Arsenalist

The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Game 2 Heartbreak: Mitchell draws up middle-school play with :09 left

Posted by Arsenalist on April 23, 2008

Toronto Raptors 103, Orlando Magic 104

Phil Jackson once said that a series hasn’t even started until a team loses a home game, so take some solace in knowing that we have what it takes to beat the Magic. Today was an extremely unlucky evening where we were any one of a rebound or a point away from winning the game, it’s just sad that Chris Bosh couldn’t hit the jumper and it’s much sadder that the quality of play coming out of a crucial timeout was lacking even the slightest thought or basketball sense.

Let’s absolve Chris Bosh of any blame in the Game 2 loss. He led the team in points, assists, rebounds, blocks, steals and minutes. To use a cliche, he left everything he had out on the floor and gave it his best. At the end of the game there was nothing in his tank and he did all he could to rescue any kind of a return in Orlando. He missed a 20-footer which was taken on exhausted legs with the clock winding down, surely we could’ve come up with something better given the hot shooting of Jose Calderon, Jason Kapono or even Andrea Bargnani.

This one falls on Sam Mitchell. What is Mitchell’s job? His job is supposed to be to use his basketball intellect to our advantage in these situations by drawing up a play that is likely to create a good shot, not a 20 footer for a power forward who’s clearly winded after playing practically the entire game. Giving him the ball beyond the key and asking him to do a Kobe impersonation is unfair and setting him up to fail. When was the last time Amare Stoudamire, Dwight Howard or even the great Tim Duncan were given the ball on an isolation play 20 feet from the rim with 5 seconds left? If that’s the “play” you’re going to call, there’s not even a need for a timeout, just come out and freestyle like you’ve been doing all year, at least you’ll catch the defense somewhat off-guard. The lack of creativity displayed by Mitchell surpasses anything that he’s shown thus far in his Raptors tenure and he is directly responsible for not doing his job in giving the Raptors an opportunity to win this game. Here’s a quote from an Orlando Sentinel story which sums up the difference between the two teams:

The Magic, judging by their surprisingly easy Game 1 victory and their incredibly difficult 104-103 victory in Game 2 Tuesday night, are reading from the exact same page, doing what they have to do at the exact right time, buying into what their coach is diagramming almost exactly as he has drawn it up. In contrast, the Raptors aren’t reading from the same page. They are too often confused — as if their playbook is written in hieroglyphics. The players have second-guessed the coach, the coach has sparred with the media, the media has all but started a coaching search.”

It’s important to note that on the previous Bosh on Howard possession, Bosh was fouled by Howard and the officials swallowed their whistle, there was no reason to believe that wasn’t going to happen again. It doesn’t excuse Bosh from driving but does put a doubt in a players’ mind that if he does manage to draw contact, it will be of no avail. Needless to say he’s got the right to be pissed about the play.

Critics of Bosh may can say that he choked and failed to deliver in the clutch. Yes, his second half was much weaker than his first and he did have a chance to win the game and couldn’t hit the big shot. One can’t argue there. However, the focus of the entire Magic defense was on Bosh after the first half and that’s one of the main reasons why so many other Raptors got open looks. Bosh was simply exhausted because of his defensive duties on Dwight Howard and his stellar help defense on any Magic guard penetrating the lane, his rotations were always on time and if every Raptor big man had stepped up on the interior rotations like Bosh, we would’ve been in a comfortable lead rather than trying to claw one out.

Let’s get to the game itself. After the disastrous first quarter in Game 1, Sam Mitchell failed to learn his lesson and repeated the same mistake by starting Andrea Bargnani at the SF position – a position that he has never played in his life. Ever. So it’s not a surprise that his new role is a ‘tall order’ for him. The first quarter result was once again eerily similar. The Raptors defense was unable to contain Magic guard penetration or contain Howard who was left to get his points off the boards and through deep positioning. It wasn’t until the second quarter when a smaller lineup without Bargnani was able to whittle the Magic lead all the way down to two. Chris Bosh, TJ Ford and a reborn Jason Kapono (wherever its coming from, just don’t stop now) playing a huge part in the Raptor run keyed on by some aggressive pressure defense by TJ Ford on Jameer Nelson.

You could argue once again that it was entirely the poor start that cost us the game. Just like we had outscored the Magic 77-71 in the final three quarters on Sunday, we outscored them 85-69 in the final three quarters on Tuesday. We failed to make the proper adjustments between the two games and repeated the same mistakes all over again. The preparedness and intensity that the Raptors talked about coming out with prior to the game was nowhere to be found. What’s surprising is Mitchell not admitting his mistake in starting Bargnani and being stubborn enough to do it again to the detriment of the team. If he does this for a third game in a row, he no doubt is a moron.

An evenly played third quarter could’ve been much better for the Raptors hadn’t it been for two huge Jameer Nelson threes which prevented the Raptors from extending their modest five point lead. The Magic were living off second chance points and although Andrea Bargnani’s 9 points were much welcome, his 1 rebound output in 18 minutes borders on pathetic. However, nothing affects Andrea, he’s never worried or concerned and just takes everything in stride. Must be that bloody Caliper test. Jose Calderon, Jason Kapono and Andrea Bargnani’s points offset Howard’s big fourth quarter where he got help from two monster threes from Keith Bogans (left open by a late recovering Anthony Parker). That setup the flurry of activity in the final minute that you’re all too aware of.

Carlos Delfino’s missed free throw, Chris Bosh unable to save the ball with a one point lead, the Raptors unable to rebound after three Orlando misses, a horribly designed play with the game on the line were all factors in this loss. As a team it was hard for us to play much better, our bench outscored theirs 57-18 and held them to 43% shooting and 29% from three point range. We shot 46% and 38% from three-land yet we managed to lose. Anthony Parker had an absolutely miserable offensive game and was held scoreless, his defense on Turkoglu was tight but he left Keith Bogans wide open to hit two massive threes in the fourth quarter. On a side note Leo Rautins failed to mention even once how “clutch” and “big time” of a performer Anthony Parker is. Anyway, we were lucky that the Magic missed a lot of open threes giving our late-recovering, double-team happy defense a reprieve.

