Weird feeling last night, wasn’t it? They win but they were supposed to win and I know that when the Buck got within 10 in the fourth, there were some Nervous Nellies (and I don’t mean Don) in the seats.
Call me a cynic but until they string together two or three good games, I still don’t see a turnaround.
But I do see …
Three Things I Learned
Still Do It
Yes, Charlie scored 38. Yes, TJ was anchored to the bench in the fourth quarter. But, yes, I still make that trade. Today, tomorrow and yesterday.
Chuck V was on fire in the first half – relatively invisible in the second half, mind you – but he still defends as if he can’t wait to get up his next shot.
The Raps ran nearly every play at him, including post-ups for Rasho which are few and far between, and it worked nearly every time.
I like Charlie as a guy but, and I’ve said this before, I suspect he will be traded three or four times in his career and be a guy with, as My Man Jack Armstrong says, Permanent Potential.
Oh, and TJ played pretty well, got in Scoring Mode a bit much in the third, but still a solid game. You guys and gals happy now?
Why You Want Him
This is why Anthony Parker is good for your team.
Early in the third quarter, he’s got three fouls and a lesser player would have hidden on the defensive end.
But, no. Parker strips Michael Redd trying to make a shot under the basket – a surefire way to pick up Personal No. 4 and a seat on the bench – and about a minute later he takes a charge on Redd 25 feet from the basket.
That’s playing for the team ‘cause a handful of guys would have shied away from either play trying not to pick up another foul.
This is for all the folks out there who wonder why the Raptors react, rather than act, on specific matchups. In days of yore, they probably would have gone to someone like Joey, or even Hump, to try to cool off Charlie in that first half.
But Sam stuck with his 21 feet of big man – Bosh, Rasho, Bargnani – because he knew how much of an advantage he had at the other end.
Maybe he doesn’t do that kind of thing often enough to satisfy a lot of you but it was a pretty good – and successful – idea last night because the matchup dictated it. I’d suspect you’d see more of it if they had that kind of advantage at the offensive end other nights.
Quickly into the mail
Q: First-time writer, long-time fan.
In your list of playoff lows, I note you have left out the destruction of Brew's, on East 34th St.
Can you explain yourself, please?
J Q, London
A: Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!
I am shamed.
You can have your Times Square and Empire State Building and World’s Greatest (Smelly, Small) Arena but Brew’s (a fine pub right next to a good hotel in Murray Hill) was a landmark that surpassed all landmarks.
A top three moments in Brew’s history:
An April meeting of hoops, pucks, baseball and boxing writers from the far north that turned the joint into Canada South for a night, like a party at the embassy. Revelry abounds.
Hoops writers seconded to cover Gretzky’s last game (a rather big deal, as it turns out) preparing for the momentous occasion by tipping a few jars and learning all about this 99 fellow from various hockey scribes. A day game the next day was a blur.
Trying to talk to the statue of the artist in front of the hotel next door after one of a zillion nights of adult beverage consumption.
They don’t make the road trips like they used to.
Knicks suck. Fans disgruntled. Beer still on sale.
Think this idea turns into a recipe for brawls on the concourse?
Q: Would you say Detroit would prefer facing Toronto in the first round of the playoffs than Philadelphia or Washington?
Nash N, Pickering
A: I’d presume any team’s chomping at the bit to get a piece of team that’s lost 15 of its last 22.
Do you get the feeling these guys have to run the table, hope Washington knocks off Philly on Saturday so they finish in a tie with the Sixers and get sixth on the tiebreaker? You could almost see Washington beating Boston coming off a back-to-back but the Philly win over Detroit really came out of nowhere and if the Sixers are gonna act like that, why don’t wouldn’t you think they could win every game they’ve got left.
And how do you think the Raptors will appreciate finishing seventh by a game given what went on in Atlanta? If the NBA had a sense of humour, they’d send Erik Lewis to ref every game Philly’s got left.
Check out how Phil in Philadelphia wrote that one up.
Really. “We Want Pizza” with 39 seconds left IN THE THIRD QUARTER! You people are nuts.
I’m wondering which is the worst free-agent signing. Bobby Simmons? Jared Jefferies? Jerome James? Marc Jackson?
Here’s how T. Enlund, Esq., summed up the Bucks-Raptors affair.
Q: Loved the link to the greatest Knicks article ever. However, which organization do you think was the bigger joke? Knicks under Isiah or Leaves under Ballard?
Sohail G, Collingwood
A: Equally despicable. But I’m saying the Leaves ‘cause they got rid of guys people loved, they didn’t bring in players people grew to hate.