That one might leave a mark
That one hurt, didn’t it?
|RENE JOHNSTON/TORONTO STAR|
|20 and 10 for Vince Carter on this night.|
I’ve had more “I’m done with these guys forever” e-mails in the last 10 hours than I usually get in a week.
I presume if they go 4-3 in their next seven I’ll get a bundle of “Where do I buy my Jake Voskuhl jersey” queries.
Let’s just say this: You can fire the coach, you can change the rotation, you can alter the starting lineup, you can change the system until the cows come home.
But a team that can’t rebound can’t all of a sudden rebound.
Is there anyone surprised they got hammered on the boards? It’s not like it hasn’t happened before or anything. And no matter how you couch it or coach it, rebounding is effort. They don’t give a good enough effort often enough and until they do, there will be more nights like Monday.
How bad was it?
The eternal optimist Jose Calderon was grumpy:
“The last couple of games I was so positive, I thought we were doing a good job but today I don’t know what’s going on, it was a bad game. We’re supposed to have this one, twice we went 10 points up and we couldn’t finish. It was the same type of game as two weeks ago (against the Nets).”
Action: Key moment.
Reaction: Blown call?
Here’s a sequence that was pretty costly, and pretty confusing.
Nets, up two, get the ball, according to the official play-by-play sheet, with 6:04 left. After a bad possession, they get a 20-foot jumper by Brook Lopez, which didn’t look like it hit the rim to me, with 5:40 left and the ball goes out of bounds with 5:39 left.
That’s 25 seconds, right?
And not only that, in the scramble off the miss, the Raptors are sure the ball goes out off a Jersey player.
So there’s a timeout, Raps draw up a play and are stunned to find out when they go back on the court that it’s New Jersey’s ball.
If it wasn’t a 24-second violation (and I thought it was), the deflection out of bounds may have gone off a Net.
The kicker? The officials, who were confused and shaky all night, told New Jersey during the timeout it was their ball, they didn’t bother to tell the Raptors.
And, to make matters worse, the Nets get a three-point play from that Carter on the subsequent possession to go up by five and the Raptors never get closer than that.
Here’s what The Other Dave wrote in Jersey.
These are impressive numbers:
New Jersey: 38.1 per cent.
New Jersey: 31.3 per cent.
Indiana: 31.3 per cent.
Portland: 44 per cent.
Yes, Cleveland shot 49 per cent and New Orleans shot 48 per cent but those other field goal percentages would lead one to believe that the defence is actually doing a good job. Except for that rebounding stuff, of course.
The decision to switch on the perimeter almost all the time and to try to force people baseline has certainly cleaned up a lot of the dribble penetration issues that plagued these guys for weeks. It’s coaching the roster to maximize it’s ability.
Now, if they’d just finish possessions and work a little harder, they’d get rewarded with wins and not bitter losses.
Action: 17 points in the fourth
Reaction: And none when it mattered.
Almost lost amid the rebounding travails was the fact the Raptors were 0-for-freaking-14 from the floor in the first 9:25 of the fourth quarter.
That’s right: They did worse in less than a quarter than Carter did in the entire game on Friday.
They didn’t score a bucket until a Calderon three-pointer got ‘em within 11 with 2:35 to go and by that time, fact is, the game was over.
Know what I wish? I wish today was Feb. 20. You know, the day after the trade deadline.
While we appreciate all the zany trade proposals being sent hither and yon these days, there’s no way they can all be answered. Some of ‘em are so out there – Mo Pete and Sean Marks for Hump and AP or something make me laugh out loud almost – and some simply can’t happen ‘cause of salary issues.
So send ‘em but you’re sending them pretty much to a vacuum.
Action: Reggie Theus fired.
Reaction: Will the nonsense ever end?
Six coaches whacked before Christmas? Ridiculous.
If six GMs, who’ve saddled the coaches with unworkable rosters, were to get fired, too, then I might be okay with this insanity.
This dovetails nicely:
Q: With the recent firings of Reggie Theus, Sam Mitchell, PJ Carlesimo, Eddie Jordan and Maurice Cheeks it’s easy to see who hasn't done the best of coaching jobs so far this year. But if they were to hand out the coach of the year right now, who would be on top of your list?
Mario A, Toronto
A: George Karl would have to be in the running, wouldn’t he? And I know the schedule has been somewhat soft but Mike Brown in Cleveland would have to be in the discussion.
Speaking of trades, here’s the latest (or at least the latest after talking to a handful of people Monday)
There are things bubbling out there but nothing serious at the moment, although the moment could change at any moment. That’s the way the business works.
Do I think something will happen before the deadline? Absolutely.
Do I think something will happen in the next 48 hours? I doubt it. But look at it this way, Bryan’s not a cruel, cruel man and if he’s going to make a move, I’m not sure he makes it over Christmas to disrupt the lives of the players traded. There’s no moratorium in the NBA like there is in other sports (hi, pucks!) but common courtesy suggests the Dec. 20-Jan. 3 time is not a time for deals.
Maybe he does pull the trigger today or tomorrow but I’m thinking it’s more likely in early January.