The game from last night was more in my head, so I wrote about that one first, but anyway, on we go to the Pacers game from Friday night.
I’ve already commented on that 18-1 run in the fourth by the Pacers (by the Pacers BENCH I may add) and how there are some deficiencies that have to be addressed there. But just in a bit more detail, when another team is making a run, especially when they are doing it with their bench, it becomes something more than just a run. It becomes a movement. It becomes a feeling, something you can get behind if you are one of the players. You start to believe that when the starters aren’t coming through, that your team is deep enough to still pull it out. That’s a dangerous thing. The last thing any team on the floor wants is to have their competition start believing in themselves when you have been making them second-guess the whole night. When the Pacers started making that run, there should have been a timeout early, a tongue-lashing from the coach (that is Sam, right?) and then a few changes. This may sound a little crazy, but this is where you may want to put in a guy like Hump, because even though his abilities are limited, the dude is going to knock a few people around in there, not making it as easy for them to move.
In those situations, you also want to get up close on players, forcing them to put the ball on the floor. Too many times, the Raptors were sitting back and letting the Pacers take open jumpers. Armstrong was back there dropping 3s with nobody around. That plays right into the hands of guys coming off the bench, because they can be nice and relaxed and get into a flow. You need to force guys to go down the middle and have to deal with the elbows and bodies flying around in the paint. That being said, once you force guys into the middle, you have to make life rough for them. The Pacers had so many finger rolls dropping in the lane, it was starting to get embarrassing.
The 4th quarter was disastrous. 19 points isn’t good and defensive lapses are worse. The Raps are good, but they aren’t good enough to sit back just because they had a good 2nd quarter. They have to keep the work ethic up for the whole game if they plan on doing anything in the playoffs (assuming they get there).
Okay, now on to a few things outside of the Raptors. Did anyone catch the Pistons-Bulls game today? Since they picked up C-Webb, the Pistons are back to being the Pistons. They are clearly the class in the East. Great game to watch.
Also, just being a basketball fan, please tell me some people watched the Ohio State – Wisconsin game today. Another close game, although not as high scoring as I thought it might be.
P.S. – Sorry for being so scattered, lots of different thoughts here, but Joey Graham, prepare for your minutes to dwindle if you keep performing like this. With the addition of Juan Dixon, there may be more flexibility now, which could lead to your Stray Cat tendencies finding a home on the bench.