Fun game, big finish but at least one troubling sign
So as I said to a felllow with a vested interest in the fortunes of the HOTH last night:
“You guys do make it interesting.”
Fun night, though; even if there were some heart palpitations at the prospect of OT without a word written about 9:15 p.m. and a 10:30 deadline looming.
Look, I'm not going to rip Kyle Lowry for not being able to keep Ty Lawson in front of him, Lawson is among the quickest guards in the league with the ball and no one can; Lawson living at the rim is as much on the bigs and wings as anyone.
No, the troubling sign was seeing how hard a time they -- and he -- had dealing with aggressive traps on high screen-roll. I didn't chart every play, the IGBT makes that impossible, but I would bet half a dozen of the turnovers came off screen-roll traps.
And you know that every team in the NBA will see tape of that today -- bet my man Walker D. Russell would be phoning the Knicks before he left the arena -- and now that's something the Raptors really have to work on.
Of course, not every team has the quickness of Denver and not every coach would gamble like George Karl would but it's going to be interesting to see how many teams now aggressively trap Lowry.
And how he handles it.
Just like they drew it up
It was the possession that ended with the first basket Andrea scored, a jump shot with about a minute left in the first quarter, and it had to bring a smile to Dwane Casey’s face.
I can’t read my scribbling to figure out precisely how it went down but I do know that every Raptor on the court touched the ball on the possession before Bargnani knocked down an 18-foot jump shot; one of the few times in the game the ball moved so swiftly and efficiently without a turnover or a quicker shot.
It might have been Bargnani’s shining moment of night – you could tell he was stll feeling the effects of the flu bug that laid him low for a couple of days but it was still good to see.
Bargnani was basically ineffective most of the night but I’m going to chalk that up primarly to the bug, he looked terrible and was a step behind.
Gambling can be good
We know from the game story that Dwane was itching to get Rudy Gay back in the game in the fourth quarter when he had to sit him with the five fouls for about five minutes with the game hanging in the balance.
But a gamble of equal proportions came in the third quarter, when he sat him for all but 69 seconds with four fouls.
It’s always a tough call for a coach in that kind of situation, when do you roll the dice and leave the guy in versus sitting him so he’s at least around later in the night.
Personally, I’m kind of adverse to pulling a guy with two quick fouls early – I’d ride out an entire first quarter or at least enough of the first quarter so that they can use a regular rotation – but after haftime, I’m erring on the side of caution and have no problem with the way Dwane handled things.
Gay’s a special case on this team because they so desperately need him late in close games and since it seems every single game they play is close assuring yourself he’ll be around for the final five minutes is of paramount importance.
Now, if they’d blown a lead in either the thrid or the start of the fourth with Rudy on the bench, I can only imagine the howling.
I know hindsight is perfect but I have no issues at all with how the timing was handled last night.
More? Yeah, I’ve got a bit before I have to deliver Super Son for one last check of the collarbone and shoulder down at the fracture clinic.
So I get settled after the tome is written, turn on the tweeter to find out what's going on in world, especially to see how good -- or bad -- the State of the Union address was.
Imagine my surprise to find out that Ricky Rubio had such an intense interest in American politics.
Yes, I have been known to have an issue or two with the musical selections at Raptors games because (a) I don't consider some of it music and (b) most of it isn't.
But the game's on the line, HOTH are inbounding the ball and they play this?
In The Air Tonight was an inspired choice.
Well done, folks.
You saw in the IGBT that Stevie Boy was around clicking off some frames (not sure you can use that phrase in the digital age but I’m an old codger so I will) and here’s the end result of his evening.
As I said last night, DeRozan Mozgov’d Mozgov!
This was as impressive as pretty much anythig I can remember DeMar doing in a game.
I’m loafing tonight, big time, since Not Grace Kelly is in New York before I head to Houston so we’ll dump the IGBT for an evening in case I want to have a nap duirng the game. But if I don’t, I’d lke to get a head start on the mail, please.
It’s firstname.lastname@example.org and there’s barely any over there so write and say hello, please.
I’m trying to figure out precisely why the opening of spring training is so far and away more anticipated than the beginning of any other North Amrerican pro sports pretend season.
And it’s not just this year with the TOD – although I’ve got a feeling we’re in for a special year – because it’s the same every spring.
Is it simply the time of year, we see sun and grass and guys playing catch and cannot wait for our own summer?
Is it basically because of the length of time between the end of last season and the start of this one?
What is it?
You have to admit that regardless of how your team’s fortunes might look, there’s something special about this week.
Sure, spring training is way too long, there are too many games, too many guys playing that you’ve never heard of before and likely won’t ever hear of again.
But it doesn’t seem to matter; this is an exciting week and month, isn’t it?