The Hornets are a wonderful story, and so are the Spurs
Sorry I’m a couple of minutes later than usual, was waiting to see if T.J. got traded to New York, Phoenix, Chicago or Dallas. You know, teams with new coaches who want to change everything a franchise has done and are just dying to obtain T.J. Ford.
Oh yeah, that story out of Chicago yesterday about the Suns denying Toronto permission to talk to Mike D’Antoni?
Never happened. Untrue. Not factual at all.
What happened, according to People Who’d Know in Toronto and Phoenix was that Suns owner Robert Sarver explicitly told D’Antoni that he could not talk to the Raptors when he was out searching for a new coaching gig in that pre-fired time in Phoenix.
It wasn’t that the Raptors asked and were denied.
This is the same Sarver, I’m told, who has an e-mail sent before every Raptor-Suns game reminding Phoenix broadcasters they are not allowed to mention, interview or make reference to Bryan Colangelo.
What a tool.
I’m not sure there’s a better story in the NBA this season than the one provided by the New Orleans Hornets.
|Contact buzz from New Orleans.|
I’m sitting watching the game last night and to see that arena full of fans screaming and yelling was amazing; it used to be like a funeral home in there during regular season games and there was no way I thought the franchise could, or would, survive.
That’s a tough town, ravaged still by Katrina’s legacy, poor, disadvantaged and very much a football town when it comes to pro sports.
But because of the Hornets, you get a sense of more civic pride building and, I know this sounds a bit cliché, but it does demonstrate the power of sports to bring people together.
I have no idea if the Hornets can beat the Spurs and the Lakers or Jazz and play for an NBA title but it’s been sort of heart-warming to see what’s been going on down there.
When we were there for the all-star game, there was all kinds of talk about the rejuvenation of the city thanks to the Hornets and a lot of us wondered if it was just talk.
Seems that it wasn’t.
I’m pretty sure a lot of casual basketball fans have been won over by Chris Paul and David West and Byron Scott (not to mention that Peterson fellow) and the Hornets are the feel-good story of the post-season.
On the other hand, this pops into the mailbag:
Q: Hi Doug! Well I hope I get a response this time around since my question isn't Raptor-trade related and also because I've tried a few times this past year and you have only responded once =(
Am I the only one hoping that the Spurs win this series? Every time someone asks me about my favourite teams, after I talk about the Raptors I always say San Antonio and people give me a funny look. When I ask why they don't like the team, they say that the Spurs are "boring". What is it about the Spurs that doesn't make them appealing as other teams like New Orleans or Phoenix? They play such good basketball that I can't understand why people don't like to watch them play. Isn't good basketball what us Torontonians should be looking for when the Raps aren't around?
Melissa D, Toronto
A: No, you’re not the only one at all and I’m thinking the people who give you funny looks must not be solid basketball fans.
They may not think the Spurs are flashy or that they’re boring but I defy anyone to use those words after watching Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker play for more than a game or two. They are as exciting as any duo in the league most nights.
So, to all of Melissa’s dopey friends: Get with the program, appreciate the Spurs for what they are, a model of consistent excellence.
They remain, in my opinion, the gold standard of NBA franchises.
Okay, so some of us are out last night celebrating the Media Relations Staff Of The Year Banquet and Buntoss (replete with food, fun, frivolity and a cocktail or two) and I swear I looked up at the television and saw Marcin Gortat and Walter Herrmann on the court at the same time in the Orlando-Detroit game.
I’m thinking if I could have seen Alex Radojevic guarding Mengke Bateer in a playoff game that might be the only better matchup. Maybe.
The NBA: Where You Never Know Happens.
Or so we’re told.
Apparently, he’s having some kind of end-of-season news conference back in Spain today some time to let everyone at home know how his third season went.
I’m sure some news will trickle out, and we’ll dutifully report it, but I also imagine it’ll be more of what we’ve read on his blog and heard him say here at the end of the Raptor season.
I guess a post-season national news conference is a good way to fill in the folks in the homeland, I’m just glad not every Raptor does it because that’s far too many things to track for, usually, no good reason.
But I know there will be highly-accomplished stalke ... um, fans out there waiting to hear what Jose says so we'll have to pay attention.
One quick question: Which NBA coach do you imagine left Kevin Durant off the first team all-rookie ballot?
Of course, as I know it, coaches have been known to pass off such chores as rookie team voting to other members of a staff so maybe it was some basketball operations intern who actually made that grievous error.
Okay, gotta run. T.J. to Dallas done yet? Or Phoenix? How about New York?