The Morning After The Night Before, LIII
How conflicted are some of you today? They lose but you get pizza? Probably doesn’t taste as good, does it?
Just remember, though, everything you saw last night has to be tempered by the fact Bosh left so early.
And on with the show
Three Things I Learned
Small experiment, small returns
The great Jose-T.J. experiment fizzled and it’s probably the last time we see it for any stretch of time. But the reasoning behind it was solid: Everyone was getting torched by dribble penetration (like we haven’t heard that before) and it was a futile attempt to get some quick guys on the floor. And trying something, anything because it was obvious 10 minutes in that none of the perimeter guys were getting the job done. Guess he could have stayed with them and the game would never have got close.
He’s gonna lose his voice
If Sam screams at Jamario to get up on the perimeter and guard his man one more time, I swear the coach’s head might explode right in front of us. Half a dozen times every game it happens. And it generally ends with the rook on the bench. It’s the fatal flaw in Moon’s game. And I don’t know what you can do to fix it except scream at him, and wait for the explosion.
Mix and match
Here’s one simple and undeniable fact about this team’s roster: Of the four swingmen – Moon, Parker, Delfino and Kapono – you have no idea for sure what you’re going to get every night. That’s why you see a lot of shuttling in and out of those two spots, trying to find the combination that’s working that game. And that’s why you’re going to continue seeing Sam shuttle the four of them in and out even in the playoffs trying to figure out who’s going well in any particular game.
Here’s a game-specific mailbag question:
Q: Former puckhead here so be gentle. I noticed in last night's Indiana debacle that many times when the Raps pump faked (i.e. Bargs at the 3-point line), they had the Pacers leaving their feet and jumping out at them. With their lack of free throw attempts, couldn't they just make the Reggie Miller-jump into the defender in the air as you shoot- shot attempt to draw the foul or is it not that easy to draw the foul?
Tim B, Cambridge
A: Yes, they could. And should. But that’s a play that comes with experience and not many of these guys have enough of that. You can tell them to make that move – and the coaches do – but it’s got to be up to the specific player to see what’s going on.
Stephen Graham misses a three-pointer in the third quarter and a guy turns to me and says:
"That’s Bad Stephen.”
Let’s see how Mike Wells in the Indianapolis Star chronicled that glorious Pacer victory.
Did you notice in the silly beach ball competition that the winner was in the upper deck?
Chalk one up for the cheap seats and the folks in Section 310 should be commended for keeping the ball up there.
Fair? I think not.
From the mail:
Q: I think this is a pretty fair question and would love to hear your opinion: How many games do you think Sam Mitchell was outcoached this year? And how many games did he outcoach the opponent's coach?
Josip M, Oakville
A: You remember every single stretch of every single game? I don’t. And I’m not going back through every boxscore to look.
So I’ll say seven and eight.
A few of you liked that hot dog on the bench story from Year 1 so here’s another tale from back in the day.
Think it was Year 2 and a player – who shall remain nameless – was injured and sitting on the bench in street clothes when he spies a fine looking young lady in the front row across the court.
Enterprising young fella that he was, he sends a bellboy or someone over to the lady with a note and his phone number.
Didn’t quite turn out to be a blissful meeting, the woman was actually at the game with the son of a very, very, very, very senior executive with the team.
They were not amused.
Some old mail, cleaning up before we run the rest of ‘em in Sunday’s bonus mailbag
Q: Hey Doug, am sure you’re not a huge football (sorry, soccer) fan, but I was wondering if you saw or heard of the terrible injury the an Arsenal footballer called Eduardo suffered last Saturday where his bone tore through his calf? Now to my main question, what is the worst injury you can think of that’s happened to an NBA player? Mine is probably Shaun Livingston's injury when his kneecap went out of place.
Chaz E, London, UK
A: I did see video of that ghastly injury. I’m not sure I go as far as Arsene Wenger and think Martin Taylor should never play football again, but something has to happen.
In the NBA? Livingston’s was horrific but so was Garbo’s last year. We were at the other end of the court and could hear him scream and see the ankle twisted the wrong way. And when Boston’s Tony Allen went down after that post-whistle dunk, it was pretty ugly, too.
Am sure there are others but those two come quickly to mind.
Q: A fun little question for you and then a basketball 101. If the Raptors had a three-point contest, who would be in it and how would the rounds and points in your estimation break down? Even though it’s a given Kapono would win there might be someone who would give him more of a challenge then all-star weekend.
As for the 101, can you explain the main concepts/purpose of a zone defense and what makes a good one? What are the little things to keep in mind when playing it to make it effective. My friends and I try to use it once in a while in our pick up games but we just suck at it.
Del L, Unionville
A: I did the three-point shot thing a week ago in a mailbag, I had Kapono winning over, man, I can’t remember who. You can go check it out, I’ve got more mail to do.
What makes a good zone? Length up top so it’s harder to pass side to side, quickness in getting to shooters in the corners and smarts in finding offensive rebounders to block out.
The concept is two-fold: It’s to force teams to be jump shooters rather than allowing them to pound the ball inside and it can be used to change the pace of a game because it tends to slow possessions down.
And don’t worry, lots of NBA teams suck at it, too.