Okay, I know it’s coming, so I may as well talk about it right off the top (and this goes for you too Ben, so please don’t email me at work tomorrow). TJ Ford did NOT, I repeat, NOT lose the game for the Raptors. Did he make a good decision down the stretch? Not even close. His dribble, dribble, dribble drive option was a poor decision, no other way to put it. That being said, I don’t think Bosh was really an option since Varejao was neutralizing him all night (and dunking on him…but more on that later), but there was plenty of time for a drive and dish to either MoPete or AP, two capable shooters.
I know I am undoubtedly going to hear about how Calderon shows better court management down the stretch and maybe he does, but that being said, let’s look at what happened at the end of the game. Bargnani on an open look from Ford, missed. Bosh, open look from Ford, missed. Bargnani, turnover, 3 second violation. Bosh jumper off a Ford pass, missed. Bargnani finally hits from Ford (8th assist). AP misses a layup. Anyway, it goes on, but please don’t talk to me about TJ not creating opportunities down the stretch or being a good floor general, because truth be told, while he made a HORRIBLE decision down the stretch, he did provide the Raptors with more than enough opportunities to put the game away.
The funny thing is, the point people keep harping on with Ford is that he makes poor decisions, but I don’t think that’s really the case. Yes, he a made a bad decision tonight (Sam, you have to take the lead here and make it clear what is option A and option B or even C), but my concern more than anything is the turnovers. 4 tonight. Not tragic, but not good. I think that is something that has to be addressed before decision making. Decision making can be helped via the coach, but turnovers…well, you have to hold on to your luggage! I also think that if you are going to be a starting point guard who is strong at driving and drawing fouls, then you have to shoot above 80% from the line.
Now, Mr. Bosh. You’re an All-Star. So how is it that you manage to forget basketball fundamentals and have Varejao dunk over you when you should have boxed him out and shipped him back to Cleveland? As soon as that shot went up, Bosh should have back that ass up and gotten Varejao out of the way, especially when you know the guy is a beast on the boards. Poor execution by Bosh. You can’t forget the basics if you want to be a real winner. Those little things win games.
As we’ve said a million times before, coming out of timeouts, the Raptors never look ready. It’s like they were talking about the All-Star game during their timeout and then come out onto the floor with no set play. As much as I hate Phil Jackson, watch the Lakers when they come out of a break. 3 options ready. You think Jerry Sloan has the Jazz walking onto the court looking like the Raptors coming out of a break? No way. Sam, this HAS to improve.
Anyway, should be interesting against the Pacers on Friday.