Archive for February, 2008

Tracking the Raptors’ Key Stretch of 19 Games (#17)

February 26, 2008

The Anatomy of Wins and Losses in the NBA:
Breaking Down Key Possessions

Game 17 – Tor 102 @ IND (22-34) 98, W 11-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 16 – TOR 115 vs Nyk (17-38) 92, W 10-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 15 – Tor 99 @ NYK (16-38) 103, L 9-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 14 – TOR 127 vs Orl (34-21) 110, W 9-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 13 – TOR 109 vs Njn (22-30) 91, W 8-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 12 – TOR 88 vs Sas (33-17) 93, L 7-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 11 – Tor 105 @ MIN (10-38) 82, W 7-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 10 – TOR 98 v Lac (15-31) 102, L 6-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 9 – Tor 114 @ MIA (9-36) 82, W 6-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 8 – TOR 101 vs LAL (28-16) 121, L 5-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 7 – TOR 122 vs Was (24-19) 85, W 5-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 6 – Tor 104 @ WAS (23-19) 108, OT, L 4-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 5 – TOR 106 vs Mil (17-26) 75, W 4-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 4 – Tor 114 @ BOS (33-6) 112, W 3-1 … Boxscore 
Game 3 – Tor 95 @ PHI (15-25) 99, L 2-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 2 – TOR 89 vs Atl (17-18) 78, W 2-0 … Boxscore, Full Play-By-Play
Game 1 – TOR 116 vs Sac (15-21) 91, W 1-0

Record vs >.500 Opp: 3-3 (.500)
Record vs .500 Opp: 8-3 (.727)

===============================================

Key Possessions which determined the W-L result:

Some NBA games are decided during a specific ‘sub-set’ of possessions during the 4th Quarter   … like this one, when

during these 10 trips up the floor …


 
  7:34
[IND 86-84]
Granger 3pt Shot: Made (18 PTS)
Assist: Murphy (7 AST)
Delfino 3pt Shot: Made (19 PTS)
Assist: Bosh (4 AST)
7:13
[TOR 87-86]
 
  6:45 Granger 3pt Shot: Missed
Bosh Rebound (Off:6 Def:4) 6:44  
  6:36 Granger Foul:Personal (4 PF)
Ford Pullup Jump shot: Made (16 PTS) 6:24
[TOR 89-86]
 
  6:08 Dunleavy Layup Shot: Missed Block: Parker (1 BLK)
Ford Rebound (Off:0 Def:2) 6:06  
  6:01 Murphy Foul:Shooting (3 PF)
Bosh Free Throw 1 of 2 (21 PTS) 6:01
[TOR 90-86]
 
  6:01 Murphy Substitution replaced by Foster
Bosh Free Throw 2 of 2 (22 PTS) 6:01
[TOR 91-86]
 
  5:48 Daniels Turnover:Bad Pass (1 TO) Steal:Moon (1 ST)
  5:40 Dunleavy Foul:Shooting (5 PF)
(5:40) Timeout: Official
  5:40 Daniels Substitution replaced by Rush
Delfino Free Throw 1 of 2 missed 5:40  
Team Rebound 5:40  
Delfino Free Throw 2 of 2 (20 PTS) 5:40
[TOR 92-86]
 
  5:19
[IND 88-92]
Granger Pullup Jump shot: Made (20 PTS)
Assist: Rush (2 AST)
Bosh Pullup Jump shot: Made (24 PTS) 4:53
[TOR 94-88]

… the Raptors:

Answered Granger’s 3 – that put the Pacers up by 2 pts (Tor 84, IND 86) – with a 3 of their own by Delfino (6-7, 3FGA/85.7%)
* Scored on their next 3 possessions
* Stopped the Pacers on their 3 corresponding possessions
* Answered Granger’s ‘2’ with a 2FG by Chris Bosh, which kept their lead at 6 pts (Tor 94, IND 88 … 04:43)

Key Raptors: Carlos Delfino (2-2, FGA/100.0%; 1-1, 3FGA/100.0%; 1-1, FTA/100.0%), TJ Ford (1-1, FGA/100.0%; 1 Rb), Anthony Parker (1 BS) & Chris Bosh (1-1, FGA/100.0%; 2-2, FTA/100.0%; 1 Rb; 1 Ast) 

Vital Components:
– Delfino, Bosh, Parker & Ford made the plays they needed to make during these 10 possessions for the Raptors to win this game vs an inferior opponent (that played 48 minutes with a ‘back-up‘ quality PG).

