The highs and lows, as usual
Well, wasn’t that some kind of collapse. Up 11 with less than two seconds to go in the first half, down 13 when the buzzer sounds. Fifty-seven in the first half, 32 in the second. Funny thing, though, sitting in the arena it didn’t seem so much a collapse as a takeaway. The Blazers, who are good with a capital GOOD, just played that much better than Toronto did in the second half.
As Jay said after the game, sometimes there are no excuses or explanations. Sometimes the other guy just plays better for 48 minutes, which is exactly what happened.
Now, as I recall, a wise old man said way back on about Dec. 16 that he could see a 3-3 trip coming. And if you peer off into the distance, so can you. All it’ll take is the same effort as Friday and Saturday tomorrow because if you get into a game of execution with the zany Warriors, there’s an excellent chance you win.
But if you don’t execute to near perfection against a team like Portland, you don’t have much of a chance. As we all saw Saturday.
So here we go (And how's this for timing? Two overnight blog posts after games? Guess this west coast stuff must be worth something):
Action: A disappearing act
Reaction: Where did they go?
You scored as many points against Portland as Jason Kapono did and I got as many as Joey and if there’s any way these guys are going to win any game they play, someone has to help out Bosh and O’Neal.
And with Moon held to eight and AP six, there was no way in the world that’s good enough for them to win.
I can specifically remember two open three-pointers that Kapono missed (one to start the dreadful third quarter) and that’s just unusual and I can think of a couple of times AP had makeable catch-and-shoot looks that didn’t go in.
It was much more a case of them missing shots than anything the Blazers did so maybe it can be chalked up to just one of those nights. Here’s one thing to think about, though: If they’re going to run everything through Bosh and O’Neal, and they will and should, it’s going to limit the opportunities for those twos and threes and they’re going to have to be ready to contribute with fewer chances. Not sure if they can, though.
Yes, Will Solomon did not play well against the Blazers. Yes, maybe it’s time to go back to Roko. Yes, I believe Jay saw the game and noticed the same thing you did.
This fits right about here:
Q: Hey Doug. With Jermaine O'Neal’s dominating performance against the Sacramento Kings. Is it to early to call him the best Center in franchise history? Better than Antonio Davis, apples and oranges? Your Top 5? Rasho Nesterovic in there? Honorable mention The Gangster?
Rob W, Winnipeg
A: Oh yeah, it’s way too early but, funnily enough, we were discussing this just last night.
If he lasts the full two seasons, and given the possibilities of trades and injuries that’s not a sure thing, I’d say he’s got a chance to be the best ever in a Toronto uniform for sure. And he’s probably there now but the fact it’s been only 25 games mitigates against him.
The others? I’d say Rasho for sure, AD would have to top the list at the moment and there’s a guy a lot of you forget but who’d be in my top five for sure. And that’s Eric Montross.
Toss in Keon Clark and Kevin Willis and that’s the top.
The (dis)honourable mentions? The Gangster would be there; but don’t forget Mengke Bateer and I’m not sure if they considered Robert Archibald a centre but if they did, he was a bad one.
Congratulations. As I type this at about 2 a.m. Eastern time, I don’t have a single e-mail pointing out the folly of the Brandon Roy (non)draft thing.
Action: Rose Garden game-ops
Reaction: A fine experience
Someone was asking me over in the comments section what makes the Rose Garden such a great place to watch a game.
Well, it’s big but not huge and the crowd – as knowledgeable as there is in the NBA – doesn’t have to be told to cheer, ever. The game ops crew is among the best in the game, not at all intrusive and some of the bits are great.
They do one where Rudy Fernandez tries to teach the crowd to say “slam dunk” in his native Catalan and they did a question-and-one-word-answer thing with Greg Oden that was a hoot. Of course, they didn’t use those timeouts to sell Marlies tickets or do some lame promotion for, say, a lottery corporation.
Oh, and the scoreboard? Great HD TV and in the corners, actual scoreboard with things like stats and boxscores. What a novel idea.
Here’s a follow up to something I mentioned Saturday morning:
Q: Doug, can you let your readers know what is found in the information packages from the other teams that you missed out on in Portland? I'm curious to know what could possibly be in it that could not of been sent electronically.
Casey A, Burlington
A: Well, first and foremost is the credential for that night’s game, which makes it exponentially easier to get in the arena in the first place. Not impossible because most of us have league credentials but still easier.
And, believe it or not, there are still a few dinosaurs like me who like to have the notes and stats and other information available in printed form so maybe we can sit in a comfortable chair or recline on a bad and read rather than having to sit at desk and stare some more at a computer screen.
Check out today’s Oregonian to see what they had to say.
And, finally (okay, almost finally)
Q: Hey Doug, so I know you must be sick of the coaching talk, but I've got a quick inquiry. And this is nothing against Triano, as I have long wondered when he will get his shot; but I noticed after some deep research, that besides Lenny Wilkens, none of the coaches in Raptors history have had any prior Head Coaching experience. And seeing as Lenny has seen the most success out of any of them (playoff wins), why have the big name coaches never really been a part of Raptor conversation?
Joey H, Toronto
A: Deep research indeed.
Well, the first reason that comes to mind is money. The second would be opportunity (this team was never really on the list of the most desirable jobs in the NBA). And the third would probably be money.
Ah, an off-day in San Francisco. That can’t bite, can it? A Bueno Vista Irish Coffee or two, maybe a stop in Chinatown for dim sum, perchance a walk through Little Italy for a social stop or two. Might not be a bad day.
See you tomorrow morning.