Game Notes: Detroit vs. Toronto

Here’s a shameless plug: Make sure you check out my latest article for SLAMonline.

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Do you know what’s frustrating? Having an idea that I think sounds great in concept but then when it comes to implementing that idea things fall apart.

Heading into the game I chatted with Rashad Mobley about starting a new feature here on Hoops Addict where players would talk about what the game means to them when they’re 5, 10, 15 and 20-years-old. Rashad and I both felt this would give players a chance to break free from the normal monotonous question they face while talking about the game they love.

Turns out getting players to open up is going to be tougher than I thought. I was able to chat with Marco Belinelli and Quincy Douby before the game about this, and while bother players talked, neither seemed overly enthused about this topic.

Rashad, meanwhile, was able to chat with Jermaine O’Neal before Washington’s game against Miami and ended up having a great chat that will be up on Hoops Addict at some over the next week.

I’m going to give the audio clips with Belinelli and Douby another listen and then decide if I’ll post the clips on Hoops Addict early next week.

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Something that did work out well before the game was chatting with Ben Gordon about the new documentary that’s in the works chronicling his last few months as a Chicago Bull. This afternoon I had the chance to chat with Matt Watson about story ideas surrounding the Pistons and he mentioned this gem.

Make sure you read Watson’s chat with the director on FanHouse and listen to my chat with Gordon about his documentary and what he’s learning from Rip Hamilton that will be posted on Hoops Addict early next week.

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I can’t express how jealous I am of guys like Doug Smith who had the chance to chat with Charles Oakley on a daily basis. Before the game Oakley took 10 minutes to chat with the media about a wide range of topics from the way the game is currently played, how the Cavs could better utilize LeBron James and the movie he recently produced. I have to admit I had a tough time not cracking a smile due to Oakley’s brilliant sense of humour combined with his brutal honesty about the sport he loves.

Here’s a quick snippet of Oakley talking about if he’ll ever coach in the NBA, current players being too nice to each other on the court and his thoughts on how the Cavaliers aren’t utilizing LeBron James properly:

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The story of the game for the Raptors was the strong play from their bench. At the end of the first quarter the team went on a 24-8 run once Jarrett Jack and Antoine Wright came into the game.

After the game I chatted with Wright about the spark he gave the team on the defensive end and he talked about the selfless act he had while on the bench in the second half:

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I was also able to chat with Jack about what he and Wright saw while sitting on the bench in the first quarter:

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The other big story was the 20-8 run the Raptors went on to finish the game. Why is this a big deal? Because after enjoying a 17 point lead, Toronto allowed Detroit to take a 91-90 advantage in the fourth quarter.

Normally in years past a punch to the gut like this would have seen the team pack it in and the end result would have been another tough to swallow loss.

Not this year. Turns out this team is a little more resiliency and too much pride to let that happen.

After the game when I asked Chris Bosh about the strong finish he told me the teams strong finish came down to the team wanting to defend home court:

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While this was a big win in general for the Raptors, it was even bigger for Amir Johnson as it came against his former team. Normally players will throw out a bunch of cliches about it being another game. Not Amir. After the game my buddy Robin from Raptors TV and I took some time to chat with Amir and he was more than happy to gloat after the win.

Here’s the video clip of us chatting after the game:

About the Author

Ryan McNeill Ryan McNeill has appeared on NBA XL, ESPN Radio, The Fan 590, The Score, TSN Radio and The Home Stretch. He has covered the NBA with media credentials since the 2007-08 season.

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