MoVernie NBA Playoff Predictions – 2016

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Peeps! Let’s have some fun!

Here are my NBA playoff prediction for 2016. Let me know if you agree or disagree and why.

And tell me what’s your predictions?

Eastern Conference:

  1. Raptors beat Pacers
  2. Cavaliers beat Pistons
  3. Heat beat Hornets
  4. Celtics beat Hawks

Final 2 teams:

Cavaliers vs Heat (Lebron vs Wade)

Representing the East: Cavaliers

Western Conference:

  1. Warriors beat Rockets
  2. Spurs beat Grizzlies
  3. Thunder beat Mavericks
  4. Blazers beat Clippers

Final 2 teams:

Warriors vs Spurs (Classic)

Representing West: Spurs

NBA Champions: San Antonio Spurs

Raptors vs Pacers – Playoff Prediction

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A number of peeps want to know my prediction for the Raptors vs Pacers series.

My MoVernie Prediction? Raptors in 6.

2016 is the year the Raptors will shine & get pass playoff round #1.

And this will also be the first time in franchise history that Toronto will win and take Game #1, which they have never done in the franchise history. Believe it or not, that’s freaky.

Here is the breakdown on the strengths and weaknesses for both Raptors & Pacers:

Toronto Raptors

Strengths:

  1. Solid starting 5: Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are all-star this year and both have been the backbone of this team. In fact, one of the best guard tandem in the NBA this year. Newcomer DeMarre Carroll (before getting injured) blend in well with the group, doing what he does best, guarding the opposition top dogs. Luis Scola or Patrick Patterson played well in various periods of times over the season. They may have their flaws but each of them bring something unique to the table. Last but not least, manning the centre, Jonas Valanciunas got 4th quarter minutes this year with his improved defense and more complete, all-around offensive skills down the stretch of every game.
  2. Deep Depth of Bench Players: Raptors also have deep bench. Coach Casey has a number of players who can be slotted in different slots and be able to contribute in many different ways and looks.

3) Home Court Advantage: Whether the Raptors fans are inside the ACC or outside the ACC (aka Jurassic Park), the fans are noisy, full of energy and full of passion. That is a loud place to play against, it definitely affect the oppositions.

X-Factor: Norman Powell and DeMarre Carroll. I know it’s too much to ask a rookie to play an important role in the playoffs but I truly believe in Powell, who can shoot 3’s, play defense, drive inside for a nice layup or a slam dunk. He is fearless. That’s what I like, a guy who isn’t hesitate to take the shot or afraid to step up his game, while doing it quietly.

Meanwhile, Carroll, the $15M addition over the summer, despite injury, will still be important to guard guys like Paul George or Monta Ellis

Weakness:

  1. Coach Casey: Casey often has questionable rotation and stubborn on who to put in or out, despite a bench player could be shooting the lights out. Casey also like to stick with the same starting 5, which is quite predictable. If Casey continues to be out coached or fail to make good adjustment during the game or the entire playoff series, Raptors will be kick out the 3rd time in a row.

    Raptors GM Masai Ujiri had said that whether to re-sign Casey or not does not depend whether if he can guide the team to the next round. To be honest, that was just full of bullshit. Remember, would any GM be stupid enough to say anything to affect the mental part of a team heading to the playoffs? Let’s sit down and think about this, would Masai tell the reporters that “Yes, if Casey get kick out of Round 1, he is gone?” before the eve of the playoff series? Most likely not, let’s use common sense here.

  2. Raptors have not won game #1 ever in franchise history. Will history repeats itself or become a new curse for the franchise? We will find out.

Indiana Pacers

Strength:

Coaching. What Raptors lacks in coaching is a major gain for the Pacers. Pacers major strength is strong coaching in Frank Vogel. Vogel has been a great coach guiding the Pacers year-in, year-out. Look at his roster this year, other than Paul George and Monta Ellis, there basically not much in the roster that you would call stars or core groups, but they get the job done and made the playoffs.

Think about this, their starting point guard, is George Hill, who only averages 3.4 assists per game this season. Are you kidding me? A starting point guard with only 3.4 assists is in the starting lineup and the team is making the playoffs. That’s because Vogel runs a system that guys like Ellis and Paul George can be a point man.