Almost all of Dwight Howard’s 7 offensive rebounds were a result of Chris Bosh helping out and nobody rotating to cover Howard. Nobody expects this problem to be fixed in the playoffs because this is a long-stemming issue that’s been there since two years. One would think Howard commands enough attention that Andrea Bargnani would care to come over and put a body on him as Bosh goes off to provide help. Will Jamario Moon ever realize that the reason he’s open is because teams want him to shoot? A 1-7 performance where he passed up at least five chances to attack the rim and instead either passed it off or took a bad shot; in a game where you lose by the narrowest or margins, all these things come into play. What if TJ Ford hadn’t gone 1-8 or hadn’t committed 4 turnovers? What if Bargnani had just one more rebound? What if our starting SG had more than 0 points? What if…..the list goes on.

There were stretches today where we played defense at a high intensity and were patient with our offense. Having Kapono on his game finishing off plays definitely opens up the floor and makes life easier for everybody, the same goes for Calderon’s outside shooting. The question is can our supporting cast replicate this effort in games 3 and 4 without suffering a letdown defensively and on the boards. I think if we play the same way we did today in the two home games and come out of the gates moderately well, we’ll be fine. There will be more changes for Game 3, hopefully one of them will be reverting back to our regular starting lineup.

The lasting memory from this game will be Bosh’s missed shot but underneath that image is the root of the Raptors problem – the inability to score in the clutch due to lack of creativity and movement, and that in my humble opinion falls on the coach. For me the memory will be of the Raptors unable to corral a rebound after countless Magic misses with less than a minute remaining and nursing a one point lead. That could’ve been the game right there.

The steaming pile of shit that is Dave Feshcuk disagrees with Phil Jackson’s idea of a home loss kickstarting a series and has already written off the Raptors. His article this morning has as much insight as a dog’s ass.

The psychological blow from this loss can be big but the Raptors have to realize that they’ve proved that they’re capable of winning in Orlando, it’s time to return to the Sea of Red and send this series back to Orlando all tied up. The odds are stacked against us – 94% of teams that go up 2-0 end up winning the series – but there’s no doubt about whether we can tie it up at 2-2 and go from there.

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61 Responses to “Game 2 Heartbreak: Mitchell draws up middle-school play with :09 left”

  1. khandor said

    —————————————————
    re: For me the memory will be of the Raptors unable to corral a rebound after countless Magic misses with less than a minute remaining and nursing a one point lead. That could’ve been the game right there.
    —————————————————

    ‘Rebounding Differential’ for the 2007-2008 Rgular Season:

    Orlando finished 16th (+0.31)
    Toronto finished 22nd (-1.54)

    Nuff said.

  2. Meany said

    “Alright team, give the ball to Chris at the 3 point line! Chris, throw the ball into that ringy-thing! YEAH!”
    -Smitch

  3. FAQ said

    Regardless of all the missed opportunities, what impressed me was the overall physical effort the Raptors displayed. It was much higher than anything I can remember in the regular season. They stepped up their defensive physical effort to the next level, but I wonder if they can sustain that level. Bosh was working his butt off, and from the number of falls he took, his body must be bruised and aching now.

    Bosh looked utterly beat, and I too was shocked when Jose passed off the ball to Bosh standing out there with only seconds on the clock. It must have been a broken play because Jose passed backwards instead of to another open player like Kapono. Perhaps Bosh was blocked or too tired to roll towards the basket for a closer shot.

    The Raptors don’t seem to have the offensive strength to pull away from the Magic while the Magic can hold down the Raptors and pull away somewhat. If the Raptors poop out in the first quarter of game 3, I think Mitchell should commit basketball hara kiri..!!!

  4. FAQ said

    khandor Says: April 23, 2008 at 12:58 am
    ……………..

    See … Arse gives us his detailed qualitative assessment of the game and you post some meaningless quantitave crap …!!!!

    Give us your holistic assessment of the game, and projection for the next game. I’m sure you’re capable of that …!!!

  5. MUHDIK said

    the tide turned and we lost the game when sam failed to stop the run when we were up 66-62.i had a bunch of people over watching the game and everybody was screamin for sam to call a full at 66-64 then 66-65…it never came…magic went up on a run and the momentum we had was lost…whens sam gonna realize that bosh is a hell of a player but isnt the guy to take that shot. sam going to bosh twice with the game on the line with stellar plays drawn up was a cop out on any coaching ability in which he proved he has none…..we will never succeed with sam at the helm.once again this team is thrown off and confused and all shook up with sams unorthodox moves this playoffs just like last year.

  6. arsenalist said

    MUHDIK is right, I do remember that moment. Notice how quickly SVG burns his timeouts and quells any Raptor momentum? The guy called a timeout after Jason Kapono hit a three to cut the lead to 11!

    That wasn’t the only time Smitch could’ve called a timeout. He called out in the first quarter when the score was 8-2 and then let the lead balloon to 26-8 and even then he didn’t call a timeout. The Raptors made a mini-run and then Orlando happened to call a timeout at 29-15.

  7. khandor said

    FAQ,

    re: quantative vs qualitative basketball analysis

    Have you even taken the time to visit my blog yet?

    Based upon your perception of what my personal preference is … methinks you might not have.

    :-)

  8. X-Temp said

    After looking at the box scores for all the playoff games played to date this year, it troubles me that the Raptors are the only team to have that sizeable of a deficit to overcome when the first quarter is over. If you look at all other series in the East, at least Atlanta and Philly managed to keep it close enough at the end of the first quarter and they’re facing teams that are largely better than them…
    And now for that to happen two games in a row?…the Raptors are not coming out to play like a playoff team at all…Sure the lineup change with Bargnani is questionnable but notwithstanding, this is the NBA Playoffs!!! Come out and play like it man!!

  9. MUHDIK said

    sam is a useless bitch.game on the line and thats the play we get?kapono was money,caldy was smokin,bargs hit key shots that kept us in the game….and thats the play we get.bosh against the best orlando player? think about it.sam needed to assess who the weakest link was on orlando and run a play to exploit that player for a shot.IS THIS QUANTUM PHYSICS?…its simple.but sams a freakin retard who would rather throw his ballers under the bus to save his own ass.

    i still cant believe those last 2 plays.but hey,thank god he didnt yank jose with 4 minutes to go and put in mej.

