Game Notes: Toronto 99 – Milwaukee 105

* People will be talking about Jerry Bayless’ offense, but what caught my attention was his defense. Brandon Jennings came into the game averaging 26 points per game this month and he was held to 11 points while going 4-14 from the field. Bayless’ defense resulted in a 24 second shot clock violation late in the first half and frustrated Jennings throughout the game. When I asked Bayless about his approach to guarding Jennings he told me, “Sometimes we would try to trap him but most of the game I just tried to front him and force him into taking tough shots.”

* One of the turning points in the game was the phantom foul call on Bayless while Jennings was attempting a three-pointer. Jennings went 1-3 from the free throw line. As Rasheed Wallace would say, “Ball don’t lie.”

* Bayless on the team struggling late in the game: “I guess we just had a brain fart.”

* DeRozan went 4-7 from the field in the first quarter (8 points) and then went 5-15 the remainder of the game (13 points). Honestly, why can’t this kid put things together and be consistent from quarter-to-quarter? It’s maddening to watch. Sure, he scored a team-high 21 points, but seeing his play change from quarter-to-quarter is tough to watch. It’s almost as bad as the fact he attempted 22 field goals but only four free throws.

* Here’s what Scott Skiles had to say before the game: “We need these wins. Games like today are the games where you find out the will of your team, how much fight they have and things like that. Can we come in here and beat them again? This is a big game for us. Lets see how the guys react.” I imagine Coach Skiles was happy with his team rebounding from a tough first half to steal a road win.

* Drew Gooden and Ersan Illysova combined for 52 points and 18 boards. Yikes.

* Carlos Delfino was in the Raptors’ locker room after the game catching up with former teammates.

* I know there is value in Toronto holding onto Leandro Barbosa until the end of the season because of the cap space it will clear, but, what about dealing him to Indiana for a draft pick and AJ Price? It would help Toronto add some nice pieces without taking away too much financial flexibility. Plus, it would be great to see Barbosa get a chance to play in the playoffs.

Random Stats: Milwaukee has won six-straight games against Toronto… Milwaukee is 13-4 when scoring more than 100 points… Toronto is 1-10 when they allow opponents to score more than 100 points… Milwaukee ended the first half scoring seven straight points… Ed Davis had his tenth  double-digit rebounding game with his game-high 10 rebounds… Drew Gooden had his 12th game of 20 or more points… Jerryd Bayless scored 10 of his 16 points in the third quarter… 

Live Blog: Big 12 Championship

Baylor. Missouri. All the marbles in the Big 12.

I’ll be covering the game for Score Mobile. If you’re stuck somewhere without a television or just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game, you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

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My coverage of the game will begin at 6:00 PM EST tonight.

Live Blog: Orlando Magic vs. Chicago Bulls

Could this be the last time Dwight Howard plays on TNT Thursday wearing an Orlando Magic jersey?

I’ll be covering the game for Score Mobile. If you’re stuck somewhere without a television or just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game, you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

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My coverage of the game will begin at 8:00 PM EST tonight.

Live Blog: North Carolina – Duke

Duke. North Carolina. For all the ACC marbles.

I’ll be covering the game for Score Mobile. If you’re stuck somewhere without a television or just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game, you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

You can follow my game coverage on your cell phone via Score Mobile or on your computer by using the application at the bottom of this post.

My coverage of the game will begin at 7:00 PM EST tonight.

Live Blog: Knicks – Lakers

I’ll be covering the New York Knicks – Los Angeles Lakers game for Score Mobile. If you’re stuck somewhere without a television or just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game, you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

You can follow my game coverage on your cell phone via Score Mobile or on your computer by using the application at the bottom of this post.

My coverage of the game will begin at 10:00 PM EST tonight.

Live Blog: Rockets – Magic

I’ll be covering the Houston Rockets – Orlando Magic game for Score Mobile. If you’re stuck somewhere without a television or just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game, you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

You can follow my game coverage on your cell phone via Score Mobile or on your computer by using the application at the bottom of this post.

My coverage of the game will begin at 7:00 PM EST tonight.

Live Blog: Celtics – Knicks

I’ll be covering the Boston Celtics – New York Knicks game for Score Mobile.

If you’re stuck somewhere without a television, your family won’t let you turn it on or if you’re watching the game on television but just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game, you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

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My coverage of the game will begin at 12:00 PM EST on Sunday afternoon.

