I’m hoping we don’t have to hear that a lot this season. “Well, we got the W.” Essentially, when players or coaches say that, they are ignoring the fact that they have some deficiencies in their game/team, but are good enough to get by with those deficiencies staring them in the face. When you are playing a team like the Sixers, you should go in there thinking that you are going to kick some ass. If you want to win a championship, you have to not just be satisfied with a victory. You have to want to control the game. Not to compare the Raptors to the MJ Bulls, but the few times those guys would scrape by a team for a win, you didn’t see anybody celebrating.
Well, just because I like to harp on the negative stuff, let’s start with some of that tonight. I’m a little worried about Garbo. In just over 6 minutes, he looked bad. Guys blew around him, he didn’t look like he had any energy…I’m hoping that he is just a little out of shape, but then again, he did play at the world championships, so he should be fine…
Okay, let me put this out there first. Andrea Bargnani had a good game. BUT, there is no point putting on weight if when you take it to the rack, you are going to go in like a lightweight. I mean, Jose and TJ take it harder than Bargs did tonight. That block he had to endure down the middle of the lane was a) something everybody saw coming because there was no conviction in his eyes and b) embarrassing. At least when AP got blocked (and man, that was a nice block by Dalembert), he looked like he was going to crown somebody. Also, it does look like Bargnani put on some weight, but I’m not sure if all of that was muscle. Guy needs some toning. Looks like he may have been hanging out at Grano (with D-Mart) too much.
The amount of good looks that Korver had was disgusting. Here’s the problem: You know what Korver’s game is. As much as he works in the offseason at becoming better at putting the ball on the floor, his game is all D-Curry: catch and shoot. Is there anybody better in the league at it than him? Ray Allen? Jason Kapono? Who knows. Either way, when you have a guy like him on the perimeter, you can’t let him get good looks like that. He shot 43% from 3 last year and was 44% from the field. Make him beat you by putting the ball on the ground. If he shows you that his work in the off-season paid off and that he has another element to his game, then adjust. Until then, get out on him and don’t let him get hot. All it takes for a guy like him to change the face of a game is a couple of quick 3s.
Alright, now on to the good. Let’s count our blessings again for the pairing that is TJ and Jose. 27 total points, 16 assists, 2 turnovers and 2 steals. Find me a GM in the league who wouldn’t want that kind of production from his PG position. The thing that was strange tonight was that it was actually Calderon who was cutting to the basket more, while it looked like TJ was looking to pass first. Must be the Hallowe’en thing. Maybe they dressed up as each other. Seriously though, TJ looked under control and it did appear as if he was making a more conscious effort to find a nice passing lane 80% of the time down the court. I also liked that when the Raptors were reeling, he got back down court to grab a steal and get the momentum going in the Raptors favour, setting up Bargnani’s 4 point play. That was the key, TJ getting back into the play with sheer hustle. One minor question: what was up with Jose’s D tonight? Yikes! Still thought he should have seen a bit more court time though…
I liked Kapono’s game tonight. He didn’t force anything (well, other than that one shot he let go off of the Delfino pass, but he had no choice and it went in anyway), just took what was there. The part I found surprising was that he played a decent game defensively. It wasn’t astounding by any means, but it was certainly better than Delfino’s (other than that non-call…I mean, that was CLEARLY a charge…Delfino took a tough one). Delfino didn’t look like he knew where he was supposed to be and was always the first guy down the court after a basket against the Raps. Hey Delfino, get in position, make a stop and then get down the court.
Anyway, next up is Jersey and the Raptors had better not fall asleep for a while like they did tonight. Preview coming some time before game time.