The Morning After The Night Before, XXV
Hmm, the folks out there are restless. Very restless. Within an hour of the final buzzer, I got five e-mails from irate fans, who want Sam fired, a dude who wants to see his courtside seat license waived until Sam gets fired, a guy who wants Darrick Martin strung up from the rafters and, oh - here’s a change - a guy who wants Sam fired.
You’d think these guys were 10 games under .500 and forced to play Robert Archibald or Lonny Baxter because they had no one else; not a team that’s won five of seven and is in the middle of the pack in the East.
Oh, and the dude who wants Sam fired because “Sam cannot think through a line change” should stick to pucks. You've to precious little credibility.
Anyway, lots of grist for the mill, isn’t there?
Here’s some and there’s lots more, I’m sure. A bit more long-winded than normal but stick with me, there’s lots of actual basketball to talk about.
Three Things I Learned
Deconstruction time I
Travis Outlaw rebounds a LaMarcus Aldridge miss with, according to the official play-by-play I’m reading right now, 27.8 seconds left in a three-point game. The Toronto bench starts screaming “foul, foul, foul” but no one pays attention until almost 16 seconds run off the clock. Should they have fouled right away? Absolutely.
Let’s say they don’t and the Blazers are allowed to run the clock down for 22 of the 24 seconds before they shoot. Say Brandon Roy hoists a shot with 5.8 seconds left, it either goes in and the game’s over or it bounces off the rim up in the air and three more seconds run off the clock. That would leave 2.8 and the need to catch the ball, call timeout (another second maybe?) and then set up a play with 1.8 seconds to go.
Like their chances of making a three in that case? Nah, me neither.
I know Sam defended his players discussing it post-game but surely someone on the court should have realized time and score, fouled immediately and extended the game.
Deconstruction time II
End of the third quarter, Toronto up seven, Chris Bosh has played 27 minutes and Jose Calderon has played 28 and both need a blow. Give ‘em one, right? Yeah. Especially with Portland's Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge on the bench, too
Roy comes back with 3:28 gone and Toronto still up seven, Aldridge comes back 32 seconds later and Toronto still up seven. Before there’s another stoppage in play – when maybe they go back to Bosh and Calderon but they can’t – Martin misses a jumper, Aldridge scores, Kapono misses a jumper, Jarret Jack makes a three and it’s a two-point game. All of this is in the flow of the game, no whistles to get a sub in.
At the next whistle, after a Toronto turnover, Bosh and Calderon come back and Toronto’s still up two.
I can see Sam’s logic, I can see there was no stoppage in play from the time Aldridge came back – with Toronto up seven – and the time Bosh and Calderon got back with the Raptors still ahead. So what’s he supposed to do? Blow a timeout, knowing he’ll likely need them down the stretch to get two guys back in the game when his team’s still winning?
Sorry, that doesn’t make sense to me.
The case against Jason
I know Jason Kapono has the quickest release of any Raptor in history who wasn’t Dell Curry and it’s a wonderful thing to watch.
You know what’s not so wonderful? Watching him quickly commit a foul – usually a silly one – within seconds of getting into every game. Last night it was 54 seconds after he got it when he did it, whacking Brandon Roy after Roy had made a layup he eventually turned into a three-point play.
We were discussing Kapono before the game and a guy who’d know says to me: “He can’t guard you,” and if he can’t guard a fat, old, slow sports writer, he’s in trouble.
But here’s the real point: In a close game down the stretch, unless it’s a must-foul situation where you know there’ll be whistle or when you’ve got enough timeouts left to do offence-defence substitutions, can he be on the court? Given his defensive liabilities, I’m not sure.
Three Things You Wondered
Q: I heard PJ Brown (currently unemployed/retired) on Sirius NBA Radio (Wednesday) saying he might like to play again this year and was wondering if you thought Toronto might have any interest?
Mike D, Cambridge
A: If they don't, I think they should. P.J. Brown is a class act, a veteran who's been in big games and, by all accounts I've heard, a great locker room presence. I think the question is, would he have interest in Toronto? I'd imagine at this point in his life, he'd want to go to a team with a better chance of playing for a ring than the Raptors have.
Where that is, I'm not sure. I bet Boston's going to make a call, I presume Dallas would and he'd be a way better fit in Detroit, in my opinion, than Chris Webbber would.
Q: How many times have we seen this: opponent player A is known as having a limited range on his jumper, yet Raptor player B crowds him which allows player A to get loose for a go at the basket, where he get a layup, a dunk or a foul.?
How many times have we seen this script, with Leo, time and again, explaining that "you don't need to stay up that close to player A." It happened again (Tuesday) with Moon against Maggette.
The coaching staff always seems to make the adjustments at halftime, but why aren't players instructed BEFORE the game? Why aren't adjustments made during timeouts?
Carlos Chalboub, Mississauga
A: I’ll answer your question with a question of my own.
What makes you think the coaches don’t tell players before the game to close out on good shooters, or lay off guys who only drive the ball?
Trust me, they do. The scouting reports are thorough, the tendencies of players are well known and everyone goes over everything at shootaround and pre-game. At some time, players have to be held accountable for not doing what the coaches want them to do.
Q: Just wondering if you're ready to depart from the party line and admit that the Raps should have used their Number 1 pick last year to grab Brandon Roy. Bargnani has his moments, but Roy carries a team on his back every night. I think we'd be much further ahead with him.
Jim W, Victoria
A: No, actually I'm not close to saying that. A season and two months is not enough time., Sorry. Would they have won more than 47 games with Roy last year? Would they have more than 15 this year? All debatable.
Roy's a helluva player on an up and coming team, no doubt. He’s big, can handle the ball so he can get his own shot and he’s got that kind of “presence’” that the greats have. Bargnani? Right now, he sucks. Pure and simple.
But let's assess the draft again in a year. You may turn out to be right, or I might be right. That's the fun of waiting.
Don't forget, tomorrow's a mailbag day, and there may be some blog items, too, since it's an off-day and time to reflect on what's gone on. Just click here to submit and question and keep refreshing the page 'cause you never know when something interesting my pop up.