All in all, a pretty fun game, wasn't it?
Either way, it was a fun night.
Play of the night
Just about a minute left, Raptors up three, game’s pretty tight.
Marco Belinelli comes off a screen and whips a left-handed bullet of a pass to Chris Bosh, who finishes with a dunk, Toronto’s up five and the game, pretty much, is over.
It’s not that Belinelli saw the play, it’s how he made the pass that impressed me.
Lefty. Hard. Right on the money.
It’s the kind of creative play by a Raptor wing you haven’t seen in ages and one of the big reasons I don’t have a bit of a problem with Belinelli finishing games over the rookie.
Equally impressive was Bosh’s catch and finish. We’ve seen him bobble those hard, short passes before (primarily from Andrea on high-low feeds) but he was aware and ready and finished cleanly.
A lovely byproduct
Yes, the zone was a wild success – and you have to give Jay credit for managing one of the best games of his coaching career – because it energized the defence, befuddled the Bucks and got some juice in the offence.
But it was a decision made for another reason altogether: To get Chris Bosh a better matchup. Here’s Jay:
It’s the same thing we talked about the other day in Cleveland, when they went with Marco rather than DeMar to force LeBron to have to guard someone instead of playing rover.
“The key was, for most of the night, Bogut stayed away from Chris, he guarded Rasho, he guarded Amir, he guarded whatever other big was in there.
“It wasn’t so much us wanting to go with smaller guys out there, we wanted Bogut to guard Chris. We put Chris out there with four playmakers, he set screens for whoever was closest and Chris rolled and they had to help and that’s what opened up the floor for us.”
There seems to be some method to what some people see as madness.
Better, at least for one game
Yes, Hedo missed eight shots in 10 attempts and committed five fouls and sat out a lot of the second quarter with foul trouble.
But even the most vociferous critics have to admit he was pretty good last night.
Aggressive on the boards (seven rebounds), making the right passes to teammates who scored (five assists, including four in the first eight minutes) and the and-one late was a huge play.
The missed shots? That’s the shooting slump he’s in and no one connected to the team has (a) a problem with him taking them or (b) concerns that he won’t some day get out of that slump that he’s in.
But the thing I saw was effort and intensity and that’s been lacking for a good portion of the season.
There was one moment late, after he’d made a basket, when he was walking back to the bench after a time out and he looked angry.
Not at that specific play but angry in the “where the heck has that been all along, I know I’m better than I’ve been playing” angry and it was maybe the first time in a while I’ve seen some open emotion from him.
A good start on a road back? We’ll see but I think there might be something to that.
Oh, right. Other stuff:
I will venture a guess you will never read the following sentence again:
Patrick O’Bryant had more assists last night than Jose Calderon.
He had one, Jose had none, and, oddly, the assist came on a Calderon shot – the desperation heave at the end of the first quarter.
Of course, we now know the subjectivity of assists because I can vividly remember a near-perfect pick and roll that Calderon and Bosh pulled off in the fourth quarter, Bosh went hard to the basket, Jose threw a lob, Bosh caught it and finished.
But, no, there was no assist on the play.
A reminder, I guess, that the system has its flaws.
Charles F., Mr. Tom’s right hand man in Milwaukee, sums that one up thusly.
Bring money, people.
Lord knows there are some flaws to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and while I quite enjoy pointing them out every now and then, here’s a good thing they’re doing and you need to help if you can.
Sunday against the Lakers, they’ll be collecting cash for Haitian relief and for every dollar you give, Maple Leaf Sports will match it. And then they’ll turn it over to a government agency that’s matching dollar-for-dollar so if you give, say, $5, it turns into $20. That’s with five more from Maple Leaf Sports for $10 and then $10 as a match from the government.
Even with my horrid math skills, that makes a lot of sense and you need to help out if you can.
Last call for mail. I figure I’ve got the late afternoon to sit and sip and answer and then an evening at the desk to finish it off so if you’ve got a question, send it here and we’ll see what we can do.
I will take Luke Ridnour on my basketball team any time.
Here’s one to look for next time you watch a New Jersey game.
(And it’s going to take readers of a certain age to get this).
Take a look at Our Friend Hump, who’s once again sporting hair.
He looks like Tony Dow!
Seriously. Nets-Warriors was on in this little bistro I visit every now and then and when they showed a close up of Hump, I swore I was looking at Wally.
All I needed was Barbara Billingsley as one of the June Taylor Dancers and it would have been crazy scary.
Since the Lakers won’t do anything today – no practice after a Thursday-Friday back-to-back – and since tomorrow’s mail day, let’s catch up with what the papers are saying about them.