Jones on NBA: South Beach Press

December 15, 2009, 1:47 AM

I’m here in Miami and let’s get the weather business out of the way first. I looked at the weather bug on my computer that always has the temperature at the airport in Toronto and right now it says its one degree Celsius. Sorry people, I know you hate to hear this but it’s 85 degrees Farenheit as South Florida is experiencing near-record highs. Hey, a perk of the job.

So how was that game on Sunday? Toronto got back on to the winning side of the ledger with a 101-88 over the Houston Rockets and there were a couple of impressive numbers. Raptors are now 8-0 when holding opponents under 100 points and with the Rockets hitting on 36.8 per cent of their shots from the floor, Toronto is 8-3 when the opposition shoots under 45 per cent from the field.

In which game do you think the Raptors had a better defensive rating: Was it the win over Houston or the pasting last Friday night against Atlanta? I was surprised in chatting with Jay Triano as we walked down the stairs off the aircraft in Miami to hear him say the team had a better rating against Atlanta. The Hawks, who are a very good team, made shots but the Raptors were much more active on Sunday against the Rockets.

Whether he wanted to or not, Triano was forced into changes with the injury to Calderon. The second unit did a great job of providing a lift on Sunday as, at one point, the five on the floor were Marcus Banks, Marco Belinelli, Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems and Pop Mensah-Bonsu. The energy on the floor was noticeable. During one stretch of roughly 5:30 at the end of the first quarter and the start of the second stanza, the Toronto lead went from 10 points up to 18 and settled at 16 before Triano put a couple of starters back in the game. Talk about activity, how about the backcourt trap where Banks and Johnson put the clamps on a Houston player only to have the official bail him out, probably because the ref probably couldn’t tell the last time he saw a successful trap formed and figured it just had to be a foul.

I liked the adjustment as Triano moved Bosh from the mid-post to the elbow. Pure and simple, it made it tougher to double-team Bosh and allowed him to use his quickness on defenders not accustomed to guarding a player that big and mobile one-on-one that far from the hoop.


The Raptors didn’t even ask Tracy McGrady about being “recognized” yesterday in the 15th anniversary celebrations that are taking place this season. They just figured with all the booing that Vince Carter wanted to avoid, they wouldn’t even ask T-Mac.

McGrady continues to say he’s ready to play and the ball is now in the Rockets court as to when he gets back on the floor. He sure was chatty with people at the ACC yesterday. I know he still has “peeps” in Toronto so what do you think? It’s just a question, I admit, to stir the pot a bit, but would you take him next season maybe on some kind of veterans minimum? Like all former Raptors, he still loves the city.


Trevor Ariza has landed in hot water after a right hand that Manny Pacaquiao would have been proud of that missed the mark on DeMar DeRozan.


Toronto will be facing an upset bunch Tuesday night in Miami as the Miami Heat were drilled by the Memphis Grizzlies. Dwyane Wade let his team have it after Memphis walked all over Miami in a 118-90 loss. Don’t look now but the Grizzlies, who are 6-4 in their last 10 games, own wins over Miami, Cleveland, Dallas and Portland.

As much as the speculation around Chris Bosh and where he will end up next year continues to percolate, there are more than a few whispers down here in Miami that Wade is not a happy camper. So it needs to be asked, will Wade be back in Miami? And if he’s not here, how attractive will it be to Bosh if he is eyeing Miami as a potential destination? At least there is good weather. The team? Who knows come next year. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Speaking of Miami, let’s see if the Raptors can avoid the “South Beach Press.” It’s the downside of having the night out on South Beach before playing the Heat.

I talked to Marcus Banks, a former Heat player about it and we’ll tell you all about it on Tuesday.


The advantage of seeing family: Just scooped a book off little brother’s kitchen table Return of the Gold that chronicles Jerry Colangelo — whose name may sound familiar to you — and his journey with the 2008 U.S. Olympic team that won gold in Beijing.


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