Who's playing the blame game?
|Chris Bosh saw an awful lot of Kevin Garnett on this night.|
That was a great game. I know the bitterness level towards Sam, Kapono, Bosh, Jose, the refs, Tommy Heinsohn, KG, Pierce, Perkins, the fans, the leprechaun and, I presume, anyone remotely connected with Boston is off the charts but, really, that was a great game.
And, in a stunning development completely unheard of in the realm of professional sports, the better team won. I know, shocking, isn’t it?
The NBA’s defensive player of the year couples with the MVP of last year’s final to beat a team that finished at .500 a season ago. Who’d have seen that coming?
Really, you people slay me.
Anyway, the stuff:
Action: Kapono on Pierce.
Reaction: Fans want to storm Sam’s office
A bad matchup? Yeah, sure is. But let me ask you this: Why do you think Jamario Moon, who had bitten on just about every pump fake he’s seen in his NBA career and who gives up more blow-bys than just about any wing on the team, would have been better? Or maybe Joey Graham would have not had the series of nightly brain cramps he often does? Or maybe Anthony Parker would have all of a sudden got up in Pierce’s chest and used his lateral quickness to keep him in front of him?
And that’s not even taking into consideration that they needed Kapono on offence because he was the only guy taking – and making – the mid-range shots the Celtics were giving up. Sure, maybe Jamario would have all of a sudden decided not to shoot three-pointers every time he shot it but that’s probably a long-shot.
Here’s the thing in a nutshell: Pierce, who made an array of very difficult shots (you think that game-breaking, twisting, reverse layup at the end was easy?) is better than anyone Toronto has. Pretty simple, no?
Q and A time:
Q: Doug, good to see how the Raps show discipline and control in the first half of the Bobcats game when they appeared to be on a run and the sixth Bobcat appeared on the floor in a refs uniform (just joking) with several calls going against them. However, I watched the game couple of times and the Raps got the game back when they started to drive to the basket aggressively which made them aggressive in the defensive end. I'd say bench the next guy that does not drive to the basket. (No I'm not serious but interesting thought ehhh??).
Michael Z, Fredericton
A: You mean bench a guy who, for instance, takes five shots and four of them are three-pointers. A guy who’s been asked, and told, incessantly to pump fake his man, take two dribbles and let go a 17-footer?
This is the fundamental difference between Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono. Moon hasn’t learned to make a move when teams run him off the three-point line or get right up on him. Kapono, last night in Boston and in a few other games already, has the good common sense to try and create space with a shot fake, knowing that he does it enough, it may make defenders back off him and give him better three-point looks.
Oh yeah, so much for having today off. Practice at noon. Thanks, Sam.
Action: KG’s antics.
Reaction: What a putz
Yeah, I’m a huge fan of Garnett, I think everyone knows it. But the disrespect shown with that finger-wagging in the third quarter? That’s bush league. And if any of those three refs had some, um, guts, they’d have nailed him with a technical for taunting.
Here’s how it played out in the Boston Globe.
Did you read that Globe story? The record for most points in a quarter by the Celtics is shared by Todd Day and Larry Bird and now Pierce is third.
Todd Day. Larry Bird. Paul Pierce. Which one of those is not like the others?
Speaking of points in a quarter, guess who holds the record for a Raptor opponent? I’ll give you a few more wee items to guess.
One more question:
Q: Just a question, is it the coach's fault for not getting his message across to certain player (Moon's love for 3s) or is it player's fault for simply ignoring his coach?
Gary L, Mississauga
A: I put it 80-20 on player. Maybe 90-10 even. I know good coaches try all kinds of different ways to get players to do the right things. Yelling. Calm discussion. Use of video. Holding back playing time.
Sometimes, players just don’t get it.
Action: Bosh’s fourth quarter
Reaction: Who’s to blame?
This is the biggie. Why didn’t Bosh get the ball in the fourth quarter?
I can’t tell you how much of an over-simplification it is for anyone to suggest: “They should have thrown the ball to Bosh every time down the floor.” It’s not that easy when there’s a guy like Kevin Garnett stuck to him like glue.
But could they have done more? Sure. Maybe a few more cross screens would have freed up Bosh but I kind of doubt it. The Celtics defended him pretty much perfectly. That’s what good teams, teams with a championship to their credit, do.
Let me ask this: Did Bosh dominate the ball when Toronto was taking its 16-point lead? Nope. Did other Raptors make plays in that stretch? Yep. Did anyone make a play in the fourth? Not enough of them. Could Jose have turned the corner and find open teammates? Probably.
Bosh didn’t have a great fourth quarter because the Celtics didn’t let him.
Q: Hiya Doug! Is there a monetary benefit to the owners of a team for winning the NBA championship (besides the obvious ticket sales, merchandise sales...)??
Sherry E, Toronto
A: And hiya to you, too. No, there’s not a big cheque like a definitive $10 million for winning the final, waiting at the end of the rainbow, there is money from the playoff pool that’s shared by all post-season teams and the players on them but no bonus in what I think you mean as the traditional sense.
Oh yeah, that was a pretty easy question about the guy with the most points in a quarter against Toronto, no?
Kobe. 28. In that 81-point game.