Couchside Report: Raptors and Pacers

We’re live in Toronto!

Chris Clarke here, writing my first real post on Hoops Addict. I know Ryan is at the game, and he’ll be filing a report for Hoops World, so it will be interesting to see if he and I pick up on similar things. I’m sure a thing here and there, but I’m usually more interested in how disheveled Garbajosa looked than the kind of defence the Raptors played.

So starting tonight for Toronto: Bosh, Ford, Parker, Moon…and Maceo Baston? Man, this Raps starting lineup is getting strange. Are they saying that last season was so easy that they can play D-League players and still win games? I’m wondering how Sam Mitchell can get so much out of guys who are expected to do so little.

I missed much of the first quarter because the little lady needed some attention. I literally put her to bed, so now it’s time for some hoops!

Let me catch you up: the Raptors haven’t led, and we’re early in the 2nd quarter. Kapono just drilled a triple, and I mean drilled. I could hear the twine tingling all the way from Yonge and St. Clair. We’re tied at 39, and I’m watching The Swirk (Chuck Swirsky) and Jack Armstrong on Sportsnet.

“Why does Sam Mitchell talk to his assistants before talking to the players in the huddle?” is a question that Jack Armstrong tries to answer diplomatically. I think the real answer is that Smitch isn’t an X’s and O’s kind of coach. That’s not to say he can’t coach, but that’s why he has assistants.

Jose Calderon looks really good tonight. He’s making shots and making the right decisions. I just can’t seem the Raps having enough money to hold on to him next offseason. He’s going to command at least $6 million/year.

Jeff Foster doesn’t like a call that goes against him. Unfortunately, he’s Jeff Foster.

Raptors take their first lead on a Garbo triple, and Troy Murphy responds with one of his own.

Ford to Bosh, for the dunk! How many years are we going to hear that call in Toronto?

Things get a bit sloppy for both teams as the 2nd quarter winds down. We’re tied at 48 with under two minutes to go.

Travis Diener? Nicely done, Frodo.

Granger just swatted Bosh. It was big.

Moon for three? I cringed, but he hit net. Where did this guy come from?

Last possession of the half: Tinsley dribbling…dribbling…hands off to Granger, who jacks one up and…gets air. Nice.

The score is 56-53, Pacers leading tonight at halftime. Time for me to find myself a tasty beverage…

Here’s something of note: Greg Oden isn’t taking his injury lightly. A headline on RealGM made me worry for a second – “Oden Gains 30 Pounds” is all I saw, but then I actually saw the rest – “Of Muscle”. So Greg Oden somehow went from superhuman to Superman? Watch out, NBA. Seems that he’s been lifting a lot of weights in his free time. He’s your 2008-2009 Rookie of the Year.

Speaking of Greg Oden, I don’t think I’ve ever said this before: I want to watch him and Dwight Howard defend each other. Those two guys are going to battle each other twice a year for the next 15 years, and it should be epic. It feels like the the “Era of the Centre Position” is coming back. It feels like it’s been ages since we’ve seen Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwan battle it out. Shaq is the lone holdover from that era, but he’s been unrivaled since the mid-90s. It would have been nice to see Shaq get some competition at centre during his prime. I suppose Dikembe Mutumbo sort of counts, since he was able to slow Shaq down at times, but he couldn’t compete with Shaq offensively. Anyway, I’m saying that with guys like Oden, Dwight Howard, Yao, and other young guys.

Dave Feschuck, writing in the Toronto Star, doesn’t see a happy ending in Garbajosa’s future in Toronto.

We’re back! These Pacers, oddly, feel like the Golden State Warriors: they like to shoot threes, they (seem to) like to push the tempo, and they don’t play great defence (but they do have some solid defenders).

Anthony Parker has a really nice looking shot off the dribble. I like it when he makes a strong move with the ball, one dribble, and up with the shot. You don’t find too many guys who can put it up off the bounce like AP.

Danny Granger has turned into a really solid all-around player. I bet the Raps regret not getting him a few years ago in the draft instead of Joey Graham – Granger went 17th overall in 2005, and Graham went one pick earlier at 16th. In that draft, Granger may have slipped unjustly, while Graham may have slipped for a good reason.

Can I also say this about that draft? Some guys were pretty sure things, but now it’s questionable whether we’ll ever hear from them again. When will Marvin Williams come out and play? How about Fran Vasquez? Will he ever come over from Europe to play in Orlando? And is Yaro Korolev out of the NBA yet?

Things are heated right now, as both teams trade buckets. The Raptors are leading by 3 midway through the quarter.

Say what you will about Jermaine O’Neal, but he continues to be the best power forward in the Eastern Conference – with the exception of Kevin Garnett, who isn’t really limited to one position.

