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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 05.03.11
Messina would be a tough fit for today's NBA
Raptors knocked off in England
Before the Raptors faithful get all bent out of shape declaring the suddenly available Ettore Messina as a viable option should the team not elect to bring head coach Jay Triano back next year, consider the following:
Messina is without question a great coach, a great tactician and has more than proven himself in Europe.
His credentials speak for themselves.
And while his shocking decision to quit Real Madrid on Friday certainly raises eyebrows throughout the sport regardless of the continent, it would require the perfect set of circumstances for a man as exacting and demanding as Messina to come into the NBA and have the kind of success he had in Europe.
Messina’s my-way-or-the-highway approach that has worked so well for him in Europe would be a very hard sell in the NBA.
Few outside of Jerry Sloan, formerly of Utah, and Gregg Popovich, of San Antonio, have been able to run a team in the NBA with that kind of approach. With many of today’s NBA millionaires calling the shots, unless there is someone at the top of the food chain like a Tim Duncan or Karl Malone or even John Stockton to set the tone for the rest, it’s almost a recipe for disaster.
Not saying it can’t happen. Just saying it would be very, very hard to do.
Gaines sticks it to Raptors
Different continent, different time zone, same old Raptors.
You can fly them across the Atlantic, send them out in the community to foster good will for David Stern’s global NBA ideal, but their inability to defend remains their biggest constant and their biggest negative.
Facing a New jersey Nets team that averages just over 92 points a game, the Raptors gave up 116 and in the process relinquished their chance at becoming the first NBA team to win a regular season game in Europe.
That honour goes to the Nets who earned it in a 116-103 victory. It wasn’t necessarily a completely poor effort by the Dinos. For three quarters the Raptors were right in this one. They even enjoyed the lead a number of times, but had no answer for the Nets in the fourth when they were outscored 38-22.
DeMar DeRozan showed as much aggression as he has in weeks going off for 30 points and converting all six free throws.
But when it came to stopping any of the Nets, there just didn’t seem to be the will.
Tanenbaum gives Colangelo endorsement of sort
It didn’t have the finality of the buzzer-beating three-ball Sundiata Gaines had last January when the Utah Jazz ripped out the hearts of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Gaines proved Friday night he can still help a team.
Four days into his 10-day contract with the New jersey Nets, and mere weeks after being told he was no longer wanted in Toronto, Gaines came off the Nets bench in the fourth quarter and put up seven points in just over seven minutes to start the Raptors on their way to defeat.
“It’s a testament to working hard and being ready whenever my name is called,” Gaines said. “I had a couple practices already, so I felt pretty comfortable out there. I just tried to play my shot if it was open, and if not, pass it to my teammates; whatever the defence gave me, I tried to play off.”
The Nets are the third stop for Gaines this season. He started the campaign with Minnesota, caught on with the Raptors on a 10-day contract and then was signed to the same 10-day deal in New jersey when Jordan Farmar sprained his ankle.
Farmar was back in the lineup after missing just one game. Gaines got his shot when Williams got his fourth foul early in the final quarter and didn’t waste it.
Raptors Tipoff: Raps vs. Nets
The trip got off to a poor start for the Raptors with a loss Friday night, but it wasn’t a complete waste for everyone concerned.
Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo received an endorsement of sorts from MLSEL chairman of the board Larry Tanenbaum.
Asked if he had any news on a potential contract extension for Colangelo, Tanenbaum replied: “Bryan has a plan and we back his plan as a board.”
Whether that means an extension announcement is around the corner only Tanenbaum knows, but it certainly can’t be viewed as a bad thing if you are Bryan Colangelo.
Raptors fall to Nets in London opener
BROOK LOPEZ vs. ANDREA BARGNANI
Andrea Bargnani seems to bring out the best in Brook Lopez. Lopez, who seems hesitant and passive against most other teams, was a beast in the paint against the Raptors in Game 1 of the London two-game set. He was throwing down dunks at will and finished with a team-high 25 points. Particularly in the first half, Lopez had his way against Bargnani accumulating 1. Bargnani, who has 10 friends and family members in from Rome for the London games is never going to be mistaken for a determined defender, but his lacklustre effort against Lopez, who isn’t close to an intimidating presence, has to be better. Bargnani did win up with 23 of his own but his weak defence and lack of rebounds has to change.
The scouting report
Not sure how serious it was but Anthony Morrow did not make it out for the second half in Game One after leaving midway through the second quarter when he banged his head. Morrow has been a key scorer for the Nets since the trade for Deron Williams. The Nets were saying after the game it was unlikely he would play Saturday and if that’s the case, it’s a big loss for the Nets ... The hand and wrist injuries that had been affecting Deron Williams shooting weren’t much in evidence Friday as Williams rallied from a poor first-half shooting display to finish with 16 points and just under 50% shooting ... Former Raptor Kris Humphries has become a beast on the boards now that he’s getting consistent minutes. He had 18 to go along with his 17 points on Friday.
Williams, ex-Raptors conspire to torch Toronto
“The atmosphere was definitely different,” said Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan. “I think the crowd was going for both teams. When we scored, you’d hear a large amount of people cheering for us and vice-versa. It was definitely exciting.
“Towards the end of the game, it seemed the crowd started favouring New Jersey, but at the beginning of the game, you really couldn’t tell.”
