Some news and notes from the road
Lots of little things and a few mailbags left over from finally getting to see real basketball. Seems like eons since Game 5 against Orlando.
How was that for a dismantling? Celtics fought through foul trouble, another ugly night from Ray Allen (5-for-16 from the field) and a so-so night from Paul Pierce (only six field goal attempts) and still win going away.
I know I said Pistons in six before the series began but there may be a need for revision at the moment.
The biggest concern for Detroit has to be their utter lack of emotion. No fire, little intensity, just the kind of blasé game they play all too often. Trouble was, it came in the biggest game of the season.
I’ll get more on Chauncey Billups after Detroit practice today (go to the morning paper to check that out) but he sure looks like he’s going at about three-quarters speed. And if he’s not 100 per cent, Detroit has no chance whatsoever.
First trip down the hallway from press room to court and who’s standing against the wall holding court? The one and only Jalen Rose.
"You’ve got to get a team you cover that gets out of the first-round,” he said.
Yeah, he’s right.
Gotta admit, he looks like he’s taking this whole “TV star” life pretty well. Not exactly in prime playing condition but he’s got the TV host look down pat.
One from the mail about last night:
Q: Break out the champagne - the Celtics won their first playoff road game! Now I think you said Pistons could take this series - correct me if I'm wrong. If so, is this still your take? A couple of other things that I would love your comments on.
1. How crucial has P.J. Brown been for this Celtics team? He was so key in the Cleveland series and was definitely a factor bringing them to the second round.
2. Jeff Van Gundy and Marc Jackson had a disagreement on booing. Jeff says when the team is down, booing doesn't help and a standing ovation is in order, while Marc says the fans should boo if their team is down miserably. Do you think it's ok to boo when your team is playing how Detroit was playing? I think it was in the 2nd quarter.
3. And how about that Sam Cassell sighting!
Simone S, Toronto
A: One thing you’ve got to know about P.J. Brown is that he was sitting in a chair in front of his locker about 90 minutes to tip-off eating what looked like a peanut butter sandwich. Looked good, too. And then he went out and gave them 21 solid minutes, just the kind of veteran good teams need. Not sure if he’s going to play again next year but if he decides to sit it out, some contending team will come calling in February again.
I’ve never, ever seen a team respond to booing by playing better so I’m with Van Gundy on that one, no doubt about it. In fact, whenever there seems to be an issue between Van Gundy and Jackson, I find myself siding with the coach.
I guess it’s okay to boo, you’ve paid for tickets so why not, but it’s certainly not helping.
As for Sam I Am, it sure was good to see him. Wish he could still play, though. You catch the fourth quarter? Rondo gets his fourth foul in the final seconds of the third and Sam starts the fourth. He’s not in there 90 seconds – which includes a foul and a Rodney Stuckey basket and he’s back on the bench and Rondo’s back.
More Palace sightings:
Super Fan Nav Bhatia with his usual prime seats; ex-Raptor Carlos Rogers, who looks exactly the same; and Juan Dixon, in a suit on the bench.
Okay, I have some issues with the Detroit game-ops people, the pyrotechnics and noise at the start of the game are so over the top it’s ridiculous and the PA volume’s at ear-splitting levels.
But in one time out, they do this “sing-along” thing with the crowd. It was hilarious to listen to a large chunk of a 22,000 crowd signing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. This is one thing the Raptors people should steal.
Q: Hi Doug, I heard that the raptors might be holding training camp in Halifax. Have you heard anything like that? And also there is talk here in Halifax that we might be getting a D-League team in a year or two, the president of the league visited Halifax two weeks ago, was also wondering if you heard any rumbling about that? Thanks
Ian B, Halifax
A: The word on training camp, at least the last time I talked seriously to someone about it, is that Ottawa looks like the front-runner although Halifax is in the mix. Trouble with Halifax is finding a facility that can be given over entirely to the team for a week.
As for the D League, I’ve not heard a word about Halifax being in the mix although I think it’d go over pretty well. Toronto’s interest in a D League team would see that franchise in Hamilton or Toronto (Ricoh Coliseum maybe?) and, I’d think the new place out in Oshawa might be in the mix since it’s owned by Maple Leaf Sports.
What do you think about tonight’s game? Lakers sure looked dominant the other night, didn’t they? There are suggestions Manu Ginobili’s hurting a little bit and if he is, the Spurs chances are diminished greatly.
You never want to dismiss the defending champions so quickly but I can see that series ending in five.
Maybe blowing that 20-point lead in Game 1 did stick with them. The 30-point loss might make one think so.
So I’m sitting in my media row seat, right on the end two rows up, in the first quarter last night and this little stuffed animal – Mini Hooper I think he’s called – wanders up and wants to shake my hand.
A Chicken magnet.