Game Notes: Raptors 75 – Celtics 76

* Before the game I had the chance to watch Ray Allen hoist up jumpers. I’ve spent time watching him shoot pre-game every time he has come to Toronto the past few seasons but this is the first time I was close enough to hear him talk with the coaches. I walked away from the court amazed that he can make ten consecutive shots and then curse under his breath in frustration when he misses one. Talk about intense.

* It was different seeing Jay Triano sitting courtside before the game scouting Boston. I’m used to seeing him in sweats working out with players or talking with the media before games. For what it’s worth, he spent a ton of time watching Rajon Rondo.

* Ed Davis continues to impress me. Why don’t more members of the media or fans recognize him as a core piece for this franchise moving forward? Personally, I think Davis, Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan are the three players the team should be building around. This afternoon Davis had a game-high 10 rebounds in only 21 minutes off the bench. He finished with a double-double as he went 5-7 from the field and scored 10 points.

* Jose Calderon picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of the game and spent the rest of the first quarter on the bench. He struggled to get into a groove the rest of the game and finished with six dimes but he went 2-8 from the field and only scored seven points. After the game I asked Calderon if his early foul trouble prevented him from getting in a groove this afternoon and he laughed and told me, “Don’t worry at all. It happens.”

* I’m convinced Bargnani will develop a nasty facial twitch by the end of the season if members of the media continue to hound him about his rebounding. This afternoon I attempted to ask him about his nine rebounds and he looked exasperated with the mere mention of the word.

* There were a couple of times in the first half where DeMar DeRozan seemed to rush thing which resulted in him picking up two turnovers. However, he was 4-8 from the field in the first half while the rest of the team went 9-30. He finished with 14 points but what impressed me the most was the fact he went 2-2 from beyond the arc. After the game I asked DeRozan if he is more comfortable shooting the ball beyond the arc now than he was last season and he told me he didn’t even realized he attempted two 3’s during the game. He told me all of the work he put in this summer has made him more comfortable shooting from long range.

* Toronto went on an 18-9 run to open the fourth quarter and they finished with a 24-15 advantage in the quarter. Granted, this impressive play happened with Garnett and Allen sitting on the bench for the majority of the quarter…

* Toronto had nine turnovers and only 13 made field goals in the first half. Things didn’t get much better in the second half as Toronto finished with 21 turnovers. While talking with the media following the game, Casey took the blame and the media he was, “happy with the heart and competitive spirit my guys played with.”

* Jamaal Magloire got the start but only played two minutes in the first half. He started the second half but only played three minutes in the third quarter. After the game Casey admitted that Magloire, Amir Johnson and Aaron Gray would get the starting nod based on the opponent.

Live Blog: Ohio State – Kansas

This afternoon I’ll be covering the Ohio State – Kansas game for Score Mobile.

If you’re stuck somewhere without a television this evening – or if you’re watching the game on television but just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game – you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

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My coverage of the game will begin at 3:00 PM EST this evening.

Live Blog: Arizona – Florida

Tonight I’ll be covering the Arizona – Florida game for Score Mobile.

If you’re stuck somewhere without a television this evening – or if you’re watching the game on television but just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game – you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

You can follow my game coverage on your cell phone via Score Mobile or on your computer by using the application at the bottom of this post.

My coverage of the game will begin at 7:00 PM EST this evening.

Live Blog: North Carolina – Kentucky

This weekend I’ll be covering the North Carolina – Kentucky game for Score Mobile.

If you’re stuck somewhere without a television Saturday afternoon – or if you’re watching the game on television but just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game – you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

You can follow my game coverage on your cell phone via Score Mobile or on your computer by using the application at the bottom of this post.

My coverage of the game will begin at 12:00 AM EST on Saturday.

Live Blog: North Carolina – Wisconsin

This evening I’ll be covering the North Carolina – Wisconsin game for Score Mobile.

If you’re stuck somewhere without a television this evening – or if you’re watching the game on television but just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game – you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

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My coverage of the game will begin at 9:30 EST.

Canada Wins A Nail-Biter Over Belgium

A packed house at Ryerson University went home happy after Canada hung on to beat a feisty Belgium squad 79-74.

A huge block by Joel Anthony on Belgium’s first field goal attempt of the game set the tone for how Canada’s interior defence would play the rest of the game. Canada’s weak side defenders managed to frustrate Belgium early and often and it resulted in Belgium not scoring until the 5:31 mark when they connected on a corner three.

Canada held a 16-11 advantage at the end of first quarter thanks to their stifling defence.

