Arsenalist

The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Posts Tagged ‘chuck swirsky’

Nice, why can’t the Raptors always play like this

Posted by Arsenalist on December 12, 2007

Dallas Mavericks 76, Toronto Raptors 92

Just finished watching the Dallas game which I had handpicked as a win, that’s right man, you should’ve taken the +4. Enough good things happened in Atlanta which led me to believe that we’d win this one with or without TJ Ford. See, coming up with a recipe for a Raptor wins tonight was simple: tighten up the defense on Dirk, keep them off the boards and play solid perimeter defense on Howard/Terry while also guarding against their pick ‘n roll which they switch 1-3. On the other end, make CB4 drive to the rim (should be a constant in every game) and hit our outside shots after moving the ball. I know, it’s all easier said than done but when all of these things actually happen in the same game, it’s too good to be a Raptors fan.

This game wasn’t close past the second quarter and every Dallas run was answered with good defense and a timely hoop and often that hoop came from Kris Humphries who has made it a personal business of cleaning up the remains of Bargnani rejections. If Humphries can provide the energy and rebounding he did today, he’ll be an excellent contrast to the finesse of Rasho and could get his points off the confusion Bosh creates when he drives to the rim and happens to miss. In other words, a solid garbage man who can finish, rebound and play unrelenting defense.

Chris Bosh

Am I sick for sometimes wishing that Chris Bosh’s jumpers miss? I just want to see him take his man off the dribble every time and drive to the rim to either score or draw a foul. I hardly care if he gets rejected as long as he drives, he’s too quick for 90% of the PFs that try to guard him and I just see it as a waste of an opportunity every time he passes out of single coverage or takes an 18 footer. I know I’m being a bit dramatic but my point is that he should take the jumper as a last resort or when the defense is giving him enough space and completely taking away the drive. Just a thought.

Jason Kapono

I was observing Kapono on the last play of the third quarter and trying to notice how a three point shooter who everyone knows can shoot can possibly get open. He managed to create some space by simply going to the farthest corner of the court and his defender was barely 4 feet away when he caught the ball. His release was so quick that a) it had no chance of being blocked and b) it was perfect. I always try to compare Kapono with another great shooter, Steve Kerr. Kerr who holds the NBA record for highest 3FG percentage, was a different kind of shooter. When He caught the ball his feet needed to be set well before that in order for him to make a shot. Kapono can actually set his feet extremely quickly thus enabling him to have a quicker release. That’s why you see him coming in transition and just PLANT his feet at the arc and just catch and release. The amount of time it takes him to get into his shooting motion is insane. Possibly as quick as Dell Curry.

Andrea Bargnani

He looks really bad out there and I start to cringe every time he does his fake-the-three-and-take-an-off-balance-20-footer, somebody should tell him to either just drive all the way to the rim or just take the jumper, this in-between thing will never work. I still think he’s going to come out of his funk and have a solid year for us, at least by hitting threes and playing good man-defense. My main concern for Bargnani has always been with the coaching (or lack thereof) he’s receiving.

At his young age the thing he needs the most is coaching and instruction so that he can understand the game and get the fundamentals right (footwork, post-moves, using screens, decisions in the key etc.), the rest will come later. I’m not sure he’s getting that with the Raps right now. Over the past year, his offensive arsenal hasn’t improved at all which is cause for a little concern and his decisions in the low-post are suspect to say the least. The only area of improvement in his game is his man-defense and the effort he’s sometime shown in attacking the rim, but that’s effort not actual ability. Rudy Gay anyone? I’m just joking, I’ll stick with the horse I have, hopefully it’s not a foolish decision.

One-Liners

* Good to see TJ’s back, he says he’s out for at least 7 days. No problem, we have Calderon.

* How about Leo Rautins saying Dallas should blow the current team up because of the scars of the GS series and NBA finals. I think he’s way off.

* “I’m not a bum man!” – Kris Humphries in the PG interview when asked whether this is the first time he’s had his name changed.

* I counted at least five air-balls tonight.

* Does Eddie Jones look fat or what?

* Penny Hardaway got released by the Heat. I was rooting for him.

* This is guaranteed to make you laugh.

