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You can go to an awful lot of NBA regular season games and not come away with a better, more fun one than that one last night.
The overtime was a pain the butt for those of us trying to write on deadline but for sports entertainment, it was a doozy and would have been regardless of the outcome.
And there was this:
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Saw it coming
Just had a feeling it was going to be a special night– or at least an odd one – when DeMar made a play call late in the first quarter that was pretty uncharacteristic.
Waiting out a possession to ensure a good two-for-one opportunity, he dribbled away a few seconds at the top right of the arc waiting to call Jakob Poeltl over to set a screen for him.
With about seven, maybe eight seconds, left on the shotclock, he made his move, got his screen and went left.
Now, everyone – myself included – expected him to turn the corner, get in the paint, maybe split defenders and try to either draw a foul or finish with a floater. It’s what he does.
He went around the screen, came to a stop and took – and made – a three-pointer. He adds that to his arsenal consistently and teams are going to have to decide how to guard him. Now, they stay back; if he makes threes from there often and they come up on him, he’ll live in the paint going by people.
Big Shot Fred
The three-point shot Fred VanVleet made in the overtime was huge, as was the free throw he nailed after nervously missing the first one with nine seconds or so left but he also made a crafty play in the OT that were huge.
After missing his chance to do it during the last Raptors possession of regulation time, Fred saw DeRozan trapped on the sideline across from the Bucks bench. In regulation time he didn’t make the right move, he did in OT, slashing into space in the paint, DeRozan niftily ducked out of the double-team to make an easy pass to VanVleet, who went on to set up a basket.
I wondered about the move to leave VanVleet out there late in the game because it was a pretty fast game and I thought it’d be better if Wright was helping defend the three point guard line up the Bucks used but, no. Seems I was proved wrong.
Gambling with lineups
I think Dwane Casey did an excellent job using different rotations to make sure he had advantageous matchups at both ends of the floor and there’s no question he was successful with both the three-guard finishing group and the way he got different guys on Antetokounmpo.
And the one game he took didn’t hurt one little bit.
The Raptors started the fourth quarter with neither DeRozan nor Lowry on the floor and the way the rest of the team had been going offensively, it was taking a chance.
It didn’t last too long – Lowry was back in after two minutes and DeRozan came back before the seven-minute mark – but they did get away with it and who knows how much that little break might have rejuvenated either player.
More? Always, right?
Nope, you do not hear enough Teenage Head in a day, I often say.
Part of the posting process for this endeavour involves me and a pull-down menu and it seems I messed up Sunday.
Somehow the mail got labelled “Blue Jays” and it was missed by some folk. No cracks about it being the best stuff either The Great Griff or She Who Supports Arsenal have had in that category in months but here it is.
There will be a few at Pippins in my future this evening on Rush Street in Chicago and it’s going to be about a million below zero but if anyone’s got a recommendation close to there that I might not know about, let ‘er rip.
But it’s gonna be too cold to venture too far.
Where’s the outdoor hockey game today?
Hopefully this is the week when I can start figuring out correctly what damn day of the week it is. Haven’t been dead certain since before Christmas, including the night I wrote in a story the game was Wednesday when, in fact, it had been Tuesday.
I guess there’s college football going on down south – lots of chatter among people I know about the games last night – which made me recall one of the few times I cared even a little bit about it.
Back in day, when we were foolish and some money and knew a guy in a bar who’d take a bet if you want to lay one, my boy Mark and I decided to put down a dime or two on the BYU football team in some dopey Bowl because, well, Mike Weir was a friend and he went there and why not?
Anyway, BYU gets absolutely drilled, we lose some money and it’s only later that we’re told by someone who’d know that, of course they lost, in the month between end of season and the bowl game, they decided to put in a whole new offence and defence to use the next season.
Gambling, I tell ya, is for suckers.
Unless you’ve got some inside information you can use to get an edge.