The Morning After The Night (um, Afternoon) Before, XI
After a really sluggish start, that one turned into a doozy Saturday afternoon and seems like there were a few Toronto locals in the packed house.
Saw more than a few Raptor jerseys in the crowd, ran into a Toronto fan out getting some halftime fresh air and then saw a couple more fans at the New York State Thruway rest stop in Angola. You Raptor fans travel well.
And away we go
Three Things I Learned
Jose’s perfect day
The tempo certainly wasn’t Ford-esque and Jose Calderon missed seven of the 10 shots he took but check out this stat line: 13 assists. 0 (ZERO!) turnovers in 41 minutes.
That’s running an offence as efficiently as I’ve ever seen from a Raptor point guard. Not one bad pass, didn’t once dribble off his foot out of bounds, knew just where and when to the ball to Chris Bosh.
Jose already led the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio going into the game, that gem solidifies that lead even more.
Quick? Not so much
Got to see a few minutes of Darrick Martin against Eric Snow. No disrespect, but it was sort of like watching glaziers play one-on-one. Or, as a wag noted: Martin vs. Snow, Throwback Day at the Q.
Both are good guys, though, and not sure about Snow’s post-career plans but I could see them coaching against each other some day.
Speaking of Snow, his charitable foundation does an excellent thing. Each game, he provides two sets of two tickets to fans and the provision is it has to be a father and son or father and daughter.
Absentee fathers are a plague on society, this is a great way to recognize ones who actually take an interest – and live with – their children.
Time at the line
Doesn’t anyone else shoot free throws around here?
Sure, it’s nice that the Raptors lead the NBA in free-throw shooting percentage, firing at an 83.7 per cent clip. But what’s troubling to them is that no one but Chris Bosh seems to get to the line and Toronto’s 26th of 30 teams in free throws attempted.
Take Saturday, for instance: Bosh shoots 17 foul shots, the team shoots 22. Bargnani got to the twice, so did The Hump and Calderon shot a technical.
It’s got something to do with the offensive style they play, sure; but someone has to start taking the ball the hole a little more often.
Three Things You Wondered
Q: Regarding a question back on the mailbag Nov 23, a fan asked why Sam doesn't sub anyone in on a timeout, but will make a substitution shortly after on the next whistle. Don't you think this could also be a strategic move?
Sam may not want opposing coaching staff's to know he's putting in 3-point specialist (eg. Kapono) and have 20 seconds to a minute to talk with his guys about how he's going to defend him. Just a thought to go along with your insight on the question.
Josh O’Connor, Callendar
A: I’m not sure about that because subs don’t have to be announced until after the timeout and teams are generally dealing with their own stuff when they talk, rather than watching who might come into the game on the other side.
Q: I love Delfino's game. I'm glad he's finally getting a chance to prove himself after be freed from the Detroit bench. Too bad BC couldn't extend him before the deadline, but do you see Colangelo signing Delfino to extension and letting the older Parker go (or trade) after next season?
Michael S, Thornhill
A: They worked right up until the midnight deadline on opening night to get an extension done so there was a huge interest on the Raptors’ part to lock up Delfino. But the way he’s been playing suggests his plan to stick it out and see what’s on the market in the summer was absolutely the right move.
I do think Toronto sees Delfino as a key player in the future – watching him defend LeBron on that key possession with under 20 seconds left Saturday might have been the best one-on-one defence by a Raptor on the perimeter in years.
They’ll have the right to match any offer he gets and I bet they will.
But I don’t think Parker figures into it. There’s room on the team for both of them, I don’t think it’ll be a matter of one over the other when the time comes.
Q: Duugg, how concerned are the Raptors with T.J. Ford suffering another stinger injury? Also, has there been an increase in Jose over Ford e-mails because of T.J.'s 'injury proneness.'
Brad W, Waterloo
A: They’re as concerned as you’d think, they know this team can’t be as good as it can without Ford dressed and playing but after all the medical exams they’ve given and read about him, they’re not overly worried about a stinger, even if he had one last year after that playoff fall. And the kid, as slight as he is, only missed seven games last season (with a sprained ankle) and two so far this year, I’d say that’s pretty durable.
The e-mails? Dude, I get dozens every week if both are healthy and playing well, this ‘injury proneness’ (as faulty a premise as it is) doesn’t factor into it at all. The T.J. haters and Jose haters and T.J. lovers and Jose lovers are entrenched. They don’t need more fuel for their fire.
Remember, mailbag’s open for post-game questions (it’s fun to read ‘em in the mornings to find three to answer). Just click here and we’ll try to get to all of them.