Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No Tricks, All Treats - Opening week of the Raptors schedule starts today on Halloween

posted by Romy Aquino
It's Halloween and Toronto Raptors basketball is back y'all.  No lockout, no shortened season, no sir...we have an 82-game season with a much improved roster from last year.  The Toronto Raptors are a young team on the rise and have a solid starting five in Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas.  It doesn't stop there, Toronto has a deep second unit with the likes of Jose Calderon, Amir Johnson and John Lucas III.  Now it all begins on Halloween night, and this is how the opening week looks:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Four Steps In The Right Direction - Previewing the 2012-13 Toronto Raptors

posted by Mike Masaya
Raptors fans have a lot of questions coming into this 2012-13 NBA season and they deserve answers. After all the heat the Raptors front office took from the media and fans, was Jonas Valanciunas worth the 5th overall pick 2011? Although they are coming of another losing season, is the team finally adopting coach Dwane Casey’s “Pound The Rock” philosophy? These are some of the questions that have been answered in part resulting in a Raptors 5-1 preseason record and have given Raptors supports reasons to be excited.

Monday, October 29, 2012

PODCAST: Hip Hoop Junkies & Hoop Heads North present RAPS TALK Ep. 29 (10.29.2012) Toronto Raptors Season Preview Edition

Episode 29 of RAPS TALK (10.29.12) - It's the latest episode of our "preseason" podcast series. This week, Sean, U-E and I give our preview for this upcoming season for the Toronto Raptors, discuss our thoughts on the rookies (Valanciunas/Ross/Acy) and talk about our new segment "The Raptors Haha of the Week". We also introduce another one of our newest additions to the podcast entitled "The Weekly Wenningtons of the Week" highlighting our picks for the top three Canadian NBA performances of the past week. Enjoy, people!

If you're new to the podcast, make sure you subscribe to the RAPS TALK podcast on iTunes.



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Friday, October 26, 2012

Canadian Connection: Don't sleep on the Lakers Robert Sacre

posted by Romy Aquino
For the Los Angeles Lakers, no one's making more of Dwight Howard's preseason "general soreness" than North Vancouver's Robert Sacre.  The big man has been filling in at the centre spot for the Lakers and is trying to crack that last roster spot.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NBA dans La Belle Province - a Montrealer's View of the Raptors-Knicks preseason matchup

posted by Mike Masaya
Regardless of what many may think about Montreal’s sport culture, our passion starts but goes beyond hockey. The proof is out there and you don’t even need to dig that deep to find it. Social media and local radio driven rallies organized to return the Montreal Expos back to the city, bring out hundreds of supporters. The MLB franchise moved from Montreal to Washington nearly ten years ago and it seems support is always growing, even among the city’s youth who were too young to remember the team or its players. Most Montrealers are more than content with the success and failures of Les Canadiens. Be that as it may, scores of Quebec Nordiques fans often make their presence known throughout various NHL arenas during hockey season, holding rallies in the stands and making it clear they want their team back. Since there is no NBA team to bring back to Montreal, fans are doing the right thing by letting the NBA know, “If you build it, we will come.” Showing them by selling out the 20,000 seats of the Bell Center for the second time in two years for an NBA preseason game.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MASTER OF THE TWITTERVERSE - Landry Fields gets his NBA Social Media Award

posted by Romy Aquino
So the Toronto Raptors got themselves a winner.  Well, a social media winner.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TORONTO RAPTORS 104, MILWAUKEE BUCKS 95 - The "I Know It's Only Preseason" Report


posted by Romy Aquino
More preseason basketball on Monday night as the Toronto Raptors pulled out their 104-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at their last home game of the preseason.

The "I Know It's Only Preseason" Notes:

Monday, October 22, 2012

PODCAST: Hip Hoop Junkies & Hoop Heads North present RAPS TALK Ep. 28 (10.22.2012) with guest Mike Masaya, our newest writer to HHJ

Episode 28 of RAPS TALK (10.22.12) - Bonjour, hoop heads.  The Toronto Raptors just finished their preseason win over the New York Knicks on Friday in Montreal, Quebec at a sold out Bell Centre.  So this week's podcast we got the chance to talk to our newest addition to the Hip Hoop Junkies team, Mike Masaya, to talk hoops and his fan experience at the preseason game in his hometown Montreal.  Be sure to check out Mike here on Hip Hoop Junkies and follow him on Twitter, @hoopsaddiction

Also, take a listen to the podcast as we announce the winner of our giveaway courtesy of Moneyball Sportwear!

