"It wasn't so much about letting myself down as letting everyone else down," Jack said of his early struggles. "I think that was some of the added pressure in the beginning. Also I wanted to perform, so I could prove to everyone that it shouldn't have taken this long. I should have got this contract a long time ago. So it was a little pressure from both ways that kind of hurt my play a little bit but I'm putting it all behind me."
The pressure appears to have been relieved with a talk Friday morning with head coach Jay Triano.
"I think he was dwelling as a lot of guys do," Triano said. "It doesn't matter what level you're playing at. Some guys dwell on the fact that they are not making shots or not making plays. What we said to him was do all the little things. I think his energy level has been very good and he's found some confidence in the other parts of this game that has translated to his shot."
It's a lob pass from point guard to a backdoor-cutting forward racing along the baseline and as Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems are showing every now and then, it can be an electrifying moment that shifts momentum in a game.
"It's all instinct," said DeRozan, the rookie shooting guard who's been on the finishing end of a couple of lob passes from Calderon over the past handful of games. "You just read the plays, read the defender and everything.
"It really gets us going, especially when we're at home, it gets the crowd going and everything and gets our momentum going which is what we really need.
"I read my guy, read Jose, know the play and what we're doing and watch the whole defence shift and go." It is not something that comes overnight, though. It takes a subtle recognition of the players and the circumstances and an acute knowledge of teammates.
The switch moves Roy Hibbert to the bench as well as either Brandon Rush or Dahntay Jones. It also frees up Danny Granger to move back to small forward. The offense certainly needs a boost and having Murph available to spread the floor along with Granger at his natural position should help.
The defensive impact will be interesting and considering the Raptors have the leading offense in the NBA maybe it's better to focus on attacking their league worst defense. The question remains though: Is this lineup the go-forward plan of is it tailored to the Raptors with the idea to mix and match starters to fit the opponent?
Certainly starting Granger on Chris Bosh would be a problem and Foster can chase Andrea Bargnani out to the arc better than Hibbert.
Mohammed has been starting at center, with Chandler missing games with back spasms. Chandler hopes to play Wednesday versus the Toronto Raptors, so Mohammed could soon be back among the reserves. Rookie Derrick Brown had by far his best game versus the Pacers.
Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien is swapping size for quickness on defense.
O'Brien will start veteran Jeff Foster in place of second-year player Roy Hibbert tonight against the Toronto Raptors in an attempt to improve the defense.
"We can't play Roy much unless they play Amir Johnson or (Rasho) Nesterovic," O'Brien said. "We'll start Jeff at center because we're quicker and able to guard their pick-and-rolls."
O'Brien didn't say whether the switch was permanent.
- Asked if the Raptors' crowd will ever stop booing him — maybe in his last years — Carter said, "I'd say it's 50-50. As the years go by, maybe it will change." Carter remembers being booed in Tallahassee as a collegian after the Daytona Beach prep star chose North Carolina. "I used to get it at Florida State," he said.
- Howard enjoyed Raptors fans taunting him with a sing-song "How-ard! How-ard!" and waved his arms like a music conductor.
Keys to Success
- Transition D. Even though Toronto is a poor defensive team, Indiana is a poor offensive team when forced to play half-court basketball.
- Rebounding. Indiana loves to shoot quick shots, and deep shots. The rebounds are going to come early in the shot clock, and there are going to be a lot of long rebounds. Calderon/Derozan/Turk have to help tracking the long rebounds.
-Bargnani. With Granger starting at PF, Bargnani has to stay out of foul trouble, and will have to play his best D of the young season to stay in front of his man. If Bargnani get’s the oppurtunity to be covered by either Murphy, or Hibbert, then he has to make Indiana pay from outside.
On the performance of Jack in the last two games: “I think confidence. I think he was dwelling, as a lot of guys do. It doesn’t matter what level you play at. Some guys, they dwell on the fact that they’re not making shots or they’re not making plays. One thing we said to him was just do all the little things. Play good defence, work hard, do all the hustle things, your shot will eventually come. Don’t be worried about playing. You’re going to play. Do all the effort things and your shot will come soon enough.”
- The effort Amir Johnson brings and how it fuels the rest of the team: “I think you can’t help but feed off of it. I think he makes everybody accountable because he gives such an honest effort on every possession. He runs the floor hard, he doesn’t quit on any plays, and we’ve seen him get a couple blocks late because of that.”
The Raptors’ main problems yesterday against the Magic’s “3-5 Pick and Roll” were related to the lack of a “Secondary Rotation” AFTER the initial Switch was executed properly by Turkoglu and Bosh, like most good teams do when coming down the stretch of tight NBA games in the 4th quarter.
Troy Murphy, when he is available and able, has averaged 9 points and 9.4 rebounds and has started three games. But against the Bobcats on Sunday, Murphy was limited to 21 minutes, seven points and eight boards.
When your team’s second highest scorer is a defensive specialist and you are shooting 44 percent from the field and 30 percent from three, you are going to be looked upon as a get-able game by nearly every team in the NBA. Budding superstar Danny Granger not withstanding.
James, Wade and Bosh all can become free agents next summer, which has clouded their chances of playing for Team USA in the World Championships in Turkey, Aug. 28-Sept. 12. But Colangelo, chairman of USA Basketball, sees a scenario in which the three still could play even if they might not be available for the team's minicamp in Las Vegas during the third week of July.
"There is a gap between the minicamp and when they have to be back [for a training camp beginning in Las Vegas around Aug. 10],'' Colangelo said in an interview Monday with FanHouse. "That's about three weeks. I could see them getting all their business done by then.''
