The Morning After The Night Before, LVXX
It’s sunny outside but it’s dark, scary dark, around these parts. Had another couple of e-mails overnight from fans – regular fans I hear from often – who are done with this season. It may be a bit drastic but I can understand frustration and have some sympathy.
Right now, they’re horrible and not showing any signs of getting much better. I still think when the schedule turns easier they’ll end up finishing sixth and get Orlando in the first round but I can also see them losing two of the next three and then watch the angst grow.
Tough time to be a fan, isn’t it?
And from yesterday we’ve got:
Three Things I Learned
No, not for the loss; dude’s playing out of his head. But when he missed a layup late in the fourth, he robbed Bosh of his first career triple-double. And, it shouldn’t really be surprising giving the inadequacies they’ve had in wing players over the year, but it’s been seven years a day now since any Raptor had a triple double. That was Alvin Williams against Atlanta back in the day.
Disgruntled, quite disgruntled
Heard a smattering of boos when T.J. hoisted a horrible shot late in the third quarter, which was a bit surprising. Of course, they changed to raucous cheers a minute later when he made a layup. But maybe everyone was snoozing with nine minutes to go when he took another bad shot and they loafed back on defence, losing Iverson in transition and then couldn’t get to AI before he made a three for an 85-80 Nugget lead.
That’s the kind of play that should tick everybody off.
Where’d he go?
What happened to Bargnani, you wonder? Well, a confluence of things robbed him of what could have been a big night after his 16-point first. The two shots he got in the 2 1-2 minutes he played in the second were pretty good looks he just missed; in an 0-for-4, 12-minute run in the third the Nuggets played much better defence on him and then he sat the entire fourth ‘cause Rasho was playing well. The interesting thing, to me, was Sam leaving Bargnani in after he got his second foul six minutes into the first. Usually that’s when he goes and sits until after the half but Mitchell stuck with him and he made all three shots he took before the quarter ended. Since Bargnani seldom plays in the fourth, I’ve always thought Mitchell should stick with him with two fouls every night.
A trip to the mailbag, apropos with yesterday’s opponent:
Q: Is it still possible that Denver finishes the year with 50 wins and doesn’t make the playoffs? Would they still be a lottery team and get a crack at the number one pick overall?
Darwin N, Swift Current
A: Oh yeah, it sure is. Their lottery odds would be less than one per cent but they can get it.
Quick query: How’s the pizza taste today?
Not sure if you remember, but there was a mailbag question a week or so ago about whether or not Alex English wants to be a head coach? I said I thought he did; having a conversation with him yesterday, I found out he definitely does and, for all he’s done – coached in the minors, been an assistant, one of the greatest players of all time – he better be on some short lists this summer.
Here’s how yesterday’s game played out in Denver.
Q: Doug, I am surprised that you would drive to Cleveland for the game! Can't the mighty Star spring for a flight!?! Where else do you have to drive to - Detroit, New York? Dumb question but the team would fly? Right?
Carlos M, Toronto
A: Dude, it’s easier to drive and if you spend enough time in airports and get jerked around enough times by Air Canada, staying away from planes is best.
Takes me about 4 1-2 hours to drive, if you fly you’ve got to get to the airport 90 minutes before an hour-long flight, get downtown from the airport in Cleveland and to Pearson so the whole process takes about the same amount of time. And if you drive, you go on your own schedule, no one makes you stand in line and take off your shoes and open your laptop.
But, yes, the team flies, and gets to land at a downtown Cleveland airport right on the lake that’s about a three-minute drive to the hotel or the arena.
You know what today is, don’t you?
It’s the anniversary of one of the most improbable victories in Raptor history. On March 24, 1996, before 36,131 fans at the SkyDome, the little expansion team knocked off the mighty Chicago Bulls.
I remember vividly Brendan Malone walking off the court and pointing to salute the fans in the 500 level across the stadium.
Tracy Murray – remember him? – might have had the best post-game quote, culled from The Star’s game story.
"We came together so much at the end, it brought a tear to my eye …We kept fightin'. To see us mature and make progress and finally win a game against a team like Chicago is great. This game meant more to me than the championship (with the Houston Rockets) last year.”
It was indeed one of the highlights of the season.
And check out this quote from Steve Kerr:
"We just didn't have anybody who could stop (Damon Stoudamire)," Kerr said of the Raptor, whose six three-point shots helped him set the NBA rookie record for treys in a season, 127. The old mark of 125 was set in 1989-90. "He's too small and quick for Michael, and he's obviously too quick for me. He's got the speed to go around you and he can step up and shoot the three. Most guys with speed can't shoot. Most shooters don't have the speed. He's got both."
Funny, now maybe we know why GM Steve Kerr was thinking of signing veteran Damon Stoudamire earlier this year.