If you're new to the podcast, make sure you subscribe to the RAPS TALK podcast on iTunes.



Click here for the MP3 (right click "Save As...")

Subscribe to RAPS TALK, our audio podcast on iTunes
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

THE WALKING DEAD! Amir Johnson of the Raptors a zombie for a day at Toronto's Zombie Walk 2012

posted by Romy Aquino
So when you're a Toronto Raptor in the preseason, what else are you going to do on your day off in Toronto? Chill out...maybe play video games...or read a book...well, how about the Toronto ZOMBIE WALK?  That's what the Toronto Raptors Amir Johnson did on his day off Saturday based his Twitter and Facebook Page.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bon Jovi headlines at Raptors-Wizards preseason game, John Wall "Never heard of him."

posted by Romy Aquino
Going into last night, the talk was all about the debut of Kyle Lowry with the Toronto Raptors and the chance for the fans to get their first look at the likely Raptors regular season starting five of Lowry / DeRozan / Fields / Bargnani / Valanciunas.  But despite a solid night for Lowry (14 pts/6 ast) and a sick throwdown by Valanciunas....most of the news that came out on Thursday morning was about Bon Jovi.  Yes sir, Bon Jovi.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Half way home - a look at the Toronto Raptors Preseason

Posted by Mike Masaya

For a lot NBA fans the preseason is the appetizer for the main course that is the regular season. For teams like the reigning champions Miami Heat, Western Conference champs Oklahoma City Thunder and newly stacked Los Angeles Lakers, it means even less, and serves more as a warm up than anything else. For the Toronto Raptors and their fans on the other hand, this 2012 preseason holds a lot more meaning than usual.

With what appears to be the first team in a while capable of returning to the playoffs since 2008 when they lost in 5 games to the Orlando Magic, this Raptors squad should be able to live up to those expectations. This preseason also has great value for the team as it allows 5th overall pick Jonas Valanciunas who spent a year overseas after being drafted in 2011, to find some type of chemistry with a Raptors team that has a slew of new players coming from a number different teams and playing styles. Add to that a new system being implemented by coach Dwane Casey, and you can see why the Raptors have to use every preseason game as an opportunity to get on the same page and evaluate their progress.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NASTY. Jonas Valanciunas fakes out Emeka Okafor for the one-handed jam

I hope this is only the beginning.

It's only preseason and we're starting to get a glimpse of what the Toronto Raptors rookie big man, Jonas Valanciunas has to offer.  Check out Jonas in tonight's preseason matchup against the Wizards as he fakes out Emeka Okafor for the nasty one-handed slam. 
(video via NBA Orbit)

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It's time, Toronto... Kyle Lowry is ready to make his Toronto Raptors debut on Wednesday

These ain't your "Roko Ukic and Marcus Banks are your point guard backups" Raptors.  

This season, Toronto has point guard depth which includes former Houston Rocket, Kyle Lowry, one of the biggest offseason additions to the team.  Wednesday night will mark his debut with the Raps in a preseason game against the Washington Wizards at the ACC, as he's been on the bench due to injury. Although disappointed to lose out on the Steve Nash sweepstakes during the offseason, this may have been a blessing in disguise for Bryan Colangelo as he was able to acquire the 26-year-old Villanova product. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's the true story? Sam Mitchell's response to the Jalen Rose "Body Slam" story

Ok, ok...you know the Grantland video that made the rounds on the internet where Jalen Rose was telling the story about his time with the Toronto Raptors and how then-Raptors-star, Vince Carter and 2007 NBA Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell got into a wrestling tussle, WWE-style?  If not, let me refresh your memory: (video via The Grantland YouTube Channel)


Monday, October 15, 2012

It's Giveaway Time! The #MoneyballSocks Giveaway



Hoop heads, it's a giveaway week!

This week, the RAPS TALK podcast is giving away two pairs of sports socks courtesy of  Moneyball Sportswear, the official uniform sponsor of the National Basketball League of Canada.

Here's how you can enter to win these Moneyball socks:
Step 1
First off, like Hip Hoop Junkies and Moneyball Sportswear on Facebook

Step 2 
Follow @hiphoopjunkies and @iammoneyball on Twitter

Step 3 
Check out the @hiphoopjunkies feed and retweet the link to the contest.

Step 4
Annnnd......once you follow all of those steps, tune into next week's podcast (October 22nd) for the winner via random draw!

