Last Possessions of the Fourth Quarter
The boat had started to leak beforehand but the Charlotte Hornets still could have prevented overtime from happening down the stretch of the fourth quarter.
The first of the two last possessions turned into everyone watching Jeremy Lin handle the ball, with the referees not noticing coach Steve Clifford's pleas for a time-out call.
Coach Clifford usually is a hands-on manager of late game situations and him interrupting this broken possession wouldn't certainly be the first time he had done something like that. It's hard to claim with certainty though that Charlotte got a raw deal by not getting the time-out awarded to them.
Clifford's track record on play-calls is mediocre (hold this thought) and, besides, one could understand the refs not hearing his requests, however, Bismack Biyombo somehow getting a jump-ball out of this scrum is not so understandable (the same applies for him bumping into Zeller on the ensuing jump-ball):
It didn't look any prettier when Charlotte's coaching staff got the chance to go to the drawing board. Whatever the play was intended to be, the Raptors were ready for it being a Kemba Walker-heavy attempt for the win as they had DeMar DeRozan double team Kemba. DeRozan even switched with Biz so that his assignment would supposedly be a lesser offensive player in Cody Zeller.
Kemba started to attack late enough (with 9 seconds left on the clock and, moreover, seemingly being prompted by the incoming DeRozan) for the trap to work.
All in all, it looked as uninspiring as last season's body of work. Back then all of these Kemba isolations or screen-and-rolls with Al Jefferson for the win motivated me to make a video compilation of them. Do note that all of these plays came out of time-outs.
Kyle Lowry's Lazy Performance
Joshua Priemski mentioned in the game recap that "[Toronto's] broadcasting crew frequently downplayed the Hornets' defense, suggesting that the Raptors were simply missing shots." I would like to point out that Jeremy Lin and Kemba Walker deservedly had better performances than Lowry.
Lowry's field goals might have gone down a couple of more times on any other night, however, no one else is to be blamed for his 3/17 performance from down-town than he himself. He took a lot of chances with his shot selection as 4 of his 22 field goal attempts were contested, per NBA.com.
I think that Clifford's staff will gladly take such Stephen Curry-like attempts from Lowry:
This performance now rightfully ranks Lowry as one of the six players who have attempted more than 15 threes in one game, yet made less than 3 of them. Nick Van Exel, Dennis Scott, George McCloud, Gilbert Arenas and Gerald Green make up the rest of the list.
Moreover, his effort was lacking on the defensive end as well. It's not a particularly good look when your point guard gets stuck in quick sand on the three-point line and doesn't fully commit to the defensive play:
P.J. Hairston's Playing Time
It seems clear that Clifford sees Hairston as the superior defensive player in comparison with Jeremy Lamb. Thus one has to wonder whether in Clifford's opinion the only thing holding back Hairston from getting more minutes is his play on offense.
Lamb only clocked 15 minutes last night, while Hairston had a repeat 14-point output which resulted in 34 minutes of playing time. The game at Orlando can be viewed as an exception due to Lamb's own production, however, it will be interesting to monitor the minutes of them two in games where P.J. connects on his shots just like last night.
The success on his jumpers also has provided the sophomore guard from UNC with some extra confidence. Hairston has registered a "chucking rate" of 1.86 (front court touches/field goal attempts) during these two last games. As I had written beforehand, P.J. had been a little less trigger-happy (currently at 2.50 for the season) after finishing second in the league in this rate last season (at 1.97).