And the fun just keeps on coming
How’s everyone feeling today? Yesterday was better than Friday and it certainly wasn’t last Tuesday but there’s still an empty feeling, I imagine.
|TONY BOCK/TORONTO STAR|
|All you can really do is just put your head down and keep trying.|
Bosh looks discombobulated, they’ve lost four straight and are three games below .500 for the first time this season. They get LeBron tomorrow, an emotional game to finish a back-to-back on Wednesday and You Know Who is waiting at home on Friday night.
Buckle up, kids, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
Action: They were better
Reaction: But not good enough.
The played with more passion and intensity than they had, showed some good ball movement, shot nearly 50 per cent from the floor and held Portland to 44 per cent. But – and this is always going to be the big but – they couldn’t close the deal because they didn’t hustle after loose balls, got hammered on the boards and, yes, couldn’t catch the odd break.
If they play like that night in, night out, they’ll win their fair share of games. The troubling part is there’s no guarantee they’ll play like that night in, night out.
The under on the draft pick questions won.
But there are more than a couple that say trade Bosh, trade Jose.
Yes, panic time is upon you.
I cannot wait to see how the angst builds before and after Wednesday’s game. That’d be the one against the Indianas. And that Ford fellow.
Whoooop! And Eeeeee! That oughta be special.
A dip in the mailbag
Q: When a coach is fired -- er, relieved of their duties -- and the job is handed over to an assistant, is the assistant first asked before the coach is canned? Or is it just assumed that he'd jump at the chance and so isn't asked until after the firing? Presumably the GM would want to do a mini-interview with the assistant to see if their philosophies mesh. If there is discussion between the assistant and GM prior to a firing, it could provide some awkward moments if the assistant happens to talk to the soon-to-be-ex-head coach prior to the coach knowing he's toast. (And by all means, feel free to substitute the names Mitchell, Triano and Colangelo in the appropriate places.)
Guy M, Vancouver
A: I think most of the times – and I’m told it was the case in this instance – the assistant-to-be-elevated isn’t told beforehand because the assumption is he’s ready to take over.
And the general manager doing the deed – let’s call him, oh, how about Bryan – will have spent enough time around the team and the coaches to know which of the assistants he feels is best suited to take over. And not to do the GM’s bidding, but to change the aura around the team, do things differently and more successfully.
I guess on the odd occasion an assistant could be offered the job and turn it down but I would presume that would end his employment and the GM would go to his second choice on the staff.
In the case of Toronto, if you’re asking specifically, I was told that when Bryan finally put the hammer down on Sam, Sam told him he hoped that one of the assistants would get the job. And I’m sure Sam, having seen the dynamic involving everyone around the team, knew that it would be Jay.
Action: The last play
Reaction: Good? Or Bad?
As Jay mentioned, they had a guy “impeded” trying to get to the spot where they wanted him, which meant Bosh had to catch the ball far too far from the basket for anyone’s liking.
Not sure what actually was supposed to unfold (“It’s a play we’re going to use again, I don’t want to give it away,” Jay said) but the one thing that could have happened – and should have happened – is that Bosh should have gone quicker.
He took about two dribbles to his right, almost lost the handle and then drove. If the play’s busted on the inbounds play, he can’t be fooling around, he’s got to go quickly and either draw a second defender and get rid of the ball or get fouled.
The in-bounds play came with 8.4 seconds left, there was less than a second on the clock when the shot went up. Not good enough.
There’s only one writer who travels with the Blazers and here’s how he chronicled the affair.
Action: Rudy Fernandez plays.
Reaction: This dude is going to be good.
Really good. I know everyone loves Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo’s the flavour of the month right now but when this season is over, if Fernandez isn’t legitimately in the conversation for rookie of the year, I’ll be shocked.
Good shooter, solid ball-handler, knows how to use a screen like a 10-year vet. And a calmness and maturity about him. The kid’s got it all.
What the heck, a coaching question:
Q: Hey Doug, where do you think Sam will resurface? I could see a strong possibility in Minnesota, replacing Randy Wittman who seems to be on his way out soon. Sam has strong ties with the Timberwolves franchise, being a popular "heart-and-soul" guy there for a large part of his career, and Rob Babcock is the Assistant GM there. Also, given his past resume, Sam seems to have considerable impact on developing budding young big men, Kevin Garnett in Minnesota and Chris Bosh in Toronto. With a star-in-waiting in Al Jefferson, I think Sam might be able to continue that trend of his success with the Timberwolves.
Travis S, Markham
A: That’s a good argument but I’m putting my money, right now, on Washington. Ernie Grunfeld is a big Sam fan (he gave him his first job as an assistant in Milwaukee when Ernie was the GM there) and I can see him looking at him again. That’s if Ernie’s still in Washington, of course.
Minnesota? I’m not sure Sam would be interested in that gig. And I’m pretty sure the presence of Rob Babcock would not be a selling point.
Not sure what practice will be like today (I get to miss it 'cause I've got an afternoon flight to Cleveland; the stinky Ford Focus can't be trusted with the possibiity of dicey weather) but it will be the first "real" one Jay's had a chance to run. The other day in Denver was a circus, there was a (noisy) high school girl's volleyball tournament going on in an adjacent gym and the emotions of Sam's firing were still raw.
The funny thing about the locker room Sunday after the game was that there was this odd sense of optimism. Wonder if it'll carry over to today and tomorrow.