Saturday, April 21, 2007

Raptors Nets game 1

As a follow up to the last post I'll give you my thoughts on game 1.

The Raptors lost and deserved to lose. They just didn't play well enough. They do have the talent to compete I believe but they just messed up on this one.

Where did they go wrong? Let us count the ways:

- No one could stop Richard Jefferson. So much was focused on stopping Vince and Jason Kidd that somehow Jefferson was able to get easy baskets early in the game on his way to a 28 point night.

- Chris Bosh got early fouls and we lost him for much of the first half. Also Bosh settled for jumpers for much of the game. Bosh needs to go inside a lot more. Lets face it he still had 22 points but if he was going inside getting to the foul line more he would have had a greater impact on the game.

- The Raptors shot free throws atrociously. OK maybe not atrociously but 7 missed free throws in a game that you lose by 5 has got to hurt.

- Sam Mitchell as I sort of suspected didn't have a good coaching game. Biggest mistake of the night, in my opinion, was leaving TJ Ford on the bench in the dying minutes of the game. Yes I know that Calderone was playing quite well at the time but at the death without question TJ has to be the man on the floor. TJ had already imposed his will on the game and kept us in it almost sinlge handedly in the first half so sitting him at the death was a big mistake.

- Joey Graham was a bit overawed in his first playoff game. Don't get me wrong Graham is possibly my favorite Raptor right now but given that he has just started getting constant minutes when Bargnani and Garbajosa went down about 10 games back it was a bit too much to ask for him to be consistent today. First quarter he seemed to play pretty well but then in the second half he started making mistakes and I think he dwelt on them a bit and they started to escalate. How deep is Mo Pete in Mitchell's doghouse that he only got 7 minutes the entire game? I think at some point Graham should have been benched fora few minutes and Mo played a bit more. I expect Joey to improve as the series goes on but today his minutes needed to be cut down.

- Turnovers hurt us. 14 turnovers is not typical of the Raptors. They are usually good at taking care of the ball. Again could be playoff jitters.

- The Nets bench outplayed ours. The Toronto bench has been one of its strengths this season but with Garbajosa out through injury and Bargnani still rusty after being out some time our bench didn't contribute the way it usually does. Humpries brought his energy and was probably the biggest positive for me in this game but besides him our bench wasn't up to par. On the other hand the Nets bench played quite well.

- The Raptors dug themselves into a hole or many holes throughout the game. In the playoffs where every possession counts 10 point leads are usually hard to overcome. It may work in the regular season where you can put together big runs but against a veteran team like New Jersey the best bet is to stay close and not continually have to be pulling oneself out of a hole.

- We need to play tighter defense and get more rebounding. Probably the main reason we wont go far this playoff season. Both Phoenix and Dallas learned about the necessity of defense in past seasons so maybe we'll learn this year.

8 comments:

Luke Cage said...

J, you are so right about stepping up the D. I didn't see the Nets-Raptors game (although I think it will be one of the best that the first round has to offer), but the Suns and Mavs have definitely payed attention to D detail. Out west though is where the title will be one. The Bulls snatched one from Miami yesterday. That's why they play the games!

Charles Duggleson said...

I cosign on all of that. I dunno about Mitchell sometimes. I'll give him credit for learning not to be so much of a dink to his players and for listening closely to the tone in Colangelo's "suggestion" that he play Bargnani more, but, re strategy... eesh. I don't feel all that comfy with him just yet. I guess we'll hear on FAN590 his rationale for keeping TJ on the bench.

We can still take these guys tho. Next game is a must win tho.

Charles Duggleson said...

p.s. "radical" idea for you. don't you think now, in hindsight, it would've been better for the raps to trade down and get say Sheldon Williams? As useful as Bargnani has been and will be (yes, he's got great upside), youcan see would could use a definite presence under the boards. A real consistent garbage man to compliment Bosh and the slashers and sharpshooters. Your thoughts?

Jdid said...

interesting point Charles. I think the rational was that we needed another 'allstar' and that one can always go out and buy role players. The Raptors brain trust saw Bargnani as a good compliment for Bosh but to be sure this team is not complete yet. The rebounding and defense must get better. I think thats the plan for next year since I dont think they envisioned this team doing so well this year anyway.

Would have been nice to trade Mo for some d or rebounding if they werent going to use him seeing as he going to walk as a free agent anyway.

Crankyputz said...

Watched the game and had the same thoughts, Ford & Coldarone were the only ones playing with any heart....Mitchel should have taken Graham outta da game....

Courtney said...

let me just say...Go Heat!

Lene said...

Raps made me cry. What was the point of getting third seed, only to let Nets win? And, whose idea was it to hand out red shirts when the Nets were wearing their alternate jerseys? MLSE needs a good slap for that stupidity...

One more thing, I'm tres tired of people booing Wince. Let it go already...

Leon said...

Raps lost? They're normally a good team.