Next Game:
vs Minnesota, 11-43 (Wed Feb 27)

Tracking the Raptors’ Key Stretch of 19 Games (#16)

February 25, 2008

The Anatomy of Wins and Losses in the NBA:
Breaking Down Key Possessions

Game 16 – TOR 115 vs Nyk (17-38) 92, W 10-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 15 – Tor 99 @ NYK (16-38) 103, L 9-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 14 – TOR 127 vs Orl (34-21) 110, W 9-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 13 – TOR 109 vs Njn (22-30) 91, W 8-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 12 – TOR 88 vs Sas (33-17) 93, L 7-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 11 – Tor 105 @ MIN (10-38) 82, W 7-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 10 – TOR 98 v Lac (15-31) 102, L 6-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 9 – Tor 114 @ MIA (9-36) 82, W 6-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 8 – TOR 101 vs LAL (28-16) 121, L 5-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 7 – TOR 122 vs Was (24-19) 85, W 5-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 6 – Tor 104 @ WAS (23-19) 108, OT, L 4-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 5 – TOR 106 vs Mil (17-26) 75, W 4-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 4 – Tor 114 @ BOS (33-6) 112, W 3-1 … Boxscore 
Game 3 – Tor 95 @ PHI (15-25) 99, L 2-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 2 – TOR 89 vs Atl (17-18) 78, W 2-0 … Boxscore, Full Play-By-Play
Game 1 – TOR 116 vs Sac (15-21) 91, W 1-0

Record vs >.500 Opp: 3-3 (.500)
Record vs .500 Opp: 7-3 (.700)

===============================================

Key Possessions which determined the W-L result:

Some NBA games are decided during the first 5 minutes of the 3rd Quarter   … like this one, when

12:00-07:35 … Toronto scored on 7 of their first 8 possessions in the 2nd Half (87.5%); while preventing New York from scoring on 7 of their first 8 possessions (13.5%) … rapidly extending their intermission lead from 3 to 17 pts (TOR 72, Nyk 55)

Key Raptors: Jose Calderon (2-2, FGA/100.0%; 2-2, 3FGA/100.0%; 1 Rb), Andrea Bargnani (2-3, FGA/66.7%; 1-2, 3FGA/50.0%; 2 Ast; 1 BS), Anthony Parker (2-2, FGA/100.0%; 1-1, 3FGA/100.0%), Jamario Moon (1 Ast; 1 BS) & Chris Bosh (1-1, FGA/100.0%; 3 Rbs; 1 Ast) 

Vital Components:
– when the Raptors start the 2nd Half with this type of execution – Defensively, Offensively & Rebounding – led by their two best players, Bosh & Calderon, Toronto is an ‘above average’ team in the Eastern Conference, and a far superior squad to the stumbling, bumbling Knicks.

Next Game:
@ Indiana, 22-34 (Mon Feb 25)

Eclipse of The Suns: An Update

February 24, 2008

The Pistons are quite possibly the absolute worst ‘match-up’ in the entire league for the current version of the Suns:

(with Phoenix using a basic ‘3 out/2 in’ offensive alignment) 

POS – Phoenix vs Detroit (individual match-up evaluation) 

Starters:
PG – NASH vs Billups (this is now … Even)
OG – BELL vs Rip (Advantage, Det … +1)
SF – HILL vs Prince (Even)
PF – AMARE vs McDyess (Even)
C – SHAQ vs Sheed (Advantage, Det … +2)

Key Bench Players:
PG – STRAWBERRY vs Stuckey (Advantage, Det … +3)
G/F – BARBOSA vs Afflalo (Advantage, Pho … +1)
F – DIAW vs Hayes & Johnson, A (Even)
F/C – SKINNER & MARKS vs Maxiel (Advantage, Det … +4)

but … that said … when this type of total destruction happens, Detroit 116 @ Phoenix 86 (Feb 24, 2008) …

it’s an ominous sign of troubled times ahead for the good folks in the ‘Valley of the Sun’, who best get acquainted fast with the new reality of their team …

And so it begins … Mark that date (Feb 20, 2008) down, right now, on your calendar … 11 days hence … as the final day this season for the Suns to possess the ‘best record’ in the Western Conference … with the inevitable Eclipse of The Suns … now at-hand, for The (once proud & former) Fastest Gun Alive.

