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.