Good game, fun finish and some signs of life
(And yes, Chris Bosh had a tough finish with missed free throws and bobbled balls and a couple of missed drives and jumpers and he could have been better. Let’s talk about something else).
What else could they do?
Sometimes, you just don’t get a break.
On that last possession, the Raptors did pretty much everything they could all over the floor.
Antoine Wright did an excellent job on Carmelo, first by forcing him out about a yard further than he wanted to, and then by getting right up in him and forcing a jumper that was off from the second it left Anthony’s hand.
They got on the glass and boxed people out and it was a footrace to the loose ball over on the far side right by the sideline.
They didn’t win it – mostly because almost all of ‘em were inside their men on the glass – and when a play gets scrambled like that, no one knows what’s going to happen.
Boom, one pass, one shot, one bucket, one buzzer, one loss.
A tough one, no doubt but, as is often the case in pro sports, when things are going bad, a team cannot catch a break.
Feeding the beast
Saw something in the third quarter last night I don’t remember seeing too often and it was quite refreshing, actually.
About four times in succession, maybe five of six possessions or something like that (chicken scratch barely legible), the Raptors ran stuff in the post for Andrea.
Yes, he had the under-sized Joey Graham trying to guard him and it only made sense that the Raptors would try to exploit that mismatch. But so many times this year there’ve been similar situations – not just with Andrea but more often than not -- and they’ve tended to ignore them, it was good to see they went back to him repeatedly. Part of the problem in the past was that Bargnani would float out to the three-point line instead of getting inside and doing some hard work down low; last night he was fully engaged and animated and it had to be the best all-around game he’s played in quite some time.
Maybe one change
I know the matchups weren’t there because the Nuggets went small but I wonder if Andrea Bargnani shouldn’t have been on the court for that final Nugget possession.
I think everyone in the world knew that the play was going to be an iso for Carmelo so it’s not like Denver would have gone to the guy Andrea was guarding.
And the way Bargnani was rebounding, I think I would have liked him on the glass; and if Anthony hadn’t settled for a jump shot, I think I would have liked the team’s best shot-blocker trying to provide help.
Anyway, it wasn’t the reason they lost – it’s not like Andrea would have been quick enough to get to the loose ball as it squirted away – but he might have been able to do something on the initial miss to change the way the play unfolded.
A couple of little things before I head to the big bird for the longish flight.
(And I vow not to say: “Get up, bird” when we take off).
I really missed George Karl not being around last night.
He’s one of the visiting coaches you always want to go listen to before the game because you’ll usually get some good insight and a good quote.
A top five list? Sure.
I try never to miss pre-game, or at least shootaround chats with:
Stan Van Gundy
A Did You Know
Yes, we all know Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony are Olympic gold medalists but there was a third on the court last night.
Yes, the referee, who is probably a more accomplished player than a lot of guys he was blowing the whistle on.
Wood was on the 1984 Olympic gold medal team (he would have played against Jay Triano in Los Angeles) and was a former first round draft pick (10th overall, 1984) by the Sixers.
Ran into him, Joey Crawford and Tony Brown after the worked the Portland game in a little decompression session back the hotel and he’s quite a good guy.
Soild ref, too.
And having played 274 NBA games, he will have had a lot longer career than a bunch of the guys on the court Friday night.
What’d they write about in Denver?
Glad you asked.
In keeping with a burgeoning tradition of telling stories about the city and team the Heroes Of The Hardcourt are facing next, here’s a little Miami yarn.
(And it’s a tradition that’s burgeoning because, quite frankly, there’s not much to say about THOTH every day right now. You like it?) Anyway, it’s a Sam Mitchell story so it’s pretty good and I’ll un-X rate it if I must.
Not sure of the year but they’re down there for a game and they’re getting drilled pretty badly, as I recall.
There have been some suspect calls throughout the game, at least in the opinion of the aggrieved S. Mitchell and, finally, he snaps.
Gets him tossed out of the game and I guess he figures that if he’s going to go, he’s going out with a bang.
He walks about 15 feet on to the court and points directly at each of the three officials, who are spread out over the floor. He points at each of them and says:
“And bleep you.”
Now, among the people courtside is a bigwig league official who was there on a playoff site survey checking out the arena and to this day, when I see that guy at an all-star game or finals, he tells he remains a it afraid of Our Man Sam.
Okay, since the plan tonight is for a leisurely evening around the lounge at the Miami airport Marriott (flight gets in late evening, I’m not a beach guy, room rates were through the roof, early flight Monday so why not just stay there), I’ll have some time to do some mail.
Make ‘em good, please. No rants, nothing with “here’s my long-winded diatribe and what I think. Your thoughts?” and I’m not doing Bosh sign-and-trade stuff.
Want good news? Chicago didn’t win.
Didn’t play, but still …