If the U.S. gets hit with a sudden cold front today, it might be due to our neighbors up in the Great White North. The collective sigh of relief in Toronto was that big Sunday after the Raptors beat the Heat for their first win of the 2005-06 season.
Toronto (1-9) no longer has to worry about setting the NBA record for most losses to start a campaign. While it might have been unlikely anyway (the 1998-99 Clippers and '88-89 Heat each started 0-17), it's officially a dead issue now. Up next on the NBA's Please-God-Let-Us-Win-One-Now-Tour: the Hawks (0-9).
But Sunday's victory won't change the overall landscape in Toronto. GM Rob Babcock appears to be on the hot seat, as does his hand-picked coach Sam Mitchell. Raptors top brass denies there's any truth to the speculation, but few around the league seem to believe it.
The Raptors are a mess with few signs of turning things around any day soon. Mitchell is breaking clipboards. Jalen Rose is finding himself on the bench for key stretches. Even mild-mannered Chris Bosh is calling out teammates.....
Maybe Sunday's victory over the Shaq-less Heat will ease the tension in Toronto. Maybe former Purdue coach Gene Keady, currently interviewing for a spot on Mitchell's staff as an assistant, will provide a comb-over of their mostly bald defense. Maybe fans will get in the holiday spirit and allow Babcock to get on with rebuilding the Raptors in peace. After all, rookies Charlie Villanueva, Joey Graham and Jose Calderon each has had his positive moments.