Utah Jazz 92, Toronto Raptors 88

sam mitchell drawing up a play that is destined to go nowhere
Unfortunately for Bosh you can’t take 85% of the game off on the offensive end, show up in the last three minutes and expect to win the game. As for Bargnani, when you’re strictly a jump shooter it’s only natural that there are nights where your jumper isn’t working. Combine Bosh and Bargnani’s struggles, mix-in a little bit of Jose Calderon sleepwalking, throw in some TJ Ford erraticism and finally add some out-of-timeout Sloan on Sam ownage and you have yourself a home loss where you shoot 38% and submit to playing the Jazz style of half-court basketball where only they can succeed. We can’t just accept this defeat and say, “Oh well, we lost to a good team, better luck next time”. We need a more consistent rotation and our best players need to be put in positions where they can succeed and not be anonymous for quarters at a time, like tonight.

Let’s fast-forward to the key play of the game where Jamario Moon has forced Kirilenko to mess up his drive and the Jazz have the ball out-of-bounds with 6 seconds left. Jazz get a quick play from the bench which ends up with the Raptors falling asleep and Deron William laying the ball in. Instead of a chance to tie, we’re looking at a four point deficit. If that wasn’t bad enough, we get the ball back at the end of the game with enough time left to call a timeout, organize a play and attempt a shot. Instead we choose to wing it and TJ and Humphries end up playing hot-potato with TJ launching a shot prayer that God will only too happily decline. Now the flip side of the coin is that calling a timeout would’ve allowed the Jazz defense to set but we’re at home and with the crowd behind you, you call a timeout and setup a proper play for one of your shooters like Parker, Bargnani, Calderon or Kapono, anything but a TJ Ford fadeaway behind Kris Humphries!

We can analyze Sam’s substitution “pattern” to death and not get anywhere because he doesn’t have a pattern, he has random thoughts at random times which result in random substitutions with random players. What sin did Juan Dixon and Jorge Garbajosa commit that they were glued to the bench? To me this was an ideal game for Garbajosa, his pass defense and grittiness would’ve been valuable in a game which looked like going down to the wire from the beginning and was decided by a defensive breakdown. Why did it take Bosh 3 1/2 quarters to finally assert himself in any way? Do you blame this on Bosh or Sam not using the resources at his disposal properly? Did it really take that long to figure out that his jumper wasn’t working? Coming out of the half Bosh had one good move going to the rim where he got fouled but after that the Raps just didn’t look to exploit his quickness down low until late in the fourth. What gives? These are questions that beg answers. Parker had the hot hand and should’ve played 10 minutes in the fourth quarter. No reason why on a night when our offense is struggling we limit the PT of the one player that’s doing well. It just doesn’t make any sense, it’s not like he can’t handle it, he’s one of the most durable players we have.

There’s no point analyzing Andrea Bargnani and his 1-11FG and 3 rebounds, he was simply brutal in all areas of the game including following up his own misses. When he shoots he tends to admire his shot instead of anticipating a miss and potentially getting the rebound. That shit works great in NBA Live but against the Jazz every possession counts and remember, the Jazz WANT you to shoot jumpers, they get off on that because they love to grab the defensive rebound. Bargs was brutal and it’s sad to see him be so one-dimensional that he can’t help the team in any other way if his shot isn’t working. If I’m Bargs I use as much Valium and painkiller to completely erase this game from memory and come back strong against the Pacers.

Naturally, after every such game there are always the “Bosh sucks” and “Boozer >> Bosh” chant but as I’ve always said, one needs to take a step back and see Bosh for what he is: A good player who can help this team win given proper coaching and instruction. He is NOT a franchise player but a good forward who can thrive in the right situation. If you’re expecting too much of Bosh, it’s your own fault, you’ve just bought into the media hype. So where do we go from here, 4-4 with a bad home record and two wins against the worst team in our division and one against a team that’s struggling worse than Damon Huard (KC Chiefs reference). If the season so far is a microcosm of things to come, we should prepare to fight for the eighth spot and suspend any talk of this being the nucleus of a contender. At best we’re the poor, AIDS-inflicted, homeless man’s Phoenix Suns except we can’t score when we need to and shoot about as consistently as Bruce Bowen hits FTs.

Observations from the game which warrant more discussion:

Deron Williams ball pressure: He was killing us all game yet we did not make ANY effort to get the ball out of his hand. We allowed him to do whatever he wanted in short-clock situations and he always burned us.

D on Mehmet Okur: Bosh should not be guarding him and Sam should ensure this. Just like teams have trouble guarding Bargnani at the 3-pt line, we had trouble guarding him. Bargs should’ve been on him for defensive purposes, Okur hit a couple threes on Bosh that really hurt us.

Jose Calderon on All-Star ballot: Chuck picked a nice game to moan about Jose Calderon not being on the All-Star ballot. 3-7 FG, 6 points, 3 TOs and 0 assists. God hates Chuck. Terrible game by Calderon, all his TOs came on the break when we should’ve scored on a 3 on 1.

Jamario Moon keeping us in the game: Another good game by Moon, his late fluky 3 probably prolonged this game longer than it should have. He can cause havoc on D and is making me forget about Joey Graham.

Kris Humphries effort unmatched: Since he got his contract he’s playing like a man-possessed. He held his own against Boozer/Collins/Kirilenko and was a real force for us. I love his heart and desire.

Thanks for reading. Grab the feed and let’s hope the Raptors get better and that Sam figures out how to coach.

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