Jamario Moon goes down hard on a dunk attempt. Thanks to cameras on the baseline, we see he’s OK as soon as he hits the ground – he might have been grabbing his ankle, but we could see him mouth the words “I’m OK” once someone approached him. It’s a flagrant, too.

Maceo Baston, welcome to the 2nd half. TJ Ford just sailed a pass through his hands. You gotta catch those balls, Mase.

TJ makes jumpers when he kicks his feet out. When his legs aren’t in the shot, he shorts them, or overcompensates by overshooting. Keep the legs in it, TJ.

Raptors are going hard to the rim, which is encouraging. They can fall in love with that jumper. Anthony Parker just got laid out, but he gets two freebies.

Swirsky just picked up on my Joey Graham/Danny Granger draft connection. You think he’s following along tonight?

Each time Jermaine O’Neal gets the ball with Baston on him, he’s been taking him. Maceo was a Pacer for a couple seasons (at least one) so Jermaine must know something we don’t, or he just feels he can take Mase.

Chris Bosh beats the shot clock, sinks the jumper, and the foul. We’re 78-74 Raps, with 90 seconds to go in the 3rd.

ANTHONY PARKER FROM 70 FEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!! It’s 81-74 Raps leading after 3 Qs!

Raps are shooting better, but being out rebounded by a fair margin.

Toronto look pretty good right now…until Humphries misses a dunk by trying to lay it up, and then the Pacers get a layup on the other end.

Jason Kaponovich! For trois!

Garbajosa manages to get Tinsley on him and get a turnover out of it. I don’t know why Tinsley ever turned his back on Garbo, but that just takes away his advantage.

We haven’t seen Bargnani much tonight, but there aren’t enough minutes on this team for all these talented guys. If you start Maceo Baston, then Bargnani just lost minutes he was never supposed to be concerned with losing.

Chris Bosh with the ball, gets doubled, and the ball looks to be going out of bounds. Bosh looks away and acts dejected, while Calderon runs the ball down, tosses it back inbounds at Bosh (who isn’t looking) and it ends up in the hands of a streaking, wide-open Troy Murphy for a dunk. Pacers now only down by three, six minutes to go. Smitch can’t like that.

On-floor communication is something I’d love to hear. I think there’s an entirely different game going on than we’re privileged to listening to play-by-play and colour commentary.

TJ Ford is still on the bench, while Jose comes from behind Jermaine O’Neal for a grand theft.

Delfino with a big three – Raptors back up by 7 points. I think Carlos has found his team.

Anyone see the Ford commercials with Sam Mitchell and the President of Ford Canada?

Jermaine O’Neal was the go-to guy out of the timeout. Chris Bosh stood him UP with a big block near the rim.

Anthony Parker with a nice baseline J. 99-90 Raptors, three minutes to go.

Indy has an answer each time, but Toronto are up by a bit right now.

Raptors are 11-21 from three. That’s a nice percentage. You get those kind of numbers by getting to the rim and finding guys open looks.

Teams exchange buckets, and we’re at 101-96 for TO, 90 seconds to go.

Jamaal Tinsley is finding a way to score. He drives at Calderon for two freebies- misses the first, makes the second. We’re 101-97 now.

After 2 games of DNP-CDs, Garbo played 24 minutes tonight before leaving with 1:20 remaining. Sam can’t seem to decide what he wants to do with some guys.

Good call by Jack Armstrong – Chris Bosh looks tired before the Raps latest play. Bosh ended up missing the J and getting a loose ball foul. Jeff Foster just missed the first of two free throws. Makes the 2nd. It’s 101-98 with the Raps leading, one minute to go.

Calderon with onions, making the triple. 104-98 Raptors – 48 seconds to go.

Dunleavy with a look at three out of the timeout, but he misses because Delfino contests the shot – and ends up on top of Lil’ Dun. No foul.

Nice steal by Delfino, who gets fouled and makes both. 108-98

Granger makes a three, and TJ Ford gets fouled. He makes two, and we’re gonna let this one end.

110-101, Raptors.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be at the game on Sunday in Section 311 – I can’t wait! It’s been fun!

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One thought on “Couchside Report: Raptors and Pacers

  1. I was surprised as well by Baston getting the starting nod but it was another brilliant move by Sam. After playing against JO last season Baston did a great job of slowing down O’Neal.

    I am pretty sure the Raps will have $6 million to pay Jose… and… I think paying Jose $6 and TJ $7.5 is a much better plan than paying one PG $14 a season (like Phoenix does with Nash or NJ does with Kidd). That way you don’t have all your eggs in one basket and the competition for minutes helps both young players mature and continue to grow.

    Have fun at the game tomorrow buddy!

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