can All-Star DeMar DeRozan finally step up his game during the playoffs?

    DeMar DeRozan has clearly improved year-after-year with his spin moves and shots during the regular games. He has definitely mature and master his crafts this year. Although, DeMar is a great regular season stats guy, he has yet to flourish in the playoffs.

    In the playoffs, it’s a different game. The opponents’ defense will be tighter, they are more aggressive, they will double team DeMar more frequently. They will give DeMar less space and time to aim and shoot.

    Whether the Raptors can get pass the 1st round will heavily depend on the ability DeMar in making adjustments and being able to mix up his scoring repertoire during the playoffs. He needs to shoot 3’s, shoot in the paint, drive to the hoop and draw fouls.

    MEMO to Demar: If the ref isn’t giving you the call, don’t stand around and whine or get piss off, just stay focus and get back to defense and just keep going at it. Most often, he doesn’t drive when refs stopping giving him the call. And when his outside shots aren’t falling and he isn’t driving to the hoop, he usually disappear.

    Kyle Lowry, without a doubt is the heart and soul and leader of this team. We don’t even have to doubt his heart and passion. Even if the team is down 20 pts, Lowry will still give it his all to the dying seconds. Lowry and DeRozan are best friends, but no matter how good the friendships, a batman will need a robin. Can Lowry continue to be fine with DeRozan not able to complement him and disappear in the playoffs and continue have to carry the team on his back?

    Believe it or not, this is the free agent year for DeMar DeRozan, is he a max player? Should Raptors re-sign DeMar for a max contract? This will be a tough question. Would GM Masai wants to lock up a guy with max contract who may not be the game changer year after year with mediocre playoff performances? This playoff will be KEY for DeRozan to show what he got.

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3. Raptors MUST win Game #1

 

Believe it or not, throughout the entire Raptors history, as accordingly to RealGM playoff stats, Raptors have NEVER won game #1 in the entire franchise history for every playoff series. Other than year 2000-2001 when Raptors came back to beat the Knicks and then lost to the 76ers, every playoff series that Raptors lost game #1, they lose the entire series.

Although winning game #1 doesn’t mean they win the whole series,  but it is extremely important for Raptors to take game #1 to set the tone for the rest of the series, get settle down and start believing in themselves.

Game #1 may not be as important for other teams but definitely a KEY factor for the Toronto Raptors if they want to go to the 2nd round.

If Raptors able to check off the 3 key points I have mentioned above, the chances to go to the 2nd round is looking super bright!.

Best of luck! Go Raptors!

#WeTheNorth

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Raptors Social – MoVernie interviews Morris Peterson (MoPete) 2.0

A few months ago, the Toronto Raptors held its annual Raptors Charity Gala Event called “Raptors Social“. It’s an opportunity for Raptorsfans to meet & greet their favourite Raptors players in an off-court setting. Raptorsfans purchase the tickets and all net proceeds of the evening benefit the MLSE Foundation & the Regent Park Athletic Grounds project. For this year’s Raptors Social, the event was held at Muzik Nightclub. This event is always a BIG hit because the fans got to meet the entire Raptors roster all under the same roof and some lucky ones even get a drink or two prepared by their favourite players. That’s because some of the Raptors players such as Terrence Ross and Kyle Lowry (just to name a few) stood behind the bar counter, serving and mingling with the fans. It was a great evening for a great cause.

During the media session at this event, I got an opportunity to interview my favourite Raptors of all-time, Morris Peterson (MoPete), it was my second time interviewing MoPete. I still recalled the year before, when I interviewed MoPete, my legs were shaking. I had never got nervous interviewing anyone before but with my idol, MoPete, that was another story. This time, for MoVernie interviewing MoPete 2.0, I was more calm.

Check out my interview conversation with MoPete below:

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “MoPete, do you recognize me?” (me with a chuckle)

MoPete HS MoPete: “Ya man! Wait, no no….How are you doing man?” as MoPete playfully inspect my fedora to act if he isn’t sure if he recognizes me.

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “Ha! Ha! Good to see you man! This is MoVernie on the MOVE. Beside me is my idol, MoPete, as always. Last time, I don’t know if you remember, my legs were shaking, but this time I feel alot better. But nice to see you again.”

MoPete HS MoPete: “Thank you! Nice to see you again! You dressed pretty well tonight.”

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “You are the same Mo!”

MoPete HS MoPete: “Thank you. Thank you.”

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “You know, this year is the 20th Anniversary, they showed alot of highlights about you, like the miracle shot, now seeing the purple coming back, what’s it feels like being part of the 20th Anniversary?”

