The Morning After The Night Before, XXXI
That’s the kind of loss that lingers. Seeing the mood in the Raptor locker room after the game – think dark, very dark – it’s going to take a day or two to get over blowing that lead against Cleveland.
|VINCE TALOTTA/TORONTO STAR|
|The Raptors sure weren't laughing after this one.|
Luckily for them, there’s no game until Wednesday. And I hate to put this out there but don’t you think all three that are left this week -- Philly, at New York, Portland on a Sunday afternoon -- are significant games?
Three Things I Learned
Small lineup, small results
Watching the Raptors putter around on offence with a small roster in the fourth quarter – 20 points isn’t going to get it done – did it strike you that maybe they should have made a change? Maybe gone big? Put Bargnani back on the court and see if he could make some shots?
Asked Sam about it post game and he said: “We had to have guys who can try to help and then close out to their shooters.”
Which makes some sense but since LeBron was playing on one side of the court only, having Bargnani guard someone on the other side, where he wouldn’t have to help and recover, probably wouldn’t have hurt. It wasn’t like Devin Brown was gonna light ‘em up.
Juan’s troubled times
Juan Dixon’s doing the best he can playing a position he’s not used to but the results of late have been bad. He hasn’t scored in two games and has had two assists total in his last three.
Here’s one for you: Go get Damon Stoudamire. Not sure what Memphis would want, but Stoudamire’s money isn’t too bad and he could be the kind of veteran presence this team could use.
The concern, in some quarters, is that the Raptors may not see T.J. Ford in uniform for another month (think post-all star) and I’m not sure they can go another 15 games or so in the current situation.
Would fans accept Damon back in a city where they boo him just about every time they see him? I’d think so.
One other name floating out there is Portland’s Sergio Rodriguez, who’s buried behind Steve Blake and Jarrett Jack. Even Sam Cassell would work, don't you think?
Trickle down effect
Seven points in New Orleans. Five points against Detroit. Eleven against Cleveland. Some bench production, eh?
What used to be a strength is now a weakness and the reason, to these eyes, is simple. Force Jose Calderon to run with the first unit and it screws up the second. That may be an over-simplification but you’ve got to admit it makes sense, no?
Of course, some of the responsibility for the bench woes has to go to the guys who occupy it and Carlos Delfino, Jason Kapono and even the Hump simply have to play better.
Or else this is going to turn into a loooooooong few weeks.
Three Things You Wondered
Q: Are the Raps the softest team in the NBA?
Jordan S, Toronto
A: No. They aren’t the toughest but they’re not the softest, either. I’d take ‘em over the likes of Minnesota, the Clippers, Charlotte and, yes, even Miami right now. I’m talking physical determination (like at the end of the New Orleans game) and mental toughness.
They could be better, sure.
Q: Just watched LeBron go off on the Raps. We could not stop their "star" player. Varejao and Cleveland other bigs started banging our "star" around and he disappeared.
Franchise, max money players, have ability to shift to a higher gear and carry their team to victory when necessary. Is Bosh there yet and if not can he get there or is he as good as he is going to get.
Your thoughts on this issue please.
Brian A, Toronto
A: Bosh has not played well the last week, not up to the standards they expect at least. And until he brings that consistency every night, he’s not ‘there’ at all. He should get there, he’s got the physical tools and the mental discipline but it’s not been a quick process. It better become quicker because they need him. Every night.
I’m going to dispute the ‘disappeared’ tag. In the fourth quarter, Bosh had eight of Toronto’s 20 points, hit three of five shots, and three of Toronto’s five rebounds. He was a factor.
Q: Hey Doug. Were you able to catch Boston-Detroit II (Saturday) night? Great game, lots of interesting storylines. I'm watching Glen Davis go off in the fourth quarter and I couldn't help but think of another undersized, second round pick of the Cavaliers a couple years back named Carlos Boozer. Do you think that Davis might have that kind of potential?
David T, Nashua, N.H.
A: Ready for the primary?
I don’t, actually. I like what Davis did in that game against Detroit but most of his shots were layups after others broke down the Piston defence. It’s not like he was making plays.
I do think Davis, despite being invisible in the three games against Toronto, will be a solid rotation player but never an all-star. Good, but not great.
He’d sure look good on this team, though, wouldn’t he?
What they wrote
Check out today’s game story from my man Branson Wright in Cleveland.
Mea culpa time
In Sunday’s paper, as a few of you pointed out, I wrote: "Toronto has had fewer than 10 turnovers in 12 games this season, they had fewer than 10 in the entire 2006-07 season."
Of course, what I meant was: "Toronto has had fewer than 10 turnovers in 12 games this season, they had fewer than 10 in 12 games in the entire 2006-07 season.
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