What a strange day that was
Hey! They won! Easily! For the second Sunday in a row they rolled.
A juggernaut if ever I’ve seen one.
Just think, 12 more in a row and they might finish ninth in the East!
Seriously, the result Sunday was far better than the alternative and the fact they came out and played hard and smart is to their credit, it hasn’t happened in every game in the last little while.
As I mentioned in Sunday’s paper, that one had all the earmarks of a dog of a game and while it was one-sided and had moments of head-shaking ineptitude, at least one team gave a full effort.
There were times in his rookie season and last year when we would privately mock Andrea’s toughness; in fact, there was a bit of public mocking, too.
But when it was pointed out that before yesterday he had played 130 straight games, it was time to re-think that position.
Maybe it was the natural maturation process, maybe he got in better shape, maybe something just clicked but he played through stuff in that season and a half that he wouldn’t have in his first year and a bit in the league.
So we’ll give credit where it’s due.
Action: Jake starts
Reaction: How come?
Well, we’ll let Jay explain it:
“The other option is to go Pops but I like what he is bringing off the bench. We could have gone with Joey and gone smaller but I think you like to start big and go small. We wanted to make sure Camby and Randolph saw bodies inside. Jake is a veteran guy and knows defensive coverages. He did a real good job, he communicates back there and did a nice job to start both halves.”
Makes sense, since Pops still got his 20 minutes, Joey got his 24 and since the opposition was so wretched, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if you started.
Speaking of sheer Bracket Brilliance, Super Son and I rebounded from a somewhat disheartening Friday to go 14-2 on the weekend. We’ve got out Elite Eight still intact and when North Carolina beats Connecticut 78-75 in the final and the total points is 153, are we ever gonna crow about it.
|THE CANADIAN PRESS|
|They've definitely improved the unis since he left.|
Marcus Camby turned 35 years old yesterday – a belated Happy Birthday, kid – and he’s been in the league for 13 seasons now. He’s a grown up, one of the really good guys I’ve got to know a little bit over the years and still has plenty of skill. An excellent rebounder, good shot-blocker, some shooting range and knows his limitations.
He’s willing to come off the bench – he’s not starting every night for the Clippers for goodness sake – and loves Toronto.
Would he make a good grown up to add to this team?
Yeah, he sure would.
Trouble is, he’s got that $9.6 million salary next year and unless they can move, say, Kapono and Joey Graham for him, I don’t see how they can do it.
But they should ask.
Again, I’d love to show you what they said about the unspeakably bad Clippers in the local Los Angeles dispatches but none of them sent a writer to cover them.
It was the second game in a row with no visiting reporters.
Toss in the fact there hasn’t been a single advance scout at either of the last two games either – and there’s usually at least one guy around checking out a visiting team that’s on a trip someone from a team Toronto’s about to play – and it’s been quiet on press row.
Speaking the Clippers, anyone notice that Fred Jones has turned back into that slashing, driving, dunk contest-winning guy the Raptors thought they were getting three years ago?
In just about every visiting team locker room in the league, there’s a big whiteboard somewhere on a wall that teams use to diagram plays and leave inspirational notes (Play Hard! Rebound! Bus to airport leaves at 10:40).
But the one here stands out as unique.
Not only is not affixed to a wall (it’s a sliding panel that blocks the entryway into the locker room when it’s out), it’s got very little room for any visiting coach to draws up assignments and plays.
Why? Because about a quarter of it is taken up by a diagram of a hockey rink.
Just so I can do cynical:
Q: I just thought that your readers, (and the team) should be aware that John Hollinger's playoff odds are now predicting that the chance of the Raptors making the playoffs is now at 0.0 percent. My girlfriend is now happy, she gets me back a few games earlier this summer.
Peter L, Toronto
A: I know John, I like John, I appreciate John’s nuanced look at the game. I wonder what took John so long to come to that conclusion. Dead batteries in the calculator? A broken abacus?
Speaking of Andrea Ironman, the fact that he missed yesterday’s game means Toronto won’t have a single player who appears in all 82.
And that’s odd for this franchise.
Only twice – in 2006-07 and 1996-97 – have they not at least one guy who dressed for an entire regular season.
Arcane stats? We’ve got ‘em.
Action: Nate’s in town!
Reaction: Not for long, maybe.
Yes, there was a Nate Jawai sighting yesterday, the big fella was on the bench late in the game.
He’s in Toronto only for some previously-scheduled, routine medical tests, he wasn’t summoned to bail out the roster that was down a big man yesterday.
No one’s sure how long he’ll stick around but there’s a good chance he’ll be headed back to Idaho in the middle of the week, the lucky guy.
And while he’s not killing the D League, I’m told by people who’ve seem him play that he’s looking comfortable and good. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 25 minutes a night in his first 10 games with the Stampede.
Well, I got through this whole thing without once mentioning how utterly ridiculous it was to hear fans going berserk for a stinky piece of pizza starting with about two minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
Seriously, it’s embarrassing.
Stop it. And I’m talking to the chain that sponsors it and the Raptors who promote it.
Glad I got through this without going on a rant. That’s unseemly.