Sixty-nine down and only 13 to go
Just think, 13 games left!
Lucky, lucky us.
Seriously, the mood around that team is as dark as I can remember it in years. Dejection is the order of the day, resignation in some cases and the one thing I don’t see a lot of? Anger.
The only raw anger I see is from the fans, which is entirely understandable.
But just think, the last 13 are sure to be doozies. There’s two with Washington, one with the Clips, a couple with the Knicks and one with the Thunder. We are setting up for some dreadful days and nights.
Me? I'm off to practice to figure out what you people might want to read about in the morning and then it'll be a few hours of mail (keep those cards and letters coming) while the family watches its new copy of Twilight and I try to remain sane.
Action: Some guys gotta rest
Reaction: Sometimes a game gets away
End of the third, down four, players are worn out and Jay’s gotta give some of ‘em a rest.
He sits down Bosh, Parker and Marion and tries to steal a few minutes with Calderon, Kapono, Graham, Mensah-Bonsu and Bargnani.
Let’s just say it was Pops’ finest minutes.
He commits two turnovers, a couple of fouls and is in the wrong position on one play that results in another turnover.
Presto! Change-o! Down a dozen after three and it’s over.
What should he have done? I guess he could have ridden Bosh for the last 2:40 of the quarter; that might have kept the game manageable. Or it might not have.
Let’s go over this again.
Five starters and now it’s time for Jay to go to his bench.
He’s got a rookie point guard he doesn’t trust entirely.
He’s got Joey, who might be good and could very well be not good.
He’s got Jason, a shooter who doesn’t, you know, shoot.
He’s got Pops, a D League call up trying to find his way.
Tell me again how this is a good team?
Over to you, Mr. Colangelo.
I’m sure you all spent most of yesterday trying to come up with the Raptors who’ve won NCAA championships and then figuring out which was the most obscure.
Well, here’s the list: Lonny Baxter (Maryland, 2002), Juan Dixon (Maryland, 2002), Antonio Lang (Duke, 1991 and 1992), Eric Montross (North Carolina, 1993), Ed Pinckney (Villanova, 1985), Charlie Villanueva (Connecticut, 2004), Jake Voskuhl (Connecticut, 1999), Corliss Williamson (Arkansas, 1994) and Morris Peterson (Michigan State, 2000).
Now, that’s a rather impressive list of guys who did something in Toronto and guys who just stopped by. Me? I’d say the one who doesn’t belong would be Lang, who was a training camp cut and then brought back on a 10-deal in January, 2000.
Action: Shawn’s slow start
Reaction: Not the defensive stopper
Am sure the few of you who watched last night caught the rather quick hook for Shawn Marion, who was on the bench in favour of Joey less than four minutes into the first quarter.
Well, according to people who chart these things, he had about eight blown defensive assignments in the first nine or 10 possessions. That’ll get you a seat no matter who you are.
We asked Jay about the slow start – a series of increasingly emphatic uncontested dunks – and, as expected, he took the high road.
“We had three days to get ready and we were pretty sound on what we thought we should do.”
Guess everyone wasn’t thinking the same way.
I’d love to show you now what they wrote in Charlotte but the paper didn’t send its own reporter and used the wire service. A troubling sign of the times given that the Bobcats are right in the thick of a playoff race.
And how important is that race? Here was Larry Brown before the game:
“I was telling our guys, when I was a college coach, you never really understand the value of going to the tournament until the next year. Then you realize you’re playing so many big games, you’re practicing when practices rally mean a lot. When you can go to the Final Four, it’s just an extra month of unbelievably important games that prepares your team.
“It’s the same thing now, we’ve been talking about how important games are forever because we’re trying to change the culture. And now, I don’t look at the standings, I just want us to get better every practice, every game, every possession but they do. And since they’ve been really paying attention to that, I think we’ve given ourselves a chance to win almost every game.”
Oh, and I’d love to link you to what the Los Angeles papers wrote about the Clipper game last night, just to let you see what’s going on there but there’s not a single paper travelling a writer to cover that team, either.
Speaking of March Madness, Super Son and I got drilled yesterday. A rather pedestrian 8-8 but the Sweet 16 remains intact and maybe there’s a late rally to be had.
Andrew, a regular over in the comments section, sent this along yesterday:
I've got an idea for a new "top five" list: The tip five naughtiest Raptors. Off the top of my head, I would include Alvin Robertson and Keon Clark. I would suggest the criteria be that they had to have been charged with something or caught with their pants down. It can't be based on road rumours or general, relatively harmless misbehaviour.
And I’m saying those are the two Hall of Famers but Lonny Baxter, NCAA champion and all, would have to be on the list after doing time in the hoosegow for shooting off a gun a block or two from the White House. If that’s not the stupidest thing an ex-Raptor has done since leaving the team, I don’t know what is.
For sheer news value and chutzpah, you’d have to go with Dee Brown, who got busted for drunk driving and then beat charge on a defence of racial profiling.
And, as much as it pains me to say it, Oak got a DUI charge in Atlanta so I’m putting him on the list.
The Brown one is unique in another way, too. It happened when he was driving from a birthday party for Antonio Davis on the way to, legend has it, an establishment where women disrobe for a living.