Be sure you check out Moneyball Sportswear, the official uniform provider for the National Basketball League of Canada.  They've got some great Tees, Shooting Shirts, Warmups, T-Shirts, Shorts and more!

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PODCAST: Hip Hoop Junkies & Hoop Heads North present RAPS TALK Ep. 27 (10.15.2012)....we're back!

Back again, peeps....it's another season of NBA/Toronto Raptors basketball which means another season of the RAPS TALK podcast - "Hoops Talk out of Halifax."

Episode 27 of RAPS TALK (10.15.12) - It's episode 27 of the #RAPSTALK podcast where Sean, U-E and myself regroup to talk about the Toronto Raptors training camp here in Halifax, Toronto's offseason acquisitions, our thoughts about the preseason, the Jonas Valanciunas era and what the other Canadian talents of the NBA are up to so far this preseason.

Also, stay tuned to the podcast as Hip Hoop Junkies has a giveaway courtesy of Moneyball Sportwear!

If you're new to the podcast, make sure you subscribe to the RAPS TALK podcast on iTunes.



Click here for the MP3 (right click "Save As...")

Subscribe to RAPS TALK, our audio podcast on iTunes
If you don't have iTunes, you can subscribe here
Check out our Facebook Page
Follow @hiphoopjunkies on Twitter

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hip Hoop Junkies welcomes Mike Masaya

In order to bring you fresh and more frequent content to Hip Hoop Junkies, we are proud to introduce our newest writer Mike Masaya, to the HHJ fam.  Mike is based out of Montreal and is a big time hoops head.  To help introduce Mike to the readers, I got a chance to ask him a few questions about the content he's going to bring the site, his thoughts on the Raptors and his favourite Vancouver Grizzly of all-time.



Romy (HHJ): First off, welcome to Hip Hoop Junkies….who is Mike Masaya?
MM: Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec I’ve been a basketball fan for as long as I can remember.  Spending my entire childhood and adolescence on the outdoor courts, only taking breaks to eat. Luckily, my high school principal was a basketball referee and hoop junkie himself. He was so desperate for hoops, he herded students to participate in March Madness pools, which when I look back at it now, is pretty funny and likely only fueled my basketball obsession.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

TORONTO RAPTORS 82, DETROIT PISTONS 75 - The "I Know It's Only Preseason" Report

It's still only preseason basketball but Friday was all about Jonas Valanciunas for another night. The Toronto Raptors took on the Detroit Pistons at the Air Canada Centre and the young Lithuanian rookie was called by Coach Casey to make his first NBA start (which included no limited minutes).  The Raptors took the preseason win 82-75 over Detroit.

The "I Know It's Only Preseason" Notes:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The debut is over, thirteen minutes of Jonas Valanciunas

It's over.....the most anticipated rookie debut in Raptors history...  Well, it's definitely up there.

The Stat Line: 2 points (1-1), 2 blocks, 1 turnover and 13 minutes of raw Jonas Valanciunas.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hoops Talk out of Halifax - Recapping the Raptors Training Camp Experience

What a week.

Toronto Raptors Training Camp was in our home city of Halifax, Nova Scotia this past week and luckily for us...we got to witness an NBA training camp as media members.  From talking to three young NBA rookies and their fears of rookie duties, to talking to John Lucas III and his visit to the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, to sitting in a room with some big time sports writers/media personalities.....this was a unique experience.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hoops Talk out of Halifax with Dominic McGuire at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

Dominic McGuire is know for defence, which is perfect for Coach Casey's Pound the Rock system.  McGuire is looking to grab one of the final roster spots with the Toronto Raptors this season and if he can show that he can defend, he has a good chance.  McGuire is playing with his fifth team with previous stints in Washington, Charlotte, Sacramento and Golden State.

Hoops Talk out of Halifax with Linas Kleiza at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

Linas Kleiza is moving into his third year with the Toronto Raptors this season, and if he can build off his performance at the 2012 London Olympics with the Lithuanian national team, expect big things from Kleiza.  Kleiza, along with Team Lithuania teammate and current Raptors teammate, Jonas Valanciunas, lost to Russia in the London 2012 Olympic quarterfinal.  Kleiza averaged 13.8 ppg and 6.3 rpg during the games.  Kleiza will also be helping out his countrymen this season, showing rookie Jonas Valanciunas the ropes of the NBA.

