Changing strategies and watching scoreboards
Rather quiet around these guys these days, isn’t it?
Guess that’s what having three days between games will do. Thankfully, it’s four-in-six starting tonight against Portland so there’ll be all kinds of stuff to dissect and discuss.
Until then …
It’s been kind of fun to watch the fourth quarters of games of late, just to see what Jay and his staff have cooked up as their big secret defensive weapon.
We’ve heard him allude to it a couple of times, about waiting to “spring” something on some unsuspecting opponent in the final five or six minutes of a close game.
Sometimes it’s a double-team, sometimes it’s a change in how they defend screen-and-roll, sometimes it’s where and when a second defender comes from.
And lately, it’s worked.
But lots of people wonder why? Why keep some strategy in abeyance until the fourth? Why, if it’s going to work, don’t they use the same stuff in the first, second or third quarters?
NBA players are smart.
IF you show some defence to, say, a Brandon Roy or a LeBron James, it’s not going to take them very long to figure out how to counter it. It might only be a couple of possessions before they make the necessary adjustments and then they’re likely to have success.
If you wait and use it late in a game and get two or three stops while they figure things out, that might just be enough to put you over the edge.
Really good NBA players, the guys who run their teams, tend to spend the first three quarters or so feeling the game out, getting teammates involved, checking out what’s working and what’s not.
But when it comes to crunch time, they are going to make plays for themselves because that’s what stars do.
And if you’ve got some new wrinkle to show with five minutes to go that you haven’t used in the first 43 minutes, that might just be enough.
Games aren’t won or lost in the first or second quarter; saving something special for when they are seems to make entire sense.
Because coaches and players like to keep opponents guessing in all kinds of ways, the word around practice on Tuesday was that they would wait until today to see if Chris Bosh can go tonight.
Well, let’s get this out of the way now:
There’s a greater chance you’ll play tonight than he will.
No practice Monday, no practice Tuesday, no game Wednesday.
Simple as that.
Of course, some miracle could occur but I’m pretty sure it won’t.
Portland started its long trek East by winning in New Jersey on Tuesday – that’s no biggie – but Marcus turned an ankle and probably misses tonight.
And here’s how the Oregonian chronicled it.
Blazers-Raptors hoops at 7; Russia-Canada pucks at 7:30.
Wonder what the record is for lowest basketball TV viewership?
And wonder how many of the Irregulars will forsake us?
It was interesting to listen to Jose and Jarrett back-to-back after practice yesterday when the talk got around to the team’s place in the standings and the next 25 or so games and where they can go.
Jose’s all about one at a time and see where they end up, not worrying about what’s going on around them:
“What happens is going to happen. We can’t think too far, just the next game and go step by step, that’s the best thing we can do.”
Jarrett, on the other hand, is always wondering about what’s going on around him, he made reference to both Boston and Atlanta losing the other day; he knows where the Raptors are exactly and what might happen in they win one and someone they’re chasing loses one.
Not sure which is the right approach, actually.
Do you turn a blind eye to other results and just take care of your business?
Or do you intently scoreboard-watch and update calculations every day?
Either, I guess although I know most fans are in the latter category, right?
I think it’s too early to be too worried about standings and games behind and who has what game coming up. That’s more fun from the middle of March to the end of the season.
This a tad sacrilegious but I honestly think the Olympics – which are going on in Vancouver, I understand – are far more about Ashleigh McIvor than Sidney Crosby.
But that’s just me.
Questions and answers, anyone?
How about here at noon?
I’ll be around post-shootaround.
Because the Raptors run so many players out during a game – a 10-man rotation is the norm – this whole “first unit” and “second unit” stuff really doesn’t carry much weight.
It’s not like they rotate in five-man shifts and Jose hammered that point home again Tuesday afternoon:
“Like I say, for us it’s not more coming off the bench or being a starter or something like that, it’s just a team. We play together with each other, we feel comfortable with each other. It doesn’t matter how many minutes you play with another guy.
“We do a good job in practice and in the game to be sure that everyone’s on the same page so that’s good.”