In appreciation of Parker (Tony, that is)
You think the Lakers got in the Spurs’ heads with that big comeback last night?
|Tony Parker in his office.|
Up 20, there no reason to think a veteran team like San Antonio couldn’t close the deal, even as tired as the Spurs had to be having had to sit through a seven-hour flight delay on their way from New Orleans to Los Angeles overnight on Monday.
But they didn’t.
And it had to be disheartening to see Kobe go off like he did in that second half and I’m wondering if there will be any residual effect of that collapse as the series goes on.
One impression I got was that Tony Parker can get in the paint and get a shot any time he pleases. I figure he’s going to be as huge for the Spurs the rest of the way as Kobe is going to be for the Lakers.
And watching Parker a lot during these playoffs had led me to wonder why he doesn’t get more love when the topic of discussions turns to MVP.
In two series, he’s beaten Steve Nash and Chris Paul, maybe not single-handedly, but his team’s still won and that’s all that really matters.
Who do you like tonight?
Me? I’m taking the Pistons.
I can see Chauncey Billups, who didn’t look himself at all in Game 1, getting his rhythm back and dominating Rajon Rondo, and I can see the Pistons coming up with some kind of defensive adjustment that slows KG a little bit.
And, I can see the Celtics, who’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster almost since the playoffs began, finally having a “down” night at home.
A road win by Detroit would certainly add some juice to the series, and turn up the heat on the Celtics heading to Auburn Hills on Saturday night.
First trip to the mail:
Q: Couple of questions:
1) Will the first year of Calderon’s new contract be considered base year compensation?
2) Obviously, the Bargnani story is pure speculation from people outside the Nets. However, what do you think is Colangelo’s mindset regarding Andrea? Is he willing to trade Bargnani for the right price or does he see him as part of the Raptor’s future?
Rob C, Montreal
A: Yes, indeed, Jose will be a base-year compensation guy, meaning if the Raptors wanted to trade him with a year, they can only take back half his salary in a trade.
I think Colangelo’s mind-set on Bargnani is the same as it’s been for two years. He sees a uniquely-skilled 7-footer learning to play in the NBA. I’m sure he’s frustrated by Bargnani’s regression last year but the skills that attracted him to Toronto are still there and the GM is willing to suffer through some bad times because he thinks there’ll be good times coming.
I happen to agree with him, many out there in reader-land don’t but I guess it really doesn’t matter a lick what we think ‘cause it’s Colangelo’s reputation that hinges on Bargnani not being a bust.
Did Tim Duncan go to the Dikembe Mutombo School of Foul Commission?
I believe they may be the only two players who are absolutely convinced they have never, ever committed a personal foul.
This in overnight from my man Eran over in Israel, who’s been a great help with all things Israeli all season.
Seems our man P.J. Tucker’s had a great season, named the Israeli League’s MVP by a player’s vote in Eran’s Ma’ariv Sports and by the rival Yedioth Aharonoth (I’d prefer you all read Eran’s paper, of course).
Tucker led Holon to first place in the regular season and their in the Final Four next week in Tel Aviv.
Not sure what it is with Raptors and Israel but that’s very cool for P.J.
And, no, this does not mean P.J. should be back in the NBA next year. He remains too small to be anything more than an end-of-the-bencher.
More mail and, don’t forget, tomorrow’s mail day:
Q: Hi Doug. Do you really think the Raptors are looking to Europe in the draft again? To me their Euros are all guys who lack athleticism and toughness and just want to shoot 3's all day. Don't you think it would make more sense to add size, toughness or athleticism instead of yet another 3-point specialist who is terrified to go into the paint?
Patrick D, Toronto
A: Oh yeah, you wouldn’t want any of those scaredy-cat Euro-trained players like Ginobili or Scola or Parker or Gasol or Nocioni or Oberto or Kirilenko standing out behind the three-point line smoking their Gitanes and looking down their noses at us all-knowing, all-seeing North Americans, would you?
Come on, can we please dump the decades-old, quasi-racist stereotypes?
If they can get a player from Mars who’ll help, they should, and will, do it.
The AP finger surgery yesterday? Am told it’s nothing serious, he’ll be fine. Just a bit of minor fixing of a nagging problem.
Last letter for today
Q: Earlier in your blog you mentioned the Raps might run another free agent camp similar to last year. Any idea when this will take place? Are the Raptors looking to fill a need through this camp or are they just looking for a diamond in the rough? Any intriguing players you would invite?
Fred E, Belleville
A: The camp’s going to run June 20-22 at the Air Canada Centre and it’s just a way to keep track of some guys they’ve been bird-dogging over the course of the season.
I can’t see how they find another Moon (that was an absolute aberration, albeit a good one) and I’m sure the list of invitees (which is still being finalized) will include a bunch of other guys no one’s ever heard of.
As for intriguing players? Can’t think of any off the top of my head, maybe Randy Livingston, the D League point guard who was the league’s MVP I believe, would be the only guy I can think of who might have a shot at sticking.
Other than that? Nobody, really.
You might see John Lucas’s kid here, maybe another friend or two of existing Raptors but, really, it’s to find a summer league team more than it is to find a gem.