Preview and Chat: Toronto Raptors

Gatinho —  November 30, 2008

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers

The Raptors coming in… The Raps are off to a mediocre 8-7 start, 4-4 at home and 4-3 on the road. The are averaging 97.9 points per game while allowing 98.9 points against.

The MVP chant… Love it or hate it: As the Staples faithful shower Kobe with the oft used serenade, early season speculation has Chris Bosh as a dark-horse candidate to take the hardware away from Lebron James. Bosh is averaging almost 28 points and over 10 rebounds. His agility on offense has been giving other bigs fits. Look for the Lakers to swarm Bosh and make Jose Calderon and Anthony Parker shooters. But MVP candidates rarely come from teams that don’t win 50 games. Can the Raptors eclipse that mark?

Match-up of the night: Kobe vs. Anthony Parker: Parker has been a defensive stalwart for the Raptors and will draw the assignment. This is the one on one match-up, but the more important one will be the battle of the benches. This is where the separation of the two teams begins and ends, depth.

The Raptors in LA on a Sunday evening: Can’t help but think of this.

Derek Fisher’s shot: Even though the Lakers have a gaudy 13-1 record, one of the concerns has been some puzzling decisions on offense by Fish. Jeff Van Gundy commented on it a couple of times in the ESPN broadcast. His take was that Fisher was taking too many contested shots. I would agree there, but he also seems to have lost any sort of conscience. It’s good for him to be aggressive on offense, but I’d like to see some better decisions. Through 14 games his TS% is .487 and eFG% is .454. Both numbers down nearly 5+ points from last year.

14 feet of front court… Another nice test for young Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol facing a versatile front court. Jermaine O’Neal is coming off a two game absence (I know shocking) with a sprained ankle. Bynum should be able to use his quickness against O’Neal who is a saavy defender but seems to be slowing down after a lot of NBA mileage.

For the Raptors to make it interesting… Jose Calderon will need to break down the Laker defense, and they were susceptible to that against Dallas, and Andrea Bargnani will have to be hitting from deep to stretch the Laker defense.

D-League update from Marc Stein: “Coby Karl going back to his Boise State roots with the Idaho Stampede after being released by the Lakers in October. How another Lakers castoff, Smush Parker, adjusts to life in Hidalgo, Texas, with the Rio Grande Vipers after lasting until the 12th pick of a 16-pick first round in the D-League draft.”

Where and when to watch: 6:30 on FSPT



46 responses to Preview and Chat: Toronto Raptors

  1. Great, after the game tonight on FSW is ‘Kobe’s 81 point game’, five hours of Laker basketball all at once.

  2. The Raps have certainly disappointed. It is not clear why as Bosh is having a career year, O’Neal seems fully recovered and a step quicker than he has been in a while, and Bargnani is improved. JO has improved their interior D but their perimeter D is poor. If JO is back, they have the biggest front line in the league on paper. But since, Bargnani has no post game and can’t block shots, in practice (once again) Gasol and Bynum should hold a distinct advantage

    Very interesting video of Jim Cleamons:

    Not because of what Cleamons is saying but the shot of Fisher in the background. Having heard what Gatinho was going to post, he is working on his one-dribble pull up jumper. Over and over and over again.

    I don’t know whether I’ve ever read this before. But this video illustrates why an inside- outside pass for the jumper is so successful. Stu Lantz talks about it all the time but I don’t know whether he’s ever connected it to the sheer repetition players put in on their shots. Hours and hours spent with just the player shooting and a spotter shagging balls. Inside out passes over and over again.

    The more a player relies on muscle memory the more automatic the motion becomes and more successful the results. An inside to outside pass mimicks the shooting practice situation. By the time an NBA player makes the leagues he must have taken a million practice shots coming from an inside – outside pass.

    Passes from a different vector is not something that the shooter practices as often (although in the league, shooting practice will sometimes consist of the shagger passing out to the wing who will feed the shooter – to better mimick game conditions) and requires more thought and planning than a pass from the interior and thus is much less effective.

