As a one-time event, that one yesterday was a doozy
I know it’s impossible to take one game as a singular event in a sports season that always has to be thought of in the context of 82 games but for sheer entertainment value, that one yesterday was right up there with the best in a long time.
Enough mistakes to make it angst-filled, enough big plays to make jaws slacken. It wasn’t the perfect game but it was a great one and while it means nothing really in the big picture – Chicago’s likely going to the playoffs, the Raptor season was shot behind the ear years ago – don’t tell anyone in the arena that it meant nothing.
And that’s why sports is great.
|CARLOS OSORIO/TORONTO STAR|
|More rim destroying from Pops yesterday.|
So The Legend grows.
That little performance by Pops yesterday – 13 points, four boards in 23 minutes – was vintage. Energy at both ends, a couple of minor blips (dribbling after grabbing an offensive rebound puts the ball in play for all the tiny guys in the paint to peck away at) but the kind of effort that’s become his trademark.
As regulars know, I’m all for keeping him – at a reasonable cost – next season and I found out last night that there’s another twist to his contract that might make that possible.
Among the more arcane parts of the CBA as it relates to the cap and impending free agents is a clause that says guys like Pops, signed until the end of this season, are restricted free agents as long as the Raptors make him a qualifying offer, which I’m sure they will.
So no matter what kind of sniffs he gets out there, and he will get more than a few, Bryan will have the chance to match an offer and keep the fan favourite.
And the more I think about it, a frontcourt rotation of Bosh, Bargnani, Pops and Hump sounds pretty good.
Action: Ben Gordon shoots
Reaction: An awful lot
There has been, and there will be, much debate over whether the Raptors should try to make a legitimate and serious push for Chicago’s Gordon this summer and after he went off for 37 yesterday, the screams for him are going to be louder.
But, please, consider this:
He’s not really a slasher, he’s certainly not what anyone would consider a lock-down, or even above-average defender.
What he is is a relatively under-sized, volume-shooting combo guard. Make no mistake about it, he’s a good relatively under-sized, volume-shooting combo guard but that’s what he is.
If Bryan’s talking seriously to Chicago, I’m asking about Luol Deng and leaving Gordon right out of the conversation.
Would have loved to have asked the “Hey, look at me! I’m the cool guy wearing shades in the arena” Terrell Owens what he thought of the game but, of course, he didn’t bother to stick around.
Could have given his ticket stub to someone on the way out to use the seat he occupied for, oh, I dunno, about half the game.
Good luck, Buffalo.
Still in the digression mode, did anyone anywhere in the world really expect Tiger Woods to miss that putt?
This guy is a killer; no way that one wasn’t going right in the middle.
So I’m in a place after the game being social and it’s got a lot of TVs playing all kinds of sports and I look over my shoulder and there’s San Antonio-New Orleans.
And I think, of all the old-time Raptors hanging around, especially the ones no one thought would amount to an awful lot, the one I’m most happy for has to be Sean Marks.
I know Matt Bonner and Roger Mason Jr. are good stories and all but I look up there and Marks is blocking a Manu three-pointer and scoring on the baseline and really contributing to a pretty good team.
And I tell ya, he’s one of the really good guys.
We’re in San Antonio at a finals one year, he’s playing for the Spurs. It’s an off-day and the last thing a gaggle of grunts wants to do for dinner is fight the crowds on the Riverwalk so I asked Sean for a recommendation and he tells us to go to the Quarry Market, sit outside at this one place and it’ll be great.
So, Toronto, Philly, Minneapolis and Jersey all head out there, we’re having a lovely dinner and here comes a round of cocktails, courtesy of Mr. Marks, who’s sitting at a table over there.
Oh, in Chicago, my man K.C., who knows everything Bull, races from a marathon game to barely catch a flight home and he still manages to file this for the Trib readers.
Action: One small step
Reaction: One big move by Bargnani
This is pretty much rudimentary Basketball 101 but the play Bargnani made with 58.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter last evening is another example of his maturation.
He gets the ball on the wing near the three-point arc, fakes, puts his head down and starts that ramble of his to the basket.
But, instead of going all the way to the rim – where he’d inevitably either run into someone and commit an offensive foul or be forced to put up one of those zany out-of-control, off-balance, underhand-scoop layups that are one of his trademarks, he pulls up quickly, stops entirely and hits a little eight-footer that puts Toronto up by three.
Lots of guys make that play, he seldom does but it was a very nice thing for the coach to see.
You know I’m not a big stats geek at all, in fact I think the fact most of them can be bent to suit any purpose renders them a very insignificant part of most conversations but, still, 22 points and 19 assists is darn impressive.
I’m searching and searching and searching and over the last eight days, I cannot see a single “trade Jose” e-mail.
People must be having computer problems, right?
A random question plucked from a near-empty mailbox:
Q: It seems apparent that the number of games played by Bosch and Calderone had some impact on this season. Do you know what the plans are this off-season such as the FIBA events?
Bill C, Oakville
A: When I see Bosch and Calderone, whoever they may be, I’ll ask them.
But Chris Bosh has no commitments whatsoever, it’s an off-year for the Americans, who don’t have to qualify for the worlds because of their Olympic triumph.
The last time I talked to Jose Calderon about it was about three weeks ago and he hadn’t made up his mind but made it sound like his tenure with the Spanish national team – a program he’s been with for about 13 years – is coming to an end. At the very least, nothing for him until August at the earliest, the European championships in Poland aren’t until September.