Next up we’re at Indiana, another game that’s begging to be had. More coverage here. Later. Feed.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Sam Mitchell can’t ride the Bosh/Bargnani excuse much longer

Posted by Arsenalist on December 8, 2007

Toronto Raptors 84, Boston Celtics 112

toronto raptors dazed and confused

Hmmm…you didn’t need to watch past the first quarter because the other three were the same: Boston tearing an undermanned Raptors squad inside out as the Raps struggle with their offense while the coaching staff simply waits for Bosh/Bargs to come back. Yes, we were missing two key players but that can’t serve as an excuse for offensive sets that were so stagnant that Joey Graham taking one-on-one contested jumpers was considered a good possession. There’s no point in spewing the bile about our unimaginative offense or porous defense because as long as Sam Mitchell is in Toronto, it’s not going to change. At best we can hope for games where our run ‘n gun style pulls us through and the occasional individual brilliance from our talented offensive players.

I didn’t expect the Raptors to win this game but I did expect them to compete and at least keep the game close until the third quarter, don’t think that was too much to ask. Not having Bosh and Bargnani hurts but that can’t explain how Rajon Rondo was able to blow by our PGs and then have enough time to casually pick out a choice of open shooters. Nor does it justify picking up silly fouls, simply losing track of your man and not fighting through picks. These are basic fundamental things that an undermanned team must do in order to have an outside chance of keeping the game close, it ain’t exactly rocket science. It needs to be preached pre-game and enforced by the coach. No excuses. The players take the blame for not executing and the coaching staff takes it for not instilling the concept in the team. A coaching staff is supposed to get creative when faced with adversity or challenges, that’s when they really earn their money. In our case Sam just threw his arms up in the air and just rode the injury excuse to a horrible and embarrassing loss. All we fans beg for is to try and so something: trap the ball, run back-screens, maybe a UCLA cut, try to get Garnett out of the game, force Ray Allen to the baseline, make Rondo beat you, something, do something!!! Here’s what Mitchell offers:

“They just drilled us. Got guys injured. Got guys in and out of the lineup. It’s just tough.”

Not good enough I say. Sam’s sub patterns are so erratic that nobody really knows when they’re going to play and who they’re going to guard. Tonight we saw the return of Juan Dixon from exile and he looked like a chicken with his head cut off and was just trying to get his points. Can’t really blame him. Everybody has injuries, you deal with them and come up with alternate strategies, you don’t moan about them and use them as excuses.

Another concept, one of rotational defense doesn’t seem to exist in the current squad; the opposing team only has to beat one person off the dribble and we’ll be lucky if help comes. Even if help comes, the rotation that the help should trigger simply never happens thus reducing the task of breaking us down to a simple drive ‘n dish. This problem is so deep rooted in this team that it can’t change overnight. I don’t think we had a chance in this game even if Bosh/Bargs played because we didn’t lose this game by not just scoring enough points, we also lost because we allowed the Celtics to push us over way too easily on defense. There was little resistance to anything they tried to do, we couldn’t even foul them so they could at least earn it on the line.

There are times when the Raptors can come off looking like the worst team in the NBA and that’s when it dawns on me that we are so horribly coached on both ends that it’s nothing short of a shock that we’re 4th in the East. Well, we did have an easy November and if early December is a sign of things to come, we’re in HUGE trouble. Our inability to establish a defensive system under Sam Mitchell is going to cost us; it already cost us the NJ series and it’s cost us at least 5 games so far this season. Concepts like rotations, switching and close-outs are either entirely missing from games or executed so poorly that you wonder if the player is just being lazy or doesn’t know what to do – Joey Graham is Exhibit A, he doesn’t know who to guard and what to do on a switch. Throw Juan Dixon and TJ Ford into the same category and we’re lucky that the ref doesn’t blow us for the three second violation every time. As for Joey, it’s very evident that he’s trying to win a spot on this team by trying to force his offensive game. Unfortunately for him, that’s the perfect way to shoot himself out of an NBA job. He needs to learn the basic fundamentals of defense, develop two or three good go-to moves and be aggressive on the boards. Maybe then he has a shot of staying in the NBA past his rookie deal.

Enough about the game.

Chuck Swirsky
chuck swirsky caricature cartoon

Apparently he contacted the RealGM folk and asked that threads bashing him should be heavily moderated and that the insults are too much. Fair enough but he does bring it on himself by wrapping himself in a Raptors flag while calling the game. You can’t expect to make the entire broadcast your own little toy by coining stupid catch phrases, giving shout outs to people, exaggerating the player abilities, forcing your viewpoint on others and not expect to be called out on it.

