Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Troubling Raptors trend but it made for an easy story

We all sure made deadline last night because Dwane went all of about 80 seconds and we were out of the post-game chinwag in a flash.

He’s got a point and it’s been an issue of late and we’ll see if it continues or not over the next little while.

But a win’s a win’s a win, right? And I bet you all prefer that to the alternative.

And there was this:

Article Continued Below


Truly inexplicable

It was the story of the night, obviously. A brutal start to the third quarter – although they did get things calmed down for a large chunk of the final eight minutes – and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dwane after a win as he was in his 81-second post-game chinwag.

And I don’t know how many, or if any, of you saw it but they did get out and run the same pre-game layup line during halftime break as they do to start the pre-game warmup so they’re trying.

Now, I don’t think Dwane’s suggestion about finding five new starters for third quarters is worth, um, pursuing. Think how it would screw up second half rotations, it certainly isn’t guaranteed to work and if it costs them a game it’s not worth it.

No, that’d be a non-starter. Maybe run a few more sets off the bat? Maybe run no sets and just let ‘em freelance? Play some zone defence for three or four possessions? Sacrifice some animal?

I don’t know but it’s now been three of four games – and Atlanta’s awful so that might not even count – and you know all us scribblers are going to be waiting to put fingers to keyboards until the third quarter’s at least half over on Friday night.

Tough night but a good one

Not sure it was the best of Jakob Poeltl we saw – four fouls, zero rebounds in just 17 minutes – but he did open a few eyes with some of the most effective rolling to the rim of the season.

He had one early – his first of four baskets, I believe – when he wanted to kick it to C.J. Miles in the corner but found not only a defender in the passing lane but the rim right there so you could see him calmly change tacks, lay the ball in and he seemed a bit surprised by it all.

At least two of his other buckets were scored in exactly the same manner, really quick rolls down the lane, good catches in traffic and efficient finishing.

I know there’s been a bit of competition at times this year but I like his presence an awful lot and when Dwane comes around to eventually paring the rotation, Yak’s gotta be the backup centre on a permanent basis.

A lot of his other issues last night were because he had to wrestle with Dwight Howard and that’s no easy task for anyone these days.

Overall, though, Poeltl gave ‘em just what they needed.

Playing to their strengths

For a while there late in the fourth quarter, when the game was still not completely decided, the Raptors had a predictable finishing lineup of Lowry, DeRozan, Powell, Ibaka and Valanciunas on the court.

(I say predictable because of the opponent and Dwight Howard; other nights I’m fine with Miles and Ibaka up front)

The Hornets had a big lineup on the floor and while Dwane usually tries to match in those circumstances, he went to Fred VanVleet over Powell for the final four minutes and it worked out as well as anyone could have hoped.

The thing with Lowry and VanVleet is that despite their lack of size, they are as tough as it comes and truly give up nothing defensively.

A wee bit more before we get into a typically long Thursday, what with Nothing But Net, a practice and, perchance, an opportunity to solve the problems of the world with Baseball Steve on an end-of-evening stool.

Had some video issues the past couple of days, I think I got it worked out, and who doesn’t like a little Lighthouse?

I’m just gonna toss this out there.

I think Drake is cool.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of his music but I don’t think that matters. Those of us Of A Certain Vintage certainly aren’t the target audience and I am quite fine with it, as I’m sure he is, too.

But you’ve got to hand it to a guy who is a kazillionaire and beloved all over the world who shows up at random games in his hometown – a Charlotte game on a Wednesday night in December (what the heck is with that?) – sits where everyone can see him, does his schtick with the local broadcasters and, I’m told, did the walk-off bit post-game last night.

That’s not ordinary behaviour for a guy of that stature and I think it speaks volumes about him. So, go Drake!

Oh, yeah.


Need some, go to askdoug@thestar.ca, unburden yourself and get ready to read all about it sometime Sunday morning.

Yeah, I’m quite happy for TFC and watched the game pretty closely up in the media seats last night and happy primarily because I know how hard it is for any championship-calibre team to repeat.

This group was in the crosshairs all year, highest-paid players, loaded with perhaps the best designated players in the league, all of the expectations that go with that and they handled better than most could imagine.

Best record ever, basically unbeatable at home, able to shake off injuries and international commitments and what seemed like a work ethic that ran from the start of the roster to the bottom.

A job well done.

Now, if they get Seattle again in the MLS Cup that’d be fitting, wouldn’t it? Unless it goes to penalties again, then it sucks.