Odd Thoughts: Ruining the Raptors home debut
Written by Peck
Any landing you can walk away from is a good one and conversely any win that you go home with is a good one. It may or may not have been pretty, totally depending on your view of how a game should be played, but if you’re a Pacers fan you have to be happy that not only did our team gut out a tough win but that we are actually 2-0. Yes it’s early, yes these have been poor teams but come the last two weeks of the season 2 wins may make the difference between making the playoffs or not or it might even mean the difference between home court advantage in the first round or not.
So let’s be grateful that the boys are getting the job done.
Boy’s really doesn’t apply to our team anymore does it, these are men. God does it ever feel so good to look at our team and know that we are not going to be pushed around, not going to be out toughed, not going to be out hustled.
Scrappy is an overused word but honest to God it fits this team.
Let’s do tonight’s odd thoughts bullet point style.
• I’m going to start off with a complaint. We have got to get our field goal % up; a good team will not allow us to win a game like this. But it shows that right now our defense is so tough that lower level teams never get a lead on us. I know the shots will fall more as the team works together and the coaching staff implements more offensive sets, but man can we go through some slumps.
• Thank God for Danny Granger. To use the vernacular of today’s youth “haters gonna hate” well Danny sure has his fair share of haters. Some of it he deserves most of it he does not. But for tonight not only did he hit big shots to prove (once again) he is an ice cold killer, but his defense was strong all night as well. His post game interview showed me that in fact does he not only not hate having someone else take big shots but he in fact loved that there are so many options.
• Two games in and I’m already ready to build a shrine to David West. I had forgotten what a true power forward looked like who actually had more skill than flash. Two games, TWO GAMES and he has been a large reason for both victories. Everybody will talk about his shot at the end and they should, but I want to talk about that block that he had that wiped away a wide open layup. If your old man pro on the team is never giving up on a play then it’s going to be very hard for the younger guys to give up on plays. That is called setting the example and leading by doing. While he didn’t have the rebounding numbers this game he had in the first he was in the thick of it every single time.
• Lou Amundson was robbed. He should have been credited with a blocked shot but they gave it to Granger. Danny was in the area but the replay to me showed that Lou was the one that got it. He was in there for 8 min. tonight & I was thrilled with every second he was on the floor. I’m a sucker for banger hard worker types and Lou is that in spades. His offense is never going to be smooth, if it was he would be called Tyler Hansbrough, but for 8-10 min every game this guy is like sending a lightning bolt through a set of jumper cables.
• Paul George was a tale of two halves. First half he looked like he was going to make the all-star team if not all NBA first team. Second half he looked like he was going to make DeMar DeRozan an all-star. Not sure what happened there, I understand the shot not falling but he seemed to lose it on defense as well. I think he shares the one trait a lot of our younger players do and that is we tend to take our foot off of the gas when we get a lead. I have no doubt though that he will overcome this. In fact that I am questioning if he had a good game or not and he had 18 points should tell you how good this guy is going to be.
• Toronto made it a point to deny Tyler the ball and often times were giving him a soft double whenever he would make a move down low even without the ball. In fact I think that part of their idea was to be overly physical with Tyler to see if they could get him to lose his cool. To his credit he did not, but to their credit they did pretty much neutralize him in the post. We’ll see how he adjusts for the next game.
• Darren Collison I think has gone out of his way to make certain that the starting point guard spot is his for the foreseeable future. While sometimes he still let’s his man past him more than he should I will say this, the guy has already broken up more fast breaks all by himself than our club did as a whole all of last year. It is uncanny how he can break up a 2-1 fast break by striping the ball. He still hasn’t got his shot going but to his credit he is not looking to get his shot going. He has been a pass first point guard and since he has been released from his shackles has become quite good at running the offense. Still needs some work but so far he has played very well.
• I’m not sure what is up with George Hill’s shot. It just looks flat right now. I like the fact that Frank made him shoot the technical foul shot, I have a feeling he did that just so he could get some confidence by seeing the ball go through the hoop.
• I say this in all seriousness and without any sense of hyperbole. How good will we be if we ever get our field goal % up in the 40’s and maintain our defense and rebounding at this high level.
• I can’t say this enough either. Thank you God for Frank Vogel & for Larry Bird for seeing we needed Frank Vogel and for Herb Simon letting Larry Bird make the move after seeing we needed Frank Vogel. What we had been playing here was literally the antithesis of everything that I knew as basketball. Frank came in here and changed everything and it couldn’t be more different. It’s as though he came in and said “everything you’ve been doing, change it”. I’m just glad basketball as I knew it is back again.