Of Roko and Bargnani and Kapono, among others
Nothing like a seven-point win over a 4-10 team to ease the cranky old mind, is there?
Okay, okay. Sure, a win’s a win’s a win and it beats the alternative for many but those were the vertically-challenged Charlotte Bobcats the locals beat up on by a whopping seven points.
Maybe reserve judgement on the “dark days are behind us” stuff?
Anyway, there were some actions. And, of course, some reactions.
Action: Roko’s getting it.
Reaction: The job has to be his.
The behind-the-back dish and the little floater in the lane were the highlights but it was the pace at which Roko Ukic played that has to keep him as the team’s backup point guard.
He only got seven minutes in the second quarter but they were played at a tempo the Raptors desperately needed at the time. And for a rookie who has been pretty turnover-prone at moments in his development, not giving the ball away while playing quickly was the thing that was most noticeable.
I’m thinking it’s a while before Will Solomon gets another shot
Yes, there are still some glitches with the big scoreboard. Looked at it last night a couple of times only to see advertising logos where the boxscore should be. No, that’s not good.
We have to talk about Joey, right?
Q: As I write this the Raps are holding on against the bobcats with a couple minutes left. We have seen Good Joey tonight and it has really been a huge boost! I know we have asked this before but is there a chance that we could have Good Joey for maybe 3 of 5 games for the rest of the season? If he can play this well for 60% of the time he really should play over Moon. Any thoughts? P.S. Thanks for all the hard work you put in each day to keep us crazed raptor fans at bay.
Blake H, Provo, Utah
A: Sam promised last night in his post-game chat session that Joey earned a chance to play on Friday off his performance on Wednesday. We’ll reserve judgment on what that means until we see how he does on Friday but, yes, if they get that kind of effort and production out of him 60 per cent of the time, I think he has to play ahead of Jamario.
After all, the thing that set Jamario apart last year was his defence and rebounding and that’s been lacking too many nights this year.
I’m certainly not about to suggest Good Joey’s going to be a regular around these parts but I can’t see the problem in giving him five or 10 games to see what he can bring.
Yes, Bryan was back in his usual spot visiting with the coaches after game. You’ll recall he didn’t stop for a visit after Sunday’s loss to Boston.
Comical moment of the night.
Joey Graham and Jamario Moon are getting dressed, one locker apart, after the game and they’ve got on exactly the same shirt. I mean exactly.
A Sean Jean thing (no, I didn’t know that, someone told me) in green and blue. Seems I may have been misinformed.
Much hilarity and it begged one question: How did Jamario get into Stephen’s closet?
This is why I love Larry Brown.
In a little chat before the game, I mentioned that the first time the team’s met, he was lamenting his small frontcourt (the Bobcats were starting 6-7 Jared Dudley at power forward back then) and while it’s bigger now with 7-0 rook Alexis Ajinca in there, it’s still not an imposing lineup.
Here’s Larry’s verbatim reply:
“It’s a process. The French kid’s not ready yet, even though he’s got great size, he’s just so thin. He’s going to be fine in time, I don’t think it just happens overnight. Other than that, we do have some tall guys but … We have some tall guys.”
How can you not like a coach who offers that kind of honest assessment.
Action: Bargnani can’t shoot.
Reaction: But he still plays.
Not that it’s a turning point or anything but Bargnani found a way to help his team despite a 4-for-15 night from the field but defending, rebounding and blocking shots.
Now, that’s not something we usually say around here, is it?
Nine boards were impressive and so were the three blocks and his effort allowed Sam to, um, rest Kris Humphries, who was in one of his “I’m Michael Jordan” moods it seems.
Here’s how the game played in Charlotte.
Wait! What was that byline on that Charlotte story? Who is this guy? Oh, he’s just an interloper helping out a Carolina beat grunt who wanted to spend Thanksgiving at home. We do favours for each other when we can.
Action: Jason Kapono, 3 FGA, 15 minutes
Reaction: More time at the whiteboard
Guess it takes longer to practice and implement any new plays for Kapono, it was the same old, same old last night.
He did have a patented pump-fake-and-travel move on what I think was his first touch and then used that hair-trigger release to hit a jumper curling off a screen a minute or so later.
But other than that? The usual decoy rule, which has to be really infuriating for him, not to mention the fans.
They really ought to make him more of a focal point when he’s on the floor, no?
Q: A few years ago, one of my favourite Raptors was Dell Curry, the dude could shoot. If I recall correctly, there were quite a few similarities between he and Jason Kapono, deadly shooters with quick releases who don't do much else. It seems though that Dell Curry would always get his shots when he came into the game but Kapono seems to have a ton of difficulty doing so. In your opinion, what are the differences between these two players and their respective situations that made it (seemingly?) easy for one to get his shots whereas the other struggles so mightily?
Serge P, Ottawa
A: Dell Curry is the single greatest shooter I ever saw in purpose. His stroke was like a “How To” video on quick release and deadly accuracy.
The differences? Dell was almost a decade older when he got here than Kapono was when he arrived and there was a craftiness about Dell, an ability to get open on his own, that Jason hasn’t yet mastered.
And, yes, the coaching was better in regards to getting clean looks for Curry than it is for Kapono.