Sure, we lost, but today was pretty encouraging overall. Why?
- Gilbert Arenas seemed to finally figure out how to blend the pass-first Arenas and the shoot-first Arenas in that third quarter. He was driving to the hoop, shooting jumpers, setting up others and even displaying some better defensive intensity. If that Gilbert shows up more consistently, watch out, league.
- In general, the defense looked very good for a lot of stretches. In that third quarter, people were rotating extremely well and cutting off the lane very nicely. That includes Arenas and Antawn Jamison.
- Jamison had another solid, productive game.
Randy Foye looked a bit more comfortable, particularly on defense, in that third quarter playing next to Arenas.
- Fabricio Oberto looked like he was moving better than he has in any preseason game thus far.
The negatives? Mike Miller looked a bit passive, and he clearly struggles on off-ball defense. JaVale McGee continued to impress offensively, but be lost defensively. But otherwise? I'm not worried. We aren't going to see Mike James, Nick Young, Mike Miller, Dominic McGuire and Andray Blatche share the court ever this season.
Toronto may have won, but we won the important part of the game (the third quarter).
(Sidenote: DeMar DeRozan looked a lot better than I expected, and that's not just because he had a couple big throwdowns. He doesn't do much ball-handling, which hurts his value, but playing next to Jose Calderon, that doesn't matter as much. If Toronto indeed wants to push the ball this year, DeRozan needs to play).