  10. FAQ said

    arsenalist … wtf happened to the Raptors in the first quarters of both games??? They looked like a high school team in first gear while the Magic were in 6th gear..!!! If this happens again somebody must be held accountable for unacceptable performance. Is it starting with TJ at PG, who is all wound up and nobody can keep up with him .. or is it the players are tentative and frightened ..??? What is it ..???

    khandor … no I have not .. where is it ..??

  11. MUHDIK said

    and anybody putting the loss on bosh is a fucken moron….sam,sam,sam….nuff said.

  12. khandor said

    Arsenalist,

    re: SVG’s time-out call when the Magic’s lead was cut to 11 pts

    SVG is a good NBA coach who knows the significance of having an 11-pt lead in a basketball game versus, say, an 8/9/10/12/13/14/etc. point lead.

    Likewise, the time-out he called at another point in the 4thQ when the Raptors hit a 3-pt shot to cut Orlando’s lead from 5 to 2 points … with D12 on the bench (if I’m not mistaken) … which was another example of a basic NBA Coaching 101 manouvre.

    re: the Raptors starting line-up of Bargnani, Rasho & Bosh

    * Mitchell mentions in the post-game question period that there will be a line-up change(s) for the Raptors in Game 3
    * Then when Calderon has his interview, one of the first questions he’s asked by someone whose voice sounded like a Toronto-based reporter was whether or not Jose thought that Mitchell’s comment referred to Calderon replacing Ford as a Starter for Game 3
    * Which was then put into sharp when SVG had his turn at the microphone and said in response to a similar question about what line-up changes he thought Toronto would be making for Game 3, said emphatically that, “(he expects) this will be the last time he sees the Raptors ‘Big Line-up’ again in this series” and that he “would be shocked to see that Line-up starting in Game 3 in Toronto”.

    The difference between how an NBA head coach thinks and perceives the game, compared to a ‘regular beat reporter’ … is like night & day.

    (hey, Birdman, there’s yet another ‘Celestial Cycle’ reference/analogy for you to take note of)

  13. khandor said

    FAQ,

    ——————————————————–
    re: khandor … no I have not .. where is it ..??
    ——————————————————–

    Just click on my name. That should take you there directly. :-)

  14. MUHDIK said

    i’ll tell you why were were blowing 1st qtrs….that 5 man unit out there prior to this playoffs played a grand total of 36 minutes together all year….is the playoffs the time to experiment and take players out of their god damn comfort zones?..sam did this exact crap last year….the team was rolling this year 8/9 games up and tj coming back threw everything out of wack.im not knocking tj although what he did was the most selfish act of insubordination i have ever seen but it threw he team ou of wack….this team coming into he palyoff was not yet adjusted to things bein the way they were before tj got hurt and what does sam do?…sam blows everything up again with a lineup that in total spent 36 minutes together all season.

  15. Crank said

    Wow, long post. Very good though.

    X-Temp is correct, our intensity needs to be highest at the start of the game. It’s been our weakness for a couple months now, we came out playing like crap against teams like Miami and the same trend is continuing, only now the opponent is better. As Arse said in the post we outscored them 85-69 in the final three quarters so the problem is most definitely how we start the game. It’s like they’re not mentally ready for whats in store for them.

    Why oh why would you start Andrea again at the 3. He gave us NOTHING in the first quarter again, if he had just boxed out Howard once or rotated over to cover when Bosh was helping just once this game could’ve been ours. Harsh but true, there were lots of moments like those tonight. Then to cap it all off Mitchell comes out with a gem of a play. Another good point by Arse, Bosh is not Kobe, you can’t just give him the ball at the 3-pt line and ask him to score….this one hurts.

  16. arsenalist said

    MUHDIK, where did you get that stat, I was looking for it to link in the post but couldn’t find it at 82games.com. That unit is so rare that its not even listed:

    http://www.82games.com/0708/0708TOR2.HTM

    As for the starting woes, MUHDIK and X-Temp are hitting it right on the money IMHO.

  17. khandor said

    Not to worry, though … as the Raptors will take at least 1 if not both of the next 2 games in Toronto.

    (as I’ve said before elsewhere … the Raptors best chances to win a game in Orlando this playoff series will be in Game 5 or 7, if necessary, not games 1 and/or 2)

  18. arsenalist said

    I’m off to bed, will post some quotes and links tomorrow. You guys should get some rest too, this game was taxing on the heart and soul. Later.

  19. tylerpatrick said

    Hard to believe Smitch has a coach of the year trophy and Jerry Sloan doesn’t.

  20. john said

    Carlos was brilliant but not a good way to end the game after high performance night.

    http://mundoalbiceleste.blogspot.com/2008/04/playoffs-news-manu-parker-takes-spurs-2.html

  21. FLUXLAND said

    Arse.. great post, Sir! Enjoyed it.

    Some thoughts..

    as khandor pointed out the boards diff. is key! The Magic had 16! offensive boards! That’s INSANE!

    as FAQ pointed out.. (and I wanted to point out to khandor last night but saved it for 2day).. why Jose passed to Bosh I don’t understand .. again last play of the game Jose does nothing for me to be impressed..(2 and counting now)

    Bargs may have played poorely.. but as I’ve been saying for a bit now… he is built for playoffs and unlike Antonia “I wear a diaper on the court” Parker made NEEDED buckets. Yes, he could have played better, but it doesn’t take away those two key buckets.

    Speaking of Parker, I’m glad I’m not the only one that noticed Leo refers to and called him (at the start of the 1st game) a BIGTIME PRESSURE PERFORMER??!!! Where, dude? In his bedroom shooting laundry baskets or at the local grade school dunking on 8 year olds? If Leo is not canned soon I am going down to the ACC and challenging him to a halftime cage match during any Raps game..free of charge. For a bonus between rounds I will pimp slap Chuck with some salami and feed him cheese. Bring your popcorn!

    Not sure we would have been in it had Kap to the ono not shot lights out…Bosh and all, he kept us in the game.

