The Morning After The Night Before, XIV
What an ugly game, wasn’t it? No one could make a shot, the Clippers looked like the Clippers of old, atmosphere in the arena was dead and it was one of those nights you just wanted to end.
But, for the Raptors, a win is a win is a win and they won’t ask how they got this one when the season ends.
A couple of tidbits follow the usual drill so keep reading.
Three Things I Learned
Where conversations happen
You wonder what and where guys get good coaching? Practice? Shootaround? Video sessions? Restroom?
"Before the game, coach said quit thinking,” Jamario Moon told us after the Clipper game. "We were in the bathroom together and he was like, ‘hey, man, play ball. Can you play ball tonight?’ He was like, ‘quit thinking about it, just go out there and play.’”
Pretty sound advice. Want to know how Moon gets in the coach’s good books? Watch where he catches the ball on the perimeter. Coaches want him to catch it inside the three-point line, where he can hit a jumper or attack quickly. If he’s out behind the arc, someone’s going to be ticked.
Last night, he listened. And it worked.
Bosh finally gets it
You know all those times Chris Bosh has said on nights his jumper’s not falling he’ll drive the ball more often? Last night wasn’t one of them at the start.
As he’s off to a 2-for-11 start, all I can think of is, drive it, get to the line. Tim Thomas isn’t quick enough to guard him and Chris Kaman isn’t quick enough to come over and close off the lane.
Sure enough, that’s exactly what he did a minute later, beat Thomas off the dribble and got fouled by Kaman helping.
You’ve got to give Bosh credit for learning and Jose and the coaching staff for rewarding him for effort. I think he touched the ball, by my count, nine of 10 key possessions in the fourth quarter because he was doing what he was supposed to do. And what was working.
Too much time on his hands
Okay, so a billion or so of you wrote yesterday to see what I thought about an ESPN Bill Simmons column that says Andrea, Rasho, a first-round draft pick and $3 million for Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro is a trade that would work under the cap.
Now, I hardly ever react to something some dude made up and tossed on the internet because he’s got that forum but what the heck. So many of you are so worked up about it, it probably deserves some mention, even if it is the result of a very fertile imagination.
Me? I don’t know, even if I am very down on Andrea right now.
Gasol’s good, but what’s he ever done? And he’s got like $50 million left on his deal. That’s a huge concern. He’s good but not great. I’d also be worried about how the tiny Navarro holds up over an NBA season, too.
I think at the moment, with where Toronto is, I’d wait on Bargnani and if he pans out he’s a bargain, if he doesn’t, he’s not expensive. I’d rather have Rasho’s contract expire than eat the large money owed Gasol knowing he’s never won an NBA playoff game.
Have at it.
Three Things You Wondered
Q: After watching both the Celtics game and Clippers game, i noticed that AP has been awful shooting the ball. Do you think he still deserves his starting spot?
Gabriel A, Montreal.
A: That’s a good question, and a tough one. There’ s no doubt Parker’s struggling, he’s 8-for-37 in his last five games. But do you take a guy’s starting job away on the basis of five games, four of which have been wins? I don’t think so.
Everyone knows what Parker has done, I think he’s earned the right to have a few more games to show he’s still got it before a change is made.
Q: So the Lakers and Clippers share the Staples Center. Are there any significant differences between a Lakers game and a Clippers (besides the obvious ones); or, do the LA teams amalgamate certain aspects of in-game entertainment?
Eric R, Toronto
A: They do nothing the same, from the court to the seating to the noise and distractions that go with a typical NBA outing everything is different. The Lakers are much more showy, the Clips under-stated. The Laker Girls are omnipresent, the Clipper Spirit Crew shows up every now and then. The Jack Nicholson seats don't exist at Clipper games, they are behind the scorer's table.
It really is like being in another arena.
Q: Was Brian Skinner ever a Raptor? My memory was that we tried to trade Alvin Williams for him but the deal was stopped due to Alvin not passing a physical. If that wasn't Brian, who was it?
A: Yes, he was. Sort of. He was obtained from Chicago for Charles Oakley and a draft pick on July 18, 2001 and then trded to Miami as part of a three-way deal with Cleveland that got Toronto nothing but financial relief. So, he was, but he never played a game.
The guy you're thinking of in the Alvin Williams deal was Danny Fortson. But it’s good that you’re reading this daily.
As you may recall, Portland’s Brandon Roy was a near unanimous selection as rookie of the year last season. Near. Missed it by one vote. One vote from Swirsk, who gave his vote to Andrea Bargnani.
Swirsk took a lot of heat from the folks in Rip City and they’ll be sure to remind him tonight, I believe.
Hey, a friend who knows about these sorts of things suggest you check out a T.J. Ford in Peace magazine. Good story, good pictures, a little out-of-the-routine take on T.J. Me? I’m not Peace magazine’s demographic but I’ll read it out for sure.
Don’t forget, we’ve got a Friday mailbag and if you click here, we’ll try to get you in it, if not Friday than some day after some game.