The Morning After The Night Before, LVI
Too bad so many of you decided after the Orlando game to quit watching, to start following hockey, to give away all your tickets and burn your Vincenzo Esposito replica jerseys.
Wasn’t too bad a game in Miami, they played pretty well and won easily. Pretty sure some of you might actually take another glance at them tomorrow.
But for the quitters, we’ll keep giving you stuff here to keep you up to date.
Three Things I Learned
Lord knows my opinion of Bargnani’s “toughness” is quite low but I’ve got to give the kid credit. That was a helluva take down by Alexander Johnson. My immediate reaction was “career-threatening” but the dude shook it off, got up, spat out some blood and made free throws. Funny thing was, he’d been playing with more aggression than we’re used to, I’m wondering if there’s a trickle down effect and he avoids the paint now like it’s toxic.
Oh, and I’d think when the league gets a look at that hit, it’ll be upgraded to a Flagrant Penalty II and Mr. Johnson will get a night off. If they got Nowitzki for the takedown on Kirilenko, they’ll probably get Johnson, too.
So, T.J. huddles with his coach and his GM’s right hand man for a while before the game to go through some “personal issues.” What to make of it? Well, could be anything but it’s obvious something’s bothering him. The body language has sucked, his propensity to try and do too much was back again in Orlando and you should only hope he gets through it quickly. He wasn’t great in Miami but he wasn’t horrible. The easy thing to do is chalk it up to some simmering problem with Jose but, if you do, ask yourself, why now? Why not last weekend? Why not when he first came back? Maybe there are other life issues going on that are in his mind.
The Heat suck
I don’t know how else to say it. No enthusiasm, no effort, no cohesion. And let me ask you something: Shouldn’t a team with all-star Dwyane Wade, all-star Shawn Marion, a serviceable big in Mark Blount, a streaky yet athletic Ricky Davis and a passable point guard in Jason Williams be better? That’s not a bad starting five, is it? So why do they suck? Maybe all those guys have talent but no heart because they gave up last night, early and completely. Pat Riley said after the gae he’d weed out the guys who didn’t care, I’m thinking nine or 10 new guys might be in order.
I’ll tell you one thing: If Marion opts out of a contract that pays him $17 million next season he should have his head examined. Him getting that salary in these times is stealing.
Sorta from the mail:
Tim B. in Cambridge, along with several others, wonders:
Loved your take on what you would do if you were Bryan C. Could you elaborate a little as to why you put Nocioni first? I don't know as much about his game as the others. What do you see his benefits being over Kirilenko's.
Nocioni’s a tough defender, can stick the three-pointer, can defend multiple positions and is a good team player, that’s why I like him A lot. He doesn’t really need plays called for him to score and he’s got less money (about $28 million compared to about $48 million) left on his deal than Kirilenko does.
It was brought to my attention for an old-time scribbler, a dude who was there in the dark days of the franchise’s existence with me, that the suggestion that Bargnani’s pump-fake-draw-a-foul escapade the other night might not automatically be the ugliest looking play ever.
He points to the existence of Acie Earl and a night against Houston when Zan Tabak missed the entire backboard with a wide open three-footer.
Those two are right there with Bargs.
Saw highlights of that Boston-Detroit game last night and all I can say is the Eastern Final, if it’s those two teams, will be a war. Nice elbow by Ray Allen to Rip Hamilton I believe it was, lots of hard, hard screens and intensity unmatched in most regular season games.
Speaking of mail
Q: During the Miami game I noticed that Rasho tipped a lot of rebounds out to his teammates. Who gets credit for these rebounds? I thought it would be the player who grabs the ball, but I remember one play when Rasho tipped it out and Brags grabbed the ball. In the box score Bargs has zero rebounds. What up with that?
Alan S, St. John’s
A: If you “control” a tip, that is if you know where you’re hitting it, you get credit for a rebound. And I believe zero rebounds was on merit.
And speaking of other papers, read Riley’s rant from my man Ira.
No one’s sure if Agent Zero is going to travel here with the Wizards tomorrow night. Just in case, you might want to make some signs to, um, welcome him?
It will be interesting to see how Jose plays. The Jose I know loves challenges in his own little under-stated way and I’m pretty sure he’ll have a big game. Don’t let his relatively calm exterior fool you, that dude is a competitor, he takes losing maybe harder than anyone in the room not named Bosh and if he’s extra hyped to play the Wizards and show his stuff, he’s gonna go off.
One thing I’m wondering is if Bosh will play. Read the reports today that says he’s still not running and if he’s not running and they’re not practicing today, I’ll be quite surprised if he’s in the lineup tomorrow. Of course, it now means mandatory attendance at shootaround in the morning to see what’s up.