Hoops Talk out of Halifax with John Lucas III at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

Storylines that are definitely coming out of training camp will be the battle at the starting point guard position with Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon but there's still a third PG in the mix, John Lucas III.  The basketball journeyman who has played all over the globe is looking to make an impact with this year's Raptors roster.  He's a high energy guard who's not afraid to take it to the hoop when he needs to, be sure to watch out for JL3.

Hoops Talk out of Halifax with Chris Wright and Jerel McNeal at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

Just before training camp, the Toronto Raptors signed both Jerel McNeal (Marquette) and Chris Wright (Dayton).  Sure, these aren't a couple of well-known names but these are a couple of young guys that are looking for an opportunity to crack this roster.  On Friday, Sean Francois had the chance to talk to both guys here in Halifax, check it out.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Raptors Win! ... Vs. The Raptors!


Raptors' training camp concluded in Halifax today with a spirited intrasquad game at the Halifax Metro Centre. The team has been in Halifax all week, with their training camp taking place at the Canada Games Centre. Ed Davis' play stood out in the scrimmage, putting up a double double (14 pts, 12 rebs). This included the highlight play of the afternoon, a fast break alley-oop slam by Davis from John Lucas III.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hoops Talk out of Halifax with Jonas Valanciunas at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

It's gonna be hard to live up to all of this hype but Raptors fans are anxiously awaiting the debut of the young Lithuanian kid, Jonas Valanciunas.  On a positive note, he's only dealing with a left calf strain which doesn't sound too serious.  The vibe around camp is that Jonas is a good-natured NBA rookie who really just wants to get on the floor with his teammates at camp.  At least he's experiencing some of his first NBA media scrums in Halifax and even with limited English, he's doing pretty good.

Hoops Talk out of Halifax with Amir Johnson at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

Amir Johnson is just a funny dude.  You'll always see Amir joking around with the team, dancing off to the side at practice and pulling jokes on the team plane (see below picture).  But he also adds to this squad with his talent and experience. Even though he is still only 25, Amir has been in the league since 2005 when he was drafted 56th overall as one of the last high schoolers to be drafted in the league.

Hoops Talk out of Halifax with Aaron Gray at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

Aaron Gray is a natural centre in every sense of the word.  He's a 7-foot, 270 pound body that is going to cause problems in the paint.  The Tarzana, California native (home of Selena Gomez, Lisa Kudrow and Jim Rome....in case you were wondering) will be a valuable coaching resource for the young big men Quincy Acy and Jonas Valanciunas.  The combination of Gray and Valanciunas will give the Raps some depth at the centre position and adds size to the roster when dealing with the likes of Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum during the season.

Check out our interview with Aaron at the end of Thursday's practice:

Stay tuned for more interviews from Raptors training camp here in Halifax!

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Hoops Talk out of Halifax with Jose Calderon at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

HHJ/HHN continues with more video coverage from Toronto Raptors training camp in Halifax.  At the end of Day #2, we talked to Raptors veteran and London 2012 Olympics silver medalist, Jose Calderon.  Jose will be battling for that starting PG spot at this year's camp with newly-acquired Kyle Lowry, making for a competitive camp.

Jose and the squad took a break from two-a-day practices and enjoyed the city of Halifax last night, and went out on the Halifax Harbour to do some whale watching.  Check out Jose's pic from yesterday via his twitter account, @josemcalderdon8.  Hopefully, they had a good time in the city.

Check out our interview with Jose at the end of Wednesday's evening practice:

Stay tuned for more interviews from Raptors training camp here in Halifax!

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Hoops Talk out of Halifax with Jamaal Magloire at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

As promised, we continue to have more video from Raptors Camp here at the Canada Games Centre here in Halifax. We caught up with The Big Cat himself, Jamaal Magloire.  Magloire was brought into the team last season for veteran leadership and will help develop some of the younger players including big men Jonas Valanciunas and Ed Davis this year.

Check out our interview with Toronto native and Canadian ambassador to the team, Jamaal Magloire:


Stay tuned for more interviews from Raptors training camp here in Halifax!

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Hoops Talk with DeMar DeRozan at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

This is a big year for DeMar DeRozan.  It's a contract year for DeMar and has done a lot of work to improve his  game during the offseason including playing with the Team USA select team before this year's Olympics.  There is a lot competition at DeMar's spot for minutes this season with the rookie Terrence Ross, Landry Fields, Alan Anderson and Linas Kleiza who can all threaten for minutes.  Expect big things from DeMar this season as Coach Casey will be looking to both DeMar and Andrea Bargnani to lead the offence.

