What do you do when your team has just managed to cut down a 10 point deficit down to 2 with 3:22 left? Change the entire flow of the game by taking out the PG that’s driving the offense. How’s that sound for Coach of the Year type coaching? It wasn’t bad enough that after cutting the same lead down to four to start the fourth he opened the quarter with his bench only to see the Magic lead balloon back up to 10. After we worked hard to take the lead Mitchell chooses to replace Calderon in favor of Ford for no apparently reason. No. Apparent. Reason. We had the momentum, we had the crowd behind us, we even had Juan Dixon scoring off of Calderon penetrations and Mitchell chooses to f**k it all up.
There’s no problem with Ford playing the final three minutes but he’s been sitting down for 12 game minutes and is ice-cold, you can’t expect him to come in and light it up! That would be the most unnatural expectation and somehow in Mitchell’s manure filled mind he’s actually expecting Ford to play BETTER than how Calderon was playing when he was taken out, something that sounds impossible given the run this team was making with Calderon at the helm. I’ve never been a Sam Mitchell fan and losses like these just solidify my 3 year long stance that he’s got a pea sized brain when it comes to coaching. We should just hire him as a full-time motivator, maybe he can give pep-talks before each practice and get the team all riled up before games. Expecting anything more from him is like asking Homer Simpson to write a book report on Ulysses. F**k, what a stupid reference that was but I’m too pissed off to go back and delete it.
Every three Orlando hit was a dagger, Rashard Lewis drilled a few but his last one which took Orlando from being down one to up two did us in. Why was he open? Because our perimeter rotations are slow, real slow. Just ask Anthony Parker who always seems to be about half a second late coming back to challenge his man’s outside shot; he gets burned every time. Give credit to Chris Bosh, he was attacking the rim today and tried to resist the slutty temptress that is the 18 footer; 14-14 FTs for 26 points and 10 rebounds is a pretty good night against Dwight Howard (genetically engineered and tested by NASA) after a miserable night in Milwaukee. If you keep your expectations in check about Bosh, you’ll realize he’s a pretty good player, just not a superstar as everybody wants him to be.
For this team to get better we need to get some basics right, here’s some of them:
1. When doubling, don’t help off of a shooter. Just ask Hedo Turkoglu how lovely it feels when his man leaves him wide open just to attempt a swipe at Bogans driving down the lane. Oh, what’s that? You didn’t get the steal? Well at least you had an up-close view of Hedo draining one in your mug as you lunge and desperately try to get back.
2. The defensive possession does not end until you get the rebound. It’s almost like many of the players think that challenging the shot seems to be the end of the job, it’s not, you don’t have the ball and you need to get the rebound. On a team without a designated rebounder it’s imperative that we clear the defensive boards, when you don’t, bad shit happens. Tonight when we got out-rebounded 44-29 on the defensive glass, tonight that meant four more magic possessions which was the difference in the game.
3. Double team so it’s harder to make the outlet pass. The only semi-effective double teams happened when Dixon quickly doubled Howard in the post as soon as he started dribbling forcing him to make a decision. Other than that most of our double teams came from the strong side allowing the person being double teamed enough vision to pick from a plethora of players to pass the ball to, thus throwing our rotations out of whack. Also, you want the help to come from a big body so it’s harder for the double teamee to see, not from TJ Ford.
4. Run some curls. Don’t be so f***ing predictable. At last check we were a jump shooting team. Bargnani, Parker, Kapono, Dixon and Calderon are all capable of making a 15 footer so why we don’t run more curling plays which free the man up at the top of the key is puzzling. Right now we’re too easy to defend because our offense is too simple (seriously, I’ve seen more complex plays in pickup games). There isn’t a concerted effort being made to play to the strengths of our players, it’s just pick ‘n roll and see how it goes.
Just like our offensive sets, our rotations don’t have a strategy, they’re also done on-the-fly and without any thought or foresight. I’ve asked this before and I’ll ask it again, PLEASE GIVE ME A REASON WHY WE SHOULDN’T PLAY FORD AND CALDERON AT THE SAME TIME? Small-ball is a nice little trick used by jump-shooting athletic teams so why not us? Why? Why?! It just doesn’t make sense not to use two of your most potent tools at the same time? It’s like owning a plier and screwdriver but refusing to use them on the same project. Did that analogy make sense? Who cares though, it’s not like I’m about to go correct this post.
I’m getting really tired of the We really sucked but almost kinda won excuse. It’s getting old and has no validity. Our team has some issues that can only be fixed with correcting some basic Basketball 101 issues. That in itself is actually good news, of course having a real rebounder would help but that’s asking too much. Thanks for swinging by. Grab the feed.Follow @raptorsrepublic