Any bias towards the Nets wasn’t readily apparent in a game — and an atmosphere — that was as odd as many had expected.
“I thought the crowd was outstanding. They were here early, they cheered for both teams,” said Nets coach Avery Johnson.
For long stretches, the majority of the 18,689 fans watched in relative silence, roused only by outstanding plays. But when those highlight moments did arrive, the fans showed their appreciation — some standing when DeRozan threw down a dunk, many cheering loudly when New Jersey’s Deron Williams drove to the basket.
Indeed, it wasn’t the teams that drew them in — it was the game.
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points but a handful of them came late in the game when the outcome had been determined. Andrea Bargnani had 23, but no one else played well enough to help.
Amir Johnson only had eight points, Jose Calderon just six and James Johnson a measly two.
And when the Raptors went to the bench, they got little or nothing, with only Ed Davis’s 12 points being noteworthy.
The Nets, on the other hand, got seven big points from ex-Raptor Sundiata Gaines, all in the second half when Williams was in foul trouble.
Gaines, who only joined the Nets on a 10-day contract late last week, was playing in his first game.
“I think it’s just me being a testament to working hard and being ready whenever my name is called,” said Gaines. “I had a couple practices already, so I felt pretty comfortable out there. I just tried to play my shot if it was open, and if not, pass it to my teammates; whatever the defence gave me, I tried to play off.”
Another former Raptor, Kris Humphries, was equally effective. Finally settling into a role that suits him well, Humphries had 18 points and 17 rebounds while not forcing the issue at all.
“He did that sometimes with us,” Calderon said of Humphries. “He’s just being smart and doing the things he has to do. He knows his role now; he can be a great player doing what he’s doing now.”
Lopez leads Nets over Raptors in Europe's first NBA game
Followed a rather typical script for the Rptaors, who got good games from a couple of guys – Bargnani and DeRozan – but nothing much from anyone else and what we’ve all learned this year is that there’s a definite pattern that’s needed for the Raptors to win any game.
To upset a good team, they need about four guys to play well.
To beat a bad team, they need three guys to win.
And when they get nothing, really, from three-fifths of the starting lineup, they can’t even beat the Nets.
And when Johnson and Johnson give them a grand total of 10 points and nine rebounds and when Jose misses nine of 11 field goal attempts, they’ve got no chance.
Nets beat Raptors 116-103 in Europe's 1st NBA game
Toronto led 81-78 at the end of the third quarter, but Jordan Farmar hit two straight three-pointers to start the fourth and Sundiata Gaines added seven points off the bench as the Nets reserves sparked a decisive 20-6 run.
Lopez and Williams did the rest, combining for 11 points after coming back on to make sure Toronto never pulled closer than five points.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto (17-45) with 30 points and Andrea Bargnani added 23.
The teams will face each other again at the O2 on Saturday, as the NBA decided to bring regular-season games to Europe for the first time as part of its push to increase its fan base on the continent. The O2 has hosted preseason games for the last four years.
The unusual venue meant the public announcer had to do some extra work, explaining some of the basic rules every now and then to the British crowd — like pointing out that a player fouled while shooting gets two free throws. And with crowd support split between the two teams — despite the Nets being listed as the home team — players had the rare experience of being booed by rival fans before every free throw, and then cheered by their own supporters if the shot was good.
New jersey vs. Toronto
The Nets and Raptors will face each other again at the O2 on Saturday, as the NBA decided to bring regular-season games to Europe for the first time as part of its push to increase its fan base on the continent. The O2 has hosted preseason games for the last four years.
The attendance for Friday's game was an announced sellout of 18,689, but there were some empty seats.
"I loved the crowd," said Bargnani, who was the highest-scoring European player on the night. "I really felt the excitement. I was nervous in the first half. I think it's going to be better tomorrow."
The unusual venue meant the public announcer had to do some extra work, explaining some of the basic rules every now and then to the British crowd - like pointing out that a player fouled while shooting gets two free throws.
And with crowd support split between the two teams - despite the Nets being listed as the home team - players had the rare experience of being booed by rival fans before every free throw, and then cheered by their own supporters if the shot was good.
Precise passing from their opponents has spelled trouble for the Raptors. Toronto is 11-12 when it allows 19 assists or fewer and 6-33 if the opposition records 20 or more.
While the Raptors (17-45) certainly need to defend better Saturday, they had some solid offensive performances Friday. DeMar DeRozan had a game-high 30 points, Andrea Bargnani had 23 and Ed Davis hit all six of his shots to finish with 12 points and eight boards off the bench.
Bargnani has averaged 25.5 points since Feb. 4, but the 7-footer has only pulled down five rebounds per game in that span.
"Andrea's been very good over the last month, and he's been a guy that's carried us," coach Jay Triano said. "He needs to be a better rebounder and better at the defensive end, but we think he's making progress (even if) tonight wasn't a good example."
Both teams were impressed with Friday's announced sellout crowd of 18,689, which seemed to be split between the teams.
"I loved the crowd," Bargnani said. "I really felt the excitement. I was nervous in the first half. I think it's going to be better (Saturday)."
"These games are great for global basketball, great for the NBA," he said. "... When both teams did something good out there, they liked it. And I hope this is just the start of many, many more games