Some of this and some of that
That was some weak road trip, no?
I know their heart of hearts they figured a split would be the worst they’d get out of the jaunt to Charlotte and Boston and while the two losses hurt, the manner in which they were achieved hurts even more.
There is lots and lots of work to do, there is no doubt about that.
THREE THINGS I LEARNED
Pretty obvious, isn’t it?
I don’t imagine there’s a sane-thinking person in the world who isn’t (a) disgusted or (b) embarrassed or (c) shocked that no one – NO ONE – even bothered to take a menacing step towards Paul Pierce after he kneed Chris Bosh in the groin and then took a second to stand over him and taunt after dunking on him in the fourth quarter last night.
I guess I should add (d) surprised to that list because it’s been a flaw with this team for eons, that lack of toughness.
Now, I’m not advocating fighting or something ridiculous like that but some finger-pointing, yelling, gesturing or just letting him know that kind of punk move is unacceptable would have been in order.
It was Rasho, Turkolgu, Jose and Jack who were on the floor at the time of the play and one of them should have done something and that was pointed out in just about every story after the game.
What I want to see is if all this talk is cheap or not. This kind of thing will happen again, I’m sure, because teams know they can get away with it and I’m wondering just how these guys will react when it does.
Will they cower? Or actually do something to stand up for a teammate?
A new twist on a pre-game meal
So Antoine Wright’s irked that some of his teammates are eating popcorn and goofing around in the locker room before games when they should, you know, being getting ready to play.
Not sure exactly who he’s talking about because he wouldn’t names with his public criticism – if I had a guess, judging by the story and who spoke how, he was taking aim at DeRozan – and maybe it actually worked.
The game turned out bad – although losing to Boston at home is a rather predictable result – but the Raptors did play with far more verve and energy in the opening half than they had in Charlotte.
Wright’s seems to have become some of the conscience of this team and it’s good that someone’s speaking up. Now, if he was just a tad more productive in the actual playing of the game department, I bet everyone would be a little bit happier.
The true troubling sign
Yes, defence was an issue in the Charlotte game but one of the more pressing issues of the last two games to me is the lack of offensive production.
Sounds strange, but it’s true. Never mind the 103 points in Boston, the game was lost when they couldn’t score for almost seven minutes of the third quarter, that’s when it got away.
And, believe you me, if this team can’t score, it can’t win. No way, no how.
Some of it had to do with Boston’s defence – at times there were three guys guarding Bosh, one on his back, two creeping in from the sides – and the Raptors were unable to get the ball swinging side to side, which is when they are their most effective.
That’s got a lot to do with the wings not moving it quickly or decisively because the longer they hold it, the more time it gives defence to get into the passing lanes and there were times when everyone looked entirely befuddled.
Unless they clean that up – and I’m sure they will at times because they have scored with regularity against all kinds of defences – they’re in for some tough times.
And in the other news
Luckily, to get the taste of that Raptors-Celtics game out of my mouth (and while not totally distasteful, it certainly wasn’t entertaining), a run though the dial found the Thunder-Bucks gamse.
And I will say this again: I really like that Oklahoma City team.
I have no idea how they will eventually pay and keep Durant, Green, Westbrook and Harden but, right now, they are indeed fun to watch.
My early pick for coach of the year was Scott Brooks and I believe I mentioned Jeff Green as a favourite for most improved player and, mark my words, when the Thunders get to the playoffs, I could very well be right.
Don’t forget, tomorrow’s a mail day and while I’ve got plenty now, guess there’s always room for more.
But, please, no questions like: “Why do they suck? Can they trade this guy or that guy? How about Iverson? When is Reggie coming back?”
In case you care, I have no idea who’ll win the big gridiron game tomorrow night but I sure hope it’s Saskatchewan.
Perhaps the best football game I’ve ever covered was the ’89 Grey Cup at the SkyDome when the Riders beat the Tiger-Cats and I’ve had an affinity for Saskatchewan ever since. The passion of the fans knows now bounds, it’s a true community team that provides a huge boost to civic pride.
And, they’ve got fans who wear watermelons on their heads, for goodness sake. They carve out the innards of watermelons and PUT THEM ON THEIR HEADS!
How can you not love a team that has fans that use gutted out fruit as headwear?
It’ll be nice to get back to a practice today and get some real work done and the first question has to be:
I don’t know if he’s banged up or sick or what but 24 minutes last night and 27 in Charlotte are far below his usual average of about 33 going into the road trip. And they need him to play – and to score – if they’re ever going to have a legitimate chance to win.