Colangelo said, if necessary, he would be willing to wait on any of the three who can opt out of their contracts next summer and become free agents. After all, Cleveland's James, Miami's Wade and Toronto's Bosh could prove pivotal to Team USA trying to win the Worlds for the first time since 1994.
“It was kind of funny, last year, in our building, it was Rasho (Nesterovic) in one door, I was next door to him, Brandon Rush was next door to me and T.J. (Ford) was next door to (him.) It was like we were in the dorm room,” Jack said. “I would see them every day. I really wanted to go back to Indiana. I felt that I’m a loyal person and they gave me the opportunity to show my talent and put myself in position to get a contract. I felt like I really owed it to them to come back if we could make it work.”
That is not how it played out. The Pacers could not manipulate their roster to match the Raptors’ four-year, $20 million US offer to Jack while staying below the luxury tax.
“Jarrett just tries to do well,” Chris Bosh, a friend of Jack’s since they were freshmen together at Georgia Tech, said. “That’s his thing . . . if he feels he’s not producing like he should be, he’s not going to be happy about it.
And while Jack isn’t the first professional athlete to get paid and stop playing; he’s one of the few to call himself on it.
“It wasn’t so much I didn’t want to let myself down,” Jack said yesterday as he was getting ready to play his first game against the Indiana Pacers, his former team. “I didn’t want to let everyone else down, you know what I mean? That was some added pressure in the beginning, it affected my play a little bit.”
Jack, as is his habit, was still in the gym long after practice ended Monday hoisting up shots when the Pacers, Tuesday’s opponents and his team of last season, walked into the gym to get their own work in.
Jack had a kind word for everyone as they entered and only after he had completed his own work did he go person to person for individual greetings, Head coach Jim O’Brien, his assistants, trainers, equipment managers and every player got a hug, handshake or fist bump. No one was left out.
Had this reunion occurred a week earlier, Jack still likely would have greeted them as warmly, but the smile on his face that seems plastered there permanently these days might not have been.
Summary: A 1-3 week is disappointing, but not a disaster. The Raptors looked good in parts of the Denver-Utah back-to-back, despite being swept. They looked great for most of the win over Miami, and looked good against a championship contender for three quarters on Sunday. The story of this past week has to be the Raptors failure to play 48 minutes of good basketball. Had they done that, they could have come out with a 2-2 split for the week, or conceivably even won three. But, still no reason to panic. I have maintained all along that if the Raptors come out of November 8-10 or 9-9, they will be fine. Of course, their play in the week that will be will dictate that.
Are Raptors fans holding a grudge they should let go of? I can tell you that I have heard that sentiment from more than one NBA fan. Or, is it justified and that those who think it's petty don't know the full story because they didn't have to 'go through it' as Raptors fans did?
With that said, I personally like to think Vince helped make the Raptors a legitimate franchise and put Toronto on the map in the minds of the basketball fans south of the border. He was the 1999 NBA Rookie of the Year, 2000 All-Star weekend Slam Dunk champion, and he was the reason NBC changed their NBA schedule to televise a Raptors matinee tilt the following weekend for the Raptors first ever US broadcast. Not to mention that Vince led the Raptors to the 2001 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals playoff appearance (in a Game 7 road loss to the Philapelphia 76ers).
Chris Bosh speaks with the media after Monday's practice.
Marco Belinelli speaks with the media after Monday's practice.
Jarrett Jack speaks with the media after Monday's practice.
The Raptors head coach speaks with the media after Monday's practice.
Andrea Bargnani speaks with the media after Monday's practice.
Watch the Raptors vs. Magic, all in just six minutes!
I used to assume I was biased, forming my opinion on Carter partially based on his being the first NBAer I’d ever encountered, but I don’t think so. Eight years later, I’ve seen Carter come through town again and again and the love he gives and receives is special. With locker room attendants, security guards, team personnel, there is genuine love and appreciation.
Crazy when we think about how everything went down.
Carter didn’t leave much to be desired in his actions, but he has left a level of success that the team is still trying to reach. He was a young man when he was drafted by the Raptors. He left six years older, but perhaps none wiser. Now, though, he has also evolved as a teammate and professional basketball player and for Toronto, it’s time to let go. Appreciate that he was here at a time where he could give the franchise a face, a name and a presence on the larger scale that has remained beyond him, as the Raptors stand tall 15 years strong.
Still, perfect health is not on the horizon. Forward Reggie Evans, who has not played all year because of a mid-foot sprain, will be traveling with the team for games in Charlotte and Boston on Wednesday and Friday. But that is not necessarily happy news.
"I believe he's going to go on this trip and see one of the [foot] specialists," head coach Jay Triano said.
Ten days ago, Evans sounded hopeful that he would be back on the floor this week. Now there is no timetable for his return.
The Magic did a decent job defending Bosh, keeping him from reaching his ninth straight double double. Bosh ended the night with 22 points and 5 rebounds. At one point of the game, I thought to myself "Jason Williams and JJ Redick are killing the Raptors!" The two guards combined for 35 points. The loss wasn't as bad as the last Magic-Raps matchup but the Raps failed to make a run in the fourth, and when Hedo turned the ball over off his foot, any chance of a Raptors run was finished.
Offensively, with both Belinelli out with the groin injury and DeMar's ugly stat line, the Raps couldn't keep the offensive pace that they were looking for which led to the highlight of my weekend. First of all, I got to attend a 'BOO, VC SUCKS' Raptors game but I also got to see this