    As for Bosh..that play where ppl felt he was fouled, he had already lost the ball, the contact came after.. refs were right not to call anything. Why did lose the ball? Apparently, as much as he hates Euros, Chris has found time to take a few classes at the Vlade Divac school of flopping. Chris did this countless times during the game..this is bitch move and I have zero respect for anyone who does it.. it basically cheating. In Euroball you get caught doing that shyte .. they call a foul on you. Either way, I’m glad Chris wasn’t doing his Arnold impersonations and walking around flexing after every bucket.

    Also, if I remember correctly I read somewhere that Lucas warms up the player prior to the game with some heavy duty drills. The idea being that when the game tips off they are already in game mode. Is this the reason we come out looking like we just ran a marathon? Just a thought. And if this is happening.. Lucas is a tool!

    I think the Magic played half assed, and I am not taking away from the Raps, but they will come out much harder Thursday. SVG must be pissed. At times they played as if they had already won the series. You have all seen stretches when they turn it on.. its scary.

    p.s. :P

    FLUXLAND Says:
    April 15, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    we are getting swept… howard is gonna unleash and average 20 plus rebounds every game..

    game 2 down.. 2 to go..

  22. AltRaps said

    Okay, so Bosh was the player of the game, leading in almost every statistical category….yet you don’t want him taking the last shot? Is he not your franchise player? How often have you seen that play work this season?

    Sam & Chris answered the play question in the press conference after the game and they both said the correct thing: Howard was going to play off Bosh, so Chris would definitely have room. Once he caught the ball it would be up to him as to whether or not to shoot the jumper or drive to the hoop. Every other Raptor was covered in man-on-man and just standing still, so no open man to pass to. I doubt Sam looked at Kapono, et al and said “Okay, we are going to get the ball to Chris and I want you to stand still”. Sure, don’t crowd the paint and clog the lane, but just stand in the corner? Doubt those xs were on the clipboard.

    I have no problem at all with that call. None. It’s what we have a franchise player for.

    What you say in relation to the lack of rebounding on our part and the success in offensive boards on their part was the tale of the game, not that play call.

  23. […] – Arsenalist […]

  24. D G said

    A couple of points for the many learned fans who have also commented:

    AP had a terrible game, but that is in stark comparison to whose usual reliable offensive performance. He also hustled on d, closing out shooters and playing tight on Hedu. Cant put this on him.

    I wanted to reach into my TV and strangle Jamario last night. As someone I read this morning mentioned, the Magic leave him open on the perimiter for a reason, he cant shoot the long ball. At least they have to respect Andrea’s shot becasuse they cant let him heat up, or he can have one of those games where he shoots the lights out. Jamario deserves credit for his development this year, but he should be coming off the bench, particularly if he’s not going to penetrate.

    TJ v. Jose, I am one of the people that would like to beleive that we can keep both and make it work. Jose clearly played better last night, but for Game 3, who can say? I think we need to keep TJ in the starting line up because we cant afford to have him come off the bench and play horrendous. Its so frustrating because he is a damn good defender when he pus his mind to it.

    I was a little frustrated with Bosh’s flopping too, but this is the palyoffs and if you can play up the contact to get some calls, so be it. I want to win, and a lot of great players use contact to their advantage (see Nash, Duncan, Ginobli, and many others).

    As for the last play, when the game is on the line you want your first option to be the franchise player, and et him decide how to play it. I think it was the right call.

    Sorry for the long email. To all the Raps bloggers, keep up the great work, I know I love reading them all.

    DG

  25. FLUXLAND said

    It didn’t have to come down to that.. had they done other things like say, rebounding during the game. Or maybe Kapono should look up as opposed to staring at this shoes.

    Your franchise player… did Jordan take every last shot? Steve Kerr begs to differ. So does Big Shot Bob or Shane Battier. I’m not a big fan of putting it on your franchise guy.. too predictable.. and puts the pressure on him for the entire game leaving him with nothing in the 4th where he has to resort to flopping. Ask Kobe about carrying your team non-stop.. or KG in Minny for that matter. That sort of thinking ensures first round exist. Yeah… let’s not go with Kapono.. who was on fire.. or khandors favorite clutch performer Jose.

    and as Arse said.. how many fraking rebounds did we let the Magic have with a minute to go? Keep dismissing rebounding and see what it gets ya..

    You wanna hang it all on the last play and make excuses be my guest.. it should have NOT come down to that.

    Not to mention, that for me..how you start the game is much more important then anything else that goes on after. Playing from behind guarantees more or less you will lose the game.

  26. arsenalist said

    AltRaps, I respect your opinion but I think you’re out to lunch on this one. 9 seconds is enough to run a play which will get you an uncontested shot, giving the ball to Bosh outside his jump-shooting range on tired legs is a low-percentage shot, something we can get anytime without even calling a timeout. There was zero movement on that last play, it was literally Calderon catching the ball and passing it to Bosh and then staring at him.

    Even you say “Every other Raptor was covered in man-on-man and just standing still”. You blame this entirely on the players whereas I’m going to point to the coach as the culprit here. It’s not like this was a meaningless possession in the middle of the game where a player might just “take off the possession” and just stand still, I have to believe the players did what they were instructed to do, which is nothing. Kapono and Calderon were red hot and are far superior jump shooters than Bosh so why not even consider them as options?

    As I said in the post, Bosh is a PF, not a G, you can’t just give him the ball at the top of the key and ask him to just “do something”, this is where you earn your money as a coach and either get Bosh a higher percentage shot or get one of your better shooters an semi-uncontested look. Remember also that Bosh was struggling in the second half and wasn’t even close to being the “primary” scoring threat in the clutch, that honor would’ve gone to Calderon.

    IMHO, Mitchell got cold feet and couldn’t come up with anything and decided that win or lose, let the glory or blame go to Bosh. He set him up to fail. Of course in the PG conferences they’ll say the right words but tell me which team having an All-Star PF gives them the ball at the three point line in the clutchest of situations without any screens or movement? None. Even Lenny Wilkens drew something better up in Game 7 against Philly.

    If that shot goes in Bosh is a hero but I still would’ve brought out the fact the play was a complete dud.

  27. D G said

    Flux, you seem to have misinterpreted a number of my comments:

    I never meant to imply that it had to come down to that. Anyone who’s ever played bball knows that no game is truly lost or won in the last seconds.

