To boo? Or not to boo?
That is the quandary the Rose Garden faithful face as the Toronto Raptors make their lone appearance in Portland. The boos in question will not be aimed at Chris Bosh (everyone loves Chris Bosh), or are they directed at former Blazer Jarrett Jack (he’ll be too busy stepping out of bounds while shooting a three). Instead the crowd has their sights set firmly on the mangled mug of Hedo Turkoglu.
On one hand, Hedo deserves the Rose Garden scorn usually reserved for Kobe Bryant or Trevor Ariza. One day last Summer, Turkoglu went from a free-agency signing coup, to a man who scorned Portland (allegedly) because his wife disliked our city. Then again, at barely 12 points a game (he has only hit double digits in the boxscore one time in his last six games) and in his first year of a mammoth contract (in his player option year in 2013-2014, Turkoglu will be making $12.2 million), we should be cheering Turkoglu—and Mrs. Turkoglu—for not enjoying their stay in Portland. In fact, a standing ovation might be in order. That man saved Portland’s season.
When Portland stopped by Toronto late last month, the Raptors were riding a win streak (without Bosh) and eyeing the home court advantage of the Eastern Conference fourth seed. But now, a few weeks later, the Raptors would be lucky to play Cleveland in the first round. Barely holding on to the final seed, Toronto has dropped four in a row, seven of their last eight. The team has fallen back to earth, saddled with a .500 record and Bosh has yet to fully recover from an ankle injury that held him out for seven games. Toronto is vulnerable, and an opportunity for Portland to dominate another Eastern Conference team at home for the second time this month.
Tip-off: 6 pm
Las Vegas Line: Portland -8.5
TrueHoop Network Blog: Raptors Republic