AltRaps is off. It’s the “five alive” edition.
Banks – Nobody on the Heat remembers him either.
Bargnani – Singlehandedly kept the offense chugging in the third when he could no wrong. His PGs set him up beautifully and he gave them their reward in assists. Only had three rebounds but one of them was huge with less than 40 seconds left to play. On this night we needed his offense and he brought it in spades – 27 on 13-19 FG. He got schooled by his old buddy JO a few times and I’m thinking that has a lot to do with the latter knowing his tendencies from last year.
Belinelli – The Gunner. He comes off the bench and guns. Some of the nicest assists this year have come courtesy of Belinelli and he delivered some good ones tonight. Had a thing going with Wade in the first half and responded well to the challenge. 11 points in all. My favorite play? The way he avoided the charge in transition by stepping to his left and laying it in. High basketball IQ, good shooter, good vision, and one of the reasons I’m not too worried if an ill-advised Calderon trade goes through.
Bosh – JO took him out of his comfort zone on offense and he looked ‘off’ for most of the game, missing a couple dunks and looking iffy on his jumpers. But at the end of the night you look at the boxscore and it reads 11-22 FG, 24pts, 18rebs. This was one of his “quiet good games” but it has to be said that his interior rotations were very poor, especially while Beasley was still in the game. Say what you will about him, if he’s struggling in one aspect of the game, he tries to make it up through another.
Calderon – I love Jose off the bench. He’s steaming past the half-court line with his head down and looking to exploit and plunder any seams in the defense. Couple of great drives against Miami bigs for layups, a terrific steal which led to two and most of all, great energy off the bench while keeping the ball moving. His second-quarter play brought the Raptors back in the game. Gone are the days when Jose used to dribble up lazily, run a lazy screen with Bosh and then make a lazy pass to Bosh. Struggled with his shot, but everything else was intact and good enough to earn him the 4th quarter minutes he got. This is the Jose Calderon we paid $8M for. Starter or not.
DeRozan – Paid some guy in Pacific Mall $500 bucks to hack his NBA2K and get rid of the Rookie-Sophomore game.
Evans – Apparently his nickname is “The King”. The only way I can see him deserving that is if he was doing Burger King runs while everybody else was busting their tail in practice.
Jack – You know that play when he didn’t let Alston overtake him on the break and released a floater for two? That shows confidence and court-awareness. Always ran the two-man game with Bosh well, but is now starting to look at other targets, even had a couple tight cross-court passes. The three turnovers were of the careless variety and that’s something he’s prone to, the Heat were taking full advantage of our turnovers and Triano was wise to reduce his ball-handling in the fourth.
Johnson – Recognized the limp in Beasley’s leg and executed a couple post-moves Hakeem would be proud of. Finished what his teammates setup for him and held his own on the glass as always. His shot-chart is more congested than orgy-night at Raps Fans house. Also, I seem to have pissed off this guy with my podcast.
Nesterovic – His wife never believes him when he says he was at the game.
O’Bryant – You know when you go to a fancy restaurant and as you’re being seated you see hot waitresses everywhere and get excited about which one of them will serve you. When you finally get your server, it’s some dude with a clip-on tie? That dude is Patrick O’Bryant in five years.
Turkoglu- Can this piece of trash please stop smiling? His idea of a good shot has been reduced to pulling up for a contested three with 14 seconds on the clock. The only way he’s getting any points these days is if he’s fouled, but that doesn’t nearly make it up for his brutal rotations. That play where Wade got his own offensive rebound on the break as Turkoglu watched was ridiculous enough, but the shock on his face as to just how Wade had managed to do that was priceless. HE SCORED BECAUSE YOU MADE NO EFFORT TO PLAY DEFENSE YOU &*^%. He’s got the next 9 games to sort things out, I figure we can do without him over this stretch but after that we need his overpaid ass to step up.
Weems – Started off like a man on fire. Got schooled by Wade on a couple possessions but hit him right back for 9 early points, and that’s without even breaking a sweat. Imagine if he had come out early like Wade, he’d have 45 at the half. The defense on Wade wasn’t great, fell for too many fakes and was way too eager to leave his feet on Wade’s jumpers. Still, a pretty solid first NBA start. DeRozan take note – a few bad games and you got Weems ready to jump in.
Wright – Picked up three quick early fouls and was sent to the bench but was heard from later. Oh, yes he was. I had no doubt that three was going in. The man-defense on Wade on the last two possessions was what he was hired for. I’ve said all along that he’s a situational guy at best and today was one of those situations. Was smart enough to capitalize when the defense was caught cheating on our bigs by slipping under for a few scores too. Take a bow, Antoine. You’re not long for this team, but if these are the memories you’ll leave us with, they will be fond.
Driving The Bus: Andrea Bargnani
Under The Bus: Hedo Turkoglu