Things fell apart briefly with Canada’s second unit on the court as Belgium went on a 5-0 run to start the second quarter. Canada didn’t score until the 6:10 mark of the second quarter which prompted the return of three of their starters.

Belgium continued to play the role of pesky guest as they cut Canada’s lead to 21-20.

“If we’re going to win games we need to be better on the defensive end,” a visually agitated Leo Rautins vented to the media after the win. “I thought for the first part of this game we were solid on the defensive end and then we just relaxed. We can’t relax; we need to play at a high level of intensity all of the time.”

Levon Kendall got tired of being a polite host in the second quarter and stole the ball at mid-court and raced down the court for a thunderous dunk that had the fans and his teammates on their feet.

The dunk cued a 14-2 run which helped Canada open up a 34-22 advantage.

Belgium threatened again to start the second half and cut their deficit to 36-32.

Once again, Kendall woke up the crowd and his teammates with a nasty dunk while getting fouled.

“Man, those dunks fired everybody up,” Andy Rautins told me after the game while grinning. “I think myself and the entire bench lost it there for a second. That’s the kind of stuff we need because we feed off of his energy.”

Despite Belgium threatening a couple of times in the third quarter, Canada was able to begin the fourth quarter with a 55-42 advantage.

Belgium threatened in the fourth quarter and cut Canada’s lead to six at 63-57 with 3:31 left but Andy Rautins had a big steal with 2:10 left in the game and Canada clinging to a 66-61 lead. Even though Canada wasn’t able to score on the subsequent break it helped breathe some life into what had become a tense gym and a tight team.

Less than a minute later Anderson followed up a trip to the free throw line with a steal. Anderson dished to Rautins on the break for a bucket which pushed Canada’s lead to 69-61 with just over a minute left in regulation.

On Canada’s following possession, Anderson made two free throws on Canada’s next possession to essentially ice the win with Canada up 73-66.

Photo Courtesy: Ryan McNeill

Game Coverage: Dallas vs. Miami

This evening I’ll be covering the Dallas Mavericks – Miami Heat game for Score Mobile.

If you’re stuck somewhere without a television this evening – or if you’re watching the game on television but just want more stats and a chance to add your own thoughts on the game – you can join me as I provide play-by-play coverage of the game.

You can follow my game coverage on your cell phone via Score Mobile or on your computer by using the application at the bottom of this post.

My coverage of the game will begin at 8:00 EST.

Fisher’s Game Notes: NBA Finals – Game 5

Sorry for my LeBron-esque Game 4 no-show. I had to cover Rihanna’s ACC concert, complete with all those chains and whips that apparently excite her.

* With an entire season having been spent psychoanalyzing the Miami Heat, it now comes down to this: do-or-die games on home court to truly test the mettle of the team. I can safely claim to have no clue as to how this will play out – and I’m not alone.

* No question that Dirk Nowitzki is the Finals MVP if Dallas wins the title (and possibly even if they don’t), but it was Jason Terry’s performance that might have shifted the ever-changing series for good. Terry’s game-tying and game-clinching three’s had to be disheartening for a Miami team that defended both plays as well as anyone could have hoped.

* That might have been the most underappreciated triple-double in NBA history. I know the Heat lost and that James managed a measly two fourth quarter points (and believe me, I love the fourth quarter scoring stats on Nowitzki and James’ respective outputs in the final frame), but … it was a Finals triple-double! It was the NBA’s transcendent star showing off all the facets of his game on the league’s biggest stage, the first such Finals feat since Jason Kidd turned the trick in 2002. That has to count for something, doesn’t it?

* Speaking of transcendent stars, a quick word about ranking Nowitzki among the game’s greats. I’m not here to engage in the same “where does he fit on the all-time list” discussion that has permeated these Finals, but rather to look at where he ranks within the game currently. After all, the big German is on the verge of outplaying Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and James and Dwyane Wade in consecutive postseason series. Doesn’t that at least put him in top three discussion?

* If Wade had done further damage to his body beyond a left hip contusion in the first quarter and hadn’t been able to return, then Brian Cardinal, the Mav who collided with Wade – would have had far too significant a role in determining the NBA champ.

* What do Peja Stojakovic and Boston Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle have in common? They were both acquired by their team from Toronto during the season, find themselves closing in on a championship and will have done nothing to help their team attain said championship. Stojakovic was a healthy scratch on Thursday and played a whopping two seconds in Game 4, down dramatically from his 14+ minutes in Game 1.