The NBA 3-point line is one of the biggest changes that college players have to grow accustomed to when entering the league.
The distance between the centre of the rim and the NBA baseline three-point line is 22'6."
From the centre of the rim to the NBA arc 3-point line - 23'9".
Go out to the local Y and measure that off - it is far.
Well, far for everyone but the version of the Toronto Raptors now on display since the Chris Bosh season ending injury.
In the past three games the Raps have thrown up a ton of three point balls. Here is the statistical break-down:
April 2, 2006 vs. NO/OK: 31 attempts hitting 12 of these thus 38.7 per cent.
April 4, 2006 vs. Bos: 20 attempts converting on only four thus 20.0 per cent.
April 5, 2006 vs. Ind: 22 attempts hitting nine of these thus 40.9 per cent.
And this brings us to last night's 35 attempts. Yes the Raptors' hit a respectable 13 of them (37.1 per cent) but it's extremely hard to win games when your only offence is coming from beyond 22 feet. And this is exactly what occured last night.
With CV Smooth continuing to be plagued by flu-like symptoms, and Chris Bosh and Eric Williams unavailable due to injury, the under-manned Raptors had almost no inside presence offensively and dropped their seventh straight - a 95-89 loss to the Hornets.
To analyse last night's loss, all you really need to do is look at the fact that the Raptors shot only percentage points better from the floor overall (37.8 per cent) than they did from beyond the three-point line! As a result at one point Toronto found themselves down by as many as 18 points before storming back behind a Mike James-lead rally. In fact if it were not for Space Mountain's scoring, this game would have been very UGLY as both Morris Peterson and Matt Bonner struggled with their respective shots.
And so the James debate is renewed once more. Going 13 of 18 from the floor with five rebounds and four assists Space Mountain once again kept the Raptors in this one however received almost no help from his teammates. After seeing him in a starring role these past few games I can't help but think how great he'd be with our team next year coming off the bench as a game-changing scoring sixth man...however unlikely that may be...
In our preview of this game yesterday we mentioned that the Raps' interior play would be a key if they were to steal a win...and sure enough this was the key only it was total almost domination by the Hornets. Loren Woods was the only Raptor who made any sort of impact as he had 10 rebounds and a few blocks. However this was the extent of things for Toronto as for some reason Hoffa only played five minutes and in the end Toronto was outrebounded and badly outscored in the paint.
If Sam Mitchell can't get any interior help soon, it may be a long end to the season for the Raptors. And with the "never quit" Charlotte Bobcats up next tomorrow afternoon, Toronto is going to need more than just a forecast calling for more "22 foot and up rain."
FRANCHISE AND HOWLAND