Dribs, drabs and delightful stories
There’s really not much to say about that one, is there? Stay close, collapse in fourth, lose. Ho, hum, just another day in the gym.
But there was more than enough to get me to 1,000 words of gems, insights, outlooks and high comedy and that, my good friends, is all that matters.
We can get serious about what they need do in the summer when we get closer to the summer, for now, let’s just do little dribs and drabs of wildly entertaining items and lists (the lists and rankings coming later this week, actually).
Ran into Hump this weekend and was entirely surprised to see him still sporting crutches because he told me two weeks ago he was dumping them any day.
Guess not. Guess that broken fibula’s taking a lot longer time to heal than anyone thought.
He’s going to see the doctors today, I presume more X-rays are in order but with five weeks left in the season, I’d be surprised if we saw him back this season.
|STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR|
|Speaking of blowing (it all up).|
Hey, here’s something to chew on for all the advocates of “blowing it up.” Whatever that means.
Let’s say Bosh tells them in the summer he’s not likely to re-sign and they decide it’s best to trade him; and let’s say Marion want too much money and let’s all agree that AP, if he comes back, is as a backup one-two.
So that’s three starters gone and they probably have to upgrade two, perhaps three and if they can deal Kapono and move Graham there might be as many as four spots off the bench to fill.
So we’re looking at five, maybe six, possibly seven new guys in a nine-man rotation.
I believe the “blowing up” thing could very well already be underway.
First from the mail:
Q: So what happened to this so called "running game" from the Raptors? It seems to have completely disappeared.
Zaki A, Mississauga
A: It hasn’t disappeared, it’s just been lost under a wave of horrible defence. Check out the next game, they actually do go in transition off misses; it’s just that it’s virtually impossible to go quickly when other teams are shooting better than 50 per cent from the floor and the Raps are continually taking the ball out of bounds.
But if you watched closely yesterday, even on misses, the Jazz did something I think the Raptors – a bad transition defensive team – should do.
On misses, at least one Utah player stayed under the boards or on the ball to “jam” it, stop any quick transition and slow the Raptors down. That’s smart defence, and got the game, most times, at the pace Utah wanted it.
And since Toronto is a better halfcourt defending team than a transition defending team – not really good at either, but better when they can set up – it might be something they should think about.
Action: The fans
Reaction: I gotta say something
I know they are fans and they pay their money and they should be able to do anything they want and I understand that entirely.
But sure to all that is good in the world, booing a Bargnani miss with 1:20 left in a game still in doubt and then cheering – and I mean over-the-top ovation cheering – an uncontested Parker dunk down 10 with four seconds left has to be considered ridiculous.
I just wonder how that hunk of cardboard with some tomato paste on it tastes today; and I also wonder just how many of the 18,541 people will actually go and get it.
A low point of the season? From the fans? Yeah, that was it.
Speaking of …
You have to put some of the blame on the folks who choreograph the whole “show” don’t you.
There was 2:17 left, the Raptors were down four and a timeout gets called. In most sane-thinking arenas, they’d have on cue some upbeat music, play it loud and have the dancers be more cheerleaders. They might be the June Taylor Dancers (look that one up, young ‘uns) but that’s not what they need at that moment.
What else do they get? Some drab, low-intensity songstress, the dude with the microphone is droning on about some invitation for urchins to come down and shoot (like that couldn’t have been done at halftime, or in the first quarter, or never) and it’s like they put a big old vacuum over the joint and sucked out all the energy.
I wonder how boring it is to write Team You Cover Wins All The Time Game Stories. Here’s how Ross pulled it off in the Salt Lake Trib today.
It’s Team Picture Day today and this story might take a couple of hundred words to tell but it’s worth it.
Not sure of the year – 2002? 2003? It was in the Lenny Era – but it’s Picture Day and Jerome Williams can’t make it, I believe his wife was in labour with their twins, if I’m not mistaken. What teams generally do in instances like that is have someone stand in and then airbrush the imposter out and put the absent guy in later.
Usually, it’s a guy about the same size or at least body type (thin, thick, tall, short) and they did have a good kid about 6-7 working for them. Vince also had his own security guy at the time, a fella called Peanut, who was about 6-2 and built like a house.
So they’re waiting – and I’m talking players, coaches, support staff, front office, members of the board – for someone to come be JYD.
Around the corner, unbeknownst to anyone involved, comes Peanut, decked out in JYD’s full uniform. Let’s just say it must have been made of stretchy fabric, I mean Elastic Woman stretchy.
Well, I wasn’t in the gym but I’m told players were physically rolling around on the floor laughing (they were still howling a day later when I heard about) and the head coach at the time was absolutely not amused. The members of the board? Not sure too many of them thought it all that funny, either.
But, trust me, from everyone I talked to, it was the funniest team picture moment ever.
Q: I just got home from the Utah game, where Bargnani and Bosh (I can't stand the "Killer B's" moniker that Devlin is trying his hardest to make stick) once again combined for 50+ points in a losing effort. And it got me thinking, while they seem to be performing well together lately, do you think Chris and Andrea compliment each other well? I bet the number of assists that either puts up for the other is actually very small. But beyond that, do you think their skills sets go together well?
Rob E, Scarborough
A: I do, actually. And here’s why: They don’t, as you say, make a lot of nifty passes to each other, but they get the ball and initiate their offence in such different places on the court it makes them difficult to defend. Bargnani usually starts beyond the three-point line at the top; Bosh is much more efficient getting the ball 17 feet from the basket on the wing. I think we’ve seen a few times – a very few but still … - Bosh hit a cutting Bargnani and Bargnani drive and try to drop the ball off to Bosh. I think the more they play together, the more often you’ll see that.
And it’s as obvious as the nose on my face that Bosh and Bargnani are far better suited playing together than were Bosh and O’Neal.