Thoughts on Andrea, Jose, Sam and Coach

Nice win for the Raps tonight. It has been good to see the steady progress that has come with Bargnani and Graham, which has been directly associated with their increased playing time. As Andrea said, you can’t compare 8 minutes with 33 minutes.

One of the things that has been great to see is how Bargnani is not settling for the outside jumper. It was brought up in tonight’s game by Swirsk and Coach and they were dead on. Bargnani has started taking it hard to the rack and while he has been missing and sometimes getting blocked, you have to love the fact that he isn’t afraid to go into what can be a dangerous area.

Everybody knows how much I can’t stand Leo Rautins. So watching the game tonight with Coach just re-emphasized that point. Coach picked out a few good things tonight, like how Graham would pass up the three, dribble and take a few steps and then drain the 2. Along with some banging, that’s his game. He doesn’t need to be launching 3s all night. It was also good when Swirsk started going overboard with his praise of Bargnani, as Coach brought him back to Earth by saying, “Yeah, let’s put him in the hall of fame.” Chuck was quick to backtrack, but it’s nice to see that while everybody is excited with the play of Bargnani, Coach is able to keep everything in perspective, even saying, “Don’t expect him to play like this every night.” Nice work Coach.

Jose Calderon. How many times has he blown by somebody for a left-handed layup this year? Coach alluded to it, a lot of people in the league don’t give him credit for his quickness. Given, he’s no TJ when it comes to speed, but that’s often a good thing. You hardly ever see him out of control and his field goal percentage this year is out of this world. I still can’t believe how easy he is making that play look.

Now on to Sam Mitchell. Okay Sam, we have been hard on you and rightfully so. But let’s give credit where credit is due. The real change in this game came when the Raps started going to the zone, creating all kinds of problems for the Hornets without Peja in their lineup. While the Raps sometimes looked a bit slow footed in the zone (how that is possible, I still don’t understand), it was a good strategy and Sam deserves some credit. Still not out of the water though Sam, it will take a lot more than this to climb out of the hole you have dug for yourself.

Nice game, that was a nice change, not having to watch a lead disappear. Next!