Beating the Nooch

After I selected the title for this post, I realized that it actually sounded somewhat profane. Beating the Nooch. Anyway, what’s the “Nooch”? That’s how I have started referring to New Orleans Oklahoma City Hornets. NOOCH. I think it has a certain ring to it. Like, “Dude, we’re going to the Nooch game tonight. Do you want to down a sixer each of Steam Whistle and wear the boxes on our heads to the game?” So there you go, feel free to use it, just give us some credit.

So back to the game. Let’s start with Calderon and what appears to be his daily block party. Out of nowhere, another block, this time on Bobby Jackson. Did you see Jackson’s face when Jose was waving his arms to pump up the crowd? I thought Jackson was going to start an “altercation” as the TV guys like to say. It’s not like Jose is Josh Smith, who will come out of nowhere and use his Strandman (yeah Lang, that one’s for you) arms and incredible vertical to block from behind. Lookout league, pretty soon Jose is going to start doing the Dikembe finger wag.

So in back to back games against teams the Raptors should have handled quite easily (taking into consideration actual talent, injuries and recent schedule), they have had to rally the troops and pull of comebacks. I’ll be pretty clear about this one, the Raptors had no business winning last night. None. A miraculous comeback and some key players missing for the Nooch settled that game last night. Sam said that in the end, the win still looks beautiful to him. Great. Thanks Sam. The Raptors almost got embarrassed on home court and played miserably against inferior teams and you’re cool. If the Raptors hadn’t fouled themselves into requiring a zone defense to be implemented against the Hornets the other night, it could have easily been two ugly losses on home court to inferior teams. There is definitely work to be done.

That being said, I don’t want to be a killjoy. These are the games that winners win. Like Bosh said, last year, no way do they come back from 15 down with 7 left. Not a chance. It would have been Hoffa time. This year, the Raptors have more fight in them and actually have some talent to help the fight in the right direction. Calderon is taking advantage of teams off the dribble and going up strong, which is good to see. Although I hate to see it, Bosh’s 3 from the top was big. That’s clutch shooting, but I’ve said it a million times before, the more he hits that, the more it’s going to enter his game and that will get ugly.

A pet peeve: poor free throw shooting. There’s no excuse for it. You’re pro basketball players. You’ve been taking that same shot your whole life. The line hasn’t moved. There’s no excuse for shooting less than 80% as an individual, 85% as a team. So last night’s 67% was disgusting (Bosh attributed to most of this…but at least he sunk the ones down the stretch). Those are the things that lose you close games. On the other hand, the Raptors have been doing a fairly good job at holding on to the ball and that always helps you win. Six turnovers last night compared to 13 for the Nooch.

By the way, “Chris Bosh is a MAN.”


TTFD  on January 25th, 2007

Yah Sam’s laissez faire attitude towards sub-standard playing is strange to say the least…he doesn’t have to ballistic in the post-game but something like ‘yah, we need to improve in ‘ type of comment would be a lot better and make me feel like he actually let’s his team know they require some improvements and motivates/coaches them to do so. It’s almost like he’s just along for the ride, rather than sterring the ship, so to speak.

Jay  on January 26th, 2007

Well said. We certainly don’t need Sam to turn into Kevin O’Neill in the post-game, dropping F-bombs everywhere, but show you care a bit, show that you acknowledge there is room for improvement. It’s not much to ask.

Johnn19  on January 26th, 2007

Mitchell does not comment to the press what is said in the dressing room. From the comments from some of the players, they heard from Sam re their play during the first half.

Johnn19  on January 26th, 2007

Everybody says what a horrible game this was. You need to look at the defense which allowed only 19 pts for the last 3 qtrs. The first qtr their defensive rotations were terrible. On offense this is a jump shooting team & they struggle when their shots not falling. Only Bosh & Calderon were making shots and driving the lane. The rest of the team shot 34% for the game. They won in the last 5 mins because they kept the Hornets to outside shots
which they missed & kept them out of the lane.
Bosh & Calderon made 19 pts in the last 5 mins for the win,but the key was the DEFINSIVE effort.

Jay  on January 26th, 2007

I’m not talking about Sam revealing what is going on in the locker room. What I’m saying is that it would be nice, for a change, for Sam to come out and say in a post-game that there were a few things that we did wrong, these were those things and here is how we should change if we are going to get better. That’s all. I believe what is said in the locker room should stay there, that’s fine. Just don’t come out to the press and sugar coat everything, saying that you’re excited about the win. That’s garbage.

Dude, sorry, there’s no escaping that this was a bad game against a bad team missing its best player. As easily as you can say that the Raptors D kept the Nooch to 19 points in each of the last 3 quarters, you can also say that the Raptors only had 22 and 20 in the 2nd and 3rd and needed a miracle to get to 26 in the 4th. If you’re just as inept as the other team on offense, I’m putting that on the Nooch offense, not the Raptors D.

You helped prove one of my constant points: the Raptors need to drive the lane, especially down the stretch. Games are won and lost on in the paint and on free throws. True, MoPete and Bosh’s 3’s were big, but after that you have a layup and 5 consecutive free throws. Stay inside, especially when a team is short on the bench.