I was in a poker tourny last night. Made the final table but was the first out after that, which got me home in time for the end of the second quarter. Portland looked incredibly shook at that point. Such a shame that the Blazers got that basket with 5 seconds left. The Raptors were one rebound away from a completely unforgettable sort of domination. Ah well. I just finished watching the first half. Really liked that they controlled the boards in spite of that one with 5 seconds to go. Transition d really showing the promise I was seeing earlier, even getting back to defend some bad perimeter turnovers up high. And the overall turnover numbers were impressive. Nice to see them taking care of the ball like we're used to seeing. It was more like the offense we're used to seeing, though the pace was pretty good and the ball moved pretty well. They just used the drive and took what was there. I'm so happy to see the defense in full effect. The offense will still evolve. With that kind of defense they have the luxury of tweaking the offense as much as they like. It feels like they can win in a lot of different ways. It was tough to see Ppat go - though it felt that his knee was not going to allow him to be the same player that added so much to the defense. And I just hated seeing Tucker leaving. But I don't feel the slightest twinge of missing those guys right now. I almost lost my mind over how either OG or Delon or both, would at the very least get a hand on the ball off the dribble or on the pass - ON EVERY POSSESSION! So disruptive. And Bebe and Poeltl adding to that as well. Then you have Norm, Freddie Vees and Pascal being quetly solid. Man they killed a really good offense. In years past they played this team much like they did in the first quarter. Lots of scoring and playing them even, and then wearing down late. They really turned that pattern on its head. And in the end it didn't feel like they over-extended themselves. There was some tiredness in the second half, but nothing that couldn't be solved with a timeout and substitution. Lowry was landing in so many courtside laps that he should have charged them extra, but he was fresh and ready for the next game at the end. He didn't have to sacrifice his body to the point of no return. There are now multiple guys that can disrupt things, and that leaves Lowry in a great position to almost coast, relative to what he's had to do in the past, particularly in places like Portland.
Smashed that out of the court. I'm glad your back. Love the insight.