A throwback night to the good old days and an important story
Man, this whole idea of getting five hours sleep on nights after games plays havoc with getting this done by 7 a.m. or so but it does feel good. So I’m not real sorry for being tardy.
Well, that was some night. It really reminded me of the olden days: Big crowd, big game, close game, dramatic finish and everyone went home happy.
Might have been, all things considered, the best game in building this season.
An impressive quarter
Remember when it was terrifying for fans to think of the start of the second half with these guys?
They’d come out the locker room a tad sleepy, either fall so far behind a comeback wasn’t possible or they’d give up a comfortable lead and have to scratch and claw rather than coast.
Not so much last night.
They blitzed the Knicks in the third – Rudy Gay had seven field goals in the quarter and the Knicks had four – and it all started with them getting stops.
After letting the Knicks shoot 50 per cent from the floor in the first half, New York shot 4-for-13 (30.8 per cent) in the third quarter and Toronto got a boatload of transition baskets. And against a team that can lock in defensively when it wants to, that’s huge.
Dwane knew it:
“Against this team, they’re so smart with defensive savvy, if you get in the halfcourt and have to grind it out game, you’ve got Tyson (Chandler) back there looking at you, you’ve got (Jason) Kidd,, who has great defensive hands and Carmelo who can get up into you. It helped fuel our running game and our flow game.”
Making them pay
They might not have done it enough to satisfy some – including me – but the Raptors did take advantage of New York switching most screen and rolls on enough occasions.
In the second quarter they ran a side screen-roll with Lucas and Gay, got a switch that put Prigioni on Gay and when Lucas got him the ball JR Smith immediately went to double him, Gay kicked the ball back out and a wide open Lucas hit a three-pointer.
Just like you’d draw it up.
Of course, a couple of times they got the switch and Luke couldn’t get the ball to Gay – going into one timeout, Rudy let him know about it – but taking advantages of mismatches and forcing the defence to double is going to make the offence run even more effectively if they keep doing it.
Got to finish
I don’t know how many times I saw the Raptors get out in transition, have numbers to start the break and end up pulling the ball out and trying to run some set.
I’d suggest that the wings – and Gay and DeRozan are the primary targets – need to run to the rim more often; it seems to me they get to about three point line and either slow down or flare out to the sidelines, they need to keep going all the way to get even more easy looks.
That probably comes with familiarity, they have to know the guard will be looking for them but they have to do it.
Three-legged dog walks into the saloon and hops up on a stool.
“What can I do for you,” bartender asks.
“I’m looking for the man who done shot my pa.”
(Admit it, you giggled a bit)
In case you’re in some Oscar pool – for recreational and entertainment reasons only because gambling is bad for you – it is my considered opinion (reached after speaking to the First Lady Of The Beat) that Django Unchained upsets Lincoln in the best picture race at the Oscars tomorrow night.
But the question is: Where do the Oscars rank in the awards show race?
I’ve got them behind the SAG awards because the Oscars have always struck me as stuffy and a bit full of themselves. The SAG show seems more real and relaxed and I’m all about real and relaxed.
I’d put the Emmys next because I watch an awful lot of TV and the Grammys a distant fourth because I haven’t heard of most of the acts.
If you’re in Canada, it’s the Junos way over the Geminis, right?
Speaking of …
I have no clue about the music category and what’s good but if this ditty doesn’t win, I’m sad.
I hear Les Miserable turned from a great stage production in a good movie and the song’s pretty dang good.
Got an awful lot of the mail already done but there’s room for more and I’ll have a few hours this afternoon to work on it.
Help a fella out?
So, I’m trolling the tweeter and I see someone’s linked up this story and, as I mentioned yesterday afternoon, you’ve got to read it.
This young dude is a cousin of mine, it’s a helluva tale about a young man not giving in to a disability and it’s actually kind of inspirational in some way. Parents need to read it, kids need to read it; I’m glad it got written.
Way to go, Matt.
What about those Knicks?
Well, they are definitely on the geriatric side but they do play smart and sneaky, if slow.
But can they beat Miami and win the East?
I don’t think so.
Their offence is far too dominated by one guy, even if Carmelo Anthony is prolific scorer, and defensively they’re great when Tyson Chandler gets to alter every shot but the backcourt’s really inadequate and the bench is terribly thin.
I was talking to Marcus Camby before the game and he said he’d be back in about a week and Rasheed Wallace will help but I just don’t see them being good enough to survive through a playoff grind.