landry fields forever
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 07.03.11
Strange 'time' for Raps rookie
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
Raptors head coach Jay Triano likes what he is seeing from his rookie these days.
“The one thing we like about Ed is every game he seems to be getting better,” Triano said. “There is a natural progression by him, week to week. We wanted him to work on his jump shot. He’s starting to make jumpers. He’s getting better from the free-throw line. He missed a few (on Saturday) but, at the same time, he’s starting to shoot the ball a whole lot better. He’s being aggressive and assertive at the defensive end and we think his growth is really starting to accelerate.”
Davis wasn’t happy about going home without a win on this trip, although he was glad just to be going home. He did, however, see the value in the trip.
“It’s hard to take a positive out of two losses but, for me, I mean we’re a young team, but getting a three-overtime game under your belt is a good experience for us,” he said.
And that’s pretty much the way the Raptors viewed the trip. Disappointed in that they didn’t get a win here, but a solid all-around learning experience for a team that still has plenty of learning and maturing to do.
Even some of the older vets on the team probably learned a thing or two. You would hope that Andrea Bargnani realizes that the next time he finds himself in a game-winning situation, the high percentage play is a move towards the basket, not away from it.
It’s a no-lose, everything-to-gain scenario, but twice in overtime on Saturday with the ball in his hands and a chance to win it, Bargnani opted for the jumper from 22 feet, rather than putting both the defence and the referees on alert with a drive to the hoop.
Of course, you could make the point that DeMar DeRozan, the other Raptor who had the ball put in his hands with a chance to win the game in the second overtime, made the right decision and attacked, only to see his path cut off. There was definitely contact, but apparently not enough for the officials to call a foul. That too will come with time when DeRozan, the other 21-year old on this team, starts getting the calls a top-level scorer gets with regularity.
Triano stepped back and saw the experience for what it was: A chance to grow as a team in a season which cannot be judged on wins and losses anymore.
“I think our guys have coped well,” Triano said. “Despite the losses in basketball, the week has been very positive for us because we have had different guys step up and play and we’ve had to go through different situations.”
Bargnani suspect as late-game option
Oh yeah, the Raptors.
Well, not sure what they’re up to except that I heard from a couple of people that they’re glad to be back home in their own beds and back to some semblance of normalcy.
But, because I’m still here doing some reporting for a story to come and not back until Tuesday night, there won’t be much live stuff here until we get to Wednesday’s game.
So, I’ll tell you what you’re most likely to read:
Reggie’s coming back, Jay will find it hard to mix in minutes for four bigs but he’ll manage them somehow; everyone will say publicly they enjoyed the trip and no one’s going to know for sure how tired or messed up they’ll be for Wednesday’s game until Wednesday night.
It’s like you don’t even have to be there to cover them, to cover them.
Andrea Bargnani had two cracks to win a game for the Raptors in London on Saturday night.
In the first overtime, Bargnani was given the ball about 20 feet away from the basket on an isolation play with the score tied 126-126. In triple overtime, he was given the ball, again about 20 feet away from the basket and on another isolation play, with the New jersey Nets holding a 137-136 lead. The final buzzer loomed on both occasions.
The end result: one combined dribble -and it took him away from the basket -two missed shots and a reason to grow even more suspicious of Bargnani's late-game credentials. The Raptors lost the game, meaning they fell twice to the similarly awful Nets in sold-out games in London's O2 Arena. (The bright side: the Raptors lose some games, and thus gain some game, on the Nets in the lottery standings.)
First off, there should be minimal judgment about this team's next five years' worth of crunch-time possessions based on what happened this weekend in London. They were two basically meaningless games against a bad team in a strange setting.
Bargnani, though, is a questionable late-game option. When his jumper is going, it is a beautiful thing. There are two buts, though. Although he is not a terrible ball handler, he looks somewhat awkward when he drives the ball, thus not making him an especially likely candidate to get the referee's benefit of the doubt. He is also not a wonderful passer, making him a one-dimensional option.