You know why it’s fun to wake up in the morning this week?
|COLIN O'CONNOR/TORONTO STAR|
|Welcome, Shawn Marion, to Toronto where it's c-c-c-cold.|
Other than the delightful pitter-patter of Super Dog’s feet as she so sweetly demands a morning walk in the frigid winter air that makes me get all bundled so she can sniff snowbanks and take her sweet time doing her business while I freeze in the freaking dark? (Oops, major digression, sorry).
It’s because I love to race to the interweb to see which otherwise legitimate publication has turned to publishing sports fiction.
You know, stuff like cockamamie three-team trade rumours that are “gaining speed.” What utter trash. Soon, I’m off to waste more time reading questions about something that never, ever, ever, never had a chance to happen and see what kind of crap awaits me this afternoon.
I cannot wait for 3:01 Thursday afternoon.
Oh yeah, if I had to guess, I’d say it’s 10-90 that Bosh plays tonight.
You go to these news events like yesterday’s Marion show – and we’re wondering what our lovely parting gifts are for being the studio audience – and they all seem like the last one.
Everyone’s glad to be here, they’re going to work hard at both ends of the court and they just want to fit in quickly. Yawn. Snore. Lather, rinse, repeat.
What I want to do is show up at one of these bun tosses and hear stuff like this:
“You know, I have no idea how I’m going to fit and the coach better get me some touches in a hurry.”
“You think X is a great player? If he’s so great, why did they have trade for my broken-down self?”
“I can’t wait to walk the ball up the floor and see if we can score in the 70s.”
“I can’t believe the GM mismanaged this team so badly that he had to mortgage the future to get me in a last-gasp attempt to save his job. But let’s go!”
“I never, ever wanted to come”
(Oh, wait, was used by that Mourning bloke)
Oh yeah, if I had to guess I’d say it’s 10-90 that the Raptors play any zone against Cleveland tonight after what happened the last time. Remember that? Three bigs, first-quarter zone, 37-15 Cavs after one.
Mail time, with some current context:
Q: Hey Doug, Interesting question for you. How do you think Jermaine O'Neal and Udonis Haslem will co-exist with each other now that they are teammates? I know they have a history of not liking each other going back to J.O's days in Indiana. Do you think they put the differences aside? Or can you see it being a problem in the Heat locker room and practices?
M S, Woodbridge
A: O’Neal and Haslem did have some dust-ups and the odd contretemps when they were opponents in Indy and Miami.
And thanks to my man Ira, here’s what they said about it yesterday:
“He's one of those players you hate to play against and love to play with.”
“It's over with as far as I'm concerned. In the heat of the battle, when you go out there and play and you represent your team, things can get pretty intense. I'm going to fight for my teammates every time and he's going to fight for his. Now that we're on the same team, we'll probably be fighting for each other.”
I don’t think teammates have to hug each other every day, I think they have to respect each other every second and I figure that’s what’ll happen in Miami.
So Ben Wallace cut his arm for 14 stitches playing catch with a football over the all-star weekend? Okay. Here’s what else is going on in Cleveland.
You know, it was no Juan Dixon for Fred Jones earth-shaker but I’m putting Glen Grunwald’s 2001 acquisition of Jerome Williams and Eric Montross for Corliss Williamson, Tyrone Corbin, Kornel David and a protected first-round pick as the most significant Raptors deadline-day deal ever.
JYD was an energy guy, even if it was often misplaced energy, and Montross was a solid solid pro who could have had a much larger impact had he not screwed up his foot.
A Dawg aside:
One night later, after driving through the night here from Detroit, Jerome suits up when Toronto plays Sacramento.
In a corker of a game, triple-overtime and the joint’s going crazy and at the buzzer of the third extra period, JYD gets absolutely lost guarding Peja Stojakovic, gets caught on a back-screen that leaves Peja wide, wide, wide open right in front of the Raptors bench for the game-winner.
And, thus, a legend is born.
I swear you can see the white flag waving over the city of New Orleans from here.
The Hornets, my friends, have given up.
I can’t figure out how else to explain the Gasol-esque trade of Tyson Chandler for the expiring contracts of Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith yesterday.
It may be a harbinger of economy-driven deals we’ll see come today and tomorrow but it has to have guys like Chris Paul and Byron Scott scratching their heads.
And having just been there, and seen an almost-full New Orleans Arena really appreciate a not-bad team, I’ve got to wonder how ticket sales will be the rest of this season and how the long-term economic hit of lower income will stack up against long-term cost control.
Wasn’t it a nice day in Toronto yesterday? Temperature above zero for most of the afternoon. No raging blizzard. No whistling wind?
No matter, the obligatory “how can you stand the city in this brutal time of year questions went to both Marion and Banks.
“It’s a little chilly up here but I’m going to bundle up and put a skully on and call it a day.
The city is a beautiful city, I come up here in the summer time for Caribana, it’s definitely a nice city and the people here are wonderful, too.”
“Basically for me, I was telling guys downstairs, I brought palm trees with me, and some sand. I’m just going to throw them all over the room and I’ll still be in the warm weather.”
Note to out-of-touchers like me and non-Americans: A ‘skully’ is a toque.
Q: Hey Doug, I was watching "Pardon the Interruption" today and they mentioned the Toronto Star article about Bosh and twitter. I have been a fan of PTI for a long time and it got me wondering, have you ever met Tony and/or Mike? What is your opinion of them as sports reporters? What do you think of PTI?
Rob S, Winnipeg
A: I haven’t met Tony, although eons ago I was a guest on a talk radio show he’s hosted but I have met Michael a couple of times at NBA events.
And I would put Wilbon on the Mount Rushmore of current sports columnists in North America.
PTI? Best show of its genre on television today. And second’s not even close.