After Hump’s performance over the past few games, it is almost a requirement to bring up the fact that this is the guy who replaced Hoffa. Just a note: I was watching a Utah game the other night and saw Hoffa take a shot at the buzzer that almost shattered the backboard.
Anyway, back to Hump. 10 boards, 10! 6 points, a block and he got his share of fouls in there too. 27 minutes. I don’t think it is going to get any better than that for Hump and quite honestly, it doesn’t have to. If that is what you are getting from Hump with any sort of frequency, that has to be counted as a huge plus.
As AP mentioned in the post-game, the fans got the most excited when Hump got about 3 rebounds in a row (of course, he was so excited, he followed it with an airball of gargantuan quality). Toronto fans like guys who work hard. We know that JYD wasn’t the best baller. We know that the Red Rocket wasn’t the slickest player. But we knew that on any given night, those guys were going to get dirty and not have a problem with it. These are the guys who if they were playing baseball, would be dirty before the first pitch. Just because Toronto is still (and always will be) a hockey city, I liken rebounds to a big hit. It’s vital to controlling the game and once you start doing it, it’s contagious and it gets the crowd into the game.
Joey (notice I didn’t call him Gatorade) Graham had a nice night, did what he had to do and picked up a few boards. Played pretty good D, moving around the court, keeping his feet moving. You almost have to wonder if he is one of those guys who needs a situation in order for him to perform.
What can’t be lost in tonight’s game is the balanced scoring. 5 guys in double digits and the ball was moving around the court with nice crisp passes. Guys were taking what the D was giving them and they were giving a lot. When you can get out to a quick lead like that, it’s tough to recover, especially when you are missing your best player. One of the reasons for the balanced scoring tonight was that the Heat just couldn’t get down the court to deal with the Raptors on the break. You know Shaq’s not getting back, but guys like Haslem were walking back up the court and Jones was doing that “Yeah coach, I’m running” half jog thing to try to get back on D. That doesn’t cut it. Not when you have to get back against a fast team like Toronto. 13 fast break points for Toronto to Miami’s 4.
So when you talk about balanced scoring, you have to look back at your PG. TJ looked like the complete opposite of the man we saw for 3 quarters against the Celtics. 2 turnovers, 9 assists, 14 points…but the most important stat? 8-8 from the line. He was 3-9 from the field, so not very good there, but when you have a PG who can penetrate and break down D for a dish, that’s one thing. When you have a guy who can get to the rack, put you in foul trouble and then sink his free throws? That’s a whole other kind of dangerous. That’s the kind of stuff that gets Shaq on the bench. It changes the landscape. Said it a million times. Hit your free throws.
It was nice to see AP looking a bit more comfortable, he looked like he wasn’t having problems getting his feet set tonight, but MoPete…different story. Don’t read too much into Mo’s line tonight. Sure, he had 11 points in just over 13 minutes, but he was still 3-10 from the field. When he got his feet set and let that sweet stroke go, he looked good, but it still looks like he is rushing his shot.
I still don’t think Jose is completely healthy. He is putting up good numbers in the minutes he is getting, but something about the way he is getting up and down the court and making his cuts just doesn’t look the same. Maybe he’s not as warm, who knows, but something just doesn’t look right.
Bosh with 18 rebounds and he was actually attacking tonight. Not a huge points night, but when you have the team putting together a performance like that, you don’t have to light it up yourself.
Hopefully the Raptors can carry the momentum into the game against the Wiz. Should be fun.