Itís amazing how one man can do one thing very well and another not so well in the same game. No people, Iím not talking about TJ (relax, Iíll get to that in a second), Iím talking about Sam. Sam Mitchell at times this season has not done the greatest job managing Jose and TJís court time, at times taking guys off when they were in a groove or inserting guys when they were dead cold. Weíve seen some moves that have been perplexing at best. Tonight, Sam had it right. He didnít like what he was seeing from TJ, didnít like the fact that he was not being aggressive (which almost sounds impossible), so he got him out of there and turned it over to Jose. When Jose started to tire (and after talking with TJ), he got TJ back in the game and while his shot just wasnít there, he was attacking and dishing, creating room for his teammates. You have to give Sam credit for managing the PG position tonight, he got everything right there. But as we have seen so many times over the past few seasons, if you need a play drawn up at the end of the game, it just isnít going to happen. It almost hurts to see that at the end of the game, after a timeout, the play that the Raptors
ran was one where Jose reacted like something had broken down and Bosh
decided it was best to jack up a jumper instead of attacking the basket. You have to think that maybe Bosh
was having some flashbacks of the non-call his last time with the ball, where Howard was awarded a block (Iím still 50/50 on that call, could have gone either way, but I think because Bosh
was travelling sideways, itís tougher to give the call in his favour).
Sam said after the game that you can only do so much as far as drawing up plays, that players are the ones who are out on the floor and they make the decisions. NO. NO. NO. You are the coach, you outline what is supposed to happen and if they donít follow what you say, you give them hell. Do you think the Utah Jazz are going to come out of a timeout and have somebody decide that theyíre just going to go against what coach Sloan has drawn up? You only get that kind of pass when your name is LeBron or Kobe or Michael. When you have shown time after time that you can create your own good look and then follow through on it, then okay, take that option if it presents itself. The Raptors
do not have anybody who fits that tab. You need to have a set play and if something breaks down, then you have to attack. You cannot settle for a jump shot taken by a guy whose strongest game is inside, it just doesnít play into your favour. If you are going to settle for a jump shot for the win, then you might want to take a look at a guy named Kapono, who has just been lighting it up all night and needs a millisecond to release the ball. I donít understand how you just forget a guy like that down the stretch.
Note to Raptors
commentators: ENOUGH WITH THE SUPERMAN COMMENTS. Okay, I get it, Dwight Howard is good, he has a big body, heís likeable, he did a memorable ďdunkĒ in the dunk competition, okay, got it. Do we really have to hear him referred to as Superman all night? I donít know if this annoys anybody else, but really, it is driving me nuts. What if he had come out in a Batman costume for the dunk competition, used a utility belt to hook himself to the rafters and then swung down for a dunk? Would we be calling him Batman all season? Okay, this is the worst hypothetical ever, but really, enough with the Superman stuff, itís stupid.
The technical that was called on Superman was horrible. Howard was just having a little fun, thereís nothing wrong with that. He wasnít shouting, he wasnít making any obscene gestures, itís the playoffs, let that stuff go. What I loved about the play was that by stepping up and not letting him have an easy dunk, Delfino showed that the Raptors
do have some guts. Believe me, that is serious business going in for a block on Howard, so it was good to see that Delfino just said, ďTo hell with this, youíre not getting an easy dunk here.Ē Iíve said it before, the most exciting play in basketball isnít the dunk, itís the blocked dunk. Could you imagine how you would have jumped out of your seat if Delfino had blocked Howard? Did you see how the next time down the court, he somehow just didnít have a grip on the ball when he went in for an easy putback dunk and missed? Iím not saying by any means that he was thinking about Delfino, but you have to wonder if even for a half second, he was just telling himself to make sure he used his body to go up strong. Taking that extra millisecond (yes, second time I have used ďmillisecondĒ in this post) to think about it could have had its effect.
Man, we talk a lot about how when the Raptors
complain about playing a lot of games in a few nights, they need better condititioning, but after seeing Bosh
in a couple of games here, I really think he does need to work on his conditioning a bit in the off-season. True, he is battling against Howard and Lewis all night, so that is going to take its toll more than playing against other NBA players, but the dude was sucking flies at the end of the game. This is why it is even more perplexing that he would let a long range jumper go for the win. If youíre that tired, your legs are not going to be under you, so that shot is probably going to fall short. Run some laps in the summer and do a lot of swimming. Big time players come up big and make big time plays in the 4th quarter. If youíre too tired to do it, then you know what you have to work on.
Anyway, good to see the Raptors
come back again and in better fashion this time, but spotting a team a 15 point lead every game just isnít going to help you win games. The Raptors
need to come out and get off to a good start, because we have seen in the past two games that they can definitely play against the Magic. The Raptors
have been able to win quarters 2-4, but if youíre that far behind after the first, it just isnít going to happen.
Well, Game 3 back in Toronto and if youíre going, make sure you help make the ACC the noisiest arena in the league.