Morning after the night before, III
Better, but really, still not good enough.
Slow start, bad finish with some good in the middle? That's the sign of a .500 team, not a 50-win squad.
Anyway, there are still 77 to go so there's plenty of time. The season remains young. Very young.
And off last night we have:
|FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS|
|Stop standing around and get all over that ball!|
Three Things We Learned
It's little things like hustle
Want to know what drives coaches, and fans, bonkers? Down six in the third, Raptors are making a wee run. Andrea Bargnani ties up Dwight Howard driving the middle, ball comes loose and bounces away and everyone's thinking fast-break opportunity. Um nope.
Five guys in white stand around, watching the ball bounce, Jameer Nelson, I think, picks it up, two passes later Hedo Turkoglu hits (another) uncontested three.
Time out Toronto and I swear there was steam coming out of Sam's ears.
It's little things like time remaining
End of third, down four, they get the ball with 40.2 seconds left after a Carlos Arroyo basket. Perfect time to go two-for-one, right? Get up a shot in eight, 10 seconds and be guaranteed another possession with enough time to do something, right?
You'd think so.
Except, with Sam screaming to go, go, go, Jose Calderon dawdles, dawdles, dawdles, they don't get a field goal attempt until there's 28.9 left and a good two-for-one chance is blown.
We all know you fans are an odd lot; some angst-ridden, sky-is-falling, everything-is-great-until-they-lose folk among the group. And it carries over to games, too.
Three minutes in last night, it's 9-2, Toronto hasn't made a field goal and won't for about five minutes and the boos start. Oh, and so does the "Let's go, Raptors" cheer.
Odd. Entertaining. Typical.
Three Things You Wondered
Q: When will the Raps realize the mistake they made, and put Garbo back in the starting lineup?
Garbo was a starter for the Atlantic champs last year, and at 2-3 currently without him, I think it's actually quite obvious what needs to be done. Let Kapono be the Kyle Korver of the Raptors, offence off the bench.
Rob Freeman, Toronto
A: I'm not sure it's that obvious about Kapono, or Garbo for that matter but I imagine some kind of change will be contemplated if the losses continue to mount and the starts continue to be slow.
The thing with Garbo is some nights he looks okay (he was effective in a short stint against Boston, so-so against Orlando) and consistency is what they need more than anything.
I do think there's a larger role for him, though.
Q: First off I have to add first hand support to your statement that (Tuesday's) game was far from the worst ever (I was at the game you mentioned in 95 against the Magic that featured a lineup of Dwayne Whitfield at C and Martin Lewis at PF).
I know it's early in the season and that our guys are just trying to find a groove but without more consistent penetration I don't think we will be getting the open looks we want. I'm a huge fan of Parker (loved him at Bradley) but if he isn't going to take it to the bucket then what is our solution? Is it the offensive philosophy? Or should BC try and find us a slashing wing?
Parker Findlay, Kitchener, Ont.
A: There aren't a whole lot of slashing wings out there, my man; Colangelo isn't just going to be able to pluck one off somebody's roster.
They do need to get the basket more _ watching Juan Dixon drive on Dwight Howard and Adonal Foyle and whoever else was in the paint was great to see Wednesday night _ but they don't really have guys who do that.
They are a jump shooting team; some games (Philly, New Jersey) they'll make shots; some games (Boston, Orlando), they won't.
It's a simplification but it's a fact, they just have to shoot better.
Q: The Raps need to take a page out of Kobe's book!
Did you notice how few fouls the Raps draw when in position to shoot the three.
When defenders come charging at you too recklessly - the Magic last night - jump/lean into the defender AND DRAW THE FOUL even if it means a wild three-point attempt.
Doug, I need your two cents. Is it that obvious or is Kobe just that good at initiating contact?
John Jakelic, Toronto
A: Kobe's better at it than most, yes.
And they, well, Bargnani, has had two four-point play possibilities this year already, which isn't bad since Toronto's only completed 15 in its 13-year history.
They could draw more fouls by driving the ball, I think that's what has to happen more than pump-faking a guy outside the three-point line.