You wonder how low they can go
How’s everybody today? Not so good, right? Blow it up? Trade ‘em all? Fire someone?
Can’t really blame you.
But here’s something a wise old man once said (not even sure it was) and it might bear thinking about today: Don’t get too high after big wins or too low after bad losses.
Yes, that Thunder Thing was the low point in a season chalk full of them so far and it’s hard for anyone to see anything good to talk about or even think about at the moment but the truth is, there are still 56 games to go and there will be some highs and there will be some lows.
Is the season lost? No, it’s not. It’s at its lowest ebb, no question about it, and there are a series of troubling issues that have to be addressed. All it’s going to take is more hard work, more intelligence, more heart. Do they have that in them? I think they do. Not to the level of Boston, L.A. or Cleveland but there are 26 other teams besides Toronto in that same boat.
Maybe they do have to bottom out before things get turned around and this has to be the depths of a very hot and uncomfortable place.
But we must soldier on here and, we shall.
Action: Collison hustles
Reaction: Raptors lose
If there was one play that not only summed up the game, it probably summed up the season, it came with about 90 seconds left in a two-point game when Nick Collison simply stole a rebound away from Bosh by getting on the floor and rolling it out to a teammate.
It was hustle and desire and strength. None of which Toronto’s had often enough this season.
That Russell Westbrook got the ball and hit a jumper to make it a four-point game only made the play worse. And more costly.
I believe the number of e-mails was over 40 and the comments something north of 50 in the post-game period. That tells me there’s still some passion out there in fan-land but reading them tells me there’s far, far more anger.
Action: Bryan’s livid
Reaction: What can he do?
The last time these guys laid a smelly egg like that one, the GM fired the coach. Well, we know that’s not an option at the moment so …
I don’t know specifically which GMs he’s been talking to most seriously – there were some discussions with Chicago, I’m told, and the interest in Marion is there but I’m not sure how far those talks have gone – but it’s really time for action.
Watching that relatively lifeless performance just affirms that this team needs an infusion of something like heart, hustle, consistent hard work that it’s not getting. And, as I mentioned, the season is still salvageable but sometimes a deal for a deal’s sake wakes up some people and gets things moving in the right direction.
Up until the loss to the Thunder, I thought Bryan would hold off on any trades to give Jay and these guys a chance to figure it out. But that one loss, and the way it was accomplished, should have had him on the phone in the wee hours of the morning getting serious about his discussions.
I don’t imagine they’re planning parade routes in Oklahoma City (after all, they only beat the Raptors) but here’s how the big win played out in the papers.
A question and answer:
Q: Doug, do you think Raptors fans are getting a bad reputation around the league. Down the stretch in the OKC game, the Oklahoma TV guys said that "if this game was in Toronto, the fans would be booing". Is that the perception around the league these days?
Andrew H, Washington DC
A: Yep. Thanks to the little “boo ‘em when they’re down three to Dallas in the fourth quarter and miss a free throw” story that’s out there, that’s exactly the perception at the moment. And I don’t know how soon it can get changed. I had a couple of friends write me from around North America in the last few days asking what was going on with the boos.
I told them it wasn’t like Vince Boos or Tracy Boos or Damon Stoudamire Boos (as much a smattering then a cacophony) but, still, that’s what people out there read and perceive to be reality.
Action: Bosh rips Moon
Reaction: A meltdown may be coming.
Did you see Bosh killing Moon after that wacky three with, by my play-by-play sheet, 11 seconds left on the shotclock and Toronto down one with about five minutes to go? Yes, it’s nice to have passion and anger and all that. It’s bad form to publicly show up a teammate. Rip him in the huddle, get him on the bench, to do it in front of a dozen or so TV viewers (that’s about all I figure were left by then) is bad form.
Some Okie info:
Q: Why does everyone stand in OKcity for the first few minutes?
Alex H, Toronto
A: It’s a quaint little tradition, started in American colleges, where the fans of the home team stand until the home team scores a basket. Very cute. Very college. Very tiring some nights watching the Thunder, I’d presume.
Oh, and while we’re looking around, check out what they said in San Antonio today, where The Legendary Matt Bonner awaits.
Action: More lack of hustle.
Reaction: Beating a dead horse? Sure
I can make the argument that the easiest thing to do in professional basketball is to rebound a missed free throw. You’ve got two guys on the block with position, the shooting team’s bigs are generally thinking of heading back up the floor and even of a modicum of effort gets the job done.
Why, then, did I see Nick Collison (there’s the name again) glide past a couple of Raptors to tip in a Jeff Green miss with just about five minutes to go that turned a two-point game into a four-point game.
Little things. Little effort things. Little effort and intelligence things that Toronto just doesn’t do. One in a vacuum you can live with; a series of them costs you games.
Q: High school game tonight, team A is up 26-22, other team goes on a 28-5 run. Comment, oh team A pulled a Raptor. I guess that wouldn't make the pros good to know that is what they saying about them.
Bruce M, Winnipeg.
A: Ding! Ding! Ding!