  3. in the LA times today they said that if Kobe scores 38 tonight he’d be the youngest ever to 22000 points, beating Wilt by one day. Seems like a long shot, but its there. I mean, if kobe really wants to force the issue to achieve a record that nobody has ever wondered about and will last for about 3 years until LBJ shatters it…

  4. If Kobe was aware of that record, he’d probably have went out of his way in the early goings to get it – he could’ve easily forced 3~4 pts per game this season and that mark would’ve been reached.

    Speaking of being spoiled by Kobe… 81… am I the only one secretly (or not so secretly) hoping that he’d break that mark? It took a really special Lakers team to make that possible 😉

  5. aren’t we all glad that Mitch didn’t pull the trigger on JO for LO and AB?

  6. and, aren’t we all glad that he DID pull the trigger on Trevor for Cook and Evans?

    and…Kwame and Crit for Pau Gasol???

    in light of this great start for the season, we should all be giving Mitch some props.

  7. it’s kind of sad about the saga of Smush parker…
    I’ve said this time and again, and no one seems to respond, but I think there is a “got to ‘look’ cool” factor that players seem to adhere to. Smush, in my opinion, was one of those “got to look cool guys”.
    personally, I like the scrappy guys, the ones who dive for loose balls, give it all, Ronnie was one of those, Trevor is too.

  8. I suspect that Fisher is either responding to the pressure from Farmar, or realizes that PG is the weakest position on the Lakers and is trying to compensate for that, or some combination of the two.

  9. Remember when JO predicted in the preseason that the Raps would finish with the league’s best record? Bwahaha.

  10. Whoa! Didn’t have internet for thanksgiving holiday and the site looks all crazy now! Need some getting use to.

    PS I love Trevor Ariza.

  11. chris h,

    I’m definitely glad for those moves and non-moves by the mis-maligned Mitch. I hope he wins gm of the year.

  12. 7

    The sad thing was that Smush managed to start 162 consecutive games for the Lakers.

    The less said about the ‘Smush era’ the better.

  13. 8 – I admit I’m not up-to-date on my Lakers literature (usually I read 90% of available traditional media as well as blog posts, but lately I haven’t been able to), but is there a possibility that the PUJIT is something the coaches have asked Fisher to work on? Granted a) It seems like a pretty stupid skill to work on b) Even if they did wanted someone to knock down that shot consistently, they already have Vlad and Sasha and sometimes Kobe and Farmar when they get trigger-happy.

    I guess I just don’t see why Fisher’s decision-making would suddenly become so suspect after so many years in the league and so many years under Phil’s coaching staff.

  14. I have no problem with Fish taking jumpers.
    His dribble drive, on the other hand, is only something he should do once in a great while to keep his defender honest.
    As Dirty Harry once said “A man’s got to know his limitations”

  15. 14

    And Fisher immediately sets about proving your point…

  16. Hey, does anybody know where the game may be streaming live tonight? Channelsurfing doesn’t seem to be broadcasting..

  17. Allan – Brazil November 30, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Oh Fish, not the PUJIT again…

  18. Let’s see what Luke contributes

  19. Luke did OK, made a couple of nice passes as usual.

    I see the Raptors are determined to help Kobe break Wilt’s record…

  20. Whooo, this lineup with bynum and odom with the mob looks alright against these raptors in the 4th…great way to rest kobe and pau. go lakers!

  21. go ariza go!

  22. This is defineately the showtime Lakers in this game.

  23. guess Kobe ain’t going for Wilt’s record today.

  24. Wow starters/main guys all logged in under 30 minutes

  25. we missed the 3rd quarter (grandpa got the remote and in an effort to prove he’s hip with technology, ruined the entire set up… surround sound, dvr, etc) does anyone know what fish and calderon got technicals for?

  26. Did anyone see the dunks bynum threw down? Been waiting to see that!

  27. 27. Fish and Calderon went at each other one-on-one and got tangled up a couple of times with each one getting a personal foul and then things really got heated when they each called each other ‘silly bitch’. Oh, yeah and Joey Crawford’s back in the league. No big deal.

  28. You know who I miss in games like this where everything seems to be clicking

    Ronny Turiaf.

    That guy would have worn himself out dancing to each and every crisp pass and Ariza or Bynum dunk or great play that happens.

