Post Game: Houston Rockets vs Toronto Raptors

Force opposition under 40% = win, easy right?

Unfortunately for the Raptors, this doesn’t come often enough. Today’s game is the exact opposite to the Atlanta game. The Raptors controlled the pace from the start, pounding the ball to the paint. They scored 20+ points in the paint after 1 quarter. The Rockets were perhaps a little tired, they didn’t start the game with any energy, and they couldn’t come back after that.

I like theis Houston team though. Their entire roster consists of role players, no all-star (though you could make an argument about Landry after looking at his 40 minute numbers). While they are not very athletic, they have lots of grinders and grit. I wish the Raptors have some of those. They play hard, and they never quit. Every time the Raptors slowed down, the Rockets would chip into the lead. They weren’t shooting the ball well (3/20 from downtown), which kind of killed their chances.

Other notes from the game:

- Am I the only one who thinks Luis Scola looks like Russell Brand?

- Carl Landry is a beast, he is really 6-7 (though listed as 6-9), but he has good post moves and always in the right position.

- Hedo was getting more touches, I was almost breathing fire when Elliott Friedman reported that Jay Triano just realized that Turkoglu handled the ball a lot more in Orlando. What???? Didn’t he watch the playoffs? I am constantly amazed hearing what Triano has to say.

- Let’s talk about the Ariza elbow. It’s out of frustration, and luckily he didn’t hit DeRozan. However, there is intent and it’s interesting to see what Stu Jackson is going to do. If Ariza hit DeRozan with the elbow, then it’s an easy suspension, but he didn’t, but there is an intention to injure. I would think they would warrant some punishment of some kind. Anyway, nothing in this league surprise me anymore.

- BTW, Ariza was 0-9 with 1 point, he killed my fantasy team once again.

- Sonny Weems moving to the rotation is a move that’s long overdue.  I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago as Wright was absolutely horrendous on offense.  Of course with Triano, it’s always 3 steps too slow.  At least, they made the change.  Weems is a very good athlete, who is very good on the fast break.  He is a good finisher and a decent slasher to the basket.   Basically he is Joey Graham a with better handle but he’s a worse rebounder.

- Pops did get more playing time against his former club.   Still the same player, lots of energy, but he has absolutely no idea what’s doing on a basketball court.  He isn’t young anymore so I don’t think he can improve all that much.  Pops would make one good play and follow by 2 bad ones.   He is a little like JYD, but JYD has a much higher basketball IQ than Pops.  I heard reports that he could be cut and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens.

Keys to the win:

- Aggressive from the start. The Raptors played with a purpose from the start. Attacking the paint on offense and protecting the paint on defense. They had a 15 point lead after 1 quarter.

- Help defense. The Raptors have 9 blocks in the game, which is a season high. Everybody is helping out, the Rockets have a lot of players who plays under the rim. So our length on the front court was really an asset in this game.

- The GT connection. Jack has his best game as a Raptor. 17-8-8, and playing tough defense. He is starting to hit his stride as a Raptor. Bosh continued his great season with 27 points.

Well, this will be my last post game report for 2009. I will be away on vacation for a month. The last time I had the similar length of vacation time, the Raptors didn’t win a single game. That was 6-7 years ago, hopefully the law of averages is working fine, and they will win every game this month.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

11-15

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