Some Game 2 thoughts
That was a helluva game. Tough, physical, close, intense. It may not be up the overall calibre of some of the other series going on but that was as good a playoff game as you might see for a while.
Anyway, let’s see what happened and why:
Action: Small ball works
Reaction: More change coming.
Sam, totally unsolicited, offered up the fact he’s going to change the starting lineup tomorrow and then never told us who. Caught up to a couple of guys on the way to the bus and even the ones who might have told me, wouldn’t. “I’ll tell you tomorrow,” joked one.
So, let’s guess
It’s a given that the three bigs don’t start but does he just do Rasho and leave Bargnani in? I think he could very well because as bad (and I mean BAD) as Bargnani was in the first quarter, he made some big shots in the third and the Magic have to guard him. So, if it’s me, I do Kapono for Nesterovic and Calderon for Ford.
But not knowing at least makes getting the 7 a.m. flight home to go get the car and get downtown to practice worthwhile.
Not saying Ford was the reason they lost but this team, in this series, looks better with Calderon out there. And here’s why I think that change could, and should, be happening:
Third quarter, Raps closing and all of a sudden Jameer Nelson finds himself practically unguarded and he makes two straight threes for a 77-68 Orlando lead with about 4 1-2 minutes left. The second one hadn’t even cleared the net before Sam had Jose up and headed towards the table. Never saw Ford again.
The big question is going to be, if Sam does make that change, how is T.J. going to play? We all know how he handled coming off the bench a couple of months ago.
Here’s what they were saying in Orlando, by the way. Oh, and while the Raptors are working today trying to figure out new starters, I’m told the Magic will take the day off. Sweet.
Action: Magic’s coming to Toronto
Reaction: Oh, oh.
Orlando went 27-14 on the road this season, tied for second-best in the NBA with the Lakers behind Boston.
Action: Jamario get shots
Reaction: Magic yawn.
This is why I don’t see them putting Moon in the starting lineup. Orlando really doesn’t guard him. They simply slough off him out behind the arc, daring him to shoot threes because, like anyone with access to Raptor season stats, they know he’s a brutal three-point shooter.
If they do Kapono for Rasho, or even Carlos for Rasho, at least the Magic will have to pay attention to them. They won't be able to leave them virtually unguarded like they did Moon.
Action: Rasho doesn’t start
Reaction: It’s not his fault.
All the guy’s done for the last two months is play out of his mind and for this he probably loses his job? Yeah, for the time being. The old saying is horses for courses and if they want to get Howard on Bosh, they have to leave Rasho on the bench. I can see him getting a few minutes to give Bosh a blow tomorrow but nothing substantial.
Down here in the United States, the sports networks actually put NBA highlights on and do substantial stories on them. Saw a clip of Houston coach Rick Adelman after Game 2 of the Rocket-Jazz series where he’s complaining about a crazy Andrei Kirilenko flop on a crucial play in the final minutes.
Of course, Adelman’s all ticked about flops and then I remember, this is the dude who coach Vlade Divac in Sacramento for all those years when Vlade was making flopping almost his signature move.
Action: If it ain’t broke, don’t break it (to paraphrase Oak)
Reaction: Get to know this play
There’s about three minutes left in the third quarter and the Raptors are charging.
Sam looks over at Jose during a stoppage, after they’d run some other play, and screams: “Run ‘angle’, they can’t guard it.”
Angle, at its basic, is a side screen and roll with Bosh and the point guard and got them all kinds of good looks last night. Watch for it tomorrow.
Action: AP goes scoreless
That can’t happen, can it? Well, it did. For just the second time in 82 regular season and one playoff game. And he only got four shots, which isn’t enough. But he’s got to be more aggressive.
And Sam knows it:
"We kept getting on our guys about looking to shoot the basketball, being aggressive,” Mitchell said after the game. “For whatever reason to start the first quarter, we’ve got guys turning down shots. We’ve got Anthony Parker coming off screens that we’re setting, running plays for him, and he’s thinking pass.”
Anyway, just a couple hours now ‘til the cars head to the airport, check back here later this morning for some Game 2 mail.