Imagine that, another bad game
So, is the season over? Well, no, it’s not.
It’s barely salvageable after that dog’s breakfast in Indianapolis on Friday night but with 41 left, it’s not over.
Besides, if it’s over, what do they do? Not play the games? Run Hump and Voskuhl and Joey and Roko out there for 35 a night? No, they keep playing, try to win as many as they can and see where it takes them.
And yes, they can try to make a trade to shake things up and the general manager is trying to do exactly that.
But tanking the season is not an option – you can never tell players to lose, it’s stupid and goes against all that sports is about and you’d lose everyone’s respect doing it at this point in any season. Not going to happen so don’t suggest it, don’t hope for it, put it out of your mind.
(Oh yeah, you’re getting this early ‘cause I’ve got an early flight home, a feature on Wayne Embry to finish off and I can’t be worried about this in the morning. Don’t, however, get used to it)
Action: Some comeback.
Reaction: So what?
If they had someone managed to steal that one, I would have been quite okay with the league reviewing the video and changing the outcome to a loss.
Never mind the last quarter, remember the first three. They were far more indicative of the game.
Action: Halfway done.
Reaction: Time for action.
I know Bryan Colangelo is working on deals – that’s his job – but I would also hope he was on the phone about 10 o’clock last night with whoever he’s talking most seriously too.
I also wonder if there are teams out there interested in Jermaine O’Neal, and I am assured that there are, if they weren’t just waiting to see him in action before pulling the trigger on some transaction.
O’Neal didn’t look bad, just rusty, and I think maybe a couple more games to show there are no lingering problems with his knee might be the correct amount of time before something goes down.
If it’s earlier, great.
There’s nothing like a 57-foul, 70-free throw, 2:280game to sap the energy out of everyone in the building.
Refs Bill Kennedy, Haywoode Workman and Scott Foster must have loved the sound of their whistles because that was one of the most over-officiated games of the year.
It’s not that they did a terrible job and blew all sorts of calls, they just didn’t let enough incidental stuff go that would have perhaps given the game some more flow.
Action: Andrea’s “record”
Reaction: What a load of hooey.
Seriously, the longest streak of consecutive games with two or more three-pointers by a centre? Come on.
As Kevin O’Neill once said when a reporter asked him on opening day what his favourite Halloween memory was:
“Will the ridiculousness never end?”
Action: AP the PG
Reaction: Don't get used to it.
Yes, for a lot of the fourth quarter, Parker did a pretty good job running the offence, he got the ball and went, fed Bosh more than either Solomon or Ukic did and didn't hurt them much defensively.
But it was simply a case of desperate times calling for desperate measures and while we may see it for a couple of minutes every now and then, it's not something that's going to be permanent.
Speaking of Bargnani and threes.
Q: Doug, is there any way to petition the league to get Bargnani into the three point shootout? I'd love to contribute to this effort if something exists, and sure many others would too
Forest K, Toronto
A: Nah, there really isn’t and while he’s shooting the lights in the last eight games and would draw some TV interest and sell some t-shirts back home, Jason’s going to be back and there’s no way in the world they take two from the Raptors.
How’d my man Mike Wells write it? Like this.
Mail time (and there’ll be a full Sunday mailbag in the morning, I hope):
Q: Hi Doug
You mentioned that you think Bargnani is now the second best player on the Raptors (just behind Bosh). Do you think at any point that the coaching staff would/should make Bargnani the primary option on offence? As good as Bosh has been over the years, his repertoire seems to be somewhat limited compared to Bargnani's. It would be interesting to see how Bargnani fares in a late-game isolation vs. KG or Noah, no?
Nilanka L, Oakville
A: I don’t think Bargnani has the ball-handling skills or quickness to be put in isolation in any game-winning situation but I’d like to see them maybe run him off a couple of screens or put him on the block a time or two for the biggest play of the night.
I’m not sure how he’d handle it but they should find out because the more options you have, the better.
Action: JO’s return
Reaction: As expected
Seventeen minutes, some offensive rust, seven rebounds, no damage to any of his joints or body parts and, all in all, pretty much what everyone expected.
“I don’t even know how many minutes I played tonight but I feel pretty good. I told the guys when I came out at the end of the third quarter that I’d give myself a passing grade.”
In 5:24 seconds, Josh McRoberts of Indiana managed to:
Miss two shots.
Commit two turnovers.
Get assessed a technical foul.
AND COMMIT SIX PERSONAL FOULS!
I’m not saying that’s the worst single-game performance of all-time but when they get around to making that list, McRoberts has to be on it.
Astonishing. Simply astonishing.
Action: Three bigs together.
Reaction: Please! No more.
Bosh, Bargnani and O’Neal played about three minutes together in the second quarter and the Pacers got, as I recall, four wide open perimeter shots and made two of them.
And when they were on the court, the three bigs scored exactly two points – a couple of free throws by Bargnani.
It doesn’t work. It never has. It never will.
Here’s a stat you probably didn’t hear last night: Toronto did not block a single shot in the game. It was the first time this season the Raptors haven’t had at least one.
A Nate question, and he missed attending Friday’s game because he had an intestinal issue and stayed back in Toronto.
Q: Just curious as I haven't heard much about Nathan Jawai since he was cleared to start playing. Any insight as to when or if we might see him dress for a game?
Derek B, Ottawa
A: He’s working on getting in shape, he did have almost three months of virtual inactivity to overcome and he did put on a pound or two in that time. Dress for a game? That’s weeks away, barring a rash of injuries to the five big men – Bosh, Bargnani, O’Neal, Voskuhl, Humphries – who are ahead of him.
Will they send him to the D League? I don’t know. Might be a good idea just to get him some game time but I also think he’d get better practicing at full speed against NBA players than playing against minor leaguers.
But he’s nowhere near playing in the NBA and some game action is better than none.