With the J.O. posing thread getting such heavy play (& deservedly so) I think in some ways we kind of forgot to talk about the fact that we won.
In winning, I saw some things I liked.
First from a team standpoint. We seemed to be making the effort to make the extra pass last night, even & maybe most impressively Jermaine O'Neal. There were very few times that he tried to back down his man without exploring a pass option. Artest kind of had a couple of times where he took a little longer to get rid of the ball than we would want but even he was looking to make the pass.
Jamaal Tinsley made several good penetrating drives. He didn't always score & he didn't always get an assist, but he did cause their defense to collapse & on several times he made the pass that led to the pass that got the assist. His defense was also very pesky, I think he had 5 steals or something like that & had several deflections. He did most of this without gambling. He still had the ugliest 3 point shot in the history of the world but that will come & go.
David Harrison. Did you see him get rebounds????? We prayed all last year & all off season that he would somehow be able to grab some rebounds & it looks like our prayers were answered. The man has a face up game, there can be no doubt about it. our biggest concern this year with him is going to be to make sure we get him enough min. on the floor & with the way he is playing I don't know how we are going to keep him off of it.
Austin Croshere. A pro's pro. Give him the min. & he will produce. That has never been a question. You see to me, other than another player I won't mention on another team, he is the perfect compliment to our front court. Not Foster. This guy is a utility player in almost all respects, he can do it all & in some cases he can do it very well. He didn't garner a lot of rebounds last night but nobody did really. His shot was dropping so that always helps but I was very very impressed with the defense he was putting on Dwight Howard in the 3rd quarter. He cause him to miss several low post moves just by being strong enough to body him without fouling. I just hope to God that Carlisle doesn't yank Austin around all season long. IMO, he should be the starter unless David Harrison is ready to roll. But either way, we can count on Cro to be a quiet pro & go about doing his job.
Granger. Physical. Honestly between him & Artest don't we have the most physical small forwards in the NBA. 5 boards in 10 min. I loved when he ende Francises showboating with a foul. Loved it. It wasn't dirty or over hard but he made sure Steve didn't get that shot up. I already love this guy.
Fred Jones. Needless to say I was shocked that Fred was the sixth man after the crapfest he put up in pre-season. But he played solid last night, more solid than he did all pre-season. As long as he understands that his defense is what will keep him on the floor Fred will have a spot in the rotation.
Bender. What happened? He played very well in the first half. Hell in fact I was enjoying watching him & Harrison play together (talk about the odd couple but damn does it work) & then he doesn't play in the second half. Carlisle said it was because of matchups? I guess. However it was good to just see the guy play & contribute. I am overly hard on Jon & I gave up years ago on him being a superstar, but if he can give us solid play night in & night out I will be happy.
Saras. Why am I starting to root for this guy? Trust me, I didn't want him here & I still don't see superstar written all over him like some did when he was in Tel Aviv but I think he played solid smart ball.
Which brings me to the one down of the night. Anthony Johnson.
He doesn't deserve this. Now I hope Rick plays him tonight to make up for last night. But if he is going to be the 12th man with DNP-CD's next to his name then for his sake I would like to see him moved on. He is a solid backup & even though I liked what Sauruns brought to the table I didn't think it was any better last night than what A.J. would have brought.
Jax, O'Neal & Ron have all been discussed already so I won't cover them.
I thought they all, for the most part, played solid ball. Artest still gets to many min. a game for my taste, but I know I have to accept it.
Good solid win for the team & I think the bench will be very fun to watch this year.