Dallas Mavericks 76, Toronto Raptors 92

Just finished watching the Dallas game which I had handpicked as a win, that’s right man, you should’ve taken the +4. Enough good things happened in Atlanta which led me to believe that we’d win this one with or without TJ Ford. See, coming up with a recipe for a Raptor wins tonight was simple: tighten up the defense on Dirk, keep them off the boards and play solid perimeter defense on Howard/Terry while also guarding against their pick ‘n roll which they switch 1-3. On the other end, make CB4 drive to the rim (should be a constant in every game) and hit our outside shots after moving the ball. I know, it’s all easier said than done but when all of these things actually happen in the same game, it’s too good to be a Raptors fan.

This game wasn’t close past the second quarter and every Dallas run was answered with good defense and a timely hoop and often that hoop came from Kris Humphries who has made it a personal business of cleaning up the remains of Bargnani rejections. If Humphries can provide the energy and rebounding he did today, he’ll be an excellent contrast to the finesse of Rasho and could get his points off the confusion Bosh creates when he drives to the rim and happens to miss. In other words, a solid garbage man who can finish, rebound and play unrelenting defense.

Chris Bosh

Am I sick for sometimes wishing that Chris Bosh’s jumpers miss? I just want to see him take his man off the dribble every time and drive to the rim to either score or draw a foul. I hardly care if he gets rejected as long as he drives, he’s too quick for 90% of the PFs that try to guard him and I just see it as a waste of an opportunity every time he passes out of single coverage or takes an 18 footer. I know I’m being a bit dramatic but my point is that he should take the jumper as a last resort or when the defense is giving him enough space and completely taking away the drive. Just a thought.

Jason Kapono

I was observing Kapono on the last play of the third quarter and trying to notice how a three point shooter who everyone knows can shoot can possibly get open. He managed to create some space by simply going to the farthest corner of the court and his defender was barely 4 feet away when he caught the ball. His release was so quick that a) it had no chance of being blocked and b) it was perfect. I always try to compare Kapono with another great shooter, Steve Kerr. Kerr who holds the NBA record for highest 3FG percentage, was a different kind of shooter. When He caught the ball his feet needed to be set well before that in order for him to make a shot. Kapono can actually set his feet extremely quickly thus enabling him to have a quicker release. That’s why you see him coming in transition and just PLANT his feet at the arc and just catch and release. The amount of time it takes him to get into his shooting motion is insane. Possibly as quick as Dell Curry.

Andrea Bargnani

He looks really bad out there and I start to cringe every time he does his fake-the-three-and-take-an-off-balance-20-footer, somebody should tell him to either just drive all the way to the rim or just take the jumper, this in-between thing will never work. I still think he’s going to come out of his funk and have a solid year for us, at least by hitting threes and playing good man-defense. My main concern for Bargnani has always been with the coaching (or lack thereof) he’s receiving.

At his young age the thing he needs the most is coaching and instruction so that he can understand the game and get the fundamentals right (footwork, post-moves, using screens, decisions in the key etc.), the rest will come later. I’m not sure he’s getting that with the Raps right now. Over the past year, his offensive arsenal hasn’t improved at all which is cause for a little concern and his decisions in the low-post are suspect to say the least. The only area of improvement in his game is his man-defense and the effort he’s sometime shown in attacking the rim, but that’s effort not actual ability. Rudy Gay anyone? I’m just joking, I’ll stick with the horse I have, hopefully it’s not a foolish decision.

One-Liners

* Good to see TJ’s back, he says he’s out for at least 7 days. No problem, we have Calderon.

* How about Leo Rautins saying Dallas should blow the current team up because of the scars of the GS series and NBA finals. I think he’s way off.

* “I’m not a bum man!” – Kris Humphries in the PG interview when asked whether this is the first time he’s had his name changed.

* I counted at least five air-balls tonight.

* Does Eddie Jones look fat or what?

* Penny Hardaway got released by the Heat. I was rooting for him.

* This is guaranteed to make you laugh.

Next up we’re at Indiana, another game that’s begging to be had. More coverage here. Later. Feed.

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