I was watching the Celtics/Raptors game from way back when Vince hit the game-winning three at Boston Garden and John Saunders was calling it. There were no onions, no salami and cheese, no hyperbole, no insane shouting, nothing that would be qualified as stupid. He just called the game as he saw it and it was fine, everybody enjoyed it and never talked about the announcer. That’s how it should be. BTW Chuck, thanks for shoving the most useless stat down our throats for the past two weeks, you know Jamario Moon having a block in a dozen straight games. Is there one for steals? Or how about one for defensive rebounds. You know like “most consecutive games with a defensive rebound”. Ughh.

Horrible night for the Raptors, best to forget about it and hope that we find our form Sunday against Houston at the ACC.

You might find this little video clip amusing. Later. Get the feed.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Raptors lose as Steve Nash receives fellatio for 2 1/2 hours

Posted by Arsenalist on December 6, 2007

Phoenix Suns 136, Toronto Raptors 123

Perimeter defense? Non-existent. Transition defense? MIA. Rotational defense? Zilch. Closing out shooters? Rarely. Result? 136 points allowed. But at least the fans got their pizza. There isn’t a team in the NBA that has had success trying to out-gun the Suns, so why Phoenix East thought that playing pedantic defense and trying to match the Suns’ offense was a good strategy is a little puzzling, especially a day after Indiana failed doing the same. Granted, it’s not easy to defend Phoenix but at least you could try? Right? Even the posters on RealGM came up with better defensive plans than what was showcased tonight. We did nothing to make life tougher for the Suns, it was almost like we approached the Charlotte and Phoenix games the exact same way and just thought we’d meet the same result.

There was a thought of having Jamario Moon try to guard Nash and maybe give him some space thus taking away his drive while still contesting the jumper. By no means does this guarantee success but it’s still worth a shot. It’s better than doing NOTHING because doing NOTHING gets you NOTHING and that’s what we got on the defensive end last night. Nash didn’t even break a sweat when he was blowing by Calderon, around Delfino, challenging Rasho and kicking it out Raja Bell for three after three. It was almost like the Raps were pylons in a practice drill. Phoenix doesn’t even care if you score because they know they’ll get those points back in less than 24 seconds and just based on the law of averages you’ll end up missing more than them.

Although it was evident that Sam didn’t provide much instruction or strategy about guarding their shooters, a ton of it is common sense. You can’t give Barbosa and Bell space when they’ve already hit 8 threes between them, it’s not that complicated. It would be somewhat acceptable if our strategy was to shut down Amare and let the shooters get theirs but that wasn’t the case either, Stoudamire was 9-11 for 25 points. So that begs the question, what area of Phoenix’s game did we try to defensively focus on? You can’t approach guarding Raymond Felton and guarding Steve Nash in the same manner, that’s suicide!

TJ Ford (27 pts) appears to be 100% healthy and playing like his old self, although his contribution had little effect on the outcome of things today, at least he got a good run in and hopefully can be a factor against Boston. Even Jose had a great offensive game with 14 points and 9 assists but it’s our PG combo’s defense on Nash that’s the talking point, not their meaningless scoring games. As alluded to before, you can only play defense if you have a defensive plan. One can’t just step out on the court with the order of “D him up” and expect success. So Sam finally played TJ and Jose together for a stretch in the third quarter and met with some success which made me wonder what the criteria needs to be for those two to play together. After some deep thinking it’s evident that the only circumstance which allows for it is being down 19 in the third against Phoenix at home. It makes sense because we’ve been playing teams all year where those two on the court could’ve create matchup problems but Sam has never resorted to it so why now? Another mystery yet unsolved.
bianca raptors dance pack minerva
But let’s put things in perspective, we’re missing Bosh and Bargnani and were destined to lose this game so there aren’t any surprises here. Let’s move on and talk about something more interesting.

I like Steve Nash a lot but can we not spend the entire 2 1/2 hours praising each and every aspect of his game – it gets a little sickening. Chuck Swirsky, Leo Rautins, Dan Majerle, Rod Black and Brian Heaney all took turns with Leo finishing off Nash after a highly invigorating climax. Even thought Nash is probably one of the most grounded and overall nice athletes of this generation, it’s still somewhat nauseating to see the love-fest while Raja Bell’s hitting 25 footers. BTW, what is up with Black and Heaney running around the ACC giving stupid little reports in different little sections of the arena? Who’s idea was that and why? Why???

