The Morning After The Night Before, LVIX
Sorry to be a bit late, again. Time zones. Ack!
But apparently, lots of you stay up late with the computers on. Re-wrote the game story for the web (one of the benefits of the web, I guess, readers get fresh quotes and a new story that’s more detailed than the one in the paper) in about 45 minutes. Checked e-mail and had about two dozen in that time. That’s dedication, and passion. Or something like that.
And away we go:
Three Things I Learned
Here we go again
Lots of T.J. angst out there, and more than a little hate. Yes, he wasn’t very good dominating the ball in the fourth quarter; yes, he should have got the others involved more often; yes, he took some crazy shots. No, he wasn’t particularly good, as you’ve heard both Sam and AP hint at.
But there can be a balance, and when he finds it, it’ll be like last season when, if you all recall, pretty darn good and so was the team.
Right now, it’s a struggle but the first step in rehab is admitting you’ve got a problem and maybe last night was that step.
And there has to be some change in style; it's not like there are any other options this season. Jose's not playing particularly well and it's not like there's anywhere else to turn. Fans can only hope something clicks, or Sam gets to TJ to change -- just slightly -- his ball dominance at crunch time. -
I (heart) Golden State
That’s a fun team. No conscience at all, they play the same up 20 or down 20. It’d be torture to cover ‘em every game ‘cause you could never safely say a game was won or lost until the final minutes but to watch them: Very cool.
Monta Ellis might be the most under-rated player in the league (although a two-guard going off on the Raptors is hardly something unusual) and I will just say this once: Andris Biedrins was drafted 11th in 2004; the size-starved Toronto Raptors chose Rafael Araujo eighth.
Did you see that?
Bargnani’s in the low post, has the smaller Mickael Pietrus on him, backs him down patiently and then calmly hits a fadeaway jumper. That’s a big man post move and shows that maybe all that work in practice with Alex English is going to pay off.
Quietly, the kid’s been pretty good lately, hasn’t he?
Oh, and One Thing You Should Learn
Guess I got this right.
Amid the dozens and dozens of e-mails I awoke to this morning, there was more than a few suggesting I am anti-Ford and more than a few suggesting I’m anti-Jose.
Like a trade where both teams win.
Here's the thing: I'm not 'for one' or 'against another.' If they mess up, you comment on it, or write about it. My definition of 'messing up' is obviously different than yours, and that's cool. I do think both are good, both have things they bring to the team that the other doesn't and if the Raptors are going to do anything in the post-season, like a win a series, both of them have to be playing at high level. Neither are right now. -
Once into the mailbag
Q: Okay Doug, I'm finally doing it, I'm posting a question, hoping you'll show it on your blog and my husband will be oh so impressed that I made it to the Big League (note: I did read that buttering you up helps get noticed, so I'm trying my best here...)
Been a Raptor fan for a few years and I have my favorites (hello Mr. Jose). But - what's the deal with Darrick Martin? He's not on the inactive list (at least, last game I was at on Friday), but he's in a suit.
Also, I saw your note on onions, and I thought it was related to seeing such a beautiful play, that it would put tears in your eyes, like, um, onions. I guess I'm still naive about these things... Salami and cheese? Equals, game over, go make a sandwich?
Gavinder B, Toronto
A: I hope hubby’s duly impressed.
Darrick actually is on the inactive list, along with Garbo and Bosh. The list can change night to night, though, so maybe he gets a chance to put on a uniform sometime soon.
That’s a unique ‘onions’ explanation, wish it were true but, alas, it’s got more to do with the other stuff than tears to your eyes.
You’ve got the salami and cheese thing down, though.
Maybe we should do a Swirsk-to-English dictionary, put it on the shelf next to the Oak-to-English tome.
Janny Hu in the San Francisco Chronicle chronicles the game like this.
So, I’m travelling from L.A. to S.F. dressed rather casually on Wednesday, wearing a t-shirt my man Jack Armstrong gave me, a shirt wit his visage on the front in that classic “Hello!” pose. In fact, it’s got “Hello” written on.
Standing in line at some Starbucks at LAX chatting with a woman killing time, she looks at the shirt and says, “Is that Bush’s dad?”
Fast forward a few hours, get to San Francisco, standing in line at the car rental place and the lady behind the counter looks up and says, “Hey, is that Bush on your shirt?”
Jack Armstrong as the elder Bush? Never saw the resemblance.
But if people are thinking I’m wearing a shirt with Dubya’s dad on it, I gotta retire it for every trip to the United States lest people get the wrong impression.
Here’s another one from the mail and I have to say, it’s waaaaaaaay more refreshing than a ‘what’s wrong with T.J. or when are they going to fire Sam’ query.
Q: Great game eh? This might be a stupid question but you know how in different sports, players in different positions use slightly different equipment. Example, a defencemen in hockey wears a harder skate to protect against blocked shots or how an outfielder in baseball uses a different size glove than that of an infielder.
Are the shoes that the basketball players wear tailor to various positions? Like does Steve Nash wear a point guard shoe while Tim Duncan wear a shoe for centres? Thanks!
Matthew M, Scarborough
A: Interesting question. Guys wear shoes that are tailored their feet, rather than their position. No difference in, say, weight, just difference in stuff like width and size.
Speaking of Jack Armstrong and adult beverages (we were, weren't we?), you realize Monday is St. Patrick’s Day, right?
We’ll be in that bastion of Irish boozing, Salt Lake City, and I bet it’s standing room only in all the beer emporiums that dot the downtown core.
But you’ll also get to see the great green Raptor jerseys (I believe they may even on sale for you to fatten up the coffers of MLSEL because nothing says St. Paddy’s day better than a green dinosaur) and even green shoes.
Baron Davis is at the free throw line late in the game and some of the yahoos in the stands starting the old, yet boring, ‘M-V-P, M-V-P’ chant.
Got me thinking there are apparently 31 MVPs this season. One from every team and Toronto gets a bonus one ‘cause of the, um, zanies who chanted when The Gangster was shooting free throws.
Let’s finish off by checking in with our folks in Denver to see what’s up with the Noogies before tomorrow’s game.