The Morning After The Night Before, LIV
That was, in a word, despicable.
|Let's see. How can we sum up the loss to Charlotte with an image? Hmmm.|
No defence, little effort, poor execution. It had nothing to do with no Chris Bosh, it had everything to do with the 12 guys who played. And the four who coached. It’s one game out of 82, sure; but it was ugly. I imagine more than a few of you want someone fired or benched or traded. Luckily, it only counts as one in the standings and there are a lot more to go.
Three Things I Learned
Time for change
Jamario Moon’s done a pretty good job as a rookie in the NBA but it’s time for him to watch a bit. Like the start of every game. I’ve been suggesting for a while that he’s become a liability on offence and not a huge difference-maker on defence to justify starting. So turn it over to Delfino now, give him a few weeks to see if he can stay up on shooters because the guy out there now can’t, or won’t.
Sam told us before the season that he thought it’d take Moon half a year or more to make a significant contribution. Think he might have had it backwards. They got the best out of the kid in the first three-quarters of the season, he’s leveled off incredibly.
A little piling on but …
I don’t want to pick on Primoz Brezec because his Raptor career is over the day after the season ends but if he tries to leak out on the break one more time instead of staying on the glass, Sam should put a rope around his waist and the backboard for an hour at practice and make him stay at home. And I’m pretty sure him hugging every Bobcat in sight while the rest of his Toronto teammates slunk to the dressing room will go over well. Memo to Primoz: Say hi before the game.
Small isn’t to blame
The screamers are out about going small and how stupid it is and how Sam should be fired and Bryan should draft six giants and why the heck doesn’t he play Rasho, Primoz and Andrea at the same time because when they go small, they get killed on the boards.
Jared Dudley is, what? 6-7? Jason Richardson’s what? 6-6. How about Matt Carroll and Ray Felton? Maybe 13 feet between them? Not even.
Okay, those guys combined for 28 rebounds playing, mainly, guys their same size, if not smaller. They out-rebounded Calderon, Parker, Moon and Delfino 28-16.
And the reason to go big is to pound the ball inside, right? Which of Nesterovic, Brezec or Bargnani, and toss in Hump if you want, presents a low-post threat that would demand a double-team? Now about none. How about their defensive deficiencies against smaller, quicker, more athletic fours and fives would far out-weigh any possible minute advantage they’d have at the other end.
From the mailbag – well, sort of
Q: Picking up on the quotable players discussion in one of the previous mailbag threads, basketball players seem to be a lot more articulate than their hockey-playing counterparts (in this town, anyway). Is this because they lack a seminal interview to retool to whatever situation they find themselves in (ala the Canada-Russia series in the 70s) or because basketball attracts athletes with more articulate skill sets?
More specifically, it seems like AP gets thrown under the media bus each time the Raptors have a crappy game. I rarely see him interviewed in the post-up clips on raptors.com unless they've suffered a spectacular loss that he's doing his best to explain.
I like his sincerity -- he never takes the easy way out and avoids making excuses while being articulate -- and if I were a PR minion for Maple Leaf Sports I would want him to be my go-to quote guy for that kind of situation for exactly those reasons.
On the other hand, it sucks to see him taking it on the chin after every stinky game, particularly when, as in last Friday's game, he was one of the key guys making shots, rebounds and working his butt off to try and turn things around.
This might be my bias, but it seems like when they've had a great game, it's usually Bosh, Calderon, and whoever happens to turn in good percentages that night who get featured in the scrum.
1) Does Parker go under the media bus because he's a co-captain?
2) Does he have better games when the Raptors are struggling?
3) Does his lack of "sexy quote" translate into getting passed over for quotes after better games?
A: Hi, Ellie. Sorry for the delay.
We do talk to him after big wins, usually, but I do agree he seems to get more quote time after big losses. And I think the reason for that is two-fold. He’s usually one of the more lucid quotes on the team and isn’t afraid to clearly and concisely explain what went on. That’s not to say the others don’t, just that he does it better, most nights. And the second one, and this is more anecdotal, is that he does seem to have big scoring nights when they lose big, like the last two games.
After better games for the team, it’s usually the high-scoring guys we go to, guys like Bosh and T.J. and every now and then Jose.
As you may know, I don’t do a lot of pucks, but it’s been my experience over many years that basketball players are generally more entertaining and insightful, than most other professional athletes. Maybe it’s because they’ve all had at least one year of college and get solid media training from their teams and the NBA; maybe it’s because they are more used to dealing with the media (there’s far more attention paid to college basketball than there is any minor hockey or minor baseball league).
I don’t care what happens in the final seven weeks of the season, the MVP voting is over.
If Kobe Bryant doesn’t win, they ought to quit giving it out.
Okay, as I said, I got/had to watch last night on TV.
I cannot believe there wasn’t a better halftime feature than an infomercial about some corporate party with the players? OH MY GOD.
But at least I got caught up on some basketball when they ran down the afternoon games (Chicago-Cleveland and its repercussions for the Raptors and the brilliant Lakers-Mavs game) on their alleged sports update. Oh, wait! No, that was all pucks.
Hey, Rikki, you can thank Chuck in Toronto for this:
As per Rikki C's request, here is a list of players I can think of, that got drafted by a team, traded away, and then traded back.
Vlade Divac (Lakers) Dale Davis (Pacers), Derek Fisher (Lakers), Al Harrington (Pacers), Lindsey Hunter (Pistons), Jason Kidd (Mavericks), Tony Massenburg (Spurs), Steve Nash (Suns), Antoine Walker (Celtics), Chris Webber (Warriors), Corliss Williamson (Kings), Kevin Willis (Hawks) and, an honorable mention, Steve Francis (Rockets).
I'm sure there's more that I missed. 4/12 played on the Raptors and one is Canadian so that makes this list very Raptor related. So go ahead and post it.
We’ll get back to the mail, and my peeps tell me there’ll be a permanent link up there today sometime so you won’t have to do stuff like click here to send one in. Of course, that’s just going to fill the mailbag up more and create more work at this end but that’s something I guess I’ll have to live with.
Q: I've just watched the first three quarters of the Raps/Bobcats game, and I am really disappointed. When the Raps lost the last game to the Pacers and looked horrible in the process, I just chalked it up to the Raps having trouble adjusting to the sudden in-game loss of Bosh. Now it seems like this team can't do anything without Bosh. Suddenly our role players are lost, and without our shooters shooting (Kapono and Bargs have been in a prolonged funk, even before Bosh got hurt), our PGs aren't able to make anything happen cause suddenly everyone's playing like crap.
It's very very clear now that this team needs an additional scorer, like Pierce to Garnett, or Kobe to Pau. Is there something I'm missing or are the Raps really shallow without an all-star commanding the double-team, scoring at will, and doing all the big-man work.
Duane C, Toronto
A: Well, considering no one on the perimeter, except maybe AP every now and then, can create their own shot, it does make sense that without the big guy in the middle, they’ll struggle. That’s where the big, slashing, defending swingman comes into play. And it’s got to be priority No. 1 for the general manager in the off-season.