Wow. Last night was "one of those nights". With the return of Vince and to a lesser degree Lamond Murray, some would have thought if there was any game this year where getting a ticket would be tough it would be this one. It's a new season, some, all be it not a ton of optimism, and after last years "return" shenanigans, but nevertheless I picked up some decent tickets at 3:30 that afternoon right from the box office. I wish I hadn't.
Never, in all the games that I have attended been so amazed at a ball clubs inability to create a shot. The first half of this ball game either indicated one of two things: (1) New Jersey is a defensive monster of a club, or (2) our team was given no direction in terms of how to beat the Nets defensive scheme. That being said New Jersey also looked uncomfortable with the zone we threw at them early in the game but they adapted. We didn't.
It's hard to take much from last night, but there will be nights like this with this club. But there are a number of things that stood out. First and foremost was the re-appearance of Rafer Alston. And by that I mean Mike James. The number of ill-advise shots taken was unbearable. The fact that this team wants a pass first gurd is well documented. Do your job. Had it not been for Calderon we may have scored 50 points all night. I am ready to see Calderon start right now. I think Mike James is a nice addition but his game last night was not good.
Another thing that was so shocking was the fact that this team couldn't get the ball to Bosh or Villaneuva within 20 feet of the hoop. How is this possible? How can you not adapt to what the other team is doing? Was Sam Mitchell in the building? That being said the passing on a whole last night was tough to watch and it was like everyone had put their hands in a vat of Becel before the game.
The last thing I'll touch on (seriously I could go on forever) is also going to be harped on all year. Rebounding. Although not the total solution, dress Eric Williams and play him. If he is ready and feels better about the situation there is no reason he can't help settle this squad down and hit the glass. That being said it is also tough to be a good rebounding team when your three centers play something like 10 minutes total all night. And please fans, let's not boo Hoffa quite yet. Give him some minutes and see. If we destroy his confidence right away there is no-way he helps this team at all.
With all the negative things that happened last night there were two positives. Calderdon is one. HEART. Soon the chats of Jose, Jose Jose Jose.....Jose....Jose....will be all over the ACC. Second, MoP. Good game, played tough D on VC and did not give up. He is really starting to show some veteran leadership.
And here's some other thoughts from last nights debaucle.
Coaching - This is the second game in a row where I questioned some of Sam Mitchell's decisions? Why were they doubling Vince when Jefferson was killing them? Any can someone PLEASE explain to me why Aaron Williams isn't getting any minutes based on Hoffa and Loren Woods' performances? And finally, why is this team taking so many 3's on offence? As Howland mentioned above, we have two good low post threats in Chris Bosh and CV Smooth.
Speaking of Chris Bosh, he really needs to pass out of double teams way better and establish a low post game early...he's taking way too many dribble drives from outside of the key and this causes everyone else to just stand around waiting for him to make his move. I'd rather see Villanueva doing this as he's better at finding the open man when driving.
GRAB A REBOUND...The Raptors were outrebounded 31-14 in the first half...this lead to way too many second chance points inside as usual.
Calderon needs to play more...when he's in the game the ball moves. The team needs to help out though when the opposing guard is posting him up.
Finally, you can't score 28 points at halftime and expect to win...too deep a hole to get out of regardless of how you play in the second half. And the defense HAS to tighten on the perimeter since there's no inside shot blocking presence.
Oh...and as a PS...what' is with the "In game entertainment?" Just some TERRIBLE contest ideas...how about the one where people bounced beach balls and had to keep them up and then the person who ended up with the ball at the end of the timeout won 777 bucks?? RANDOM.