Back to life…back to reality. Sorry, that was just me flashing back to high school, but the song seemed so relevant considering what we were all subject to today down at the ACC. Around 4:00, my daughter and I were walking by the ACC and I told her that it is the place where the Raptors play. She asked, “Are they playing today?” and my response was, “We’ll see.” It was completely lost on the 5-year old, but the inner-Jay was all over it.
There were some appalling defensive displays by the Raptors today; almost as appalling as some of the calls and non-calls (I’m not talking about the ones Bosh was complaining about, because I didn’t see anything there, I’m talking more about when somehow Marion wasn’t called for an offensive foul in the fourth, instead having it called blocking…truly amazing officiating there). We saw Knicks players walking through the lane for easy layups; guys hanging out on the perimeter jacking threes without so much as a hand in their faces or somebody running out towards them; slow rotations…this game had it all.
I guess we were right in thinking that D’Antoni wasn’t going to let the Knicks lay down after being officially eliminated yesterday as they came out with a lot of their own big stops when the Raptors looked like they were ready to make a charge. Each time the Raptors got close, the Knicks came right back with a big 3. I guess sometimes it is good to return the favour…
If Bargs can continue to master that turnaround jumper, it could turn into something really dangerous. A good turnaround jumper is a tough thing to accomplish and an even tougher thing to defend. There are so many things that can go wrong on the offensive end, from having poor balance to not having proper focus on the basket, to seeing a teammate open and then questioning your shot. The thing is, if you are able to master those things and focus on the shot itself, if you have a natural stroke, it can be lethal because defenders can’t really get up on you when you are taking it. If you are a 7 footer who can master it, it becomes a really tough thing to defend just because of the separation you are able to create between yourself and the defender. Tonight, we saw Bargs hit that shot a few times and over the season, we have seen him use it with more confidence than ever. All part of a developing game.
So now that the Raptors are officially out of the playoffs…well, nothing really is different for them. They have been out of the playoffs for a long time, just not officially. The Raptors should just be looking to finish out the season strong, but they should be looking to get some guys like Pops extra minutes to see what they are really made of. It will be tough to get a sense of what a guy is all about when there is no pressure on him at the end of the season, but at least you can get a better idea of him when he gets extended minutes.
So let’s please close this thing out and get on with the playoffs, please?