Jamario Moon is a world-class athlete and a true NBA success story: small-town country kid, community-college resume, minor-league veteran turned NBA starter. But midway through his second season in the League, Moon is starting to build up a case that he shouldn’t be on the court during crunch-time of a close game.
In a memorable Raptors/Blazers game last season, Moon committed a huge mistake when he fouled Travis Outlaw on a three-pointer that allowed Portland to force overtime. (Toronto would eventually win in double-OT.) Then, in yesterday’s loss to the Hawks, Moon was doing all he could to hand Atlanta the W, blowing defensive assignments and taking an ill-advised triple in the final minute. For a team that’s already in a tailspin, it didn’t go over well. From the Toronto Star:
The finish couldn’t have been any worse, and it laid bare for all to see a conflict between (Chris) Bosh and Moon that may have just been a heat-of-the-moment thing or a signal that things are irreparably damaged.
After Moon blew a defensive assignment with about 90 seconds left that ultimately ended with a Joe Johnson free throw that got Atlanta within one, Bosh went off on his teammate in front of the bench. And he didn’t back off when asked about it after the game.
“Watch the film. He gives him a straight line to the basket,” said Bosh. “Joe Johnson. All-Star. Whatever you want to call him, one of the best players or two-guards in the League and you give him a straight line? You can’t.
“That’s the mental thing we are talking about. We’re up by two. If he hits the jump shot and you contest it as good as you can, what are we going to say?
“But don’t give him a straight-line drive. He’s too talented for that. He’s too good for that and that’s what made me upset.”
The mistake was made worse on Atlanta’s next possession when Moon bit on a pump fake by Mike Bibby and fouled him, allowing Bibby to make two free throws and put Atlanta ahead 85-84 with 55.4 seconds left.
And to complete the trifecta, after Bosh committed a turnover before Toronto got a timely defensive stop, Moon, a 31 per cent three-point shooter starting the day, hoisted a quick, and bad, jumper with 35.9 seconds left that Atlanta rebounded and turned into a Johnson bucket for a three-point lead with 13 seconds left.
“It felt like it was a good shot,” said Moon. “I had just made one before that and (Anthony Parker) came down and gave it to me in rhythm, I thought it was good. So I took the shot.
“I guess everybody’s upset, but it was an open shot. Anybody could have missed an open shot. You have to live with it.”
Bosh (22 pts, 14 rebs) didn’t just single out Moon; he had criticism for all of the Raptors, who going into Wednesday’s game at Detroit are last-place in the Atlantic Division at 16-27 and have lost six games in a row. With Jose Calderon out injured and Jermaine O’Neal dealing with injuries and constant trade rumors, it may only get worse.
“We’re not in the right positions. We don’t make the right pass. We don’t get back on defence the right way,” said Bosh, rattling off three huge problems.
“We don’t do the correct coverages when it really counts at the end of the game and that’s all mental. We shoot ourselves in the foot every game.”
On one hand, you have to appreciate that Bosh is stepping up to be a vocal leader (and critic) of his team and is holding guys accountable. At the same time, was it inappropriate for him to publicly throw a teammate under the bus like that?
Source: Toronto Star