Catching Up: Friday (vs Nets) and Sunday (vs Celtics)

I’m not the biggest fan of Ottawa but I found myself stuck in a pretty crappy hotel in the east end of the city due to some business over the weekend.  This of course meant that I missed two of the most anticipated games in our young season but managed to catch them once I got back.

I’ve previously predicted that Carlos Delfino will emerge as a defensive stopper and possible rebounder from the three-position, but I believed he would take his time getting acclimated.  Actually, Natalie over at Need4Sheed.com gave us a heads up on Delfino earlier this year.

“From the 3 spot, he can cut to the rack and take a pass for a shot which doesn’t expose how poorly he drives to the rim with the ball in his hands. Defensively he’s above average, but at the 3 usually has to play against superior starters. I guess what i’m saying is you got a good back up 3, an average at best back up defensive 2, and a 3rd string PG.”

Looking at these comments, I took a closer look at Delfino’s stats, trying to extrapolate them over longer minutes.  At only about 16 minutes per game, Delfino averaged 3.2 RPG, 1.1 APG, and 0.6 SPG.  In limited minutes, we could already see some hints that he was going to become a rebounder that we all secretly wish that Joey would become at the 3-spot.  This year, he’s averaging 5.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, and 2.3 SPG in expanded playing time.  It’s been argued that playing a particular position will affect your rebounding proficiency but with a team like the Raptors that draws out the big men it’s the wing players that have had the most opportunities to grab rebounds.  Heck, it’s not only Delfino that’s rebounding from the guard position.  After Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani, we have Delfino, Kapono, Parker, and Calderon as rebounding leaders.

However, there are a lot of lessons that we can learn from the Boston game.  For one thing, it’s a pretty scary thing that this Raptors team could keep pace with the Celtics in spite shooting an absolutely horrible 36.7%.  It’s encouraging because the Raptors seldom kept up with teams last year when shooting such a horrible percentage.  Another lesson that we should take from the game is that Mitchell has to learn to trust Rasho a bit more.  With Bargnani shooting horribly (15.4%), Nesterovic should have seen more playing time.  Actually, he should have seen a lot of playing time, regardless, because he’s one of those guys that plays Kevin Garnett very effectively in one-on-one situations.  In any case, there were many glimmers of hope from the Celtics game, even though they came out with a loss.  My only other concern was watching Jose land awkwardly at the end of the game, but it doesn’t seem like he’s going to miss any games.

So the following week, we’re going to be seeing a lot of Raptors ball.  It’ll be a good challenge for the deeper parts of the bench as the Raptors face two back to backs, with some travel.

Next Up:
Raptors @ the Bucks

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3 thoughts on “Catching Up: Friday (vs Nets) and Sunday (vs Celtics)

  1. As a huge Celtics fan, I’d still have to agree that the Raptors hung very tough on Sunday despite, shooting an awful percentage. Maybe there’s not that much difference between the two teams, or maybe, there’s more chemistry needed on a Celtics team that’s only played two games together, we shall see!

    Big Head (www.bballjunky.com)

  2. C’mon, you didn’t have a blast in Ottawa? You must have missed out on Beavertails…

    The lost on Sunday was disheartening, but, heading into the weekend if you had told me the Raps would blow out the Nets on the road and lose in OT to the Celtics then I would have taken that scenario. Plus, you also have to factor in the emotional high that Boston was playing under Sunday when they were trying to get the win for Coach Rivers.

    I also wanted to comment on how great is that the Raptors are two deep at every position. Can any other NBA team lay claim to that? Some teams can say they have decent back-ups (say someone who can come off the bench to play the 2 or 3) but the Raptors have a solid starting five and role players that could easily start if injuries pop up. Or, in the case of Delfino/Kapono, two players who are interchangeable depending on the opponent.

  3. Big Head – I think that the Raptors will continue have trouble with Ray Allen. They had trouble with him last year, they had trouble with him in preseason, and they’ll have trouble with him later on in the year. So I’m thinking it’ll be a lot more tough battles in the future. Granted, there’s a lot to be said about chemistry, but I’m not sure it matters as much as people are making it out to be on this Celtics team. I guess we’ll see, but I’m still not a believer yet.

    Dread – Ottawa’s always cloudy when I go, and I go a lot since my dad’s side of the family live there. And man, beavertails… I can’t stand something so sweet 🙂

    Yeah. It’s starting to look like the Raptors actually have better quality depth than many people were willing to give credit for. The biggest thing for me is that the depth gives Sam the ability to play hot hands for the night to get the win. I mean, when Hump, Garbo and Joey are your end-of-the-bench guys, it’s pretty crazy.

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