A glaring hole and other delightful items
Hmm. Kind of glum out there, isn’t it?
Now 1-7 carrying the baggage of a six-game losing streak and heading into Florida for back-to-backs in Orlando and Miami?
Oh yeah, this has got fun written all over it.
A major roster deficiency
We’ve alluded to it more than a few times since the season began and last night hammered it home again:
This team just doesn’t have a guy who can break his man down off the dribble when it’s most needed and no one has emerged with that skill.
And if no one does, I don’t see how they can win a close game other than by having the other team mess up.
The play in the final crucial possession was the kind of play they’re going to have to run, set a couple of screens for a point guard, hope he can get to the rim or hope that he can find someone open on the perimeter to knock down a shot.
Didn’t happen last night – Stephen Jackson played excellent defence on Bargnani – and it didn’t happen against the Knicks or the Kings, either.
And you can moan all you want about coaching and play-calling but Red Auerbach himself can magically turn someone into a great one-on-one player who can create havoc off the dribble.
Over to you, Mr. Colangelo.
A nice little find
Necessity being the mother of invention and all, it’s got to be at least a bit pleasing to some that Julian Wright has responded as well as he has to the chance at some regular minutes.
Jay mentioned after the game that there are still some concerns with how he defends trying to trail guys around screens but I like Wright’s one-on-defence, his hustle, his length and his intensity.
But what’s it all mean for him in the long run?
Unless Bryan’s willing to move Sonny Weems in some transaction, I don’t see where Wright fits into the rotation other than as a solid, deep backup who only plays when injuries hit.
Too bad, ‘cause the guy’s growing on me.
And if he rocks the quasi-Slick Watts look with the headband, all the better.
Pretty up-to-date guy, too.
Before the game, he was wandering through the locker room whistling Christmas carols and when it was pointed out that it’s not something we’re used to hearing, he made the point that it’s post-Thanksgiving and therefore all right to be thinking Christmas.
Not bad, most players aren’t quite up to date with the difference in Thanksgiving dates.
Without David Andersen, Jay decided to not add a fourth guy to the rotation of bigs and I have no problem with it at all and think it’s something he should stick with more often than not.
Look at the numbers: Bargnani, 23 and 9 in 38 minutes.
Evans, 2 and 10 in 30 minutes.
Johnson, 16 and 9 in 28 minutes.
That’s pretty good production, no one really got stretched out minutes-wise and they all had good games.
There will be nights where foul trouble makes it necessary to go to Andersen but I feel pretty strongly that leaving it as a three-man gang whenever possible is the best thing to do.
Over to you, Mr. Triano.
And in other items ...
You know what the HOTH needed last night?
One of their point guards to have an other-worldly kind of night.
You look at that Charlotte team and it’s glaring deficiency is at the point where DJ Augustin’s a kid who may or may not be good and Shaun Livingston is an okay back who is one minor mis-step away from having his career end.
Trouble is, Jarrett had more turnovers than assists and while Jose had nine assists in less than 24 minutes, he did miss eight of nine shots.
And I’m not sure either of them did enough to make Larry Brown go, ‘oh, I’ve got to have that guy.’
The other side of the coin, of course, is what would they ever get from Charlotte in a deal.
No way the Bobcats are giving up Wallace or Jackson, Boris Diaw’s a tubby tweener who’s not appreciably better than anyone Toronto has and Tyrus Thomas shows up one night and not the next and after that, there’s not much.
Maybe Gerald Henderson’s an interesting player player but I’m not sure the Bobcats are interested in giving him up.
Trust me, there were people in the upper echelons of Rpatordom who hoped one of Jack or Calderon were outstanding just to pique the interest of the Bobcats; that didn’t happen and I don’t know if there’s a legit fit there anyway.
Check out Stevie Boy’s photo bloggy thingy from last night.
Okay, I’m going to be on a plane or just landing on my Toronto-Dulles-Orlando journey about 11 a.m. today. Please be quiet for me for a minute, would you?
A minor electrical fire on press row kind of jazzed up the first half. Seems a wonky outlet kind of burned and the smell kind of put a damper on the fun of watching the game for almost the entire second quarter.
We had a trade of PA announcers at halftime when Herbie Kuhn’s voice went and backup Mike Cvitkovic just happened to be in the arena.
And then I walked around the corner to go the media room at halftime and almost ran into The Chicken, who was holding an ice bag to his head. Guess he/she/it got a little cut after whacking the noggin on something sharp after a first half schtick moment.
Odd night indeed.
Quickly from the mail:
Q: Hi Doug, I was intrigued by a comment in your recap of the Golden State game. You wrote "[i]n a season that has started about as badly as anyone connected with the team could have imagined, the Raptors are finding out all kinds of troubling things about themselves."
When the vast majority of NBA commentators forecast Toronto to be one of the worst teams in league, shouldn't management's expectation of something better raise a question about their objectivity and/or ability. This seems to be only the latest year where gaming, media, spectators suggest Toronto lacks credibility at many positions and is competitively challenged. Management then follows with public comments suggesting surprise/anger/hurt. Year after year though, the team more closely resembles the independent forecast than management's own.
Jeremy T, Toronto
A: Um, no, not at all. Management, players and coaches of every team in the league expect great things before a season begins. I don’t think anyone would, or should, expect someone closely associated to a team to say ‘we’re going to be bad’ before they’ve even played a game. Whether or not that optimism is misguided doesn’t really matter, I’d rather have them confident in their abilities rather than worried about failing.
But of course they’re not objective, they’re not supposed to be.
I’d love to tell you what they wrote in Charlotte about that one but the Observer took a pass on the trip and relied on the wire services for game coverage.
Want to get some mail in?
All right, long travel day ahead, not sure wireless issues anywhere I’ll be but I’ll get to the inevitable comments whenever I can.