The Morning After The Night Before, XXVI
Remember when the Raptors could defend? Like earlier this week in Los Angeles? Not sure if it’s the rain up here in the Pacific northwest that made their brains short-circuit or what but that was as bad a defensive game as they’ve played in years.
Funny thing was, it wasn’t like a real road game. There were so many Raptor jerseys in the joint, it was like being at a neutral site game. Too bad they didn’t get a better show.
Three Things I Learned
Who’s to blame?
There were so many mistakes by so many people, it’s not fair to single out any one or two guys. Except that Sam did.
He was ticked, it seems, at the efforts of Rasho Nesterovic and Jamario Moon, and rightfully so.
Here’s Sam post-game:
"Rasho takes the best inside guy and Jamario takes the best perimeter guy and the last couple of games we’re letting those two guys … get off to a good start and then it makes it tough."
I can’t see a change to the starting lineup coming tonight or anything but I’m also not sure how long until Mitchell will go with the status quo.
What’s he do? How about Delfino at the three? Maybe Hump at the five? That’d be a different look, wouldn’t it?
Yes, that was Juan Dixon you saw
Why last night? No one knows but if Dixon can provide that kind of 11- or 12-minute relief nightly for Jose Calderon, Sam has to keep playing him. He’s a threat to score in a couple of different ways, his shoot-first proclivity seems to have disappeared – for now – because he’s getting other guys involved and, while small, he’s a passable defender.
So Sam should keep playing him.
And while we’re on the subject of point guards, how about Jose? Sixteen assists and one turnover! That’s playing.
At least they checked this time
There were 31 seconds left in a five-point game, the Sonics were in-bounding the ball and every single player on the court looked over at the bench to see if Mitchell wanted them to foul.
If they’d done that the other night in Portland, who knows what would have happened.
They did foul the Sonics and they did ultimately lose but it’s apparent something good came out of the Portland loss.
Three Things You Wondered
Q: I agree with you on Bargnani, he is soft but fans should leave him alone and let him work on his game, he is only a sophomore. My question: I lived in Seattle from 69-73 and they had a fantastic player Spencer Haywood, whatever happened to him. I seem to remember that he had a bad knee injury and I heard he had done the Lew Alcindor thing and changed his name. Is he still around?
A: A good Sonic question for after a Sonic game.
Spencer Haywood is still Spencer Haywood, we got to hang out with him a lot in Italy and Spain during training camp. He does some ambassador work for the NBA and was with the Raptors over there, on the same commercial flight as us from Rome to Madrid, too.
He’s got a lot of different business things going and looks like he could still play.
And if you remember him, he was unbelievable when he first came into the league, a great, great player.
Oh, and some Spencer Haywood trivia: He was married once to Iman, the woman now wed to David Bowie.
Q: Can’t blame this one at all on the coaches, this was all on the players and their execution. How many layups and dunks did Seattle have in the second half? Too many by my count. Tomorrow night will be ugly in Phoenix.
My question: How long can you see BC let this team slide before pulling the trigger on a deal? It would not be a shock at all if the Raptors went 0-4 on the rest of this trip and that brings them back under .500.
A: If there’s one thing Bryan Colangelo hates more than an ill-fitting suit, it’s losing. I would imagine he’s working the phones now trying to find out if anybody’s got anything to help. Not sure what’s out there, or what he’d have to offer besides the predictable – Joey, Juan, maybe Rasho – but you can bet he’s looking.
Q: All summer I heard that Kapono can play D. The argument was that if he played for Miami and slick hair than necessarily he can play D. Evidently that was not true. He is a horrible defender, shockingly bad.
A: Shockingly bad? That might be an overstatement but it’s true his defence is lacking. Sorely. Funny thing is, we were told he was a good ‘system’ defender in Miami; guess they’ve got a different system.
But his offence is so good, there’s going to be room for him to play and he’ll get a little latitude because of it.
Watch him, though. Usually within seconds of entering a game he commits a foul, often a silly one and that’s what drives Sam mad.
However, if he keeps shooting like he has been, he’s going to play.
A dozen or so folks e-mailed this in from NBA.com after I fumbled the ball on the consecutive games with a blocked shot question:
Atlanta’s Josh Smith has now gone a full calendar year (beginning Dec. 12, 2006) without failing to record a blocked shot in any game he’s played. His streak of 75 consecutive games with a blocked shot dwarfs the next-longest active streak (Marcus Camby, 18), and is the longest in the NBA since Dikembe Mutombo went 116 consecutive games with a blocked shot between Jan. 20, 1995 and April 2, 1996.