If Vogel wants to go small, Coach Casey better find a way to counteract Vogel’s tactics. Will Casey be out coach again? We will find out.

Weakness:

Weak bench: The roster is relatively weak compared to the deep bench players the Raptors got.

X-Factor: I really like Jordan Hill over the years and I think he will be a key contributor and expect way more playing minutes in this playoff. This guy can shoot and defend and grab key rebounds.

Anyhow, my MoVernie Prediction, Raptors in 6!

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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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Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards – MoVernie Playoff Analysis

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Some peeps questioned my predictions of Wizards in 6. Listen I am a die-hard Raptors fan but I am just a honest person with a rational analysis to the matchup. Just because I am rational doesn’t make me a bad fan, I just stay REAL. Actually, I hope they prove me wrong.

Anyhow, having said that, I am not saying Raptors don’t stand a chance but they haven’t been playing well in the past months and they have to be perfect to beat the Wizards in all areas.

Raptors Strengths:

– They are healthy, all players are healthy with DeRozan & Lowry in full-force
– Raptors have a deeper bench that can score and defend
– Raptors will have to rely heavily on LouWill ability to finish and to score consistently, which can be good and bad coz he will jack up an ill advised 3pter shot from all the way from Trinidad

Raptors Weaknesses:

– not enough frontcourt size against the Wizards BIG. If Jonas V fouled out, there isn’t another legit 7-footer to stop Gortat or Nene or Kris Humphries or Drew Gooden. If Gortat fouls out, Wizards have a luxury to slip Nene to centre, meanwhile we have shorty “Chucky Hayes” who is good at eating chuck burgers

– Inconsistent scoring punch at the starting SF & PF for the Raptors, we don’t know what we get from Terrence Ross and Amir Johnson

– Stubborn, questionable and robotic rotation by Coach Casey

X-Factor Raptors in the playoffs – 1) LouWill 2) James Johnson and 3) Tyler Hansborough

JJ and Tyler will be KEY to our playoff success.

‪#‎MoVernieAnalysis‬

Burning Question: If Raptors get kicked out of the 1st round again, will this be the final dagger to the firing of Coach Casey?

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Delta Toronto – Part 2: SOCO Kitchen + Bar – MoVernie VIP Experience

Delta Toronto MoVernie VIP Experience – a 10-Part Series

Intro:

A few weeks ago, MoVernie and his brother, MoKenny were kindly hosted by Delta Toronto for an Exclusive MoVernie VIP Experience. Within the MoVernie VIP Experience, they each got a high-rise hotel corner suite room, a big tour around all the facilities and amenities that Delta Toronto has to offer. Fine dining at SOCO Kitchen + Bar was part of the VIP Experience and of course, a relaxing Whisky Bar 101 at Char No. 5 was also part of the agenda.

In this 10-part series, MoVernie will share his adventurous journey of his VIP Experience with his followers and audiences.

Part 2 – SOCO Kitchen + Bar

It was around 7:00 pm and that means dinner time! Delta Toronto had made a reservation for us at its restaurant called SOCO + Kitchen Bar. SOCO Kitchen + Bar is a modern restaurant that features the best ingredients, prepared with thought and care, yet simplistic but with creative twist to it.

SOCO Kitchen + Bar is managed by head chef Daniel Craig. I was told that he is like the James Bond of the food world, showcasing the secret culinary skills along with secret ingredients. Chef Craig is an internationally trained and award-winning Chef that brings his love of local ingredients and simple, yet elegant, food to SOCO Kitchen + Bar. He basically let his ingredients speak for themselves, letting his creations to bring out the best of its natural flavours.

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At a push of an elevator button, off we go from our 33rd floor and down to the main lobby. There was a huge SOCO Kitchen + Bar signage that you can’t miss it. There are two ways to enter the restaurant. If you are already inside the main lobby, you can access it from inside. If you are walking outside the hotel, coming from the Bremner Blvd, you will see the “SOCO Kitchen + Bar” signage and enter from the street level.