    You are correct there are a thousand and one things that the Raps cuold be doing better throughout the game (I talked about Jamario not settling for outside shots, TJ playing better D, AP looking to shoot).

    Futhermore, my point was not related to putting the ball in Bosh’s hands throughout the game,you wouldn’t even get to the playoffs on that strategy. What I was referring to was that you are in the last second of a game where you are down by one, put the ball in CB’s hands. I did not say he should take the shot, rather he should decide how to play it. Quite frankly, I thought that the Magic would have been expecting him to get the ball, and had he drove, the natural reaction would be for the Magic team to collapse on him, giving him an opportunity to kick out for an open look. But he’ the guy who put the team on his back, and probably the guy best suited to create a good opportunity in that situation. We’ve seen lots of great players step up over the years, but a lot of the clutch shots you mentioned were created by other guys drawing defenders to them and then allowing good looks for teammates.

    There is no question that falling into a 20 or 17 point whole is next to impossible to come back from. Its hard to comprehend that the Raps are coming out so flat, and allowing easy baskets in the opening quarter (Hedu going to coast to coast). I dont know how to expalin it, but its not the first time this seaon it happened. Smitch should not worry about burning his time outs in the first half if we are falling into huge pits like this.

    I still think we have a chance (depsite the odds to the contrary). The next games are must wins, and then let see what happens in Game 5 in Orlando.

  28. FLUXLAND said

    DG… I’m sorry I wasn’t more clear… my comment was not directed at you. I didn’t even see yours until I posted mine. In fact, everything you typed I would agree with. Again, my bad.

    The comment was for Alt Raps.. and Arse, in fact replied a lot better then I did. I have know idea what Alt Raps is watching or how he comes to his conclusions. In regards to this debate anyway.

  29. FLUXLAND said

    Arse… who’s to say CB4 didn’t demand the ball? I have a hard time believing Sam would set him up to fail or that he didn’t know he had no legs left. And I hardly believe he asked him to take a jumpshot! I’m really tired of ppl dumping on Sam when the players don’t play with any accountability and fail to execute. I have a funny feeling that, finally, all this franchise player talk has gotten to his head and he thinks he is the man. On no other team would he have that tag. NONE!
    Chris set himself up and he should eat it. I think Sam is holding back, cuz a cook is only as good as his ingredients.

  30. D G said

    Sorry bro, my bad too.

    I have to say that I am officialy off the Smtich bandwagon. To the contrary of some commenters, I think he’s good at the tactical stuff like creating plays etc.. (ala Atlanta), but his strategies and game management are terrible. If your team is getting torched on an early run, call a timeout. If Jamario is taking consecutive outside shots, early in the clock, dont just yell, sit him down. If one of your shooters is hot, make sure the team is looking to him. Bbal is a game of runs and streak, you ave to cut off the other teams and try and ride your own. I am not an NBA player or coach, and never have or will be, and maybe I just don’t understand. But I’v been playing and wathcing basketball competitively since I was about 8 yrs old, and it still seems like a pretty simple game to me.

    One other comment, why are we doubling so much on so many players. It seems that the Raps are gambling on doubles all the time, and not just on Howard, and we are getting killed either because the ball gets kicked out and there is an open look, or the ball gets rotated, and while the Raps are scrambling around to try and pick up a man, someone cuts in for a lay up. Play man defence, is it really that hard a concept. Actually when they played zone, they were more effective last night.

    Sorry for the rambling, but thinking about the Raptors D, gets me crazy. I think that offence has been less of a problem, and the fundamentals have been killing us, stay between your man and the basket, and box out. If they could do those things we would have won 50 games in the regular season and would have been up 2-0 instead of down.

  31. FLUXLAND said

    co-sign on everything you said DG!

    Including the criticism on Sam. For now I am willing to attribute some of that to not wanting to bail your team out (think Phil Jackson)when you are getting torched, Jamario will only get better by being out there and working on that jumper (early clock does suck tho), if your shooter is hot (and your “franchise” player is not demanding it) yes you should go to him. C’mon do we all really think Sam just forgot about Kapono or Jose last night?
    Some of it is still being new to coaching (if he was a coach for 10 plus years and pulling some of those stunt..I’d call for his head), some of it may be just not wanting to conform to traditional wisdom. I don’t hold any of that against him.. for now.

    I don’t think Sam trusts any of the players anymore. The man sits on the sidelines and cannot understand, like you, why they are acting they way they are. As you say, it’s a simple game, I don’t think he complicates things. The players just suck. As I said, a cook is only as good as his ingredients and although some fans think we have good ones, they may appear so on the outside.. but like a rotten tomato.. when you open it up… you get kaka (see Parker, Antonia, Delfino, Carla.etc). And lets not forget in this case the cook is not even doing the shopping so he can only work with what BC gives him. Consistency is not a word any of them are familiar with and Chris may seem to be but that’s cuz he gets touches and gets sent to the line.

    Please don’t talk about D.. lol.. parting like the Red sea at the sight of the opposition is not D.

    I’m the biggest rambler on here. I’m sure Arse welcomes the discussions.. after all “isn’t this why we (you) are here?” “are you not entertained?” ” are you NOT entertained?”(The Gladiator.. lol)

  32. FAQ said

    Has anybody else noticed Mitchell’s change of demeanour in the last few regular season games and now the playoffs? Previously, he was always on his feet, shouting at everybody telling them what they ‘should’ have done, negative stuff coming out of his mouth, grimacing, shaking his head, acting like a ‘fan’, open like a book?? Now he sits more, stays quieter, looks chastened, forcing himself to ‘think’ maybe …??

    In my experience with bball coaches, some were excellent as unstressed practice coaches but complete busts as stressed game coaches .. and it was painful playing with such emotional coaching cripples. Sam reminded me of that … but now he’s changed ..!!!

    Whenever I saw Sam going into his emotional act I immediately thought how can he think calmly, strategically during a game while going into his hissy-fit act ??? He can’t … and maybe somebody told him to ‘shut up’… ya think ..??!!!

    Sam Mitchell is also ‘training-on-the-job’ as a bball coach, but his learning curve seems …. inconsistent, chaotic ??!!!

