A friend of mine, who loves to gamble on sports, once told me he’s hesitant to bet on the first game where Team A is missing a key player(s), against Team B which is has little health issue. The reason he said is that usually, the players on Team A will step up for one game and make it through. It won’t work in the long term, but it will work in one game. So betting against Team A while seems like obvious on paper, often doesn’t work out in the end.
This is what happen in today’s game with the Orlando Magic. Vince Carter is hurt, Pietrus has a flu, Lewis suspended for 10 games. They still end up winning because other players stepped up. JJ Redick played like he is back in Duke, Ryan Anderson continues his hot shooting streak and Dwight Howard turns into Yao Ming with his free throw shooting, and only missed 2. The Magic shot 17/32 from downtown, but only shot .439% from the field overall. They did go to the free throw line more and got more possessions than Toronto.
So basically, again it’s our defense. Or lack of it. You can’t allow the Magic shooting three. If you leave them open, it’s like a layup for them. When the Raptors forced these guys to dribble and shoot, the percentage drop. Unfortunately, the Magic spaced the floor really well and shot ready for the most part.
I was at the game live today, and the first 2 quarters was just horrible to watch. It’s not a sold out crowd, which is surprising and worrisome at the same time. You can’t get a sell out against the team that went to the Finals or a Sunday afternoon? The upperbowl is packed, but there were plenty of seats down in the lower bowl.
The crowd wasn’t really into it since Vince wasn’t there, and the Raptors were pretty horrible early on. They got into it in the 4th quarter when the Raptors made a run and cut the lead to 4 points, but that’s pretty much it. I will be there again on Wed when they face Detroit, and I hope for a better result.
– The Offense. Bosh has another strong game, and he is playing at a very high level right now, hopefully his performance wouldn’t drop off like it did last season. Hedo is good, showing why the Raptors signed him to a big contract, and Bargnani light up the scoreboard in the 2nd half.
– Our help rotation is really bad. I mean, you can’t allow guys like Reddick shooting wide open 3s. There isn’t a Raptor close to many of those 3 point shots. I know they like to protect the paint, but they have to know who the shooters are, and rotate.
– Turnovers. Way too many. 10 in the first half, which pretty much killed them. Jack showed why he is a combo guard, lots of careless passes. You can’t give extra possessions away to a good team like the Magic.
– Jose’s shooting slump. He missed two more free throws and a couple of wide open threes. In the last couple of years, Jose would hit those, but I am not sure what’s happening here, because he hasn’t find his stride. Jose needs to knock shots down to be valuable for his team.
One note about the Magic, they will be in the Finals. I have them and Cleveland fighting it out in the East. I know it’s a long season and the Celtics are looking great, but the Magic is poised to make a huge run. They still have a 7 million dollar cap exception so they can get another impact player to an already deep team. They will probably not be able to shoot like this every game and Howard definitely can’t shoot 16/18 from the FT line again, but this team is so talented and deep when healthy.
Tags: Toronto Raptors