As we entered the entrance from the main lobby, the hostess immediately greeted us and guided us to our reserved table. Our reserved table was located in a quieter, private area that was near the bay windows. I love the table as it was more private and I also got to check out the pedestrians and cars moving along the Lower Simcoe street. Along our walk, we spotted the kitchen area where the chefs and kitchen staff were working hard to prepare the meal for the patrons. Then we walked pass the bar area that had a nice long bar counter and long lineups of flat screen TVs, showing a variety of sports games. If you are on your own or with a buddy, I highly recommend the bar area because you can watch the games on TV as well as interacting with the friendly bartenders.

Our server came and introduced himself and welcomed us to SOCO Kitchen + Bar. He asked how our stay was so far and also gave a brief introduction about this restaurant. As a social media digital influencer, having a fully charged smartphone is KEY to me. Our server told us that many of the booths or dining tables at SOCO Kitchen + Bar have its own individual outlet, so that we can plug our cord to it while dining. Furthermore, throughout the entire Delta Toronto, it’s FREE Wi-Fi. With Delta Toronto motto of  “Expect Even More” slogan, free Wi-Fi is a nice gesture. Delta Toronto doesn’t believe in charging its own patrons and customers with extra internet service. Instead, they want us to have a good stay and a good meal without worrying about data usage on our phones. I am sure many patrons would really appreciate that.

The restaurant was lit by individual candle lights on each table, giving it a chic, modern, positive vibe for the patrons. As I looked around, I saw a good mix of demographics of patrons dining here. We could see couples enjoying a romantic dinner. Friends who were having a few pre-drinks and shareable before heading to the Air Canada Centre to catch a Leafs game. I also saw family of four having pizza and burgers. I think SOCO Kitchen + Bar is a very versatile restaurant that caters to a variety groups of people.

As our server handed out the drink and food menu, I realized SOCO Kitchen + Bar have a good list of wine, beer and specialty cocktails. I told our server to surprise me with a specialty cocktail and he got us a refreshing Cucumber Collins. The pour was generous, yet the proportions were perfect. Really enjoyed the drink to start off the evening.

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As we glanced over the food menu, the list was concise yet adequate. A great restaurant shouldn’t be offering hundreds of crazy items on the menu, but instead, provide enough variety so the chef can focus on preparing the high quality of food items to its patrons. I realized that most of the food items on the menu were food that was familiar by most people, nothing crazy or out-of-this-world. Instead, Chef Daniel Craig wants to bring out the best flavours from these high quality fresh local ingredients with his great culinary skills. Furthermore, SOCO Kitchen + Bar also offered vegetarian food items.

Here is the list of food items that we had selected as we wanted to be able to taste the variety of food items made by the chef:

Appetizer:

MUSHROOM SOUP – wild mushroom sauté / feta cheese / truffle oil

OYSTERS (half a dozen each) – mignonette / tobasco + lemon / horseradish

HAND-CUT BISON TARTAR – egg yolk emulsion / black pepper jam / crisp parmesan / mache

Shareable:

MARGHERITA Pizza – fior di latte / tomato / fresh basil / san marzano

Entree:

ROASTED SCALLOPS – housemade truffled mortadella / hazelnuts / sunchokes

MoVernie vs Food Verdict:

The mushroom soup first arrived and from a distance, you could see the steam coming out. I love hot soup & having it nice and hot is key to a delicious soup. This is one element that many restaurants often neglect and presented with a warm or cold soup, which is a no-no in my books. So, with the fresh ingredient of the mushroom soup, it’s nice and hot, good texture and colour. I thought there was a bit too much of the feta cheese, if it can cut down a little bit, then it will let the mushroom shine a bit more, otherwise, it’s a good soup. And of course, I love anything with truffle oil.

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NOTE: This soup has become my MoVernie MUST-HAVE food item whenever I eat at SOCO Kitchen + Bar. If I am super hungry, it’s a good appetizer. If I am not that hungry after watching a Raptors game for a post-game meal, the soup is a good snack. You can’t go wrong with a hearty hot soup in any situations.

Then the oysters arrived in a circular metal tray along with the horse radish and sauce. First glance, the oysters were in season as it was big and juicy and the water within the shell was fresh. Everyone who follows me on Twitter knows how much I love fresh oysters.