    Oh well …. let’s watch what happens in games 3 and 4 ……

  33. FLUXLAND said

    FAQ! whazzzzzuuupppppppp!!!

    Yeah word..he’s toned it down .. no point in getting all excited anymore..season is done.. no yelling is gonna help now.

    Plenty of guys other that go bananas all the time and have success tho.. Riley, the VGs, Mike Brown….

  34. FAQ said

    Yoooooo .. FLUXLAND …!!!!!!!

    Just woke up .. having breakfast at noon .. mulling my future and that of the Raptors .. looking forward to watching CP#-NOH win and the Suns and Pistons crashing .. oh and curious to see what happens in the Ratpor’s game 3 with the support of all the ‘fans’ who are asked to cheer really really loud and wear red … ahhh circus and entertainment .. and I wish they would show the cheerleaders much longer on tv because I am entranced with how they move and giggle their boooodies …!!!!

  35. Red Rebounder said

    There’s a lot of Mitchell sympathizers here, I’m not sure why. Flux, CB4 isn’t the “ball demanding” type of player, he’s a team guy and will run whatever you tell him. I highly doubt he went up to Sam Mitchell and said, “I want to take a 20 footer”.

    Bosh missed the shot but the question is did Mitchell create a good shot opportunity for the team? Nobody in their right mind can say yes to that. I mean, what is Sam Mitchell’s job if its not to create scoring opportunities for his team in the clutch? I agree with #25.

  36. FLUXLAND said

    FAQ!! LOL

    I’m in the same boat.. mulling the future.. cluttering the mind with the useless Raptors.

    I really thought the Spurs were toast this series.. see what home cooking brings.. much like the Raps. Hope Jack is in the building with a few HELLLLOOOs for the Lady Raps..those girls are top notch. F the Miami ones…also.. does anyone know who the girl that wipes the floor at the ACC is? You know who I’m talking ’bout.. the curly haired one.. some of you cats need to get on that.. I know I’d be fightin to be a ball boy.

    Red .. what’s cracking man? CB4 was calling out Sam, calling out the fans, has his GF calling out LeBron..flexing to celebrate personal success when the team is down by 20… think dude head is getting big.. would not surprise me at all if he did demand the ball. … and regardless what Sam calls.. he is not on the floor.. that’s why players get rated on decision making. Present possibilities maybe… making the call on the floor during the game.. that is Jose.. who knows maybe CB4 told Jose to give him the ball.. wouldn’t be the 1st time a player ignored the play call my friend!

  37. whyarewecalledraptors said

    I don’t mind CB4 taking the last shot or even demanding the that he takes the last shot. Its the play that was designed by Mitchell that was stupid. It wasn’t even a “play” really.

    Take a look at Papovich in Game 1 of Suns Vs Spurs. First he sets an open look for a Finley 3 pt shot to tie in regulation. Then he sets up a most unexpected open 3 for Tim Duncan to tie in OT…now that is coaching.

  38. khandor said

    WAWCR,

    Finley’s 3 was a well-designed set play.

    Duncan’s 3 was not a set play. Manu made the play happen, by freelancing off the Pick & Roll/Pop series with Duncan, and the ‘Big Fundamental’ simply did a great job reacting properly to Shaq’s response to Manu’s dribble-penetration (which was to trace the ball-handler, searching out the blocked shot).

    Bosh’s driving layup attempt vs D12 … on which he was fouled and the ref’s chose to ignore the contact … was a solid set play call by Mitchell, for his young superstar that needs to learn how to take and make precisely that type of shot, if his team is ever going to advance in the NBA playoffs.

    Bosh’s final shot attempt was a sound set play. It’s commonly referred to as,

    The “High Middle Pick & re-Pick, Roll/Pop” Series.

    Nelson did a great job going over Bosh’s first pick.
    Howard did a good job, stepping out to prevent Calderon from turning the corner while using Bosh’s re-Pick; and Nelson did a good job recovering back to Calderon quickly.

    Calderon made the proper read – faced with the initial double-team by Howard & Nelson – and made the throwback pass to Bosh, who chose to Pop on the play instead of Rolling toward the basket … which, unfortunately, would have been the BETTER option for him to execute in this situation, as all 3 Corner/Wing Defenders were going to stay home on Kapono, Parker & Delfino, in this scenario.

    Howard did a great job recovering quickly to Bosh, when Calderon passed the ball to CB4.

    Given Chris’s ‘Skill Set’ … he made the wrong decision, and instead of driving hard to his left immediately vs Howard, took his pitter-pat 1st dribble and was dead-to-rights at that point with no other option but to shoot the 18′ jumper over D12.

    It was Bosh who made the wrong read, twice.

    Not Calderon … and it was a decent set play call by Sam Mitchell.

    True enough, it’s not the play I would have called … but it was certainly good enough to get the job done … if CB4 makes the proper reads.

  39. FLUXLAND said

    For Chris to drive left.. would it not had made sense to have him set up on the right side of the court.. why on the left to go left?

    I think Jose should have taken a shot.

    Chris was not fouled on that play… he never had possession..he was selling the foul before it happened… and look for the refs to bail you out says a lot.

    Also plays are much easier to execute with HOFs then some wannabes.

  40. khandor said

    FLUX,

    [technically speaking]

    If you had a chance to hear Bosh’s plan of attack heading into Game 2 … i.e. Lewis was fronting him, then jamming him hard on the catch, while sitiing on his left hand; and now that Chris felt ready for those tactics … he had said that he was going to attack the Magic defense in a different way this time …

    which, in a back-*ssward sort of way, then makes complete sense to have him in the left top position … if the correct read was for him to drive hard to his left initially and then, if the defender (Howard rather than Lewis, in this case) was sitting on his left hand, to spin back to the middle of the lane, to his right hand, for the finish … in a similar way as he did on 1 occasion in Game 1 (if I’m not mistaken).

    Of course, if he would’ve been able to hard drive by Howard on his first step, then Bosh should have just kept on going straight to the hole for the driving layup off the glass (ala Hedo’s tough finish to put Orlando up 1 late) or for the foul call from D12, which he would have been more likely to get since it would have been coming on his strong side drive.

    PS. Isn’t technical basketball fun?

