A long, long season comes to an end
Finally, it ends.
I don’t know how many days it’s been but it feels like about two hundred years since we landed in Treviso way back when. Lots of stuff went on, some of it even good.
A schedule update: The NBA tells us it’ll be overnight before they get the official schedule for the first round out, given that it seems almost every single game out west means something about playoff seedings. So watch here, we’ll get it up as soon as we can.
But we do know it’s a Sunday start (5:30 p.m. or 8 p.m.).
Not sure how late it’ll be before we get it but if I’m up when it comes in, it’ll get poster here quickly.
Let’s get to some stuff.
Lots of questions about who plays how long tonight in Chicago. And, I believe, some misperception out there about what “rest” means.
No one’s suggesting anyone get the entire night off, they need to play a little bit to stay sharp. But to run anyone out there for 40 minutes is silly and irresponsible.
We asked Bosh yesterday how much he’d play him if he was in charge and he said 20 minutes. Sam wouldn’t give us a number for anyone but I think between 20-24 for all the regular sounds about right. If anyone out there thinks these guys will somehow lose their edge playing 20 minutes instead of 40 in the 82nd game of the season, there’s really nothing I can say to that.
One thing they have to do? Let Carlos get some time playing point guard.
Why? Game 6 last year in Jersey.
I know it’s a long shot, but what if both point guards get hurt? There’s no Darrick as an emergency and someone has to at least be able to dribble the ball up the court.
Oh yeah, here’s one to remember: The Gangster’s season high is 26 minutes. Happened in Boston back in December.
Let’s go quickly into the mail:
Q: With Rasho playing around or above what he is getting paid, what are the chances the Raptors resign him? It seems that every "championship" team needs players like these as either glue or role players and at worst, injury replacements. Sadly, I see the Raptors dumping him, but I guess I can live with it if it gets us that fabled three.
What's the future hold for our stoic mute?
Dan P, Toronto
A: It’s not a matter of re-signing him. He’s under contract for next season; the question is, do they try to trade him in the summer? One way to look at it would be to suggest his value will never be higher and that’s when you want to make a deal.
Personally, I say don’t move him unless they absolutely have to for one “special” player, and I don’t know who that is. If he plays like this next season in Toronto, his value will be high at the trade deadline and maybe you can entertain a deal then; if he play drops off and there’s no deal to be made next, let him become a free agent and either save the cap money or re-sign him then at a lower salary.
It’s a special day, isn’t it? Last day of the regular season, time to look back. Let’s look way back, to other final games. I know there have only been 12 and many of you probably remember them all but here’s a personal top four that I may not have mentioned before:
A certain First Lady Of The Beat and I were involved in what’s known in some circles as Looting Night In Cleveland. There to chronicle the ultimate demise of Lenny Wilkens’s coaching career on the same night the Cavs unveiled their new logo and colours, we saw boxes and boxes of t-shirts on the way out. Seems there were some who simply helped themselves to one, or two in some cases, and the next season on their next giveaway night, the Cavs went to great lengths to warn everyone against simply taking things.
I’m not sure what this means but one of the biggest stories of the last game ever at Maple Leaf Gardens was not Glen Grunwald’s apology or Marcus Camby’s triple double, it was the sighting a big, stinking rat in the family room. Lovely building, that Gardens.
Philadelphia 109, Toronto 105 (OT)
Sixers record: 18-64; Raptor record: 21-61.
Anyone forced to watch those two teams play overtime in the last game of the regular season deserves a medal.
"We just set basketball back 100 years,” said then-Philly coach John Lucas.
I can go to my grave content in knowing I’ve seen Luke Jackson score 30 points in an NBA game.
You’re going to get to know my guy Brian Schmitz in Orlando pretty well over the next few days. Let’s see what he’s writing about today.
A last one in the mail, for now:
Q: I don't think that participants in a sporting event should be mic'd. They should be concentrating on their essential tasks. And rest periods should be for rest. What is your opinion? I always read your columns because of your enthusiasm and knowledge of the game.
Jack M, Toronto
A: I really don’t have a problem with it. It’s part of the evolution of the coverage of a game and the coaches and players I know who have been mic’d don’t let it effect anything they do. It does probably add a level to the broadcast that keeps some viewers around.
One of the women who works for the league co-ordinating with coaches who are mic’d goes to great lengths to explain to them that there is no permanent record, that every tape is destroyed immediately after the game.
One good story, though.
I believe it was in Madrid at the pre-season game this year and they had Jose Calderon mic’d during the game. Well, seems one of the wires was slipping or something and where most players would have just ripped it off and thrown it to the ground or something, Jose grabbed it, starting talking into it to tell whoever was listening that he was having problems.