GAME REVIEW: Raptors at Blazers [Dec 27]
This game was decided at two crucial moments in the 4th quarter:
At the 08:06 mark of the 4th quarter … with the score POR 76, Tor 74 … when the Blazers called a Full Time-out, and the following 4 substitutions were made:
* The Blazers subbed out Sergio Rodriguez/PG, Travis Outlaw/PF and Joel Przybilla/C for Steve Blake/PG, LaMarcus Aldridge/PF and Greg Oden/C, leaving on Brandon Roy/OG and Rudy Fernandez/SF;
* The Raptors subbed out Chris Bosh/C for Jermaine O’Neal/C, and left Anthony Parker/OG on the floor along with Andrea Bargnani/PF, Joey Graham/SF and Jose Calderon/PG;
At the 06:35 mark, five  possessions later … with the score POR 82, Tor 74 … when the Raptors called a Full Time-out after the visitors had failed to convert on their 2 jumpshots [a very makeable J2 by Bargnani; and, a J3 by Parker], and the home side had made good on all 3 of their shot attempts [a J2 by Roy; a Driving Layup by Roy; and, a J2 by Aldridge].
Then, when play resumed with the Raptors having made 3 more substitutions:
* Bosh/PF subbed in for Parker/OG; Jason Kapono/OG subbed in for Bargnani/PF; and Moon/SF subbed in for Graham/SF
this game was effectively over.
If the Raptors would have gone with a line-up of, either:
A. 1/Calderon, 2/Moon, 3/Graham, 4/O’Neal-or-Bargnani & 5/Bosh
B. 1/Parker, 2/Moon, 3/Graham, 4/O’Neal-or-Bargnani & 5/Bosh
coming out of either one of those two specific time-outs with a solid defensive & rebounding Group-of-5 on the floor, then they would have been able to stay with the Blazers at the critical moments of last night’s game … much like they were able to use line-up B against Sacramento the previous night, shutting down the Kings on the final two meaningful possessions of that game.
It’s a fundamental mistake in basketball judgment to believe that the best way to play the game at crunch time against a High End team is to load-up with a one-dimensional spot-up shooter like Jason Kapono - seeking his additional offensive production - at the expense of Rebounders/Defenders like Jamario Moon & Joey Graham, in concert with one another … especially when working against a player like Brandon Roy.
The eventual outcomes of NBA games are determined by the slimmest of margins and it’s not always just what a team “makes” that creates the difference but also what it “leaves” on the table for its opponent to take advantage of coming down-the-stretch in a hard-fought contest.
Tags: Andrea Bargnani, Anthony Parker, Brandon Roy, Chris Bosh, Greg Oden, Jamario Moon, Jason Kapono, Jermaine O'Neal, Joel Przybilla, Joey Graham, Jose Calderon, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Fernanez, Sergio Rodriguez, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw