Haven't we been here before?
You know, the whole Groundhog Day nature of this trip would have been made a lot more interesting had Andie MacDowell been around. But, no, I see Jack Armstrong!
Action: Coming home
Reaction: Another city to lose in?
Say this for them, they are brimming with confidence seeing nine of the next 11 at home:
“We played good for most part of the game we just couldn’t finish it (last night). Now we have a lot of games at home, the other teams are trying to help us a little bit so we are close.”
Now, I can hear some chuckles and I can imagine some eyes are being rolled and there’s all kinds of “yeah, right, they can snap their fingers and turn this disaster of a season into something.”
But before you dismiss their confidence as ridiculous, realize this: Athletes are by their very nature supremely confident in their abilities. They think they can win every single game they play and they should feel that way.
Is the optimism justified? Maybe not to me and you but to them it is.
I don’t think they can suddenly rattle off six wins in seven games or nine in 11 or something silly like that but it’s not right to chastise them for feeling like they can. It’s in their DNA.
Here’s a hypothetical
|One of the only consistent things about the Raptors during Bosh's tenure has been his game.|
Let’s say you’re 24 years old and you’ve been in the NBA for six years.
In that time, you’ve consistently averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds, been chosen to four all-star teams (three times by the coaches) and been a pretty big role player on an Olympic gold medal team many think is the second-best team ever put together.
Now, in those six years you have:
Played for three different head coaches.
Played for two different general managers.
You have seen 48 players come and go in that period, and that doesn’t include your current 12 teammates, at least a few of whom will be gone when the next training camp comes along. So, it’s 60 guys who’ve worn the same uniform as you in almost six season, a startling roster turnover by anyone’s standards.
In those years, of those 60 players, precisely two have been named even the NBA player of the week once and only one has been in the top three of any significant year-end award.
You’ve re-signed once with your current team and saw its win totals diminish in each of the past three seasons.
Tell me, in all honesty, would you stay?
No, yesterday’s line about you missing Bosh when he is gone is not insider info or foreshadowing or anything like that. But it’s a fact. If he goes, you’ll miss him.
Okay, this is too good.
Somewhere, Vlade Divac is smiling.
In Orlando, Stan Van Gundy was unimpressed.
“I was shocked, seriously, shocked. And very disappointed ‘cause he knows what it's like. Let’s stand up and play like men, and I think our guy did that tonight.'”
Action: A pre-game chat
Reaction: An international incident?
Standing on the baseline pre-game chatting with a couple of coaches, we spied Jason Kapono out by midcourt being interviewed at length by one of the omnipresent Chinese television reporters who follow the Rockets.
Now, Jason’s a hoot for North Americans and people for whom English is a first language; we’re all a bit worried about how his act is going to play in China.
He finishes the chat, wanders by us and it’s suggested to him that the interview had international incident written all over it.
“Nah, dude, we’re cool. I’m a diplomat.”
I’ve had a couple of suggestions from readers that perhaps the Raptors should trade Bosh and “build” around Bargnani by making him the “franchise player.”
Besides wanting to open a window and scream, it makes me want to suggest this:
Hasn’t it hit home that “building” around a big guy doesn’t work? Didn’t anyone realize that, say, Orlando, was bad with just Howard but very good with Howard and some better players? Shouldn’t the focus be on improving the rest of the roster to give the bigs some help?
This came from Barry, the Bay dude, over in the comments section but might fit better here:
Q: Read back a few days a comment re Jose's low turnover numbers perhaps "dulling" Raps offense (Jose needing to be "too sure" before passing, resulting in missed opportunities, dull overly conservative playmaking). Could you comment on this low turnover rate vs. dull offense -- especially with Marion presence & more initial breakout game?
A: It’s a horses for courses thing in a lot of ways.
There was a time when slow and steady was necessary and demanded; the Raptors didn’t run much with Sam, there was a lot of throwing the ball into the post with Jermaine. It was the right way for that team, as constructed, should have played.
Now, with a change at the three and a coaching emphasis on transition basketball, you’re seeing more quickness – and more turnovers.
And judging by a lot of what I read, fans want Jose throwing the ball into the second row every now and then. They must be happy that he’s two games of four turnovers in the last couple of weeks and that 16-assist, one-turnover gem last night (an opponent’s record at the Toyota Center, tying his career high) needed more mistakes.
Seems that top five point guards of yesterday didn’t meet with universal disapproval. Which was nice for change.
Let’s see if we can get shooting guards right. This is sort of tough after No.1 because there are guys whose positions were sort of blurred; they were 1 1-2s or 2 1-2s but this is what I’ve come up with.
Feel free bend, fold or mutilate
No one can make a case he doesn’t belong at the top of the list.
The Logo’s one of those multi-position guys in some minds; I’ll put him here.
No. 3 with a bullet; I can see him getting to No. 2 when it’s all over.
He probably would have made this list as a PG if he played there his whole career.
Lewis to Isiah’s Martin, he had the complete package.
And the questions:
Does Dwyane Wade get on this list when it’s all said and done? I’ve seen Clyde Drexler and George Gervin listed as twos in some compilations; if they were, which one of them makes it to No. 5? Or do they become Nos. 4 and 5 right away?
And, finally, here's what the locals in Houston were reading.