  41. FLUXLAND said

    Taking into account what CB4 said.. I totally c what you are saying..and in that case.. mofo should have drove..particularly on that play and hoped to get fouled. Like Arse said.. a jumper with no legs.. (and Bosh also said today he didn’t have any)..makey no sensy.

    ps. not as much for me as you..:P I guess just cuz then you can go back and break down every possession and break down what was wrong with it.. then were do you assign the blame?..like DG and I were saying.. it should have never come down to that. Although I appreciate the breakdowns sometimes… just not every time or game. Gotta mix it up ya know?

  42. Pickstar said

    I have been watching all the playoff games, and the Raptors and Dallas are the two teams that don’t seem to understand what a playoff game is. They lack the intensity and focus to get it done. The more I watch the playoffs the more I realize that this team is definetly not built for the post season. They come out unprepared each game. You can usually can tell whether a team can get it done in the crunch, you get that feeling. There was that feeling with the old Raptors playoff team, (ie. Carter, Curry, Oakley, Davis, Willis…etc) but this team does not exude that same level of confidence. I dont know about anyone else, but I get worried every time the raptors are forced into making a clutch play or situation. Thats my two cents.

  43. FLUXLAND said

    Pickstar.. at least you see the light.. some are still claiming Raps in 6 and drinking the Chuck and Leo raptorgade. The playoffs are a different beast.. anything from the regular season counts for nothing. I dunno why ppl waste their time with “well in the regular season…”

    Antonia Parker is a perfect example… decent in the regular season .. not so much in playoffs.. (and this one is for khandor cuz i’m not stat guy) .. what did he shoot in that NJ series? Like 20 percent or something.. and then last night he puts up a goose egg? I don’t care if he score 40 tmrw.. dude ain’t meant for the playoffs.

  44. arsenalist said

    Am I insane for thinking that the Raptors have a legitimate chance of tying this up at 2-2. I mean, if we can just fix our 1st quarter issues and pick up the defensive intensity to a respectable level, I think we can contain the Magic. They’re not a difficult team to score against and as long as we show some pride/intensity throughout the game, we have a great chance of winning. I think the home crowd combined with the Raptors knowing that they outplayed the Magic for 6 of the 8 quarters will give them belief that they can win. I think they can do it.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we win Game 3 by a rather comfortable margin.

  45. khandor said

    I have an article I’m working on right now for another time that explores the difference bewteen this current Raptors team and the earlier version put together by another GM that went to the 2nd Round of the Playoffs … and it’s not because of Charles Oakley (who was strictly mediocre as an NBA player).

    Pickstar & FLUX (and others),

    Players everywhere perform according to who it is they are matched-up against on an individual basis.

    AP is a solid NBA player … when he gets to go against finesse players like Rip Hamilton, Jerry Stackhouse, and Kevin Martin … rather than a physically strong wing man, like Richard Jefferson, Lebron, Kobe, Pierce, etc.

    It’s not a case of Parker being “inconsistent” or a “wuss”, when he struggles against the players who fit into the latter category … it’s a case of AP just not being good enough (i.e. with the versatility in his game/skill set/physicality) to succeed against THIS sort of NBA athlete … which is, in part, the reason he had to leave the NBA in the first place to go to Europe until he could better develop his overall game in order to cope successfully with this kind of player who exists on NBA rosters every 2nd night in the regular season but in each and every game in the post-season.

  46. Lopez said

    Well I wasnt expecting anything more out of sam mitchell, i was surprised that rasho didnt play more though. The Bitch came out of anthony parker once again and i was surprised about his great game 1 not his terrible game 2. Cb did get fouled on that play and he hasnt been getting all the calls that he should in this series thus far. Why Jason kapono or Jose Calderon did take at least 1 of the last 2 shots is beyond me but the good thing about this series is if we get swept then Smith is gone, but as much as i hate smitch i really hope we get games 3 and 4.

  47. khandor said

    DG,

    When the Raptors played zone last night in the 1st Quarter – with the 3 Bigs on together – they were horrendous.

    When they tried to cover 1-on-1 in the post, vs D12, he picked up holding fouls vs any of Raptors ‘smalls’ who ended up switching onto him coming out of any P&R situation.

    The Raptors coaching staff is facing a dilemma right now:

    A) Go big with Rasho & LOSE the quickness advantage Bosh has vs the Magic’s Bigs when CB4 gets to wheel & deal in the Center position (offensively & defensively); or,

    B) Go small without Rasho & get destroyed on the defensive glass, in general, & in defensive transition when they have to play the stiff known as Il Mago.

    ——————————————-

    As I’ve said before, elsewhere, a possible answer is playing Kris Humphries beside Bosh … and allowing Hump to go hard at D12, as a smaller/stronger Big, with CB4 still at the Center position. (offensively & defensively).

  48. FAQ said

    arsenalist Says: “Am I insane…”

    Yes, you are insane …

    khandor Says: “I have an article I’m working on right now…”

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics …

    FLUXLAND Says: “Gotta mix it up ya know?”

    Watch the Raptorette cheerleaders …

    GO RATPORS … GO …!!!

  49. khandor said

    FAQ,

    Have you read my entry on Chris Bosh?

    Not a single statistic included.

    Lies, damn lies, and simple untruthswhen/if applied to khandor.

    :-)

  50. X-Temp said

    Interesting insights you put forth, khandor….apparently, from a the Courtside blog on The Score website, although any fool would think that when Smitch said that line-up changes were coming and that you could figure them out by using common sense, he apparently is still going to keep TJ in the starting line-up…

    If this is because nobody wants to risk having TJ go buckwild with the ball if he were to come off the bench then I get it…otherwise, Smitch is seeing something I don’t…

    As for that link to the Orlando Sentinel article it’s interesting to see their take on the media’s treatment of Smitch…You almost feel sorry for Smitch until you remember all those occasions where he took it upon himself to PUNK-OFF a reporter for asking a question he thought was stupid on any given day…only then you begin to realize why those same reporters are getting their REVENGE by crucifying Smitch at any slightest hint of a mistake being committed on his part…KARMA’s A BITCH!!!

  51. khandor said

    X-temp,

    1) FYI … I haven’t read anything at all from a Courtside Blog from anywhere else.

