As expected: Some good, some bad, some work still to do
So, what’d ya think?
Better? Worse? Same?
Impossible to tell much off one pre-season game – always remember that – and as you’d expect there were some good things and some bad things.
(Unless you or I come up with a better idea, it’ll stick)
Tone set early
There was a Jerryd Bayless breakaway dunk some time in the first half and it was one of those moments when players leap off the bench, coaches get excited, the fans get pumped up and the guys on the court are high-fiving and watching.
Except this time, almost before Bayless was airborne, Dwane Casey was up on his feet not cheering but screaming at the players to “get back, get back” on defence. They did. Maybe the message will ultimately get through.
A work in progress
And then where some defensive lapses, some lack of physical play that make you realize he still is a very raw talent in just his second season. That’s a point that wasn’t lost on his coach, who had this to say:
I was happy with Ed, 10 and 10, a double-double. Again, getting that stamina up where he can really be physical for an entire game to go against a guy like Garnett, rebound in traffic, we need to have that from Ed.
I do think Davis is going to be a solid pro; I think he’s not quite there yet. He is, however, closer than he was.
What’s it mean?
I see scribbled in the notebook this little entry:
I think there are going to be times, even after they’ve got all their offensive set in, that this team is going to struggle to score.
And that’s why Leandro Barbosa may end up being one of the most important players on the roster.
He’s still the best guy on the team at breaking down his man off the dribble, I think he’ll emerge as the best three-point shooter on the squad and if Dwane envisions from his past some kind of Jason Terry role for Barbosa – offensive energizer off the bench to will be asked to change games – I’m all for that.
We saw the Raptors struggle mightily on offence for long stretches yesterday, I think that’s going to remain an issue; they’ll need as much scoring punch as Barbosa can give them.
Wow, less than a week ‘til Christmas, I hear.
Hope the malls aren’t too crowded, I’ve got some shopping to do.
And I’m sure they’ll be playing carols, hope this one’s in the rotation.
Tebow has no miracle.
San Diego drills Baltimore.
And, somehow, mathematically, the Eagles are still alive.
Oh yeah, I sure picked a good week to give up the NFL gig because there was other stuff to occupy my time.
Anyway, the NFL stuff is done, at least for the paper. Game yesterday, Christmas Eve and then a drive to Cleveland next week, Dallas-Orlando-New York over New Year’s. Busy. Busy. Busy.
But I still pay attention, mostly because I’m more engaged in the NFL for having written about it for 15 weeks or so and the most interesting thing was probably the Packers losing because they had simply been so dominant offensively for so long and Aaron Rodgers was having a season for the ages.
There is always a debate when an unbeaten football team reaches this point in the season, isn’t there? Do going unbeaten count for much? Do they need to rest players for the post-season even if it means sacrificing that unbeaten streak?
Now, I don’t think it’s ever good to lose, no matter what, but in some cases, as long as you’re giving your best shot, working on the areas of the game that need improvement and the other team wins? Well, good on them, sometimes the other team just wins.
The problem the Packers this season has always been the defence, they give up too many big plays and big drives and make big mistakes.
I’m sure the coaches knew it and were hammering it home every week in practice. But as long as they were winning and Rodgers was dominating, I’m sure some of the players glossed over the talk and just went about their business.
Now? Now they got a wakeup call so maybe some losses aren’t bad.
So, if you saw that Raptor game, what’d you think of the 3-D thingy on the baseline.
Super Son reports that it looked pretty cool on TV and I heard that in some of the seats on the far side from the bench, you can see what it is and the impact it has.
(What it is, if you didn’t see, is the Raptors name printed on the baseline out of bounds right under the basket. It’s scripted in such a manner that it looks three-dimensional, like it’s standing up. I’ve seen it used in Euroleague arenas and at some big-time soccer matches; we’re told this the first time it’s been used in North America).
You can see it briefly a couple of times in this link of game highlights.
But if you’re sitting where we’re sitting, or in the bottom few rows of seats, or on our side of the floor, it’s absolutely indecipherable and looks like scribbling. Or as if someone spilled some paint.
That picture of Ed Davis up above?
It comes from the one and only Stevie Boy Russell, our crack photog who did Sunday’s game.