Small moves end up being big things
Full house. A comeback by the home lads, close game and 100 points?
Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
If, like me, you take most regular season games as one-off entertainment outings, you got your money’s worth last night.
A subtle shift
The move to put Landry Fields on Dion Waiters in the game’s pivotal possession couldn’t have worked any better.
As I believe I’d mentioned about one possession before, Waiters was too quick for Alan Anderson on a game-tying basket and when the Cavs had the ball with 14 seconds left and down three, getting Fields on him was huge.
First, Fields bothered him enough with his length that he almost caused a turnover and forced the ball out of bounds with seven seconds left.
Then, Fields did what Dwane’s been telling guys to do all year in that particular instance: He actually fouled!
And, trust me, there were some sighs of relieve on the coaching staff when he did because they’ve watched about three situations I can recall where no one did foul when they were supposed to.
Fields was actually tremendous all night, good defence, sneaky cuts on offence and he was active enough that no defender could sag off him. It’s the kind of heady play they’ve gotten out of him consistently this year; if his jump shot was in any way, shape or form more reliable I’d see a pretty bright future as a solid rotation guy for him.
Let ‘em play
Coaching restraint in the final few minutes of close games is too often in too short supply for my tastes; I’m not a huge fan of blowing every timeout on every possession to set something up.
And one the HOTH didn’t call last night was one of the best things they did.
Raptors are up one with about 36 seconds left and everyone in the building expects them to call a timeout when Amir rebounds a miss by, I believe, Livingston if my chicken scratch is wrong.
But they don’t and they get the biggest basket of the game when Lowry and Amir play screen-roll and Lowry spins away from his man and hits that little mid-range jumper, as nice a move as he’s made a while.
Of course, when I asked Kyle about it post-game he made it clear that most guards don’t want timeouts in that spot and I see his point. You stop the game and you let the defence get set instead of making them react on the fly to a play.
On another night, I imagine they might have called a timeout and either run an iso for Gay if he’d been in the game or DeRozan if Gay was out and the opposing coach would have known it was coming and defended against it.
Dwane let ‘em play, as I think he should, and got something good out of it.
About enough time
Jonas Valanciunas: 32:57; Terrence Ross: 28:24.
Seems like the right amount of playing time to me.
Ross was invisible in the first half and had a good third quarter, Valanciunas was energetic and demonstrative and except for the few minutes when he was eaten alive by Tristan Thompson he was quite effective.
Not sure those minutes will be the same in every game the rest of the way – I’m not sure Ross will play that much against Boston’s veterans, for instance – but they did get some extended time to show what they’ve got on Sunday and it was as expected: Okay play, some good moments, some rookie moments.
Get used to it.
More? Just a little, sure.
Yeah, I should have had this guy on that list of cool for sure.
Well, the World Baseball Classic provided some moments for Canada, didn’t it?
Not a lot of good in a blowout loss to Italy, the brawl with Mexico (and as baseball fights go it was a doozy) and then the elimination by the Yanks on Sunday but moments nonetheless.
But now what?
Now the program pretty much disappears from the general public until the next one and who knows what that team will look like. Sure, there will be world championships and age-group championships and the like but, unfortunately, they don’t capture the imagination nearly as much as this event did.
And that’s the problem with so many sports in our country. It goes for the basketball, too; no one pays nearly close enough attention to the other major events on the calendar in the years between things like the WBC.
In a perfect world, that should change. We don’t live in a perfect world.
How cool would it be to have a Pope from Canada?
Hope the dude wins.
So I see Carleton wins the CIS title by nipping Lakehead by 50 Sunday night and that’s an amazing program that Dave Smart’s put together up there, isn’t it?
But is it good for the game?
I’ve always thought that what makes things important and interesting to fans is competition and while it’s wonderful when dynasties emerge, it’s even better when those dynastic teams or athletes have a foil to play off.
Carleton seems untouchable in Canadian university basketball and full measure to them for what they’ve accomplished.
But for the game to grow at that level in the country, and for casual fans to get a bit more enthused about it, I think the depth of talent has to grow so that there are a handful of teams capable of challenging the giants of the game.
Until that happens with regularity, I think things like the CIS tournament will elicit more yawns than screams of excitement.
Not to take away at all from what the Ravens have accomplished over the years; they are head and shoulders better than domestic competition, it seems. But there needs to be more teams capable of being at that level before regular folks will get excited.
Hey, be careful out there this week if you’re in Ontario at least.
Kids are off school and lots of urchins wandering the streets.
At least Super Son’s got a bunch of day work shifts so I know where he’ll be. And he’ll be making money he can spend on gifts for Dad. Seems like a pretty darn good week, no?