The Morning After The Night Before, XVIII
Of all the trips they decided to send my colleague on, guess I should be thankful that last night was one. Ugly? Reprehensible. Although a trip to The 4s is always nice.
Not much to say except they sucked, no life, no hope. Was listening on the radio early and when it was 12-11 figured they might hang around. By the time I got parked and into a Christmas party for my wife’s work, they were down about 20 and it was time to socialize, not work.
Best line: Called home about 9:15, Super Son Jacob says, “Daddy, it’s 72-42, Toronto stinks.” Bright kid I got there.
Anyway, on with your regularly-scheduled stuff:
Three Things I Learned
A sign of resignation
Most troubling thing – well, not the most, but close to it – was listening to Sam Mitchell post-game. No matter what’s gone on in the last season and a bit, he’s never let ‘em use injuries as an excuse. His plea for patience until everyone gets healthy was odd. But maybe getting killed by Phoenix and drilled by Boston will zap any remnants of enthusiasm out of a coach.
Fact is, they’ve been awful for two games in a row; even playing regular backups in prominent roles, you won’t more effort and intelligence. That’s what’s been lacking.
I take it all back
Remember way back in the day when it was suggested by some dolt and doofus that the Celtics would be life and death to make the playoffs? That dope is sorry.
Guess I underestimated the power of Kevin Garnett to make sure there were be no ‘chemistry’ issues and he’s a strong enough personality that the likes of Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins are no longer exposed as occasional loafers and marginal starters.
Oh, and at 16-2 in the East? I haven’t done the math but they may have already clinched a playoff spot.
Another FT-free night
Everyone loves Jamario Moon and he’s blocked at least one shot in the last 12 games and he’s an athletic revelation and great, great story.
But he’s now played 157 minutes over his last four games without attempting a single solitary free throw and that’s inexcusable and horrible.
Not sure what he doesn’t get about being told every day to attack the rim, attack the rim, but if he doesn’t catch on pretty quick, his coach is going to be more ornery than he already is. And an ornery Sam Mitchell is not a fun Sam Mitchell.
Three Things You Wondered
Q: What in the world happened to Juan Dixon? I know Sam Mitchell keeps saying "be ready when your time is called" and "it depends on the match-ups" ... etc.
But even in garbage time he's not called on. Did he do something very bad in practice or in previous games that caught the ire of I AM SAM?
A: Once more into the breach. Nothing’s really happened to Juan Dixon except that he’s dropped out of the rotation because, as Sam tells us often “you can’t play 12 guys.” And he did get some garbage time minutes Friday in Boston.
Right now, he’s behind Anthony Parker, Jason Kapono and Carlos Delfino and, quite frankly, barring injury I can’t see him taking minutes from any of those three. Does a trade help him? Maybe. Does a trade help the Raptors? Not really unless they get someone back who's better than someone in the rotation. See the next question for perhaps one possibility.
Q: Okay, let's jump on Walter Herrmann bandwagon. Saw him few times last year and he looked very good on offence but cannot remember if he can play any defence since that is what we need. Would you know if he can? If not what, would be the point we have more than enough scorers?
Last, why is he not playing at all, on this pathetic Bobcats team. All the best.
A: He can defend, not like Bruce Bowen or Kevin Garnett, but he can defend. He’s an energetic rebounder in the Anderson Varejao model (not as good, mind you) and everyone I talk to about him says he’s got a bit of a mean streak in him.
I have no idea why Sam Vincent won’t play him in Charlotte but I bet Sam Mitchell would play him – likely ahead of the Hump – in Toronto. I also know Bryan Colangelo called about him last spring only to be rebuffed by Bernie Bickerstaff. The question is if Bickerstaff still has any sway in Charlotte. If he doesn’t, maybe Bryan will call again.
Q: With all the European players, and maybe soon European coaches and management in the league, is there any talk of the NBA changing some rules to make the game more team oriented? The international game seems more free-flowing and is definitely more fun to watch, but only a handful of NBA teams try to play that style.
Willy Brown, Sarnia
A: There are two rules I really think they should change and one they probably should consider.
They should go to the trapezoid lane that FIBA uses and keep the defensive three seconds rule because it would create more room around the basket and they should absolutely got to the FIBA limit of two timeouts per half and timeouts that can only be called by coaches. I watched Cleveland's Mike Brown call a timeout in the final 10 seconds of a game Toronto led by, I believe, nine at the time and I wanted to scream.
The other one they might think about: Let defensive players take shots off the rim or at least out of the cylinder. But I'm not sure about that one.
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