Thursday, December 23, 2010

McGrady with vintage performance

Let me start with a poem:

"'Twas only a few years ago
A soldier named Tracy
Put up a nightly show
Laying the ball up
Throwing it down
Left the crowd in awe
Breathlessly saying 'Wow'

Then came years of agony and pain
Young Tracy
Had lost his game
Surgeries and rehab and unkindly fans
He left the Rocket and hoped for better times
In Piston land

At first there were skeptics
Questioning his shape
Then they said his former form
Could not be regained
But on a cold night just before Christmas
He finally fulfilled all of our wishes"

Okay, this was just for fun, but let's hope we'll remember this game as the turning point for not only McGrady but for the entire season. Tracy exploded for 17 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds and one insult to Chris Bosh in just 24 minutes of playing time. NICE!!!

While most people know he is a great scorer his most underrated skill has always been his passing and all-around game. Somehow he was reduced by the media as a poor version of Kobe Bryant, most people don't realize in which way consecutive injuries affect you. Do you think if Kobe had the injury report McGrady has he would be a practice monster. You ought to learn to rest and recover and you can't go all out every game. Kobe is playing through injuries and I really respect playing with broken fingers. Screwed up knees and a bad shoulder is something you cannot play through though ...

And that is why McGrady's performance was so heart-warming last night. He is showing flashes of his old self, last night he did not show flashes, he put together a complete performance and made the Pistons look like a contender. Will he be able to do it every night? Probably not ... Let's be honest, Calderon, Barbosa and DeRozan are not what one would call a lockdown backcourt. Will he be able to perform in a similar way regularly? I would think so.


I picked one moment which is, in my opinion, typical of how McGrady helps our offense. In this case he is stuck in the high post, doubled near the freethrow line after a Monroe screen. Monroe goes out to the three point line to open things up.

I especially like the spacing. Tay and Will are in the corner or at least near the corner and Rip is at the wing. McGrady is being pressured by Ed Davis and his own defender, but McGrady stays calm. A rookie or a smaller player or a player with less skills what either throw the ball away or pass it back to Monroe and just wasted half of the shot clock probably causing a bad look.

McGrady, smart player he is, waits for the Toronto defense to rotate. Kleiza has to watch out for the three second violation and he also wants to catch a possible pass to Prince in the corner. He leaves the middle and thereby creates the huge hole in the next picture.

Rip recognizes this, cuts right to the basket and receives the ball from McGrady for an easy jumper.

T-Mac held the ball under pressure for three or four seconds! He then used his length to find the open cutter who then got a rather easy look for the bucket. Gotta love the patience!

It's Rip City

Gotta give love to Rip for backing up my last post with this performance! 35 points off the bench. You could say either he is making the case for starting or he is making the case for coming off the bench. I would take the latter. As long as he performs like this, we'll be good.

Then again, it's the Raptors. They could make a team look good who's fastest stars are a turtle and a snail. It's a win and I'll take it. Maybe we can get some momentum going, maybe John Kuester is finally figuring out his rotation (it's just been a year or so). Or, quite possibly, the next game will be horrible to watch. You never know with this team. For a decade we knew they were going to win and play well or play badly and still be better than the other team. Now they gotta bring their A-game every night!

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