Tuesday, March 23, 2010

With A Side Of Red - Mar.23 [Being Lazy Is A Skill; Not Everyone Does It]

Just like hustle right?...

Regardless of what your answer is to that, let's kick off another edition of "With A Side Of Red" - your favorite side dish of random Raptors related tidbits. A good number of people seemed to have enjoyed the God of War 3 theme I used in the last WSR, so I find it pretty hilarious that the theme this time around involves the one word that has been thrown around a lot in Raptors Nation lately: Lazy.

From Kratos to laziness...nice.

If you looked on twitter, message boards, your IM - you'd know what I was talking about. If the topic was the Toronto Raptors, then the word "lazy" was included at least once somewhere throughout the day. What started it all? This handy dandy article from Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.Com:

Toronto's Bargnani still searching for a little consistency

The piece starts off with this line:

"The fifth month of the fourth season, and still no conclusion. Except that Andrea Bargnani is lazy."

First, if there's one thing that us Raptors fans can conclude, it's that our neighbors South of us sure do know how to reel us in. Journalists and whoever else associated with the media know by now, if you'd like to see the biggest increase spike in traffic you've ever seen in your career, all you have to do is say something bad about the Toronto Raptors. It works like a charm every time.

Btw: Bargnani finished last night's game with 19 pts, 7 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl and was the Raptors' broadcast crew's "Just Energy Player of the Game". Funny stuff.

And then of course, this morning we have an article out of the Toronto Star by Dave Feschuck. Check it out here to help me avoid my tendency not to include sources:

Raptors nearly felled by lowly Timberwolves

This time around, we have Sonny Weems (who keep in mind is 24 years old and is practically an NBA rookie) with this quote:

“Just play defence, that’s all we’ve got to do,” said Weems. “I think some people just don’t buy into it. It’s just some people being lazy. Once we buy into it, we can be a great team.”

Ah - there's that word again. Just never seems to escape us. It's like the Raptors' version of Jason, Freddy Kruger, and Michael Myers rolled into one.

Next on WSR - how can I have a "lazy" theme and not include the one Toronto Raptor that has been ragged on all year for looking out of shape. Hint: He loves pizza!

Hedo Turkoglu!

But of course, as Raptors fans know, you can always expect the unexpected, or better yet, you can always expect what doesn't make sense. When the Raptors are on a high, they show up with a weak performance, and vise versa. So with all this talk about laziness, it was only fitting that Turk had one of his best 4th quarters of the season.

When the game got close, the team constantly put the ball in Hedo's hands to make plays. The ball handling skills he possesses at his height makes him deadly in PnR situations. Here's perhaps the most significant play he created late in the 4th with the Raps only up by 2.

Jack brings the ball up the court to begin the offensive set. Meanwhile Turk goes as far up the wing as it takes to bring his man near the free throw line extended. He uses a small Bargnani screen (or what is supposed to be...) and makes his way towards Jack to receive the hand-off.

Hedo gets the ball and is now in the basic and fundamental triple threat position (though he could have gotten the ball a little closer to the 3pt line just in case he wanted to shoot). Bosh prepares himself to go set the screen for Turk. Everyone on Minnesota knows what's about to happen, so they set their entire focus on stopping it.

Bosh sets the pick, and Turk takes his dribble towards the basket. Knowing they can't give Turk the shot, the Wolves defender goes over the screen. The goal here is to make the defense react and take whatever they give you. Having run this set to death throughout his career, Hedo knows what will be available to him. If Hedo takes it strong to the basket, Al Jefferson - the Minney player in the middle - must pick his poison. He can either stick on Bosh's roll to the basket, and hope Brewer fills in (which leaves Wright open in the corner); or he can stick on Hedo and hope Love helps him with Bosh's roll to the bucket (which leaves Bargnani open for 3). Being about 6'10 helps Turk see over the defense for the best decision.

The Wolves collapse into the paint in an attempt to contain Hedo's penetration or Bosh's decision to roll or pop. This leave both Antoine Wright and Andrea Bargnani open for a clean look at a three pointer. Turk makes the easier pass of the two, and Wright eventually knocks down the basket.

The Raptors went to Turk consecutive times late in the game to make plays for them and it worked out well. Some would point to the fact that it was against the Wolves, but when done right and consistently, Turk can be a force in the PnR scenarios. Just ask Boston and Cleveland.

Last up on the biggest edition ever of "With A Side of Red" [The lazy edition mind you], I've got episode 2 of the Raptors Rundown podcast. This episode is co-hosted with Anton, who is the author and creator of the Toronto Huskies Blog. Topics include Chris Bosh's performance and level of play since his return from the injury, the team's inability to feed the hot hand, Wright's criticism of DeRozan and Weems, Jack's demotion to the bench, and the meltdown against OKC. On top of that, Anton gives you his pick for this week's Raptors Factor.

Hope you enjoy it!

Whatever you happen to be doing Raptors fans, I hope you enjoyed it With A Side of Red!

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