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I guess there’s something to be said that the Raptors didn’t play particularly well for any length of time last night but still managed to be in the game with a couple of minutes to go.
They weren’t listening to any moral victory chatter after, though, which is a good thing; they knew they didn’t take care of the glass, or the ball, and let one slip away.
A couple of leftover points in a short and sweet offering because while it was nice of Air Canada to put on a direct Toronto-San Antonio flight, I’m off from here to LAX on the way to San Francisco and it’s stupid early here.
Before I get beat by the clock – and what seems to be recalcitrant wireless in this airport – there’s this.
The very first offensive possession of the game, DeMar DeRozan gets into the lane, finds traffic and tries to dump off a pass to a rolling Lucas Nogueira.
Usually that’s not a bad idea at all but DeRozan tried a bounce pass that was deflected and Nogueira wasn’t ready for it.
Rule of thumb should be: If you’re going to make a pass to Lucas in close proximity to the basket, just throw it up by the rim and let him go get it, that’s what he does best.
A bounce pass might work all right with Jonas Valanciunas, but Springing Baby needs to catch dunk a lob, not catch a bounce pass around his waist in traffic.
Besides, I think DeRozan should have shot the ball anyway; he’s got to be a bit selfish in some circumstances.
Saw some odd things
There were some different playing combinations, that’s for sure.
We got our first look at Ibaka as a centre (more on that in a minute) but we also got a first chance to see a three point guard grouping.
About four minutes into the second quarter – right after OG picked up his third personal foul – Casey trotted out Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright for what I’m pretty certain was their season debut.
I don’t have a lot of specifics but they did look quite discombobulated and my notes simply say: “Not working particularly well.”
I don’t think there’s enough shooting and too much ball-handling for those three guys to ever share the floor. Maybe for a possession or two down the stretch of close game when they’re protecting a lead and need ball-handlers and free throw shooters on the floor; as a routine matter of course, it’s not going to work.
A bit of truculence
I was talking to a couple of Henchmen and Tall Foreheads around the arena one day about the team’s toughness level and the willingness of players to be, well, instigators and knock a few heads around, if necessary.
It’s not that he’s a fighter or a thug but there’s no question Ibaka brings a level of “I don’t give a crap, I’m coming after you” to his defence and he might be the guy to get in opponents’ faces before anyone else on the team.
He went right at LaMarcus Aldridge during a rebound scuffle last might that ended with double technical and we all remember the haymaker he tried to throw at Robin Lopez in the Chicago game last season.
I’m not saying Ibaka’s got to go out and bounce people around every night but he at least shows a willingness to do it and that’s got to be an overall help to the roster.
Okay, it’s ridiculously early here – like 6 a.m. – and it’s almost time to board.
We’ll be back with the usual fare tomorrow but know this:
I am quite glad to not have a big rooting interest in the World Series and just want great games.
Many interesting players and circumstances on both teams like:
Who doesn’t love Altuve?
And how about Verlander as a guy to root for?
I’m still big on Brandon Morrow and the Dodgers seem at least as likeable as the Astros.
So, good games, please.
And Houston in five.