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Then came the hand-cut bison tartar. Usually, it’s either beef or tuna tartar, bison tartar is a nice twist. The plating was great as I could see the egg yolk sitting on top of the tartar. After mixing all the fresh ingredients together, the first bite was unforgettable because the bison tartar was rich in colour and texture. It was tender, juicy and melt in your mouth. This was a great dish, coupled with the crusty bread, it’s the perfect combo. The bison tartar was definitely a great dish to share.

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After munching down all the delicious appetizers, I had finished my cucumber Collins, so my server asked me what else I would like to try. I told him I love beer, in fact, fresh pint of beer. He recommended me “Blanche de Chambly” brewed from Quebec. I recalled I had a great experience with this beer when I was visiting Quebec City so I opted for a pint of this beer. (It’s great SOCO Kitchen + Bar is providing some unique beer and not all the mainstream ones which they still provide but I like a good variety).

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As for the shareable, the margherita pizza was fresh off the oven. I could smell the fresh aroma coming out from the pizza. When I was in Rome, Italy, the locals often told me that margherita pizza is the best. The simplest pizza is the best way to test out the culinary skills of the chef and I totally agree. This margherita was a great dish to share among friends. The cheese was perfect in portion, not too much or too little. It came with a thin crust but its perfect thickness. I hate those thin crust pizza by other eateries that it was so thin that you couldn’t even lift it up and all the toppings splattered on your plate. I love my toppings being supported by a solid thin crust and being able to consume it in one bite without leaving a mess. I think the chef at SOCO Kitchen + Bar was able to achieve that.

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Both MoKenny and I love seafood and when the food menu offered roasted scallops, we jumped on the opportunity and we both ordered the same thing. Each scallop was nice and big. The first bite was fresh and juicy and not overcooked. Scallop, overall, is quite a difficult ingredient to prepare, you want it to be cooked and not be too raw, yet you don’t want it to be over cooked and shrink and being overly chewy. Chef did a perfect job with the scallop. One ingredient that aren’t always be served by chef was sunchokes, but I love it. I think it worked perfectly with the scallops. To me, sunchokes looked somewhat like a mini-ginger but yet the texture was like mini potatoes.

All-in-all, the food items being prepared at SOCO Kitchen + Bar was top notched. It’s amazing how the team was able to retain the freshness of the ingredients and provide a delicious list of food to its patrons. The perfect combination of awesome food and a great vibe makes SOCO Kitchen + Bar a great hotspot for family, couples and friends. It is also a perfect place for people to come before or after watching a concert, Leafs or Raptors game.

Also to note is the prime location SOCO Kitchen + Bar is located. If you walk around the Lower Simcoe area, there is currently isn’t much to offer. There maybe a few fast food eateries but a sit-down, modern restaurant isn’t really available around this area. So, SOCO Kitchen + Bar is a great place to have a nice meal after checking out an Auto Show at the Metro Convention Centre or a CN Tower tour or even a Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre.

Click here for more information on the SOCO Kitchen + Bar.

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

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Special thank you to Delta Toronto for your kind hospitality, providing a unique, customized VIP Experience for MoVernie & MoKenny.

Click here for more information on the new Delta Toronto.

Check out my previous article here – Delta Toronto – Intro: MoVernie VIP Experience

Also check out – Part 1: Hotel Room – MoVernie VIP Experience

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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Raptors Season Preview Party

Contributor: Khristian Padua

Not just any normal Sunday but the Sunday before the highly anticipated Raptors 2014/2015 season starts. Hundreds of passionate fans showed up an hour before the doors opened including my self to catch a glimpse of the event which is about to occur . This act of eagerness plus everyone wearing Red , Black , or White Raptors gear shows how hungry are amazing city of Toronto is for a winner ! Not only were the beautiful people of Toronto who came in all ages and ethnicities covered in Raptors attire but all around the Air Canada Center , buildings & walls were filled of Raptors murals & advertisements . Toronto as a city has morphed into a dynamic, excited & proud culture ready to embrace that next level of success after that brilliant year in which our Raptors broke many records .

