vs. Chicago, October 10, 2008 - Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Ft. Wayne, IN.
Before I begin, I need to mention how much I like the fact that we drafted Roy Hibbert and no one else did.
Unfortunately, I was unable to make my first trip to Fort Wayne to see the P's play tonight, but I wouldn't miss it on T.V. This game from what I understood didn't have the dazzle of Wednesday's game, but it was special in it's own little way.
When the game started, I was still a little nervous on how prepared we were. Many shots didn't fall like they should have and we basically spent the first few minutes catching up to the Bulls. (I meant Hinrich and Thomas) Rasho Nesterovic really came out crashing the boards and for some reason, he looked like a brick wall out there on defense.
Danny Granger has not begun to worry me. I think he is just trying to find out what he can and cannot do, but sooner or later we will need to see the real Danny step up and show why he is the face of this team.
Marquis Daniels really has looked a lot better than he has in previous seasons. I am not sure if it is his temporary promotion as starting point guard, but he looks like he is being a lot smarter on the offensive side of the ball. I also enjoyed that alley-oop in the second quarter. His defense looks a little more finely-tuned than last season so far.
Brandon Rush. The stats really can deceive you. I did not see him score 18 points tonight, but he did. This is the same thing that baffled me while watching him play in Kansas last year. He had some razzle dazzle plays, but so far he is a quiet storm. 18 points, 7 for 9 in field goal attempts, two steals, and only two turnovers playing for only 27 minutes. Impressive.
T.J. Ford's play speaks for himself. He continues to amaze me. I know many people are telling me that he is just playing fundamental basketball, nothing fancy, but I am only used to seeing a beat-up Jamaal Tinsley lead this team down the floor and that's why my mind is blown on how good he is.
Okay, onto Roy. In just sixteen minutes he pulled down six boards and put up nine points. He is a defensive monster with his well...monster arms reaching in for the ball. However, he does get into a little bit of foul trouble, but when all your mind is telling you is "get the basketball, stop the basketball", you'll get a few fouls. His mid-range and post offense play does need to improve. He missed a few close, clear jumpers that I expected him to hit.
Josh Davis came into the second quarter scaring me with a couple of shots he made, that I didn't expect him to come even close on making. He has a legitimate shot of landing somewhere if not in the NBA, but in the D-League.
There was also a lot of talk on Television that McRoberts is highly sought after by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants front office. I would like him to stick around, but I really think if he works in an envrionment with a lot of playing time he may actually become a solid backup big man. He has a great shot and the defensive mindset to keep the other team out of the paint, but give him time.
This game was going to be a little bit more of a sign that Head Coach Jim O'Brien is getting closer to see who he wants on the floor, and what we expect to see when the season starts later this month. I like the combination they used with Jack as the two guard and Ford leading the run. It seemed to work late in the game, but if it's on the line I really want Dunleavy and Granger in there to sink the shot to win the game.
Granted the Bulls are not Hornets, I see a lot of progress coming from this group and hope they continue to mesh going into the first home game actually played at home this coming Monday against Memphis.
- Tony Laurenzana (duke dynamite)