A bunch of Bargnani and some other stuff
Great game, no?
Best of the year by far and it has to be in the top 10 all-time, I imagine.
Well played, close all the way, dramatic win over a very, very, very good team.
If Jay had channeled his inner Brendan Malone and looked up at the fans on the far side pumping his fist at the buzzer, it would have been perfect.
Anyway on to the usual fare.
Talking it through
As they walked out of the final Toronto timeout, just before the game-winning drive and free throws, Hedo and Bosh were having a rather animated discussion about 15 feet in front of me.
It began right after the huddle broke and continued as they sauntered past halfcourt and it was calm and cool rather than heated.
At first I figured Hedo was saying “man, if I take this shot and miss it, these people are going to kill me like they kill Vince Carter” and then we had a chance to ask Jay for an explanation.
“He knew they were going to switch and that’s why he and Chris had that little talk on the way out. He said ‘if there’s a switch, let me have the middle of the floor’ and he came back to the middle and had a quicker step on a bigger guy.”
And watch Bosh if you get a chance to see the play again. He does set a first screen and the Lakers defend it perfectly. He does come back to set a second but as soon as he does, he moves a couple of steps to the far side of the court, giving Turk room to get around the corner.
It was just a heads-up play by a couple of vets who knew what they wanted to, what the Lakers would do and how they would counter that.
An unstoppable shot
Raps down two, about 8 1-2 minutes to go and there’s a timeout.
What’s Jay call?
A post-up for Bargnani, who gets one-on-one coverage on the left side, takes a couple of dribbles to the paint, no other defender comes and he drops in a delightful jump hook over an over-matched Lamar Odom.
The ball’s not even through the net yet when Phil Jackson has Bynum up off the bench to go in for Odom because he realizes Bargnani will get – and likely make – that shot any time he wants.
We’ve seen incredible maturation in Bargnani’s game this year, especially near the basket, and that was a perfect example of the kid realizing what he could and doing it; and of the coach realizing what the kid can do and letting him do it.
The thing about that move is that he’s so long and shoots it so far over his head that it’s virtually unblockable, if that’s a word. And when teams figure out what he can do down there and start sending a second defender to help, I think Bargnani’s shown already that he’s a good enough passer that he’s going to be effective against double-teams.
Oh, and one more
The final Lakers possession, fraught with peril that it was (and I know there were people in the arena dead sure that Kobe was going to make some heroic shot because I was one of them) was partially disrupted by a late change of mind by Jay Triano.
It wasn’t until the last second that he decided to put Bargnani on Luke Walton throwing the ball in and Jay would have used Bargnani regardless of which Laker was making that pass.
Bargnani was active and disruptive and made it hard for Walton to even see where he was passing, let alone make a great one. And the pass was just a tad off, about a foot this way when Bryant was going that way and threw him off just enough.
Watching Bagnani on that play kind of reminded me of one other great defence of an inbounds play in Raptors lore.
It wasn’t exactly the same but I remember one night in Detroit, way, way back in the day when Butch Carter put two long, active guys on an inbounder in the dying seconds of a close game, got a turnover and a Raptors win.
That took guts.
Snippets and comments and stuff:
How in the world did that conspiring David Stern let that foul be called? Didn’t he have his mind-meld going with the refs at that moment?
Those three jump shots that Kobe Bryant made on consecutive possessions at the end of the first half, little fadeaways on the right side, were three of the most picture-perfect shots in rapid succession I’ve seen in a long, long time.
Saw an interesting visitor at the game Sunday.
As I was walking the bowels of the joint at half time, saw Richard Peddie wandering around with none other than Adam Silver, who is only David Stern’s top henchman.
Haven’t had a chance yet to ask just what he was doing here (that pesky in-game blog and story to write kind of occupied my time) and it was probably just a routine visit to check out the new digs on the west side of the concourse.
Or maybe Silver wants to buy a condo.
In Los Angeles, one of the eight writers following the Lakers filed this about that.
Mavericks 128, Knicks 78.
Not sure what’s more surprising: That the Jason Kidd-less Mavs put such a beat-down on Knicks or that a 50-point drubbing wasn’t the most lopsided defeat in New York history.
The Syracuse Nationals once edged the Knickerbockers 162-100. That would have been a doozy.
Not sure how many of you raced to rewind the last-second attempt by Kobe to see if he got it off in time but it was one of the first things the coaching staff looked at when they got back to the office after the game.
And I sure made sure to take a quick glance.
Yes, it would have counted had it gone in and that would have been one of the most incredible shots I’ve ever seen.
So, what’s this week got?
Miami here Wednesday, at the Knicks Thursday and Indy here on Sunday, right?
I imagine 2-1 is probably how it ends up – and I can’t guess which will be the two and which will be the one, I just have sneaking suspicion that’s how it turns out.