Three Stray Observations from Raptors vs Celtics

A word on Rudy Gay, Jonas Valanciunas and the disgrace to his profession that is Tommy Heinsohn.

Hey! Real basketball was played! No more Eurobasket recaps!  No more quelled optimism about summer league! We actually recognize the faces on their heads and the names on their backs! Can you tell that I’m excited?

Okay, I should probably step back and acknowledge that it was still just a preseason game. I mean, Dwane Casey put out a crunch time lineup of Buycks-Ross-Fields-Daye-Gray. We can’t read too much into these games. That being said, here are three things I’ve totally read into.

You can find the boxscore here and the highlights from the game are below:

Jonas Valanciunas Looked Fantastic

Nevermind the fact that he fouled out and committed three turnovers. He was whistled for a bunch of ticky-tack stuff and a few of those turnovers weren’t really his fault. Instead, focus on the fact that he scored 10 points on 5/7 shooting, including the first six points of the game. He also chipped in with 10 rebounds and 2 blocked shots, all in under 27 minutes. Those numbers are fantastic.

Granted, Jonas went up against the likes of Kris Humphries, Kelly “Dirk” Olynyk (more on this later) and Jared Sullinger, so his numbers should be taken with a huge grain of salt, but he was dominant. He flashed some post-moves on offense, including his trusty right-handed hook shot, and he showed smart instincts on defense, permitting Kris Humphries to shoot jumpers from outside of the paint.

One key development I’ll be looking for is to see if Jonas can cut down on that ugly foul rate (4.6 fouls per 36 minutes last season). There is no depth at centre behind him (apologies to Air Gray) and the Raptors really struggled on both ends of the floor when he’s not in the game. Most of his fouls were racked up on defense, but he seems to average one offensive foul per game on moving screens. Although he sets very wide screens and almost always gets his man open, Jonas has a habit of moving too soon on screens, which either takes him out of the play, or he gets whistled for the foul. Hopefully he gets his timing down and manages to stay on the floor.

Rudy Gay Turns it on After Slow Start to Finish with a Game-High 17 points

I was cursing at my laptop as I watched Gay launch two ill-advised jumpers to start the game. Both shots were taken with lots of time left on the clock and he was being guarded well by Jeff Green. Needless to say, both jumpers clanked out and he did not look good. However, he turned it on over the rest of the game. He made a three in transition, beat Gerald Wallace off the dribble and finished at the rim. He also sunk some turn-around jumpers,which was nice.His shot chart for the game is below:

gay shot chart

He didn’t have the lift that he once had, presumably because he’s put on some muscle over the summer. His first couple of jumpers were flat, but his shot looked great after he found his form.

Gay didn’t really take anyone into the post. He was guarded by Jeff Green for the majority of the game, who is every bit as large as Gay (6’9 228 lbs for Green, 6’8 222 lbs for Gay), so perhaps it didn’t really make sense for him to challenge him in the post, but it would have been nice to see Gay pull out the post game at some point. The odds are good that his post-game will be on display in his next match against the Timberwolves, whose wing players are quite diminutive (Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Alexy Shved).

Tommy Heinsohn is Unprofessional

I was only able to catch the game on an online stream last night, so I was forced to trudge through the Celtics broadcast feed, meaning I had to sit through Tommy Heinsohn’s color commentary.

Perhaps it’s a tad hypocritical for me to chastise his lack of professionalism, given that I routinely spend my time (and Zarar’s good faith) whipping up trivial articles imagining conversations and compiling sarcastic quizzes, but Tommy Heinsohn is a disgrace to his profession.

There’s a place for homerism on TV broadcasts. There’s also a place for selling your product (read: lying about how competitive the Celtics will be this season). There’s even a place for playful backwards ignorance, but there is not enough goodwill in this green earth to permit what Tommy Swinesohn is saying on air.

Here are some select quotes from Swinesohn’s play call last night:

On Kelly Olynyk:

“Dirk like” and “point forward”

On Jonas Valanciunas:

“Flopper” and “undersized”

On Kris Humphries

“Perhaps he can even be a threat from three!” (he has sunk 2 threes in his 8 year career)

He is not poetic. He isn’t insightful. He’s not even entertaining. He’s abrasive, brash, ignorant and outdated. Being a kooky grandpa doesn’t excuse him from being offensive and facetious, and it certainly doesn’t permit him to flagrantly disregard broadcasting standards. He brings disgrace to one of the proudest franchises in the NBA and he should be fired as soon as possible before he does any more damage to either the NBA or the Celtics.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Landry Fields looked good attacking the basket. On one play he caught the ball on the wing and immediately drove along the baseline to draw the foul. On another occasion, he used his dribble to get into the paint and sunk a floater. Everyone is focused on his jumper, and rightfully so, but Fields is capable of contributing in other ways.
  • You’ll never believe this, but Austin Daye at 200 lbs is a train-wreck on defense when he’s guarding fours. He was dominated by Humphries and Sullinger who both had at least 50 pounds on him.
  • DJ Augustin is pretty terrible at running an offense. Dwight Buycks didn’t look so hot either. Stay healthy, Lowry!

  • Terrence Ross had a great game. He looked calm and collected and did very well when he drove to the hoop. He also showed some great athleticism on a couple of defensive possessions.
  • Tyler Hansbrough is to basketball what “NIP” by Jay-Z and Kanye is to the people; it gets them going! Awesome energy and hustle from Tyler.
  • Derozan looked good shooting the ball and attacking in the post, but Avery Bradley forced him into 4 turnovers in the first quarter (2 were given to Amir for poor entry passes, but it was really Bradley sealing off Derozan/jumping the lane). Check out his post moves here:

  • Gerald Wallace is far from finished.
  • Avery Bradley is to defense what Stephen Curry is to offense; he’s a savant.
  • Toronto’s next game will be at 7:00 PM on Wednesday. They will take on Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves at the ACC. I will be in attendance thanks to a free ticket promotion from Bell. I’ll be at the back of section 119M if anyone wants to come by and say hello. Look for a tall Asian man with a giant head. I’m serious.

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