The morning after the night before
Sure, they lost and fans are irked but, really, that was a pretty entertaining game, no?
All kinds of offence, sparkling shooting, a four-point game with four minutes to go provided a wee bit of drama.
No, it’s of no consolation to you, I don’t presume, and it certainly isn’t to the players, but solely for entertainment value, a 125-116 game was fun to watch.
And to dissect. Like this:
THREE THINGS I LEARNED
It’s all about the effort
My scribbling’s a bit unreadable but I think it was in the second quarter after a missed Toronto shot that this happened and it’s troubling.
Ball bounces to Howard, who can’t quite get a handle on it with three Raptors around him.
Ball bounces a couple of times, not one of the Raptors gets on the floor to grab it and Howard eventually collars it and sends the Magic off on offence.
One play in a long game, to be sure, but that was a lack of hustle and effort and you can talk about defence and rotations and protecting the paint and closing out on shooters until you’re blue in the face but if there’s no extra effort, there are likely to be no wins.
That’s an area that has to be cleaned up.
It’s the kind of lack of hustle that gets teammates giving each other the evil eye and a team that’s still trying to figure things out can ill afford to fracture mentally. We all knew there would be trying times to start the season – and with seven of the next nine on the road the trying times are going to continue for a couple of weeks.
It’s bad all over
No, things are not going well for Jose Calderon, are they?
His defence needs some work – as it always has and probably always will – but his shot is a huge issue, too.
Just 10-26 from the floor overall (a paltry 39 per cent) and only 1-7 from three-point range, which is a percentage not worth printing.
He knows it, knows he needs more work and will get it.
It’s mentioned that history would suggest he’ll start making some and he’s quick to answer.
“Hope so. They just don’t want to go in, I’ll keep working on that and I’ll be okay.”
But, despite the rants of many to write to me, there is no point guard “controversy” and there is no movement afoot anywhere in the organization – from coaches to players to management – to make a change.
Ain’t gonna happen so don’t waste your time pleading for it.
It’s true that through three whole games of an 82-game season that he hasn’t played well. There may be panic among the masses, none exists in the inner sanctum and I know this because I talk to people.
Yes, his teammates and coaches wish he were playing better and they fully expect he will.
But he’s not losing his job three stinking games into season. Not going to happen.
One thing works
I think we can all agree they’re not getting the kind of shooting we expected -- Jose’s not really going well, Turkoglu’s still very much finding himself – but there can be no question this team can score.
101 against Cleveland, 107 in Memphis, 116 yesterday. They can put the ball in the basket.
Which leads one to think that if they ever get together defensively – and they were good against the Cavs and, at times, in Memphis so it’s possible – things could very well turn around.
And in the rest of the news.
My man B. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reports the game this way.
Call me in June but right now, Orlando's the best team in the East. No question in my mind.
Deep, can beat you pounding the ball inside or shooting it from the outside, extremely well coached.
You've got a pretty good starting five that was on display yesterday and when Carter, Pietrus and Lewis are all healthy and available, imagine how deep they'll be?
And let me tell you, Otis Smith might have a leg up on Exec Of The Year honours right now by insisting that Ryan Anderson be included in the Vince trade or he wouldn't have done the transaction.
Remember a week or so ago, we talked about Patrick O’Bryant wanting to get to 2,500 followers on twitter so he could raise some money for the team’s charitable foundation?
A laudable exercise by the young man, who cut a pretty nice cheque himself because he got over the top on Saturday night, just before the deadline.
Not sure what the final tally of money raised is; I hear it’s either real close to or over five figures, and that’s a nice piece of change.
Good on Patrick and good on the people.
Bah! Can’t get a third out, can’t cover third on the Double Damon Steal.
Knowing Philly sports fans I do, barfing up the biggest game of the World Series means his career may as well be over. They will be unmerciful towards him.
I remember the year the Raptors and Sixers played that playoff series and Matt Geiger couldn’t go for Philly. Some fans thought he might have been, you know, coasting a wee bit and they gave him such a hard time when he was sitting on the bench in a suit he eventually went and watched games on TV in the locker room.
That’s a tough crowd.
This can’t hurt their chances.
While the Raptors are sitting quietly in their homes on Tuesday night, probably watching the DWTS results show, Wednesday’s opponent, the Detroit Pistons, will be entertaining the Orlando Magic.
Seeing how the only time Toronto’s look really good this season was against a team on a back-to-back, that’s got to be good for them, no?
“It felt like a Mack truck.”
DeMar DeRozan on running into Dwight Howard.
The Cleveland game took 2:38 to play; yesterday’s took 2:36.
Felt like we were sitting through baseball games. That’s about 20-25 minutes longer than any game should take.