For starters, this was my first trip.
Howland and our Halifax associate had been before so knew more of what to expect.
I was going in cold, and wasn't sure if I'd a) ever want to leave or b) want to fly back to Toronto as fast as possible after the first night of debauchery.
It's sort of what Howland and I were thinking about regarding this afternoon's match between Miami and Toronto; minus Jose Calderon, could the team get the job done?
Unfortunately it took us a while to find a sports book that was showing the match but eventually we settled into the end of the third quarter and final period at the new sports book at the Palazzo. (Jay-Z's old 40-40 club, we highly recommend it as an aside.)
So while this isn't going to be much of a recap except to say that Toronto managed to hold onto the lead after Miami (or Dwyane Wade) made one final run, things didn't look too bad without Jose. Solomon looked pretty solid, and the Bigs beat up on the undermanned Heat inside, with Jermaine O'Neal grabbing an astounding 18 rebounds.
Of course Toronto probably couldn't have faced a better team in terms of "lacking a quality point guard" so it's a bit tough to say that the absence of Jose wasn't felt to a great degree. Chris Quinn and Mario Chalmers just aren't at the same level as the majority of other starting point guards in the NBA, so a better test will come against Orlando in Toronto's next game.
It sounds however like Jose will be back by then but regardless, my question is what's going on with the rotations?
Sam Mitchell pointed out numerous times early in the season that he was NOT going to play Andrea at the 3 beside Bosh and O'Neal however to start today's match, Moon was out and Bargs was in. Andrea did have a solid game statistically but the fact that he sat almost the entire fourth quarter and Joey Graham got the dreaded DNP CD makes you scratch your head a bit. Is Mitchell keeping Bargnani there from here on out or is he going to take things a game at a time depending on match-ups?
On top of this, Mitchell had nine guys playing at least 15 minutes so it looks like he's trying to find some new combinations that work. Kris Humphries was the main benefactor from this increased rotation and responded with almost a double-double. The Raptors finally crushed an opponent on the glass and Miami just doesn't have the depth or experience around Wade to get the job done.
We'd love to hear some thoughts from those who did catch the match via Bell or some feed and when we get back from Vegas tomorrow, we'll be taking a closer look at the rotation situation.
Well...that is assuming we ever DO get back..