Of Bosh and Bonner and all things interesting
So they lose in San Antonio, only by 10, and don’t look wretched doing it. And the tone of the comments and the e-mails becomes exponentially nicer and more calm. Figure that lasts until the next “bad” loss, which could be as early as Monday, I guess. But for at least a day, it’s nice to see rationality rather than hysteria.
Action: This whole “Bosh can’t take us to the promised land/next level/championship.”
Reaction: It is, quite frankly, crap.
Garnett? Didn’t. Duncan? Not without Robinson or Parker or Ginobili.
Wade? Didn’t without Shaq.
Jordan? Hell, he didn’t get to the playoffs ‘til he got some help around him.’
No one player, no matter who he is, “carries” a team to a championship. Is Bosh good enough to be the leading scorer and top rebounder on a team that gets a favourable matchup and wins a playoff series or two? Given the right teammates, absolutely.
There is no doubt that right now, he’s not going as well as he has, or as well as he can. He’s not attacking the basket as often and his seems to be a tad slower reacting to balls than he was in the first week of the season. Maybe he’s got other stuff on his mind, maybe he’s a bit hurt, maybe he’s a bit worn down mentally from having his coach fired, his team playing poorly, from realizing his team isn’t quite as good as many thought.
But is he off a sudden no good? No. He’s still a 20-10 guy and will be. He’s still the best player on this team by a wide margin.
And trading a team’s best player, by a wide margin, makes so little sense it’s laughable. What they’ve got to do is get him different teammates, or get the teammates he’s got now playing better. You don’t strengthen a roster by taking its best player away. That’s silly.
Action: They play hard for 48 minutes
Reaction: Do it again
Sure, it’s all well and good that they worked hard and, for the most part, played well for most of the 48 minutes against the Spurs.
If anyone could guarantee me, or any of you, that they’ll do the same thing on Monday, then I’d be impressed. But with this group, who knows? And that’s why a good effort against a good team should bring more yawns and skepticism than it does optimism and promise.
Here’s a question:
Q: Is Chris Bosh and Jay Triano losing material of what to say post-game or what?
Gary J, Toronto
A: Yes, they are. Just like the grunts are running out of questions to ask and it’s taking more creativity every night to elicit usable quotes.
I remember covering every single game of a 17-game losing streak early in the dreadful 16-66 season of 1997-98 and about 10 games in, we’d walk into the locker room, look at guys like Damon or Popeye Jones and simply shrug. They had nothing to say, we had nothing to ask. I bet it’s getting to that point out there with ‘em now and I’m not exactly looking forward to meeting them in Sacramento to tell you the truth. Makes the job a wee bit harder.
I’ve had a couple of serious e-mails (well, as serious as these things can be) suggesting the Bulls might trade Derrick Rose for Bosh in some wild package since the salaries aren’t close. And one that wonders if they could trade Bosh for Chris Paul.
And that leads me to believe that the hallucinogen industry is thriving.
Action: Jake Voskuhl plays.
Reaction: And out-scores both Jamario Moon and Andrea Bargnani.
I’m almost speechless.
Seriously, isn’t that ridiculous?
What’d they say in San Antonio? Check it out here.
“That’s the game. When you make shots, things seem to come a bit more easily.”
Sam Mitchell after every game?
Nope, Gregg Popovich last night.
Maybe all you people who killed Sam or made fun of him for bringing out that cliché a lot might want to take note.
Action: Bonner looks good.
Reaction: Good for him.
Matt Bonner is, as you all know, a good guy, funny, doesn’t take himself too seriously, a big fan favourite. And, because more than a few of you are revisionist historians, I’m not surprised at all at the number of “what was Bryan doing getting rid of him” e-mails that have arrived in the last 10 hours or so.
All I want is proof that one single, solitary person out there thought – almost 2 1-2 years ago – that Matt Bonner was a starting NBA centre? Come on, someone show me that and I’ll apologize to that person profusely.
Sometimes, guys evolve. If you think the Raptors could have waited to find out if he did, you’re mistaken.
That said, I’m just glad Matt’s going well. The kid deserves it.
Quickie from the mail:
Q: Season ends today, Raptors don't make the playoffs. Do they resign Moon?
Andrew D, Toronto
A: I doubt it.
Luckily, the season ends in four months so they don’t have to decide.
Karl Malone was tough, Kevin Garnett is intense, Dirk Nowitzki’s a find fadaway shooter, Rasheed Wallace is uniquely talented, Kevin McHale would punish people in the post, Charles Barkley was under-sized and tremendously effective. I never saw Bob Pettit play but they tell me he was scary good.
None, however, are better power forwards than Tim Duncan.
In the list of best-ever at that position, here’s how they’re ranked in this corner:
Duncan, Malone, Garnett (originally omitted 'cause I'm a dope and deleted it by mistake), Barkley, McHale, Pettit, Nowitzki, Wallace.
Back to Bonner:
Good Matt Bonner story and if I've told it before, I'm sorry.
Remember when Matt was here and just about every time Sam would yell at him he'd lift his arms and sort of shrug with a "who? Me?" look on his face.
Stumpy, bless his little pucks soul, and I tell Sam that Matt's so popular with the masses than they're going to put up a statue of him outside the arena in that then-famous pose.
It's much later in that season, Stumpy and I are sitting watching a game (I presume they were getting drilled because I don't think we were paying much attention) when Sam screams at Matt, the arms go up, the shoulders are shrugged, Matt's got that bewildered look on his face Sam turns to us, looks at us and says:
"Better get that statue ready!"
Action: Spurs biding their time
Reaction: Do not sleep on them.
Interesting to hear the TV guys Saturday night talking about the Spurs just trying to get in shape and rhythm for the playoffs and not being overly concerned where they are in the standings now or where they’ll be in the next few months.
And considering they’re a game and a half out of second in the West despite missing Manu Ginobili and Parker with injuries for extended periods already, I can certainly make the case that we might have a Lakers-Spurs western final. And the Spurs, to my mind, are tougher, mentally and physically and might be able to win that one.
And a final one from the mail for today:
Q: Hi I was wondering about the changes in the practice sessions that the Raptors are now having. The players seem awfully fatigued and I am thinking it might have to do with overworking the players with new plays and more running. Has it been increased? And is this a good idea when you want the players to be at top condition before the game?
Kevin S, Toronto
A: Considering they haven’t really had many practice sessions in weeks, you sure can’t pin it on that. Because of the bear of a schedule they’ve had since Sam got fired, I think they’ve had a grand total of four practices and two of them were extended video session because they came after back-to-backs. There is no way in the world they are being “over-worked.”
Not sure what’s in store for Monday in this little nook. If there’s a good mailbag to pull together this afternoon or this evening, I think I will ‘cause they’re off in L.A. and I see shoveling and then couch time in my future. So if you’ve got questions – and questions, not rants – I’d be glad to see ‘em, it’ll give me something to do tonight because I believe Super Son is hoping to have an urchin or two over for a sleepover and I’ll go hide somewhere and work.
Enjoy a nice Sunday.