My mentor and friend Vernon Chang & I started the evening by lining up to meet the Raptors Brazilian rookie Bruno Caboclo. Bruno is a very tall but sweet guy . As I shook his hand he had a smile that showcased that he was very excited but at the same time a little bit overwhelmed with all the attention. Which is totally understandable for a 19 year old whose life took an unexpected positive change being a draft pic to the NBA after being fairly new to the game of Basketball. As he adapts I believe he will be a steal for the organization. When it was Vernon’s turn Bruno shook his hand and happily told Vern ‘ Hey I like your style ! ‘ even though his English is broken.This is quite the compliment to Vernon’s style and overall persona , we were both very happy that Bruno had such a nice first impression .

Before we headed into the presentation we were offered our free food and drinks as a welcome gift to the organizations supportive and passionate season ticket holders such as Vernon. Our plates came with a burrito , mixed rice , poutine , banana bread and a chilled beer to wash it all down . After settling in our seats of the Air Canada Center out came Toronto radio hosts Tim & Sid mic’d up on the nice set up of a mega screen big screen TV , a leather couch & chairs. They started by introducing and thanking the fans for coming out while doing hilarious skits praising Raptors GM Masai Ujiri. Very funny start to the presentation . Next came serious business as Masai Ujiri gave his expectations to the upcoming season and his thoughts on the overall situation of Toronto and the amount of success we achieved last season . One thing he consistently pointed out in his rants was that our fan base was bar none the best fan base in the NBA which i can personally agree & say I am proud of being apart of . Our strong fan base is going to be the 16th man game in game out for the Raptors. After Tim and Sid picked apart Masai’s brain asking analytic and dynamic questions for the crowd the fans were given an opportunity to ask the Boss-man Masai questions about the upcoming season.

Next came out former Raptors Mugsy Bogues who talked about his experience playing for the organization and his love for the city . One thing that stood out in his time given in the presentation was his desire to back up Vince Carter’s jersey potentially being raised into the rafters, the crowd was a mix of positive and negative feedback. Personally speaking I agree with Mugsy and I believe that Vince Carter put Toronto on the map and he deserves the credit where it’s due.

Grand finale of this presentation showcased our beloved stars of the Toronto Raptors. Our captain Demar Derozan , our leader on the floor and general Kyle Lowry & our promising third year big man Jonas Valanciunas. Within this segment including interview style questions with a few laughs in between as all their personalities are different but all click together. They emphasized there thankfulness for the Raptors outstanding support and fan-base and included their personal thoughts on last season and what they expect out of themselves this upcoming season.

All in all the event was an amazing experience and made me this much eager for the season to start. This year is our year and I believe with the additions of certain players are bench is deep enough to take our team to the next level and progress to a long play-off run with potential to compete with any team within the N.B.A night in and night out. One thing that stands us out compared to other teams is our core returning and everyone understanding their roles and contributing to one goal , winning. With the support of a city, country and overall culture change as Kyle Lowry said throughout the presentation ” We fight together as brothers, we go to war together ” we are ready , we the north !

The contributions of Khristian Padua, in the preparation of this BLOG is gratefully acknowledged.kd1

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Raptors Playoff Game #2 – Reasons Why They Won The Game

It was a great victory for the Toronto Raptors and a monkey off all star DeMar DeRozan’s back for Playoff Game #2. I was at the game and let me tell you, ACC was electrifying once again!

Here are the points that I think were the reasons that led to a Raptors Playoff Victory:

1) Raptors players were more calm and fought off the nerves to start the game, which was completely different from playoff game #1 where they were clearly nervous.

2) Raptors were playing their game of basketball, instead of playing into the Nets’ style of game that was evident in game 1. Raptors were moving their feet, providing more pick and rolls, more ball movement and more dynamic on the floor instead of just standing around.

3) Terrence Ross didn’t foul out early, so he can guard Joe Johnson or Deron Williams.

4) Coach Casey made the right move by using Landry Fields as his go-to bench guy instead of the aging John Salmons who clearly wasn’t the answer to guard Joe Johnson or Deron Williams. Landry played great defense and grabbed some key rebounds.

5) DeMar DeRozan’s 30 points performance was a great monkey off his back. He clearly made adjustments. This time, he knew he will be double or triple team. He mixed up his game, driving to the paint and draw fouls as well have taking some more simplistic jumpers.

6) Amir Johnson came back with a strong game both offensively and defensively.

Let me know what you think of the game and who surprised you the most at this game.

Check out the photos that I took during Raptors Playoff Game #2 below.

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