Where the NBA got its Soul

February 24, 2008

Marvin sings ‘the Anthem‘ …

and the world of ‘Pro Hoops’ was changed … ‘foreva’.

Oh Captain! my Captain!

February 24, 2008

Since 1967, the last year Toronto won the Stanley Cup (capped off with an empty net marker by ‘the Chief’), there has been no better Maple Leaf than, Captain, Mats Sundin. 

Following the team’s parade that year, down the world’s longest street, 8 men have donned the fabled “C”, carrying the pride & hockey passion for most of English Canada, as the leader of the ‘Blue & White’:

George Armstrong (#10, 1957-1969)
Dave Keon (#14, 1969-1975, forced out by the team’s management)
Darryl Sittler (#27, 1975-1981, traded to Philadelphia)
Rick Vaive (#22, 1981-1986, traded to Chicago)
Rob Ramage (#8, 1989-1991)
Wendel Clark (#17, 1991-1994, traded to Quebec)
Doug Gilmour (#93, 1994-1997, traded to New Jersey)
Mats Sundin (#13, 1997-?)

only 1 of whom has been allowed to exit, graciously, from Center stage, on his own terms. 

After standing firm at the helm of this troubled ship for 14 years – through both open waters and turbulent seas – Mats Sundin has, today, earned the highest level of respect from this observer.

In the face of mounting pressure, from all sides …

Paul Hunter, Captain Mats leads the way
Rosie DiManno, Leafs’ Sundin might still be forced to go

he is exemplifying what the word Leadership means, in a world of obscenely over-priced, pampered, and thoughtless ‘pro’ athletes.

Best immortalized in the poetic words of Walt Whitman,

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

here stands a ‘Man of Resolute Character’ for ‘The (Sports) Ages’ … who knows what’s truly important in this crazy, mixed-up world.

Tic toc, tic toc, tic toc … move the sands of time.

PS … Can the Leafs finally resist the short-cut urge to ‘wheel & deal’ with #13? … and, thereby, lift the ‘Departed Captain’s Curse‘ cast upon this franchise 40 years ago! 72 hrs left … and, counting.

Big Train vs the Babe

February 24, 2008

Peanuts, popcorn & Cracker Jack … 

With Spring Training in ‘full swing’ and ‘Opening Day’ just around the (Hot) Corner …. this newsreel footage comes courtesy of Mario Alejandro’s, Blast from the past! 

Let’s Play Ball!

The Birth of Showtime

February 23, 2008

Many thanks to Brian Kamenetzky, When the Lakers and Clippers Tussle, It’s All About Nostalgia, for unearthing this absolute gem … 

from a simplier time & place … when,

“No man has the power to reason away …”

and, we was all a whole lot thinner & naive.

October 12, 1979 – The Dawn of the NBA’s Renaissance … co-starring ‘Brent’, ‘Hot Rod’, Magic & Larry

Running of Da Bulls

February 23, 2008

As was written yesterday … Da Bulls’ problem is no more … if Chicago has indeed decided to fundamentally alter their ‘style’ of play … LOOK OUT! … they WILL be a very (very) dangerous ‘bottom-end’ team in the Eastern Conference Playoffs this season.

Tracking the Raptors’ Key Stretch of 19 Games (#15)

February 23, 2008

The Anatomy of Wins and Losses in the NBA:
Breaking Down Key Possessions

Game 15 – Tor 99 @ NYK (16-38) 103, L 9-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 14 – TOR 127 vs Orl (34-21) 110, W 9-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 13 – TOR 109 vs Njn (22-30) 91, W 8-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 12 – TOR 88 vs Sas (33-17) 93, L 7-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 11 – Tor 105 @ MIN (10-38) 82, W 7-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 10 – TOR 98 v Lac (15-31) 102, L 6-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 9 – Tor 114 @ MIA (9-36) 82, W 6-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 8 – TOR 101 vs LAL (28-16) 121, L 5-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 7 – TOR 122 vs Was (24-19) 85, W 5-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 6 – Tor 104 @ WAS (23-19) 108, OT, L 4-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 5 – TOR 106 vs Mil (17-26) 75, W 4-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 4 – Tor 114 @ BOS (33-6) 112, W 3-1 … Boxscore 
Game 3 – Tor 95 @ PHI (15-25) 99, L 2-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 2 – TOR 89 vs Atl (17-18) 78, W 2-0 … Boxscore, Full Play-By-Play
Game 1 – TOR 116 vs Sac (15-21) 91, W 1-0

