Rapid Reaction: LAL@TOR

The Toronto Raptors took everything the Los Angeles Lakers had to give on Sunday night and still came out on top, 106-105. Hedo Turkoglu had another terrible game, going 1 for 6 in field goal attempts, but proved invaluable down the stretch. Credit his NBA Finals experience, or simply his last few years of playoff appearances for the clutch free throws he hit against Los Angeles.

Down 104-105 with about 12 seconds remaining, Turkoglu dribbled the ball around a screen and ended up with Laker big man Pau Gasol on him in a matchup that he liked. Hedo drove to the basket and was subsequently swormed by Laker defenders, receiving a push in the back from the aforementioned Gasol that drew the whistle of the referees. It was a terrible play by Gasol that cost the Lakers a much-needed road win, as Hedo swished both free throw attempts with 1.2 second(s) left on the clock.

Kobe Bryant did what he could with an errant in-bound pass, hoisting up a 26-foot fadeaway three-point shot that rattled out of the rim and allowed the fans of Toronto to take a collective sigh of relief.

The Lakers wasted one of Kobe’s best all-around games of his career, and also wasted a brilliant performance by Jordan Farmar. Kobe gets enough love, so I want to focus on Farmar’s game today. The UCLA alumnist played well despite picking up three quick fouls in the second quarter. Coincidentally(sarcasm), it was the same official who called him for two personals and proceeded to argue with him as he was forced to sit down on the Laker bench.

He came back and made some critical plays down the stretch, none bigger than the steal he caused by poking the ball from the careless hands of Chris Bosh who was in a three-point stance on elbow.

On the Raptors side of things, I liked the play of Andrea Bargnani against the Laker bigs. Sure, they had big games, but he did what he could against them. Bargnani played with a fiestiness that is not oft seen by European-born players, and it was refreshing. Every time the Laker bigs posted up against him I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy bucket. He made them work just to get position, then did a great job of staying low so as not to give up his leverage. Impressive performance by him on both ends, especially with that clutch and-one he had against Gasol.

More analysis and interviews to come later.

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6 Responses to “Rapid Reaction: LAL@TOR”

  1. JackBlack Says:

    Agree 100% on that Bargnani kid. He can flat out ball. The one knock on him heading into this season was his horrible defense but he is taking care of business on both ends of the floor right now. All kinds of brightness for his future in the league.

  2. Torontofan Says:

    In Toronto, we are really impressed by Bargnani on defense. He can shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor and is improving his post game. He started playing the centre position about one half years ago. He played small forward in Europe.

    If only Bosh can start playing defense than our interior defense can be quite good.

    • Anthony Burrola Says:

      I agree, but I’d like to refer you to my Defending Chris Bosh piece, which I think should be read with an open mind.

      • goraptors Says:

        Your argument is quite weak.

        We tried the Jermaine O’Neil experiment with Bosh. Bosh had trouble getting space to do his thing on the offensive end with O’Neal. Another big brute would produce the same results.

        Your argument should also hold true for Zach Randolph. Another player who gets 20 points and 10 rebounds (he has a higher rebounding avg than Bosh). Therefore you consider Zach Randolph to be a good defensive player.

        About your European players being soft, you really have not seen basketballs games played in Europe. Milwaukee has more foreign players than the Raptors but they are good defensive team.

        The fact is – Bosh is a terrible defender.

        Offense does not win playoff series or championships. Defense does.

      • Anthony Burrola Says:

        Explain my argument to me.

        European born players have a reputation for being soft on defense. I have seen basketball games played in Europe, and I’ve also seen footage of practices in Europe. From an early age, they are taught to focus on offense. Defense is secondary.

        If you don’t read all of what I said about Bosh, don’t bother leaving half-informed comments.

  3. Raptors Take a Bite out of Lake Show « An Epic Mess Says:

    […] An Epic Mess An Epic Mess is a blog dedicated to covering the NBA and the NFL, complete with a hint of pop culture to help keep things fresh. « Rapid Reaction: LAL@TOR […]

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