So you thought last night was bad? Well tonight could be worse. How much you want to bet we hear the numbers 61 and 81 in the build-up to this game. 81 I think we all remember even though we try to forget. While 61 is the MSG record that Kobe just set the other day. So how on earth will the Raptors stop him? The first step is take that big three line up and stick it where the sun don't shine. The second they announced the starting line-up on Raptors T.V, I could have predicted what was going to happen in the first quarter. It is really quite simple the big 3 line-up is a defensive liability and why I know that and the Raptors refuse to accept that reality is a mystery to me. Jay Triano being a Canadian has made me want to support him. However how can I support that? I can't because it just in my view is somewhere between stupid and stubborn. The big 3 line-up forces the Raptors to pretty much play zone as the base defense. It invite teams to shot from three point range. Problem is the close outs in that zone are far to slow. It leads to open looks and lots of 3's. Against a guy like Lebron or Kobe the defense collapses around them and they kick it out to a wide open shooter. If the defense does not it gets cut through like a hot knife through butter. The only advantage it provides is a much better rebounding. That is great if teams actually miss. The Cavs shooting 60% in that first quarter did not exactly help in that regard.
Jose Calderon Is Hurting The Team
The guy that is billed has a big team player is actually not helping the team. He is not helping if he is not healthy. Well that is not totally true to be fair. He has been able to cut down the turnovers to a large degree at his position. However if he is hobbled by his hamstring he becomes a major liability on defense and it is even impacting on his jump shot at this point. Will Solomon and Roko Ukic have not played to a level that they can be trusted. That is why we have seen Anthony Parker playing back-up minutes at the point. It is clear that Colangelo screwed up by not bringing in an NBA experienced point guard to back-up Calderon. I am not saying the Colangelo or anyone could have in visioned what has happened with Jose. However he did know that the chance was there and based on extra play at the Olympics and an injury he suffered there it was possible. The money he wasted on a Hassan Adams and what he paid for Will Solomon could have got him some form of NBA back-up point guard. Raptors are paying for that mistake on a daily basis. Calderon trying to fight through his injuries is admirable but at this point foolish and if there was a legit option behind him I can't imagine he is out there. I admire the character and toughness but if it hurts the team it really is not worth it. Calderon has always been a fan favourite and rightfully so. However do not be blinded by a love of Jose to not understand that if he is not able to go at 100% he should not be out there if it is going to hurt this team. The reality is that he is. The problem is the alternative behind him may actually hurt this team more. So, at the end of the day Colangelo is to blame.
Deadline Will Bring Change
Raptors have been talking about making a move for a long time. However I have reached the point of thinking that it would be highly unlikely at this point to see anything done before the deadline. It just seems more and more likely. By the time you get to that point even the most optimistic of people out there will likely be willing to admit that this team and it's playoff chances are dead. It will allow Colangelo to focus on next season and building a roster for the 09/10 season. It really is the smart thing to do at this point. To do anything for this team's short term would be a waste at this point. You trade for the short term when you feel it can be impactful and change the outcome. It seems clear that no trade that could do that is out there for this Raptors team. So the focus will shift and the attention will move to next season.
The A Word The Raptors Fear The Most
Apathy is the scariest word for anyone connected to the Raptors. Even I am afraid of that word. If Raptor fans becomes Apathetic that hurts everyone connected to the Raptors right down to the average blogger. Given the way the team has played of late and combine that with the next 3 games being on TSN2 it is a recipe for apathy. I have wrote on this topic a lot and I guess part of the reason is that it is in my best interest that games are able to be seen by all. Still I also write about it because as someone that is basketball fan I feel insulted by this entire TSN 2 mess. The Apathy the people in this dispute have shown to solving it is going to turn around into apathy about the product they are denying access too. Yes there are feeds on the Internet and ways to get the network if you make an effort to do so. However people should not be forced to go in search of games for a professional sports franchise. It is embarrassing and a not that funny joke at this point. They way this team has been playing a lot of folks are not going to bother making the effort.
So with that being said here is hoping we can keep Kobe from embarrassing this team yet again. I don't think we have truly recovered from the 81 point performance. Perhaps we never will completely recover.