Tell you what, these guys are fun to watch most nights, aren’t they?
No way anyone can complain about that one last night. Great offence, high entertainment value, some sparkling plays and a win.
Not a bad night.
THREE THINGS I LEARNED
Sure, they give up points …
But that’s going to happen.
They score a lot, there are a lot of possessions for the other team and, of course, they’re not the greatest defensive team in the history of the league.
Me? I’m fine with it, to tell you the truth.
This offence is simply going to over-power people many nights and you have to figure they’ll also have the odd night when they’re getting key stops at key moments.
Like last night.
The Pacers pull within five late in the third and the Nervous Nellies are going nuts because they’re certain the game’s going to end badly.
What do these guys do?
They get five stops in six Pacer possessions, go back up 13 by the time the fourth quarter is 2 1-2 minutes old and the uprising is quelled.
That’s doing the job when the job has to be done.
This team doesn’t have to be great defensively, it’s just got to be passable and I think we’ve seen enough glimpses of passable to feel okay.
Sure, there will be nights when they don’t get those stops and lose but there will be more nights, I think, when they do make a stand and do win going away.
Besides, I’d rather watch 120-115 than 89-85 any old day of the week.
The little things count
All right, we all dog Andrea Bargnani for the perception that he’s a bad rebounder, right?
(I believe the standard phrase is, “Bargnani, who has to get better on the boards …”)
Well, you know what? He doesn’t suck. At least not lately. He’s had 43 rebounds in his last five games (that’s more than eight a game, the old abacus tells me) and last night he did something I don’t remember him doing for quite some time.
Fourth quarter, game’s closer than anyone wanted – although not once was there the feeling the Pacers were going to come all the way back and win – and he gets two offensive rebounds to provide second chance opportunities that Toronto capitalized on and once he kept alive another miss with a tip that ended up in someone else’s hands.
That’s just effort and it’s not something he was known for.
Now, I have no idea if he can keep this up but a whole lot of people need to cut him some momentary slack about his rebounding skill and effort.
The little things count, 2.0
It’s early in the second quarter and Amir Johnson showed something his coaches and teammates will love and I imagine some fans might have missed.
Right in front of where we were sitting, Turk’s got the ball on the right side and he wants to go left.
Johnson comes up from the other side and sets one of the best screens I’ve seen a Raptor big set in a while.
He gets in perfect position, holds the screen a split second longer than many do and it allows Turk to get some separation, he hits Belinelli with an easy pass, Belinelli drills a three-pointer and it all happened because Johnson did one of those little things that don’t show up in the boxscore.
Setting screens, and holding them without rolling early or moving and getting called for an offensive foul, is a skill that will earn a kid lots more playing time.
And, in other news
All in all, I imagine the good folks who run the Canadian women’s basketball team must be feeling at least okay about the draw they got for next summer’s world championships in the Czech Republic.
Canada gets Australia, China and Belarus in the first round, from which three teams advance.
Now, Australia may end up winning the whole thing, or at least grabbing a medal, but China and Belarus are hardly among the world giants in the sport.
I think a top eight finish would be spectacular for the women, who are young but very, very good, and being able to get out of the first round with a couple of wins will go a long way towards accomplishing that goal.
They’re first round of the Sept. 23-Oct. 3 event is Ostrava, which is in the north east corner of the country, an old mining town of about 1.2 million that’s enjoying something of a renaissance. So, boss, as you read this, just let me know when I should book my ticket.
My man Mike Wells summed up last night’s game thusly in the pages of the Indianapolis Star.
And while we’re surfing, today in Charlotte, this appears.
I didn’t know Abe Pollin, the chairman of Washington Sports and Entertainment who died yesterday at 85 years old.
But I’ll tell you this, I’ve seen what he helped create in D.C. and if that’s his legacy, that’s enough.
The area around the Verizon Center, the arena the Wizards owner built with his own cash, was a wasteland before the facility got built. Now it’s absolutely bustling and has revitalized an area that was dead.
The arena spurred an urban renewal that was desperately needed and if he did nothing else than convince the owners of Clyde’s to build their restaurant bar where they did, that’s enough for me.
Oh, and insisting the name be changed from Bullets to Wizards was a really good idea, too.
So, our first look at Tyler Hansbrough last night and I will say this: I think he’s going to be okay and he’s certainly going to be in a fair share of shoving matches, I believe.
Really aggressive, all elbows and shoulders and he’s going to rub a couple of veterans the wrong way, I’m sure.
That said, I’d like him on my team because he can finish in traffic and looks like he’s got an okay little jumper.
My immediate reaction: He’s like a more-skilled Mark Madsen.
Donny Freaking Osmond.
Over his last four games, totaling 113 minutes on the court, Jarrett Jack has committed one turnover.
Even for a non-stats guy like me, that’s pretty good.
The astute observers among you will notice that I’m not in Charlotte, nor will I be in Boston. Just taking a couple of games off after seeing the first 15 and the last six pre-season contests because that’s more than any man should have to witness without a break. But fear not, irregulars. I figure we stick with tradition and do a game-day chat today at 1 p.m. Eastern and then I’ll find a nice comfy spot on the couch for the routine in-game stuff tonight.