I have another thing I’d like to get off my chest and it concerns the Raptors Dance-Pak. Overall a nice enough set of T & A with the exception of one girl, and she is Bianca. IMHO, not satisfactory. The official photo on the right has clearly undergone several rounds of Photoshop edits so don’t be fooled by it. You gotta see this thing live.

It’s Boston next and Bosh looks doubtful for the game so to expect something out of that one might be too much, but the Raps have surprised us in the past. Thanks for reading, grab the feed.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

It’s gotten so bad that any offense we get out of Bosh is considered a bonus

Posted by Arsenalist on November 18, 2007

Golden State Warriors 106, Toronto Raptors 100

we suck ass
So much for the 10AM PST start time and so much for the Warriors blowing big leads and so much for Baron Davis having a bad game and so much for the Raptors getting any shot they want against the much maligned Warriors defense. It all amounts to nothing if you allow their best player to go one-on-one on the most crucial possession of the game – much like how we allowed Garnett to eat Bosh alive in OT earlier this year. Three weeks later and we haven’t learned a thing. Make no mistake, this game was there to be had if only one of a few things had happened and they are 1) Bosh has an average offensive game 2) Kapono hits half of his wide-open shots 3) Biedrins is somewhat contained and doesn’t lay an ownage on the entire Raptors defense 4) Our coaching staff recognize that the Warriors are a 3-pt shooting team and take them without any conscience. The only coaching the Sam Mitchell did this afternoon was to make sure that the fans got the free pizza but it doesn’t make up for an offense so predictable, stagnant and inconsistent that all the Golden State Warriors had to do was put Stephen Jackson on Bosh and let TJ Ford get his in order to shut us down when it mattered – the fourth quarter.

Don’t you just love it when Chris Bosh is reduced strictly to a defensive presence and anything you get out of him on the offensive end is considered a bonus. It’s come down to that as another poor offensive showing from Bosh sends the Raptors to a home L an onto the road to Dallas where a Raptors win is about as unexpected as a good out-of-timeout play from Mitchell (the one late in the fourth was just laughable). The way Stephen Jackson shut down Bosh was unbelievable, not unbelievable as in he played some unbelievable defense on him but unbelievable as in “How f***in unbelievable is it that Bosh is incapable of getting good post position against a smaller player and just back him into the rim, it’s not like they’re even doubling him!!” 4-12 FG, 11 points and two big FT misses for Bosh who’s starting to make it a habit of getting shut down by slower and smaller players. Contrast this with the play of Andris Biedrins who made it a point to exploit whatever the defense gave him and outplayed Bosh and our entire frontline singlehandedly. Is he a more skilled player than Bosh or Bargnani? I don’t know but I don’t think so. What he does have what both Bosh and Bargs lack is a clear idea of what he wants to do on the floor and how he’s going to go about doing it.

Sam is acting like a stubborn mule who thinks he knows whats best for the team. What is the reason that Garbajosa who played 24 effective minutes against Indiana didn’t even get a chance to play some defense on Croshere, Harrington or even Azubuike. Is he not even worth of a minute, maybe just to see how he can handle the players that nobody in our lineup had success against in the post? Is he that unworthy of even being given a chance in a matchup where he had 18 points and 11 rebounds a year ago? Please explain this incestual logic Sam?? Wait, you can’t because you believe that this is a team where the lineup is dictated by the “current matchups” and while that is true nobody takes it to the extreme of benching players for games at a time without ANY reasoning.

We lost this game because of poor production from Bosh/Bargs and subpar games from Kapono and Parker. If it weren’t for TJ Ford carrying us yet again while everybody else was laying an egg, this would’ve been a blowout early. Chuck and Leo (almost unbearable to listen to) can make all the excuses they want for Bargs but you can’t help but think you’d get more out of Humphries if given the same PT. Yeah, our future center is coming off the bench but wait, it’s not a demotion, Maceo Baston is just a better fit. How f***in ridiculous does that sound? We barely deserved to win the Indiana game and definitely didn’t this one. Don Nelson called enough pick ‘n roll with the right people to put his players in advantageous matchups and there was nothing we could do but watch as Monta Ellis, Kellena Azubuike and crew did enough cutting to the right places where they found themselves so wide open and got so many shots that they were bound to start hitting them sooner or later.

I’m out for now, probably will spew more shit later. Grab the feed.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »