Itís probably to early in the season to call any game a disaster but I will say this, had we lost that game I would have probably considered it a disaster because in effect it would have negated the victory vs. the Hawks.
Yes I know that you should never take any NBA team lightly but letís be honest there are times you look at the schedule and go that games going to be a struggle, that game is winnable if we play right and donít have any bad luck, this game is a lost cause and this game is one we should take.
Well Iím sure when all of us looked at the schedule and saw the upcoming games we have this is the one game where Iím sure most of us went ďwe should take this oneĒ.
WhewÖ. Skin of our teeth for sure in that one but weíll take it. Look this isnít your older brothers Raptors, these guys actually defend and Casey should be given very high marks as a coach for getting a pretty motley cru of players to actually be a very tight defensive unit.
That being said we also have to give our own blue & gold high marks for being a tenacious team that doesnít quite. A lot of this has to do with coaching but the players also have to buy in and right now I think they do, well itís more than think our record speaks for itself.
We keep winning, we win ugly, we have to scrap by and sometimes you wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. But maybe thatís just the character or our team. Maybe we will overcome with team ball. In fact as I look around the NBA this season a few things stand out to me. Three of the best teams in the NBA are great teams and have no real true superstar on any of them. Philly, Indiana & Denver all are true teams and each have very good players but there is no Derrick Rose or LeBron James on any of these teams.
Now time will tell if this can hold but I for one long for a time when actual team basketball was still a viable option to winning and I think that right now it is.
Our schedule is going to get tougher as far as the competition goes but thatís perfectly fine, because if we are going to be a good team we have to beat good teams.
Letís do tonightís version of odd thoughts by way of grading the players.
Darren Collison: B+ He pulled this one out of the fire btw. His grade for the first quarter would not have been pretty but as time went on Darren started to get up on Calderon and often times the Raptors were initiating their offense with about 10 seconds left in the shot clock and they were doing it 30 feet from the basket. This was due to Darren locking in. He still let him get by him to often and his shooting was atrocious but he hit his free throws and did not turn the ball over.
Paul George: B He played very good defense and he did help out on the boards, but he has got to be more aggressive in getting his shot. There was no Danny there tonight to blame for him not being able to get shots so he needs to make himself more a part of the offense. Also while Iím at it Iíll say it now he is being too cute with his layups. I donít know if this is a no dunk policy because itís passť thing or not but these flip underhanded layups are not good shots. Iím not asking him to tomahawk windmill it over someone Iím just saying when your at the rim take the 100% shot of dunking it instead of watching it go long off of the glass. But Iím not complaining too much, he still had a good overall game.
Roy Hibbert: B Ok so I jinxed him, in my last odd thoughts I pointed out that he did not have one single foul vs. the Hawks. He was just saving them up for tonight. I give Casey a lot of credit for Royís problems tonight, Roy never really had much of a chance to go one on one and when he did they did a good job of cutting off the baseline on him. Now Roy did not help matters by turning the ball over to much but Iíll say this, if we are at the point with Roy where we are saying that a game where he scores 15 points & grabs 9 rebounds is a down game for him, well there is only one symbol for that. $$
David West: B+ Iíd really like to give him two grades one for the overall game which would probably be a B at best but then Iíd like to give him an end of the 4th quarter grade which would probably be an A+. Even his accidental foul of Magloire ended up paying huge dividends. Games like these are why he is here and why he is so valuable. He did nothing flashy, nothing youíre going to see in a highlight but he made all of the right plays. His offensive production at winning time (stealing from Ahmad Rashad) is why the Celtics wanted him and why we are very lucky to have him.
Danny Granger: F Idiot
George Hill: A+ We donít win this game without George Hill. I canít say it any other way. On both sides of the floor this guy was the boss. I mean for the love of God he had 5 steals to go along with his 22 points and this is the production you are getting from your backup guard. You wonder why our record is 8-3? Wonder no more because our bench comes in and outplays the other teamís starters often times. We all cheered at the draft party we had when the trade went down and Iím telling you that as the season progresses we will all be cheering a lot more.
Tyler Hansbrough: A- Ok I promised the last time that I wasnít going to give him any higher grades than a B until he got an assist, well since then he now has 5 and he got 2 more tonight so Iíll go ahead and give him a little higher than he probably deserves. One was a great kick out to Paul George who sank the 3 pointer and honestly I donít know how he got his 2nd one but I guess he must have. That rebound he secured (after Paul George kept it alive) of the missed West free throw put the game out of play because we all knew that Tyler was going to hit his free throws. He hasnít had the explosive game lately like he started the season with but he is settling into a nice role on the team and he is still finding ways to contribute.
Lou Amundson: B He does exactly what you want your back up backup center to do. He plays with energy, is physical on defense and is always trying to rebound. Itís not pretty but Iím telling you over the course of the season his contributions, however small, will help in the overall winning. Also for a guy who canít shoot very well he is not half bad at the free throw line (not counting the knuckleball he threw at the Atlanta game).
Lance Stephenson: C Not really a good or bad game from Lance and in fact Iím a little surprised that he didnít play a little more but I think they might have been afraid of his defense in the second half. Nice to see though that he is now actually hitting some shots.
Dahntay Jones: C+ Like Lance he really was just there. Not a bad game and at the very least he didnít stall out the offense, in fact I think over the past week and a half he has done a very good job of trying not to do that. But he is who he is and it will occur on occasion.
I would like to give a special shout out to Larry Bird and David Morway. Our two off season acquisitions really pulled our fat out of the fire tonight.
Also another special shout out to Jamaal Magloire for making Chris Dudley look like Mark Price.