Check out Sean Francois (Hip Hoop Junkies/Hoop Heads North) as he chats with DeMar DeRozan after morning practice on Wednesday:


Stay tuned for more interviews from Raptors training camp here in Halifax!

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Check out HHJ/HHN on the Dino Nation Blog: The Starting 5 Podcast with James Borbath

Today, Sean Francois and myself joined The Starting 5 podcast with James Borbath recapping our experience at the Toronto Raptors training camp so far here in our hometown of Halifax.  James has had previous experience with Raptors training camp when he attended camp in Ottawa.

In today's podcast, we talk about the Raptors' point guard situation, Landry Fields, Jonas Valunciunas, the maturity of Ed Davis and more Raptors talk.

Check it out:
The Starting 5 podcast with James Borbath

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Hoops Talk with Ed Davis at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

Raptors Training Camp is now in full effect as the Raptors finished up Day 2 of camp on Wednesday in Halifax.  A returning face to this year's roster is big man, Ed Davis.  Davis will be putting work at this year's camp in order to earn some playing time in the frontcourt with the likes of Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas, Aaron Gray and Amir Johnson all battling for time.

Check out Sean Francois (Hip Hoop Junkies/Hoop Heads North) as he chats with Ed Davis after morning practice on Wednesday:

Stay tuned for more interviews from Raptors training camp here in Halifax!

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Hoops Talk with Landry Fields at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

If I were to guess who will be one of  the biggest jokesters on this Raptors team this season, I'd say Landry Fields will be one of them.   The Stanford alum has a good personality and is a guy that would keep the mood light in the locker room.  This 2012-2013 Raptors roster is full of different personalities which, as a group, should mix well on the court.  Fields was living it up big time in New York last season but now has an opportunity to play a bigger role on this year's Raptors team.  I look forward to see what he brings to the team, both on and off the court.

Check out Sean Francois (Hoop Heads North) and myself as we chat with Landry about hoops, Michael Jackson and Canada at the end of Day #1 practice:

Stay tuned for more interviews from Raptors training camp here in Halifax!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hoops Talk with Terrence Ross at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

Here is some more training camp day #1 video with the Raptors first round selection out of Washington, Terrence Ross aka T_DotFlight31 on Twitter.  The rookie who had a monster season in his sophomore year at Washington is getting used to his new teammates at this week's camp.....and trying to avoid those rookie duties.


Stay tuned for more interviews from Raptors training camp here in Halifax!

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Hoops Talk with Quincy Acy at Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2012 (Halifax,NS)

Evening practice on Day #1 went well.  My blogging brother, Sean Francois and I got to catch the end of practice as the team finished off with some situational inbounds plays, stretches and an after-practice ice bath (as caught by Landry Fields).

We met up with a few players at the end of practice, including the Raptors second round pick and Baylor alum, Quincy Acy.

Stay tuned for more interviews with Terrence Ross and Landry Fields.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First practice in the books as the Raptors Camp kicks off

Practice #1 is in the books.

The Raptors squad took the court for the first time today in Halifax.  In a big facility like the Canada Game Centre, the were enough baskets to go around for this 18-man training camp roster. The rookie, Terrence Ross, was out shooting jumpers....Jose Calderon was working out with John Lucas III and Alan Anderson while Jonas Valanciunas was taking part in sideline workout activities (not on the court with his teammates), sidelined with the left calf injury.

Halifax,Toronto Raptors training camp is finally here

Welcome to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Home of the Toronto Raptors training camp.

This young, new-look Raptors squad will all get on the court for the first time today at the Canada Games Centre here in Halifax.  The Raps are set for a busy four-day training camp that is capped off with an inter-squad game at the Halifax Metro Centre on Saturday afternoon.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Who's the new guy? Raptors New Face: Terrence Ross

Terrence Ross might surprise some people.

Being the eighth overall pick in this year's NBA draft was a bit of a surprise for the Raptors fan base, but the Raps front office stands by their pick and believes he has what it takes. Terrence Ross now just has to prove his worth in the upcoming season.  

About This Blog

Welcome to Hip Hoop Junkies, your blogging portal to the NBA world from a Canadian perspective. We'll tell you about the Toronto Raptors, we'll tell you about Jay Triano, we'll keep you up to date on Steve Nash, hell, we'll even talk about Todd MacCulloch's pinball career. This is where the Canadian flavour of the NBA is highlighted.

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