Welcome home? Not so much for the Raptors
Well, that was certainly a return with a thud, wasn’t it?
A so-start, a second quarter collapse and by the time the fourth quarter began we were talking about The Chicken and The Lady In The Yellow Pants more than we were talking about the action in the IGBT.
Say this for us, we can find entertainment even there isn’t anything entertaining to chat about. What a wonderful world, no?
Anyway, have at this while I hope Air Canada gets me to Boston without any drama; will check in from there and we’ll be here tonight.
Finally caught up to them
In some ways, I really like that smallish lineup because not only does it boost the scoring – would you rather have Jerryd Bayless out there or Aaron Gray or Amir Johnson to start games – but it kind of scrambles the defence.
Until things came off the rails in the second quarter, there were guys flying all over the place, it seemed and what it did was confuse and confound the Hawks to the tune of eight first-quarter turnovers.
But, as Dwane suggested in this game story, they most certainly did not sustain that energy and that was the issue. If they’re going to be small, they have to be quick getting out to shooters and offering help on defence and that disappeared when the game got out of hand.
A mantra we’ll hear
Not sure if the TV mics picked it up or not but there were a few occasions when Dwane would be standing in front of us yelling “space, space, space” and, no, he wasn’t cheering for that wackadoo American presidential hopeful trying to grab himself a spot in some lunar colony.
What he wanted was better offensive spacing from the HOTH and it was really an issue.
It was in the third quarter, when I looked up to see DeMar DeRozan being guarded by tiny Jeff Teague in the post. Normally, players on good teams would run away from that matchup, find spots across the floor to either let DeRozan go to work on a tinier defender or hit them with quick passes if a double-team came.
Not sure who it was but someone was being guarded by, I believe, Josh Smith and instead of fleeing to give DeRozan space, and taking Smith with him, the guy (Butler, maybe? Perhaps James Johnson. It doesn’t really matter) hung around so that Smith could switch on to DeRozan, taking a huge mismatch away.
And because he hung around, there wasn’t enough space for the Raps to exploit the Teague-on-a-big matchup, either.
Small thing, actually. But something veteran teams would recognize and go at.
Not sure what it is – and I know it’s go the coaches scratching their heads, too – but the Raptors are simply a different team at home than they are on the road.
The loss to the Hawks dropped them to 2-6 in the unfriendly confines of the ACC and they tend to play far too tentative – like deers caught in the headlight is how one guy put it to me – when they’re at home.
Now, some of it might have to do with the fact they really haven’t been home in eons but it’s a troubling sign nonetheless. Having seen them in person in Phoenix and Utah and watched them closely in New Jersey, there’s a sense of urgency, and consistency of effort, on the road that doesn’t carry over to home.
With seven straight at home starting the middle of next week, they better figure it out.
From The Department of The Most Ridiculous Thing I Heard Today comes …
The sold tickets to media day at the Super Bowl!
Yes, something like 6,000 people with apparently far too much money and a distinct lack of common sense, actually forked out cash to sit in a stadium and watch … interviews!
Seriously. They did.
Guess the tickets to the Watching The Paint Dry Exhibit across the street were already gone.
Now, I will confess I’ve never covered a Super Bowl and perhaps media day is chock full of excitement and drama and intrigue. Or, as I have been led to believe, it’s one of the biggest schmozzles of all time, with faux reporters from around the world doing dopey things like asking players what trees they would be if they were trees and proposing marriage to Tom Brady.
Of all the things I haven’t had the opportunity do to, do a Super Bowl is so far down the list it’s not even funny. Hope Cathal has a good time later this week.
Guess the biggest issue I have with the game – and it’s something we’ll explore here Friday ‘cause Thursday is a Nothing But Net day and the Raptors are likely to be off – is the incredible over-hype that accompanies it. It’s a silly media-driven circus that, frankly, bores me to tears.
May as well start, right?
Mail time. Feel free to let me know how you really feel about things; it’s always a fun road of discovery learning what’s on your mind.
Today I would imagine we find out Sidney Crosby has a cold. A really, really bad cold.
After all, he’s gone from concussion, to broken neck, to “soft tissue” issue in about the last 72 hours and who knows what the real story is.
Thankfully, though, I’m sure there are a couple of hundreds stories in the naked city that’ll help you really get to the bottom of this.
Read ‘em and let me know, would you? Think I’ll take a pass.
Okay, here’s something of a sports Rorschach Test.
Take a look at the official logo for the 2014 Basketball World Cup in Spain (I’m going, right boss?) and tell me what you see.
And, yes, the familiarity has not been lost on our little friend from the HOTH, who swears this was something the organizers came up with on their own.