A little gridiron levity amid a trip; and no Steph
Seriously, can I not leave you people alone for one road trip? I go away for a couple of games and there’s a coup back home? Not that it’s a bad thing but, still, imagine the hit our image is taking.
Anyway, it does make for some zany times up in Ottawa, I guess. And you know I love the Ottawas.
And sorry I’m a wee bit late this morning, time zones, flights, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Here we go:
What’s a team do on an off-day in L.A.? How about some work and some play.
I’m told by folks who witnessed it first hand that after a nice little workout at UCLA (Known to some of us as The School J. Kapono Built) a little cross-sports competition broke out.
Seems someone found a football in the gym they were working in and the predictable trash talking about “I can throw this farther than you” broke out.
Prime suspects, I’m told were Jamario Moon, who boasted of his arm strength, and Jermaine O’Neal, who was somewhat skeptical.
Well, this turns to that and the walk to the bus turns into a walk to a football field and, lo and behold, Moon lets loose a toss of about 75 yards, or so I’m told. And he silences the critics.
Second best arm? Joey Graham. Or so I’m told.
Is it possible that the Knicks, with their mismanagement of the Stephon Marbury situation, are turning that dysfunction-causing team-killer into a sympathetic figure?
If they don’t watch out, they will.
What they should do is give him his money, send him on his merry way (with the wink and nod provision that he not sign with an Eastern Conference team) and move on.
The way they’ve handled this mess from the start is diminishing the reputation of Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni.
And somehow turning Marbury into the victim here.
Still on Marbury.
I still don’t think he’s anywhere near a good fit in Toronto. He’s not going to be content as a backup, I can’t see the players accepting him as a starter over the well-respected Anthony Parker and Marbury’s like Ron Artest, eventually he’s going to screw up.
It’s just a matter of when.
And it’s not worth it. Not even close.
Here’s one from the mail with some today relevance:
Q: Stepping away from raptor talk for a minute. How good has Chauncey Billups been for Denver. He might be a candidate for MVP this year! And how bad has AI been for Detroit! I just wanted to here your thoughts on where do you see the Nuggets ending up now in the west. A lot of writers earlier in the year had them not making the playoffs. do you still see this?
Mario A, Toronto
A: There is no question Chauncey’s been outstanding and it’ll be nice to talk to him in a couple of hours about it at shootaround but you’ve got to calm down with the MVP talk.
In their original form, I thought the Nuggets would be life and death to make the playoffs and while they still can’t withstand too many injuries ‘cause the bench is quite thin, I’ve got them now in that 5-10 group. That’s after the Lakers, Spurs, Rockets, and I think Utah will get it turned around when they get healthy.
But they are right there with New Orleans, Phoenix, Dallas and Portland and it’s going to be a wild finish to the season, I think.
Speaking of trades, there’s a lot of e-mail chatter about the Raptors and Bulls. I’m not sure who threw what out as wild speculation but here’s what you should know. Luol Deng, a favourite of many of you, is a base-year compensation guy and virtually untradeable and certainly not without a third team getting involved and that’s always a dicey situation. We all know, and I’ve written many times, that the Raptors have some interest in Andres Nocioni but I don’t here much talk about that happening any time soon.
I know Bryan’s been in touch with probably every other GM in the league over the last little while seeing what’s out there (and he would have been doing that if the Raptors were 10-5) because that’s his job.
But something imminent? Nah.
Here’s what’s going on with the Nuggets courtesy of the local fishwrap.
Wanna help your friends in the States see the Raptors again. Apparently NBA.com runs this vote every Tuesday and Wednesday to let fans pick what game NBA-TV will show the following Tuesday. The Toronto-Cleveland game’s on this week’s ballot. Not sure what that means for folks at home, the game’s not on TSN2 or anything but maybe the people down here want a chance to see the lads.
A question on the process:
Q: Love the blog. I go to about 6-8 games a year. I always try to pick the good teams (Boston, Portland etc) the problem as a die hard fan is that I see losses more than wins. I'm not sure if I am making good picks or just a sucker for punishment. My question is about press row. Howard B was talking pucks (on the FAN) and said he was at the Laker game in press row. Can any media dog go to any sporting event and sit in the primo seats with his or her press pass? This would be a big perk if you ask me? Could you go to the Lakers Celtics or the Stanly cup finals for free if you were so inclined?
Bob C, Hamilton
A: I saw Leaves Chronicler H. Berger myself on Sunday, nice to see him, he’s a good guy.
But it’s not like he was pushing a regular hoops reporter out of his seat, he applied for a credential and was granted one. It’s not like any of us can just show up and grab a seat, there’s a process of making a request and leaving it up to the home media relations maven to make a decision.
So, no, I couldn’t – or wouldn’t – show up at a hockey game or a baseball game or a football game without requesting a credential.