Sunday, April 27, 2014

Raptors - Nets Game 4 preview

Finally finished re-watching the tape last night. Here are my post game thoughts on the Raptors Game 3 in Brooklyn. (and my pre-game thoughts for tonight)

1) A word about the officiating. You can't enjoy the NBA if you can't grasp that it's radically different than the college game and the women's game (which is played below the rim). And it isn't officiated the same way. The athletes are too freakish, and there is a foul on every play. Better to get into your mind that you're watching a street game with a dad roughly making sure it doesn't turn into a brawl. That said, that last minute of the game is some of the worst officiating I've ever seen. Three (maybe four, if you count the one Lowry fouled out on) game changing calls. Without those calls, the Raptors win that game. Plain and simple. Before that, except for a brutal call on JV in the first quarter, the officiating was even. The last minute is inexcusable though, and it cost the Raps the game.

2) Patterson was a beast. Forget the missed free throws, as important as they were, he was the reason for the comeback. Next time, double P, just make the freebies!

3) I loved how the Nets attacked JV. Valanciunas is the biggest mismatch on the floor, no one on the Nets can guard him, especially not the remnants of KG. He gets almost no respect from the officials. On one free throw, Blatche literally threw him to ground. No call. If he gets into foul trouble, the other matchups all favour the Nets.

4) Except for Derozan. He had that horrible first game, but what you're seeing is an all star climbing the next rung to a superstar. the only thing holding him back is his defense, but at least he played with energy on both ends, especially in the second half. I like him in the high pick and roll, where the aggressive Nets perimeter defense can give him space once he beats it. He handled Livingston fairly easily.

5) Johnson is playing a hell of a series for the Nets. Damn, he shouldn't have been an all star this year, but you can see why he's been selected seven times. For a wing, he's huge, crafty and can shoot. Raptors haven't been able to stop him, and they probably won't for the rest of the series. Keep running him off the three point line and bodying him, hope he misses. They don't have anyone who can guard him.

6) The Raptors need more from Ross. They're essentially playing a man short. Broken record, but he's their only other wing shooter. Patterson bailed them out last game, but Salmons and Fields are a massive drop.

7) The rotations on defense got better as the game wore on, but that has to start and last all 48 minutes. It's about want. We saw it at the end of the fourth quarter. Need to see it in the first half.

8) How bad is Lowry hurt? He drives this team, and he's too hurt to be effective, particularly on their perimeter defense, Raps are in trouble. What a bulldog.

9)  Turnovers are an issue, and if they can just get to 13 or 14 they'll be fine. Still too many, but didn't think it was the key issue on Friday.

10) Just love watching this team, the way they never quit, the way they work. Love love the mental toughness. They've been disrespected by the league continually, and I'm desperately hoping they can at least make this a long series. That will garner some respect. Oh yeah, Raptor fans are the best in the league. What a crazy awesome sight in Raptors' Square.

Prediction: You have to take the game on the road. It won't be handed to you. So long as Lowry is okay, I think the Raptors win tonight 95 - 88. (If the Raptors lose, the series is over. They won't let that happen.) #wethenorth