Everyone have a nice holiday? Presents under the tree, yuletide greetings, mistletoe, egg nog, turkey, stuffing, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah? Hope so.
Pretty slow around these parts, though; players scattered hither and yon, no practice, no news, no great debate over whether starting Bargnani is a good idea or not. And it’s been hours since I’ve seen a good Fire Sam Mitchell e-mail. Smarten up, people!
So, this won’t be the usual wildly entertaining missive but it’ll have to do while you recover from Boxing Day shopping.
Am sitting in the comfort of the palatial in-law suite up in Beautiful Barrie and in between chatting and eating caught a bit of the Heat-Cavs game. Looked like they were playing in mud, didn't it?
I don’t know if it’s the cable company up there or what but they must have been showing the game in slow motion, right? There’s no way Shaq’s that slow. Or even Dwyane Wade, who padded his numbers in the final five minutes after looking decidedly disinterested for most of the game.
And watching Luke Jackson airball a jumper and then miss a little runner made me wonder how he ever scored 30 points in an NBA game.
Watching the Heat, 8-20 entirely on merit, makes me wonder whether Pat Riley might suddenly not feel well and have to take the rest of the season off.
Check out my man Ira in the Sun-Sentinel. Doesn’t sound like everything’s rosy in Miami, does it?
Let’s dip into the mailbag for this one from Doug in Peterborough:
Q: Quick one - whose decision was it to reinsert Bargs back into the starting line-up – Smitchell’s or BC's? Reason I ask is that there has been a lot of bad press lately (see Bargs/Roy/Alridge debate) and maybe BC's getting anxious? Plus has anyone ever seen Rasho play better than he has this year.
A: Here’s how it went down, as far as we know having talked to the principles. After the Seattle game, Sam and Bryan are talking, as they do after every single game, either in person or on the phone. Sam says he thinks starting Bargs is a good idea because obviously he’s been brutal coming off the bench. He’s got to play and play better and maybe this jump-starts him.
BC concurs and the rest, as they say, is history.
Bad press? Dude, there’s bad press where Bargnani, Roy and Aldridge are concerned every single day (quick question: Which one has started a playoff game in his career?) so that didn’t factor into it.
Carlos of Mississauga, who obviously has too much time on his hands, passes this along:
Hi Doug. Did you know that the current crop of Raptors is ranked 2nd worst in NBA history in FTA per game? The top 5 list goes something like this:
1. Phoenix Suns (2005-2006) - 18.0 FTA
2. Toronto Raptors (2007-2008) - 19.1 FTA
3. New York Knicks (2002-2003) - 19.8 FTA
4. Phoenix Suns (2001-2002) - 19.9 FTA
5. Toronto Raptors (2003-2004) - 20.1 FTA
A grateful nation thanks you, Carlos.
How 'bout those Bulls, eh?
Whack Scott Skiles on Christmas Eve and still, as I type this early in the Boxing Day a.m., they aren't 100 per cent sure who's going to get the gig.
No one full-time, I'm told, until the end of the season and I'm sure you'll hear all the usual suspects -- Rick Carlisle chief among them -- among the candidates.
Read Sam Smith today in the Chicago Trib and it looks like there could be a few jobs open.
No one gives a rat’s behind about our travel woes but you gotta hear this; and if you don’t want to, the scroll down button’s over there at the right hand side of the keyboard.
Sitting around with the family on Christmas Eve, just before the caroling started (I keed, I keed!), rings about 9:30, it’s some automated United Airlines schmoe telling me the 12:50 flight Boxing Day is cancelled and if I want to stay on the line to get rebooked, that’d be fine. Wait 30 minutes or so – missing the chance to warble Silent Night with Super Son Jacob (I keed, I keed!) – and finally get booked on a 6:25 a.m. fight to Chicago and then on to San Antonio. Sure, 6:25 bites, it means a 3:30 wakeup call but for Mother Star, what won’t I do!
Okay, fast forward to this morning, dutifully arrive at airport just before 5 FREAKING A.M., stand in line and find out the 6:25 flight, which replaced the 12:50 mind you, is delayed until 12:15.
Sweet. Nice lady gets me on 7:55 to Chicago that may or may not allow me to make connection to San Antonio, where the adult beverage parlours better be well stocked.
We now continue with our regularly-scheduled basketball stuff.
Speaking of Shaquille O’Neal, did you know that before the Christmas Day game in Cleveland, where he picked up five personals, he had fouled out of five straight games? You almost have to try to accomplish that feat.
Had some questioners about the unfairness of the schedule, given what the Raptors are going through right now but it seems Sam’s oft-stated contention that every team has bad stretches is legit.
Boston starts four games in five days out west tonight. They get Sacramento, Seattle, Utah and the Lakers.
Don’t forget, it’s a holiday week but the mail still gets delivered. Just click here to get me. I may have a long layover somewhere to answer them.