    Although if Josh Powell isn’t getting any playing time, I’m pretty sure Ronny won’t be getting his minutes here…

  29. Highlight’s of Kobe’s 81 point game:

    1:22 – 10 pts
    0:51 – 14 pts, 62 straight free throws made
    10:37 – 28 pts
    4:42 – 47 pts
    1:10 – 51 pts, steal and 2 handed dunk
    9:23 – 57 pts, turnaround jumper, Lakers up by 7
    6:01 – 63 pts, new career high
    4:19 – 72 pts, most points in a Laker game (Elgin had the 71)
    0:43.4 – 81 pts, 2nd most points in a game (Wilt had 100 of course)

    He had 26 in the 1st half and 55 in the 2nd. Good, I got to see two Laker wins tonight.

  30. When no Laker plays more than 30 minutes, when Gasol outscores Kobe, and when Mbenga plays for the first time this season (and takes a shot), you might suspect that the Raptors were never a serious threat to win this game. It almost seems a bit formulaic: allow them to stay close for the first half, pull away in the third quarter, and allow your reserves to finish out the game, holding on to the lead.

    It may be boring for some, but a season record 33 assist offensive clinic, highlighted with a great Bynum slam dunk is still great entertainment. I suppose that some miss the thrill of a win that requires Kobe to score 81 points to just squeak by. Not me. I’d rather be stalking those Leprechauns.

  31. 28, definitely…I think the explosive Bynum is back

  32. If anybody tuned in early on FSW and saw Laker Live, Rick Fox broke the season into 4 twenty game sections in a discussion. It was quite interesting and added to my view of Phil Jackson and how he coaches.

  33. The 1st 20 games are for settling on a rotation and finding out who plays better with who.

    The 2nd 20 games are for separating yourself from others in your conference.

    The 3rd 20 games is to rest the vets who will be needed in the playoffs.

    The final 20 games are to intensify practice and get yourself into a winning momentum for the playoffs.

    Two games are throwaways that you can’t explain any other way.

  34. Going into this year, I thought we wouldn’t see Bynum start setting in until 15 games into the season, similiar to last year. Sure enough, the past couple of games, he really seems comfortable in his moves. You can see how strong and explosive he is in the dropstep and spin. He’s forcing the issue now, instead of settling for position.

    I thought his numbers would be 18 & 12 this year, and if he starts getting on a roll, we’ll see his numbers go up. He might not average those, but we’ll see alot of nights with those numbers, and we’re going to be that much better.

    But we’ll really get to see his growth on Christmas. He needs to leave an lasting impression with Perkins.

  35. favorite play of the night was that 70′ pass from Bynum to Odom. Great combination by Bynum of court awareness and touch – bodes well for the future.

  36. My favorite play (even though we didn’t end up scoring) was when Ariza was falling out of bounds on the baseline and throws it to an LO falling out of bounds who throws up the court to I believe Farmar.

  37. my favorite play had to be that Bynum dunk off a pass from sasha, he really tossed it down.

  38. and the second favorite was right after that when Bynum dunked another one even though his legs were being taken out from under him, showed great concentration, hands, finishing, etc.

  39. my favorite play was the alley oop from Kobe to Radmanovic ;). And yea, my first thought was that he was going to blow the dunk.

  40. Bynum’s and 1 alley-oop happened right in front of my seats, the place went wild. Standing ovation was awesome. Not sure if it got on TV but while he was on the ground after the dunk he seemed really angry, not sure if he didn’t hear the whistle or what but he was really jawing at the officials.

    It’s amazing how teams seemingly just have nothing left against us come the 4th quarter. I suppose that’s what haveing 2+ squads will do.

  41. Well, this year is proving to be really weird when it comes to the 4×20 games philosphy, since in the first 20 games the Lakers are actually seperating themselves from the conference, while at the same time spreading the minutes around.

    Just thinking about this makes the possibility of 70+ wins very likely

  42. 42 – Bynum thought he was being low bridged and was upset about it….

  43. 45-Ya, that’s how it looked in person, but it didn’t seem like he was letting whoever was guarding him know about his gripe. He was looking right an official which just made me wonder whether or not he could hear the whistle. What a finish on an and-1 alley-oop though.