Good game? Bad game? Or just a game?
Big question: How many missed the post-game video? Come on, you can admit it. You did, didn’t you?
Okay, maybe you didn’t and it was one layer of things I didn’t have to worry about so that’s okay but if you did, just let me know. Can’t imagine how we do it on the road but …
Bigger question: Good game or bad game? Or just a so-so, expected-outcome kind of game where they did a lot of things, a few bad and were beaten by a vastly superior opponent? I’m going with the last one.
Still, there were actions. And, of course, reactions. So, with an early-ish flight and because I know you like to digest some of this with breakfast, we're up in cyber space early. Can't promise we'll have it like this the rest of the trip but we'll try.
Action: Bosh 4-13 FGs, 12 pts, 6 rebounds
Reaction: He just didn’t have it.
|They really could have used Jermaine O'Neal in situations like this.|
Not sure why but it became apparent early that they were going to have to pull out some miracle win without a great game from their best player. He didn’t have much in his legs, it seemed, looked tired right from the get-go.
But some of you slay me. You’re killing a guy who’s second in the league in scoring, a 27-11 guy, a guy with seven games over 30 and three of 40 or more all season ‘cause he didn’t play great last night.
And I know too many of you forgetful souls say he seldom brings it against the best teams. Well, are you the same people who were killing Sam, or him, for the Boston game? You can’t have it both ways. And he did have 24 in that second game.
I’ll throw these numbers at you: Last year against Boston, he averaged 20 and 10, not bad numbers against an extremely good team; last year he went for 29 a game against Cleveland with five rebounds. Against Detroit this year he had 26 and 13 and averaged 22.5 and 11 in four games last year. Orlando? 33 and five last year, a mere 40 and 18 in the game this year. Can’t play against good teams? Don’t buy it. Never will.
Okay, I know it’s Dec. 1 and I’m a fan of most things Marriott but I’ve been at two already on this trip – one I’m staying in, one I visited for a post-game social – and both were blaring Christmas Freaking Carols on their public address systems.
That’s a bit over the top, no?
End of mini-rant.
Action: Lakers are good.
Reaction: Very, very, very good.
That team, barring a serious of debilitating injuries, could win 70 in the regular season; they look that powerful.
But the question that needs to be answered is if they’re tough enough to beat Boston, or anyone else with a true edge to their game, in the intensity of a big playoff series.
For now, though? They are soooooo good it’s scary.
Here’s one from the mail:
Q: Hello sir, it says on ESPN.com that the Raptors have the 5th highest SOS (strength of schedule; which is opponent's winning percentage) in the league and 3rd highest over their past 10 games (Going into Sunday's game). Can this be taken as any kind of indicator about the season so far or is it too early?
Rob H, Tillsonburg
A: I think it’s an indicator, they’ve played some very good teams and also some teams that have been hot that I figure will cool off (Atlanta being the prime example) before the season ends.
And maybe it’s got something to do with their record at the moment but, as everyone likes to point out, the schedule always evens out; it’s how they deal with stretches of legitimately winnable games that’ll tell the tale.
For now, though, I think their record is right about where it should be for the level of competition they’ve played.
Action: Bargnani defends
Reaction: As well as anyone.
Here’s one of the Bargnani plays I marked down last night. Late in the third quarter, he misses a little 10 footer in the lane and the Lakers take off. The play ends with Bargnani blocking a Farmar layup after racing back down the court.
I’m not ready quite yet to put the guy in the all-defensive Hall of Fame but if there’s one part of his game I’ve been most impressed with this season, it’s the way he’s defended, both threes on the perimeter and big men on the block. That’s just work ethic and listening to the coaches and he’s done both.
Okay, we’ve got a few days left on this journey and I figure there’s a sports bar in my future tonight in Denver to watch Orlando-Boston and maybe the football (I’ll try to resist all urges to find the Leaves game). But Salt Lake? I need some help in Salt Lake. So, whaddya got? And don't give me only the Dead Goat. Been there, done that.
Action: Bosh guards Bynum.
Reaction: Not an optimal matchup
Of course, the best matchup the Raptors could have had was O’Neal on Bynum but he didn’t play so it fell to Bosh. Me? I might have tried Bargnani on him a bit but that probably would have exposed Bosh against Gasol, who played really well.
Just two tough matchups for these guys to deal with.
Let’s check out one more from the mail:
Q: Watching the Knicks-Warriors slugfest last night (Saturday), I started thinking about the Knicks roster that night. No Starbury. No Bar..Gallinari. No Curry. No Nate … the list goes on down and trims the roster to 7 players. Assuming a David Lee gets fouled out, Al Harrington gets tossed and Duhon gets injured, there are only 4 players that can play. Who plays the remaining minutes on the floor as the 5th man? Mike D'antoni? Isiah? Jay-z?
Gary J, Toronto
A: The last guy to get a sixth foul gets to keep playing but every foul after that, regardless of when it’s committed, is a two-shot foul. You’ll never see five-on-four. But I’d also like ‘em to suit up Spike Lee if the game’s at home.