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Toronto Raptors Basketball Team Has A New Line-Up

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Andrea Bargnani
Andrea Bargnani dunking a basketball. Image: chensiyuan

The 2012/2013 National Basketball Association (NBA) season is officially underway.

There are 30 teams vying for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, including Canada’s only professional basketball team, the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors have a new-look team this season. Three of the five Raptors’s starters this year weren’t with the team last year. Typically the five best players at their position start the game. On the bench are reserve players. The reserves substitute in the game to give the starters a rest.

The Raptors’s starting lineup includes two players who have been on the team before: DeMar DeRozen and Andrea Bargnani. The Raptors believe in DeRozen as a player.

They recently signed him to a four-year, $40-million contract extension. Bargnani, who comes from Italy, has been with the Raptors since 2006. He came to the Raptors when they selected him first overall in the 2006 NBA draft. When healthy and without injury, he has been a top performer for the Raptors. He is nicknamed “Il Mago” which means “The Magician” in English.

New to the team’s starting roster this year are: former New York Knick Landry Fields, much heralded rookie from Lithuania Jonas Valanciunas and dynamic player Kyle Lowry. These new starters pushed some former starters to the bench. This in turn has made the Raptors a deeper team. That means they have better reserves coming off the bench, like last year’s starter Jose Calderon.

Leading the Raptors is their Head Coach, Dwane Casey. This is Casey’s second year as coach for the Raptors. His previous assignment was as an assistant coach for the 2010/2011 NBA champions, Dallas Mavericks. Casey’s trademark is a commitment to strong defensive play.

The path to the championship won’t be easy for the Raptors.

For the Raptors to have a chance at a championship this year means dethroning last year’s champs, the Miami Heat. The NBA is split into two conferences: the Western and Eastern Conferences. The Raptors play in the Eastern Conference, along with the Heat and their best player LeBron James.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
What makes someone a fantastic basketball player? List the qualities they need to have.

What makes a winning basketball team? List the characteristics of a championship team.

Are the qualities you listed for the basketball player and the basketball team the same? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
“The path to the championship won’t be easy for the Raptors.”

What do you think this statement means? Why will it be difficult for the Raptors? What do you think they will have to do in order to win the championship?

Junior
Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Intermediate
Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Colon
A colon (:) can be used in different ways. One use is before a statement or a fact. For example, “The NBA is split into two conferences: the Western and Eastern Conferences.”

A colon can also be used before a list. For example, “New to the team’s starting roster this year are: former New York Knick Landry Fields, much heralded rookie from Lithuania Jonas Valanciunas and dynamic player Kyle Lowry.”

Insert a colon into the proper place in the following sentences:
1. I like three ice cream flavours chocolate, strawberry and caramel.
2. Four friends came over to play after school Shaun, Jacob, Eyal and Erik.
3. When I get home from school, I like to play Wii, ride my bike and watch t.v.
4. Here are two countries in North America Canada and the United States.