Record vs >.500 Opp: 3-3 (.500)
Record vs .500 Opp: 6-3 (.667)

===============================================

Key Possessions which determined the W-L result:

Some NBA games are decided during (I) a specific segment in the early stages, and (II) the final minute of play   … like this one, when

Part I
2nd Quarter
10:23Jamal Crawford (G) subbed back in for Malik Rose (NYK 12, TOR 25)
08:38Andrea Bargnani (C) subbed back in for Chris Bosh 
08:09-06:24 … Toronto scored on only 1 of 4 possessions; while New York scored on 5 of 6 … allowing the Knicks to get back into the game by reducing a 14 pt deficit (16-30) to just 6 pts (26-32) … on the strength of 4 consecutive FG’s by Crawford & 1 FG by Fred Jones (G) vs the Raptors’ backcourt tandem of TJ Ford (PG) & Carlos Delfino (OG)

Part II
4th Quarter
01:01 … Delfino missed the 2nd of two FTA’s (Tor 95, NYK 97)
00:40Zach Randolph saved a busted play by miraculously dribbling between his legs, driving into the lane (from the top of the key), and scoring 1-on-1 vs Bosh (NYK 99, Tor 95)
00:39Jose Calderon shot an airball on an uncontested 3 (46.6%), off a sideline out-of-bounds play (Tor 95, NYK 99)
00:20 … Bosh took only his 7th 3-pt shot of the season, and missed (Tor 95, NYK 99)
00:07 … Delfino missed a 3-pt shot (Tor 95, NYK 99)
00:03-00:00 … Nate Robinson put the game on ice by making 4 consecutive FT’s

Key Raptors:
TJ Ford
(2 TO), Jose Calderon (0-1, FGA/00.0%; 0-1, 3FGA/00.0%) & Chris Bosh (0-1, FGA/00.0%; 0-1, 3FGA/00.0%) 

Vital Components:
– Part I … Kris Humphries‘ ‘missed Layup Shot’ sandwiched between 2 TO’s by Ford, while Calderon & Bosh were out
– Part II … uncharacteristically poor play (i.e. execution & decision-making) by Toronto’s two best players, Bosh & Calderon

Note 1: When Bosh & Calderon DO NOT play like this … the Raptors are just an ‘average-above average’ team in the Eastern Conference.

Next Game:
vs New York, 17-38 (Sun Feb 24)

Da Bulls’ problem is no more

February 22, 2008

If ‘Da Bulls’ decide to play ‘up-tempo’ basketball, ‘4 out/1 in’ style … Run, Run, Run … Is there (now) another team in the league with more depth, athleticism, ‘scoring’, and rebounding – at each of the 5 spots on the floor – than this ‘Group of 15’ for Chicago?

2007-08 Roster 
NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB   FROM YRS
6 Shannon Brown  G  6-4 211 11/29/1985   Michigan State 1
20 JamesOn Curry  G  6-3 190 01/07/1986   Oklahoma State R
9 Luol Deng – C  F  6-9 220 04/16/1985   Duke 3
21 Chris Duhon  G  6-1 185 08/31/1982   Duke 3
90 Drew Gooden  F  6-10 250 09/24/1981   Kansas 5
7 Ben Gordon  G  6-3 200 04/04/1983   Connecticut 3
34 Aaron Gray  C  7-0 270 12/07/1984   Pittsburgh R
12 Kirk Hinrich – C  G  6-3 190 01/02/1981   Kansas 4
32 Larry Hughes  G  6-5 185 01/23/1979   St. Louis 9
35 Demetris Nichols  F  6-8 216 09/04/1984   Syracuse R
13 Joakim Noah  F  6-11 232 02/25/1985   Florida R
5 Andres Nocioni  F  6-7 225 11/30/1979   Argentina 3
2 Thabo Sefolosha  G  6-7 215 05/02/1984   Switzerland 1
15 Cedric Simmons  F  6-9 235 01/03/1986   North Carolina State 1
24 Tyrus Thomas  F  6-8 215 08/17/1986   Louisiana State 1

Maybe … only 1.

The problem with Da Bulls … is no more!

Despite their disasterous start this season – and keyed by the trades from yesterday – the Chicago Bulls are now poised to (once again) make the Playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

Kudos to their GM, John MacBeth Paxson.