    All of my material is my own stuff exclusively.

    Could it possibly that others are finally picking up on MY IDEAS about the state of this team? Hmmmmmmmm …

    2) Given what I’ve seen from Sam Mitchell to this point … I would say that he is definitely going to start Ford.

    One or two of Parker, Bargnani and Nesterovic are the most likely players to be removed from the ‘First-5’.

  52. arsenalist said

    X-Temp, I love it when Sam gets shit on by the media. As you said, it’s just justice for what he does to them.

    Anyway, Game 3 preview is up:

    http://arsenalist.com/2008/04/24/game-3-preview-sea-of-red-looks-to-even-series/

    More links added tomorrow.

  53. FLUXLAND said

    khandor I was trying to stop myself from saying Parker sux and doesn’t even belong in the NBA, IMO… but that may be a little to much coming from someone that has zero talent (me). When I read what you wrote I see a lot of excuses.. which begs the question why is this dude here other then to be a glue guy in the locker room and sell tickets with his boy scout image..as I’m sure the ladies and moms spending cash on jerseys have an easier time doing so since he’s not ta ta ta ta tatted up and doesn’t portray the thug life image!!

    I’m glad ppl are coming around and seen what he really is.. cuz mofos were on here defending the guy as if he were Jesus when it was clear as day he craps his shorts when the game is on the line.

    FAQ .. you’re a funny dude! The fact we don’t see more of the cheerleaders is beyond me and why Raptors TV doesn’t do features on them or have them do the studio work is a damn shame. I know I’d watch that shyte if they did. “crooked eye” Sherm, that white dude and whomever else they got in there should be calling out flight departures and delays at the airport.

    X-Temp I see what you are saying but seriously those media jackals are always antagonizing and know Sam has a short fuse.. so trying to get a rise out of him and then blasting him, IMO is not Sam just popping off and then paying for it..

  54. khandor said

    FLUX,

    1) No excuses from this corner re: AP … dude’s just not good enough to be a starting Wing player on an elite level team in the NBA …

    which is why I would be playing him as the back-up PG to Calderon on this team, and as a back-up Wingman. :-)

    2) Although I don’t think Sam Mitchell is a great NBA coach, one of the things that does bother me from time-to-time is just how other people who have no idea what it takes to be a successful coach in the NBA feel that they can comment with some sort of expertise on the job that SMitch is doing with this team and say that he is a terrible coach in their opinion.

    IMO when people have absolutely zero experience working in an elite level basketball environment, like the NBA, they have no business calling for the guillotine to be dropped on Mitchell.

  55. FLUXLAND said

    khandor.. I could not agree more with above statement. Don’t know if you drink.. if we were at a bar that comment deserves a beer or Gatorade or tea or whatever is you may drink.

    *clapping*

    why others cannot see this ..simply defies logic and ppl calling for Sams head don’t make sense. And worst don’t even suggest who should be running the show since Sam seem to be so incompetent. Who are you gonna bring in here to work with these pacifists? Lenny Wilkins would I’m sure get along great with them.

    Time will tell, as we always say, I for one don’t see Jewels going anywhere.. the man is too gangsta and BC wouldn’t have given him such a long extension had he thought he would bounce him soon.

  56. […] beat the Magic. Today was an extremely unlucky evening where we were any one of a rebound or a pointhttp://arsenalist.com/2008/04/23/game-2-heartbreak-mitchell-draws-up-middle-school-play-with-09-left…CALL TO READERS: We want your advice Fort Worth Star-Telegram When Carnegie Mellon University […]

  57. khandor said

    FLUX,

    What’s most interesting to me, right now, are the mainstream Toronto media stories I’m beginning to see that are FINALLY citing Bryan Colangelo’s actual record as the GM in Phoenix and his propensity for hiring and firing coaches … which seems to be coming more-or-less straight from the stuff that I’ve been writing about for a long time.

    It’s amazing the ‘effect’ you can really have in this shrinking world today, if you set your mind to it.

    What I’ve said before is that … if the Raptors lose this series to Orlando THEN are treading water at the start of the 2008-2009 regular season, say with a less-than .500 W-L mark by the 2nd week in December THEN, at that point, Sam Mitchell’s days might be numbered as the Raptors’ coach … based on how Colangelo, Jr. has operated his team in the past.

    The selective perception exercised by local media types is most intriguing.

  58. FLUXLAND said

    khandor.. I can honestly say I have in my entire lifetime read two sports articles from any TO based newspaper..and both since I have been frequenting this site. I don’t see much of a point in poisoning my mind with writings from ppl that write in order to keep their jobs and when they do unleash on anyone, I’m sure its well after the subject has dug a hole for themselves. Seriously, that must be the easiest job on the planet.

    re: Sam.. I would have to see how the players are playing and whos on the team before I demand his head… although it would stand to reason that if said scenario occurs, from a chemistry POV, the Raps would need a change. Again, the question remains who would he be replaced by? Jay Triano? Leo? I think Chuck would need an interview… LOL.. perhaps Jack? …

  59. Wybo said

    “When was the last time Amare Stoudamire, Dwight Howard or even the great Tim Duncan were given the ball on an isolation play 20 feet from the rim with 5 seconds left?”

    Tim Duncan hit a 3 to send the game into a second overtime…. so to answer your question, last week.

  60. khandor said

    Wybo,

    Being fair you should also realize, however, that Duncan’s 3 in Game 1 was not on an ‘isolation’ play specifically designed for the Big Fundamental to ‘go to work against his check.

  61. […] Arsenalist: This one falls on Sam Mitchell. What is Mitchell’s job? His job is supposed to be to use his basketball intellect to our advantage in these situations by drawing up a play that is likely to create a good shot, not a 20 footer for a power forward who’s clearly winded after playing practically the entire game. Giving him the ball beyond the key and asking him to do a Kobe impersonation is unfair and setting him up to fail. When was the last time Amare Stoudamire, Dwight Howard or even the great Tim Duncan were given the ball on an isolation play 20 feet from the rim with 5 seconds left? If that’s the "play" you’re going to call, there’s not even a need for a timeout, just come out and freestyle like you’ve been doing all year, at least you’ll catch the defense somewhat off-guard. […]

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