Some Game 1 mail
Another bit of a change. We'll try to get to all the mail specific to the game as soon after as we can. There'll still be a generic mailbag for your other queries but this might be a nifty playoff-only bonus.
Q: Hey Doug, I imagine you have received a ton of emails regarding this so if you could clarify for us it would be great.
TJ said in his post-game that he didn't know Barngani was starting until the "starting" lineups were called.
Chris said in his postgame that they tried to "implement" to many new wrinkes to start the game when they should have just played the way they had played the entire season. Is the "wrinkle" Bargnani or were their new plays as well?
Rob V, Waterloo
A: When T.J. made that comment, we were all standing around and were, quite frankly, stunned. It was inconceivable to us that it could be true and, sure enough, about a minute later, he admitted they had practiced with the “big lineup” for a couple of days. Bargnani had earlier said he knew Friday he’d start. So I’m not sure what T.J. was talking about, quite frankly. Maybe he misunderstood the question.
And the tweaks on the plays Bosh was talking about weren’t very obvious to us and we didn’t get a chance to ask Sam because he’d already left before Bosh spoke. I didn’t notice what I thought was “horns down” call rather an a “horns up” set (two bigs down near the basket rather than at the elbow) and Bosh did seem to get the ball much further from the basket on the wing than he usually does.
Don’t worry, though, we’ll try to get more out of Sam today.
Q: Watched the Raps lose to Orlando today. This team will be lucky to last for five games! The problems of this team are primarily defensive -poor perimeter defense, failure to contest 3's, soft interior defense. These aspects of the game are partly technique but mainly involve desire and attitude. Our players seem to lack both. Is this Sam's fault or are thes players just incapable of playing defense?
Two other questions I would like answered. Why did Sam leave T. J. on the floor so long in the third quarter when he was playing so poorly and why, oh why, do the Raps hardly ever send player after offensive rebounds? It seemed, in this game, that every time the Raps took a shot all 5 players immediately headed for the backcourt.
Gerry T, Brampton
A: The defensive problems have been around for months and were particularly noticeable yesterday because every breakdown was answered with a made three. If the Magic shoot 5-for-11 in the first quarter rather than 9-for-11 maybe those flaws aren’t as fatal, but they aren’t new.
On the Ford third quarter situation? It was the usual rotation, it wasn’t like Calderon was playing at an all-star level himself.
Here’s a rebounding thing: Let’s say they send a third guy (the two bigs usually go), let’s say the NBA’s best rebounder, a fella named Howard, is there. Let’s say Howard gets every imaginable rebound, fires a quick outlet pass and the Magic go off three- or four-on-two. Let’s say Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis spot up on the three-point line and drill transition jumpers like they were layups while the guys you want going to the offensive glass – guys who aren’t likely to get more than one in 10 rebounds with Howard there – are still getting back into the play.
Sending more guys to the offensive glass in this series is suicidal.
Q: Watch the Raptors get man-handled by the Magic's superstar Dwight Howard, here’s a question. In a previous entry you said Bosh and Lewis is a bad match up for us. I know that defensively Lewis will make Bosh have to come out and leave the paint. However isn't having a smaller player on Bosh going to allow him to drive more and draw more fouls?
Chris S, Toronto
A: Bosh shot 13 free throws, I think he drove the ball well trying to take advantage of Lewis. What they have to do is find a way for Bosh to start closer to the basket to draw defenders and kick the ball.
Q: Hey Doug, I have tried in vain twice to get into your mailbag but I guess going to the same school that Araujo attended and sending you a link to a sweet article isn't good enough. Maybe my questions suck but no hard feelings. Did anyone expect Kapono to have the kind of game he had today? (even though we lost). I sure didn't! Can we expect it to happen again, or at least maybe another good game. Does anyone else have the chance to come out of nowhere and do the same thing? Maybe Moon? Or Gangsta? (J/K about that last one)
Blake H, Provo, Utah
A: No one saw Kapono’s game coming, that’s for sure. But the Magic do tend to leave shooters open so using him extensively turned out to be a pretty wise decision. And Kapono’s defensive rotations were pretty crisp, he’d duck in and try to lock up Howard when Howard rolled to the basket.
If Kapono keeps that up, there’s going to be a big role for him in the rest of the series.
The only other guy I can see coming up big out of nowhere is Delfino, who had one of his Bad Carlos games yesterday and is due for a Good Carlos outing.
Q: Do you know if they are handing out playoff t-shirts for Game 3?
Kevin L, Toronto
A: I don’t know for sure, but it’d be a cool thing if they did.
Q: Okay, so, when we cut it to 5 after Kapono (who I'm really beginning to believe would thrive under a different system) hits another 3, why did we not bring Bosh back in coming out of the timeout? Mitchell waits, they run the score back up and we can't recover. I don't really understand why he waited to bring back his best player onto the floor after that timeout in a 5-point ball game. I know he had 4 fouls but time was running out and I think you should have your best players on the floor trying to win you the game. This is the playoffs.
Marak B, Burlington
A: There were more than 10 minutes left after that Kapono basket and the time out you talk about came seven seconds later, which was too early to bring back Bosh with those four fouls. They got him in with 8:08 left after three Orlando baskets. That’s about right.