MoPete HS MoPete: “It feels good. Coz this organization has done alot for the city and being 20 years shows resilience, I have been to lots of ups and involves in lots of downs, this city keeps fighting man. And for 20 years, it’s special. There are a lot of guys that came through this organization over the years, like we look at a guy like Muggsy, Al and Antonio, those guys showed me the way, showed me how to be a professional”

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “So, what kind of message do you tell the younger players on the roster?”

MoPete HS MoPete: “Well..I just tell them to stay focused and stay ready because in this league, it’s all about opportunity, it’s all about minutes and earning playing time and that’s what I try to encourage.”

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “You have a lot of highlights but what was the highlight that really stick to your mind?”

MoPete HS MoPete: “One of my highlights was when I met you last year man”

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “Wow! MoPete man, that’s amazing!”

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “Well…tonight is for Raptorfans donating for Regent Park and charity, what type of message do you want to give to the Raptorsfans?”

MoPete HS MoPete: “The Raptorsfans, well, I think this charity is good, you know, what we are trying to do is build courts around the city because basketball is big here, there are a lot of draft picks, a lot of people really watch basketball and part of that is, help building communities, have these parks available, so they can play basketball and achieve their goals.

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “Last question, my mom is a big fan of MoPete as well, she wants to know. Hey!, what is he doing right now after basketball?”

MoPete HS MoPete: “MoPete is here chilling with MoVernie. Hey mom! How’s everything? Your son dress nice and look cooler than me. But it’s ok.” (MoPete with a smile)

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “I always see you coming back to Toronto, doing alot of things.”

MoPete HS MoPete: “Oh! Definitely! Toronto is my home, it’s my second home. I look forward coming back, the people always show me a lot of love and respect. I think they respect the blue collar work ethic. And I told people that Toronto reminds me of Michigan. First of all, the people are great, they have the joy and the passion of what they do and they stick together. And that’s the big thing, sticking together through the good times and the bad times. I tell you what, this team is playing awesome this year, they have matured, they are feeding off the energy from the city. I think they got a taste from last year with the playoffs and now you can see it in their eyes that they are actually come ready to play at the beginning of the season.

MoVernie HS MoVernie: “Thank you man! MoPete & MoVernie interview 2.0. Thank you!”

MoPete HS MoPete: “Thanks Mo!”

I would like to thank MoPete for his valuable time and thank you the MLSE TeamUp Foundation for the interview opportunity during the Raptors Social.

Did you know? MLSE 2015 Players’ Gala is happening this coming Sunday, March 29th at Real Sports Bar & Grill? Due to popular demand, tickets for this gala are SOLD OUT! However, if you want to donate for a good cause, you can still do so by clicking this link.

Follow me on Instagram (@RealMoVernie) and Twitter (@MoVernie) for more awesome pictures and videos on my MoVernie Journey!

MoPete

Raptors Kyle Lowry x Degree Men Meet & Greet Event

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Yesterday, Raptors All-Star, Kyle Lowry was on hand to meet & greet the die-hard Raptorsfans who wanted to get a chance to catch a glimpse of the Toronto Raptors’ player. Some lucky fans were also lucky enough to get to meet & greet with the Raptors Super Star. They got autographs and posed with Kyle Lowry.

The venue took place at Square One Shopping Mall located in Mississauga. MoVernie Crew was lucky enough to cover this special event with Exclusive VIP Media passes (Thank you Degree Men!). We were able to stand at the media pit which is very close to the stage, so we got tons of great photos and videos. And as you know, I love to share these good stuff with you guys and all the Raptorsfans around the world!

Kyle Lowry special appearance was to demonstrate the brand new product from Degree Men, it’s a dry spray antiperspirant that will protect your body odour without leaving any residue that normally found in traditional antiperspirant. Furthermore, the new Degree Men antiperspirant lasts for a good 48 hours. This is a revolutionary technology that will positively improve our everyday lives. Men needs good personal and body care and I am sure Degree Men new dry spray can get the job done!

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Stay tuned for my more in-depth coverage of this Kyle Lowry x Degree Men Event at a later date.

Meanwhile, if you need more details and information, click here to find out more about this new Degree Men Dry Spray.

Check out some of the up & close and personal photos that we snapped at the event below. Thank you go Degree Men for the kind media arrangement, or else we won’t be able to be this close to capture these awesome photos for my followers/audience.

Follow me on Instagram (@RealMoVernie) and Twitter (@MoVernie) for more awesome pictures and videos on my next adventure!

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