What a great story Jeremy Lin is, eh? A guy this talented goes undrafted, probably because of perception. Not playing in a “real” basketball college. Not fitting the “mold” of a Chris Paul or Steve Nash. The dude would be a demi-god here in one of the most multicultural cities in the world. But I’m sure New York is a great consolation prize. He combines decent enough athleticism with just unbelievable craftiness on the court. Really exciting player, if you haven’t had a chance to see him already. He’s legit. There’s guys like him who have repeatable skills like drawing fouls and dribble penetration and there are guys like Carlos Delfino last night, where every prayer that left his hand was answered by probably the same gods that granted Scott Skiles 30 assists some 22 years ago.
Sometimes the Sam Mitchell explanation does truly suffice: “They made shats” DeMar DeRozan does take some of the blame for this, because many of these attempts were with him clearly guarding Delfino but not adapting to the situation. Dude should have crowded Delfino after the first couple of threes. The Bucks did mix in enough of a resurgent Drew Gooden to keep the Raptors honest, who apparently “lost” weight over the lockout, a good 25 pounds of it. Adding weight, even for bigs, has always been a questionable tactic in my eyes. If you’re naturally big, great, but to force on those pounds and sacrifice valuable quickness is often not a great deal. Who knows how good Gooden could have played if he’s done this earlier in his career.
How did the Raptors play? Loose defensively to start the game, they tightened up a bit as time went on, but you can bet that defending three pointers will be a point of emphasis for the next little while. The pace was actually too quick for a Casey coached team, and once that slowed down a bit, the defense followed. Too bad Jerryd Bayless had to leave the game early. He was play making well with 7 assists, showing unselfishness on the fast break.
Corner threes are the stuff that makes winning teams. DeMar showed some the corner some love last night, which is great for two reasons. One, it’s not an easy shot for some, because you can’t use the backboard as a reference point, so it is in fact a skill set that he looks to be acquiring. Two, it might actually be within his natural range, which is like a long 2(bad) in other parts of the court. Still, the driving mentality should not suffer, because that is his best skill at this level.
The Raptors continue to play decent despite missing a key piece. If Delfino misses a three here or there, they just might have squeaked by. There are some quality teams walking into the ACC in this long awaited homestand that should not underestimate this scrappy group.
The #JeremyLinShow will also be making its appearance. Be prepared.