A little bit of theft in the swamp
Hola from a rather dreary waiting lounge at Newark International; the Virgin Atlantic flight to Heathrow just left and it looks like it’s me and one other guy waiting for the Porter plane back to Toronto. And no Starbucks, just a yucky little cart over there selling coffee that I presume was brewed sometime around noon yesterday.
|Vince's record vs. Raptors? Take a guess and scroll down for the answer.|
Anywho, that was a bullet dodged, no? They played terribly for three quarters and someone stole one when the Nets botched a last possession in quite uncharacteristic fashion.
But it’s three in a row and judging from the feeling around the locker room last night, these fellas are the best 19-28 team ever.
Action: Nets’ last play
Reaction: Good or bad?
Okay, I know, from various e-mails and comments over the years (things like “Wow, that Lawrence Frank is a great coach, wish we had him” and stuff like “Wow, doesn’t Lawrence Frank remind of you a cross between Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan and Gregg Popovich) that there are some Lawrence Frank fans among you.
So why haven’t I heard from any today?
No timeout down one with the ball and 20 seconds to go? That’s usually when he shines because he always seems to get his team a good shot. And not to put the ball in Vince Carter’s hands? Hasn’t he done enough against Toronto over years to warrant a shot at winning the game?
Yeah, Frank’s good. There were legit questions last night.
Action: Raptors’ last play
Reaction: Good or bad?
Bosh iso’d because, as well all know, there’s no one else on the team who can break his man down off the dribble, up one with less than 30 seconds to go.
And for all the, um, suggestions I get weekly (not weakly, but sort of) that Bosh lacks the, um, moxy to handle those situations, he went right at Lopez and while I initially didn’t think there was a foul on the play, viewing the replay makes me think otherwise.
“I thought Chris made a great play on the drive and thought he got fouled. That’s exactly the play we wanted in that situation, up one. We didn’t get the call but things worked out.”
From the mail:
Q: Hey, Doug, with Kapono returning to the All Star weekend to defend his 3 point title, I remember that last year, he and the coaches began setting up a mock 3 point competition with racks and balls set up as they would be on the day of the competition. Do you know if Kapono is practicing specifically for this competition again?
Peter L, Toronto
A: I asked my man K. DiPietro, travel co-ordinator, equipment manager, ball-rack construction guru and general all-around good guy, this very question last night.
Yes, construction has been completed and the shooting practice should begin in earnest any day.
So they’ve got this huge, gaudy development going on around the arena in Jersey, a retail, entertainment complex that includes an indoor ski run because when I think North Jersey, I think skiing.
They call it Xanadu and as we’re driving in last night and seeing swamp and thruway and on ramps and construction and a race track, a stadium or two and an arena, I’m thinking, yeah, that’s a beautiful idyllic place.
From the world of fanciful numbers, they announced the crowd at 10,136. Yes, that’s ridiculously small and I guarantee you it was inflated by a couple grand at least.
And while it was only jokingly that I said you could have met everyone in the audience if you’d taken the time to walk around, it was nice of Sol, taking a break from solving the economic crisis over in New York City, to stop by and say hello.
Funny thing about games in Jersey, there always seems to be a large contingent of Raptor fans. Didn’t seem to be the same last night but there were still enough to make themselves heard.
Oh, this is going to get me in big trouble:
Q: Hey Doug! You probably get this all the time, but I love your blog! Quick hypothetical situation I wanted to get your opinion on. Some years down the line when it's known that it's Vince's last year in the league, and he plays his last game in Toronto, what sort of reception do you think he'll get/what reception do you think he'd deserve?
David S, Toronto
A: Never got this one before.
He should be cheered but he’ll be booed, trust me on that one. People won’t remember how he put the Raptors on the map, how much he electrified the city – and to some extent the country – and they certainly won’t remember all the spectacular plays. They will, however, remember the last 24 games of a 403-game career.
Speaking of that guy, did you know New Jersey and Toronto have played 18 times since that fateful trade and each has won nine games? I didn’t until someone pointed it out last night.
My Man Dave got the night off – lucky dog but coming off a four-game road trip and facing back-to-back road games this weekend it’s entirely understandable – so we’ll substitute the inimitable F. Kerber for our usual look athow the game played in the other papers.
Oh yeah, one more thing on the Harris jumper.
Why in the world he waited so long to go is beyond me, and most sane-thinking people. Down one, you have to take shot with enough time to give your teammates a chance at an offensive rebound or a putback or something.
That goes double when you’re playing the Raptors, who’ve been known to give up an offensive rebound or two.
You probably know I’m not a huge fan of numbers as a barometer of a players’ worth but this is something
15.7 points per game, 50 per cent shooting from the field, 6.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists.
That, folks, is Anthony Parker’s stats in the last six games, or when Jay shifted him to starting point guard and now the primary backup.
Now, I’m not suggesting he can do that permanently and an average of 3.0 turnovers a game is a tad troubling but tell me right now why Toronto shouldn’t hang on to him, sign him in the off-season and go into next year with exactly the same point guard rotation it’s got now: Calderon, with a pinch of Parker and Ukic?
Action: End of quarter play
Reaction: They got one right
Did you see what happened at the end of the third quarter last night? Raps were tied with two minutes to go and finished on a 10-3 run. That never happens.
And it certainly never happens because Jason Kapono makes two free throws and a three, Joey Graham makes four free throws and Anthony Parker makes one. Oh, and toss in a Jake Voskuhl offensive rebound to set up that Kapono three that was Jake's big contrbution in a whole 41 seconds of playing time.
Yes, a weird night all around.