Morning after the night before, IV
Very interesting game, wasn't it? The return of Bosh, the return of AP, the debut of Mr. Moon and DNP-CDs for Garbo and The Hump 'cause the Sixers were small most of the night.
And I'd imagine going into Chicago tonight, we'll see more Moon against those athletes.
Anyway, am about to head to airport to get to The Second City but, first ...
Three Things I Learned (actually four today)
Bargnani needs to slow down
There’s a reader out there who wrote wondering why it seems Andrea Bargnani travels so often when puts the ball on the floor. Did it again last night, on an early drive from the wing instead of at the top of the key but it’s the same thing.
The coaches have been hammering him about slowing down, if only to give the defence a chance to react to his shot fake so it works better; until that point sinks in, there’ll be more turnovers than baskets.
And before anyone wonders, he didn’t play late in a close game last night because of matchups, the Sixers were small, Bosh was going good and so was Moon. In Game 1, it was Bosh who sat down in the fourth, this time it was Bosh.
This is probably a huge oversimplification, and an unfair comparison, but when we were talking to Anthony Parker about Jamario Moon after the game, he said he saw some Shawn Marion in the rookie. No, Moon isn’t ticked about shots or his role and he doesn’t want to get traded; he’s got those freaky athletic skills that make him stand out.
If they can get that kind of play from Moon consistently – defence, rebounding and nothing forced on offence – we may have seen the last of Joey Graham in any significant role and Garbo’s DNP-CDs will grow and grow.
All Moon has to do is realize his limitations, not force shots or force himself on the game; I think he’s one of those guys who’ll always be around the action at both ends.
Good kid, too. And I hear Jack Armstrong warbled a bit of Fly Me To The Moon after Moon’s dunk and anytime Jack sings, that’s all right with me.
T.J.-Jose, for the zillionth time
Dan West, who bore the brunt of a rather harsh answer about Forderon in the mailbag the other day – it was a tad much, and I apologize – writes again and (like many of you) suggests it’s more about the flow of the game than that stats of the season.
I see that point but momentum is no more than a one- or two-possession thing most nights late in close games. I still think Ford is a better game-finisher than Calderon right now and I have no problem with him subbing back in the game for the last four or five minutes, even if Calderon is going and the team are going good at the time.
The Orlando game didn’t end well, maybe Calderon would have done more or maybe he wouldn’t have. You don’t know, neither do I and neither do the coaches.
But history has shown us that Ford is a good finisher, he’s won more than his share of games in the final three minutes and having him on the court at that time isn’t bad.
They didn’t do too poorly with him finishing last night.
Oh, and this one, too
BA = Blocks Against. Thanks to the zillion loyal readers who pointed out my lack of knowledge. On that point at least; the folks who write incessantly to point out my general lack of knowledge are tiresome.
Three Things You Wondered
Q: Okay, here goes, sending you another question even though I never get published (but, you did publish essentially the same question I had when you did your live chat):
I like Rasho. I think he's brilliant in terms of on-court leadership and directing traffic. On offence, he does his part and doesn't screw up the team flow. But, in watching the Orlando game, I was painfully reminded about his key problem: his inability or lack of desire to dunk the ball as a seven-footer! It was downright shameful to see him blocked multiple times on the same possession by Foyle without drawing ONE foul (very typical throughout his career)!
Why won't he go strong to the basket when he has post position and then why does Sam apparently reward him for passiveness the next game (I know, I know, to get the other guys going like they used to)? Can he physically not jump the requisite 12 inches?
Omar Hafez, London
A: Persistence pays, Omar. Besides, I’ve got peeps in London, peeps who go way back, and any time I can get some web time for someone from the Old Country, I will.
Rasho can so dunk, I saw him do it twice in one game in Atlanta last year. He looked like, well, like a slowish non-athletic big man dunking.
I don’t think they get all that worked up about it, though. After all, a layup with a four-inch leap is worth as many points as a two-hand windmill and Rasho, if nothing else, is smart enough to know his body will last a long longer making layups than dunking.
The Orlando thing was funny, though. Maybe he was just padding his offensive rebounding totals. Isolated incident, though.
Q: I think I've read all your mailbags and can't believe you never addressed the following question: What exactly are you referring to when you mention "weak side" and "strong side" in basketball jargon? I actually played a year of high school hoops and didn't really figure it out! You guessed it -- I wasn't very good.
Luka Modric, Toronto
A: Think of the ball as the source of strength. Whatever side of the court it’s one is the strong side, the other side is the weak side.
Let’s say Dwight Howard, being guarded by Rasho Nesterovic, has the ball on the left block. And as he spins to make a shot, he spies Hedo Turkoglu wide open in the far right corner. Turkoglu is on the weak side, Howard hits him with a pass and he’s got an easy jumper because the Raptors forgot to defend the weak side.
Not that that would happen, of course.
Q: Only one thing is killing me more than the standing around play of the Raptors ... and since you were home for the Milwaukee game, perhaps you can relate.
What is with the new scoreboard graphic that all of the broadcasters have switched to?
My wife and I (we're in our 30's) laugh at how bad it is, since we cannot read the score or the clock. It is horrible.
This is clearly out of your bailiwick, but you seem to know what is going on. Who gets the blame for this one?
Where do I send my complaint?
Chris Marshall, Toronto
A: It is ugly, and virtually unreadable, isn’t it? Too small, too crowded, in the wrong place on the screen, I think.
Dude, I’m closing in on half a century, when I was home watching the Milwaukee game on TV, I almost had to get the binoculars out to read it. Either that or m y bifocals, um, I mean progressive lenses, need replacing. If mere pups in their 30s are having a hard time seeing it, imagine how old codgers like me feel?
Who to complain to? Well, RaptorsNBA-TV does all things TV around there, if you want to find a generic e-mail address for them, that’d be a start.