|Can Jermaine O'Neal get some love after this game?|
A quick question: At the end, when the buzzer goes and Toronto has more points than the other team, what’s that? A win? I think that’s what someone called it.
But seriously, folks, as a wise man once said, it couldn’t have rained in a drier place. Not a perfect game by any stretch of anyone’s imagination and no one’s going to mistake the Minnesota Timberwolves for a good team but the result sure beats the alternative, doesn’t it?
Here we go …
Action: Kapono 7-for-10
Reaction: And then some Dangerfield
I think that was exactly the kind of game they want – and need – out of Jason. Ten shots in 22 minutes, a couple of them contested but I’d rather have him shooting with a guy draped all over him and off-balance that have some of his teammates fire up uncontested threes.
And then he drops this us on us in the locker room:
“I kinda semi-rolled it there on that shot but it should be fine. I’m just not going to be able to dunk any more; it’s going to affect my take-off and also I’m not going to try and jump as high on my jump shots.
“I’m only going to get two or three feet in the air so that’s probably something I’m going to have to worry about.”
Action: Joey’s great game
Reaction: For most of it
I’m sure a lot of you have noticed that Graham has now set, or tied, his career best scoring night three times in about the last three weeks and he was white hot in the first quarter last night with 11 of his 24.
But then he had to sit down because he made more than a few mistakes on defence and the way to subtly remind him he has to play at both ends is to take him out and let him watch for a bit.
And the reason he stayed out for a while is because Jamario had one of his best games in weeks, not doing too much, hitting the boards and moving the ball on offence.
It was one of those games where they got good production out of both small forwards and there haven’t been many of those this season.
I was going to talk about this guy anyway so why not do it in the form of a question, Alex:
Q: Please give your views as to the reason for the good play this year by Bonner of the Spurs. I missed seeing the Sunday game, but 23 points against the Celtics is quite an achievement. He always had a good 3 point shot but 7 of ll on his non 3 pointers on Sunday is exceptional. Is his improvement attributable to the coaching he has received over the last few years in S.A.?
Arnold E, Toronto
A: It’s really great to see Matt and Roger Mason Jr., both fine young men and among my favourite ex-Raptors, starting and contributing and doing well with a really good team.
Why? Why has it all of a sudden clicked for both of them?
Opportunity plus confidence plus the realization of what they are.
For Bonner, he’s finally learned that he should shoot when he gets a chance, he’s not tentative and looking over his shoulder and it sure helps to create open shooting space when you get to play next to a driving Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili and a stud like Tim Duncan.
For Mason, it’s pretty much the same thing. He was always confident but when he was in Toronto and even in Washington, he had a tendency to stop the ball and shoot it every time he touched it. Now, he knows what his role is, that of an excellent shooter and he takes his shots in the rhythm of the game and the offence.
It’s more a self-realization than coaching although you have to give Pop credit for staying patient with them both – I can imagine there were moments when he was exasperated as they learned their roles and perfected them.
From the department of “Where are they now” we have:
Just watching Mike and Mike In The Morning on ESPN2 (sort of like TSN2 only all the big cable companies in the United States carry it) and on they’re promoting the stuff coming up in the next half hour.
And there’s a promo for Eric Montross! As a guest to discuss the Duke-North Carolina rivalry.
Did a pretty good job, too.
And then there was this:
Q: Hey Doug, did you catch Jermaine's post game interview where he referred to Joey as Stephen Graham? What does that say about the Jermaine integrating into the team?
Elvin L, Seattle
A: You’re not thinking there’s anything sinister about it, are you?
He mis-spoke, called one brother the name of the other (who is a twin and former Indy teammate), that’s it.
Simple, understandable mistake. Was sort of funny, actually. Jonesy and I sort of laughed at it over the top of the scrum.
Here’s one for all of you who write and suggest the Raptors lose so they get a higher draft pick.
I presume many of you are the same people who write to suggest the entire scouting staff be fired because they draft so poorly.
A lot of people are asking similar questions to this, let’s nip it in the bud right now:
Q: Only a small question for you. You don't have to trade for Bonzi Wells, all he'll cost is money to sign. Is he of any value to this team?
Richard S, Lethbridge
A: No, no, no, a thousand times no. Not a bit of value, his NBA career is done, he’s an ex-player and should be thought of as thus.
Was talking to the great Steve Aschburner over a social after the game and we came to this conclusion: Ryan Gomes might be one of the most under-rated players in the league.
Not flashy, plays on a bad team so he’s going to be mostly ignored but I bet 29 other GMs would like to have him on their team.
Can shoot, handle, defend and has a court awareness that makes him a leader on the floor.
Asch thinks he’d make a great Spur, or a key Celtic and I agree.
And he’s exactly the kind of player the Raptors don’t have. And need.
Holy smokes, it’s 7:40 and I’ve got to get cleaned up and out the airport. See you tonight.