Thank God for the Heat

Jose Calderon…Que Pasa?
Raptors 101, Heat 95

Shouldn’t have been that close.

We said that four times last season, and twice so far this year. What does it say about the Raptors when the Heat overcame a 17 point deficit, take the lead, and came within a couple plays/shats to win the game? It say’s there is still a lot of work to do. To the Raptors credit, they ground out a tough game on the second night of a back-to-back, and won two of the last three games.

Bosh was clearly worn down. After 10 games of massive minutes, culminating with 45 the night before, Bosh had a pretty solid game, not by his recent standards, but a solid outing nonetheless (15pts 11rebs). The guy is elite, there is no two ways about it. Fortunately, Bargnani showed up and had a monster game with 25pts 4rebs and 2blks. I was thinking about Bargnani, and if he can drop 18-20 a night, I don’t care how many rebounds he gets.

His defense is much improved this season (still room to grow), but his rebounding leaves a lot to be desired for a 7 footer. I’m reserved to the notion that he just doesn’t have it in him to be a solid rebounder, not in his genes. Seems like the ‘Bargnani @ SF’ experiment will extend at least one more game against Jersey on Friday. Bobby Simmons isn’t the type of player to kill Bargnani at the 3. At least it keeps Moon out of the starting lineup. I still think Moon doesn’t realize this is a contract year for him.

Back to the game…

Dribble penetration was a huge issue tonight (the theme of the season actually), it was what kept Miami in the game. Most of it came from Wade. The guy is incredible, he does whatever he wants within 18 feet. Parker had a tough time with the guy, he had a couple sick cross overs that left Parker frozen. What was unacceptable was the help from Bosh/O’Neal when Wade blew by Parker/Moon. Rotations were late, and weak. A few times, Kapono showed some help, but never committed, which wasn’t surprising, but upsetting nonetheless.

Have to give Parker some credit. It can’t be easy chasing Wade all over the court, take all that abuse, then drop 19 of your own on 5-5 shooting from beyond the arc. He has clearly lost a step, but makes good decisions, is streaky clutch (man is clutch when the Raptors are up, or when it doesn’t matter), and is the best defender on the wing we have.

So we live with Wade doing what he does, what I can’t live with is Chalmers penetrating and kicking to an open shooter on the wing. That happened about 4 times by my count. He’s good player, but not that good. On top of that, it is unacceptable for a team with a $70mill payroll to allow so many open freaking looks.

Great game for Calderon to come back though, and not a moment too soon. He found open shooters, protected the ball, hit a couple key shots, and ran the offense without a hitch. Sadly, he only played 32 minutes, which meant Solomon got about 16. I have to say, I hate the guy. He sucks.

He isn’t worthy of a 10 day contract, much less a backup PG role in the NBA. The only situation I can see him being effective, and used properly is when a foul is needed, or Smitch wants someone to takes someones knees out. In my game notes, I have the following written about him on three straight possession:

  • Solomon answers with a brick on the open jumper
  • Solomon fouls Wade, then gets T’d up…fucking idiot
  • Solomon turns the ball over badly, when it rains it pours, he sucks and needs to be put to sleep asap

15 games. That’s what some were saying around these parts was the amount of time O’Neal should be given before passing judgment. I thought that fair with the caveat that I would need to see some progression in his game during that time. Playing 14 games at a low level, and hitting his stride at 15 was unacceptable in my estimation. I am actually happy that there has been some solid improvement in his game over the last few games.

Not only has O’Neal been able to play more minutes a night, but he seems more comfortable with that turn around jumper. His rebounding numbers, and defense in the block were never a concern for me. The offensive side was the sticking point. It is unreasonable to expect him to be a 20 point scorer (which sucks because that was one of the roles he was supposed to fill this season), but 16pts 9rebs is reasonable, and should be the minimum level of output expected from the guy.

A few random thoughts from the game:

  • Obviously Leo’s love affair with Dalembert is over. But the man has found someone else to shower with his verbal fellatio – Joel Anthony…I hate Leo too…cock sucker.
  • What is it with these NBA players and that stupid red mouth guard? What is this need to have it stick half way out of your mouth?
  • Is it me, or does Beasley not look like a baller. The guy seems better suited to be playing guitar at a grimy Latin bar in South Beach.
  • Erik Spoelstra gives me the creeps. Dude is a freaky Steve Buscemi.
  • Wouldn’t Chris Quinn be a perfect backup for Calderon?
  • Humphries needs more playing time. I hate some of the offensive decisions he makes, but the guy plays hard, fights, claws, bites and wills his way to make things happen. Gotta appreciate that.

There has been a lot of chatter about the Raptors and trades (Wallace, Harrington, anyone really). Dave at NBA Roundtable posted a must read article for any Raptor fan, dude is really thinking out of the box on this one, great read.

AltRaps will be checking in at some point with his Roll Call. Peace…

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