A little fun at the finish
Yes, the game meant nothing. But try telling that to the players who were almost giddy after the win in Washington. Joking, goofing around, laughing. I know they’ve had a horrible year and Lord knows there’ll be time to dissect all that went wrong in the next fortnight or so but, what the heck, that was a good one to watch.
Of course, we could get a pooch of an affair tomorrow in Chicago that leaves a bad taste for a day or two but for now, enjoy it while it lasts.
|There's just so many happy photos to choose from these days.|
Action: Butler gets stopped
Reaction: Credit Alvin.
This story is absolutely legit, the timing just happens to be perfect in my Get Alvin On The Staff crusade.
It’s last Saturday after practice, or so I’m told by people who were there and would know, and Alvin’s chatting with some Raptor types about the Friday game, where Caron Butler hit that jumper at the buzzer to win.
You remember that, Butler set up, dribbled about 10 seconds off the clock and then drove on Marion and scored. Well, in that time he was dribbling out the clock, Butler sort of moved back towards midcourt to get a better angle and create some space.
Well, what Williams couldn’t understand – and I sure didn’t think of it at the time, I doubt any of you did and I’m sure not many Raptors did, either – was why Marion didn’t chase him to midcourt, put some pressure on him, make him go earlier, or at least turn him somewhere he didn’t want to go.
Makes entire sense, doesn’t it?
Well, last night, sort of the same situation (although there was less time and less of an isolation) and we saw Marion right up on Butler, forcing him to go and sending him quickly to help.
Not bad strategy, eh?
You know who had a lot of fun at the game?
Steve and Jenny of Toronto.
Met the nice couple before the game, replete in their Raptor jerseys, saw them with some pretty good seats during the game and, after the game, they were the proud owners of someone’s shoe, tossed to them as the players walked off the court.
Not sure what it is about Washington but there are always a lot of Toronto fans throughout the crowd. Met a guy last year wearing a Garbo replica jersey from Malaga, there were more than a few Calderon jerseys last night and at least a couple of hundred other Raptor fans that I saw and heard.
Not bad, people. Not bad at all.
It’s still All Flip All The Time down here, as you’ll see when you troll through the site but Michael Lee still got some game stuff in today’s Washington Post.
Award time, again.
Since the one I’m really struggling with is coach of the year, let’s leave that until the last minute (I could use another day to think about it) and do the MVP today.
But here are the questions:
Is he simply the best player on the best team? How about the most overall skilled player in the league? Someone who’s great at one facet of the game but only okay in others? Is he the one guy a so-so team simply cannot afford to lose?
To me, it’s a combination, and that’s where the absolute subjectivity of the issue comes in. And that’s why we get to argue about it.
Is Dwyane Wade more valuable than Dwight Howard? How about Kobe over LeBron? Chris Paul or Brandon Roy? How did Tony Parker keep the Spurs together when everyone was hurt? How can you not mention Chauncey Billups?
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
As regulars will know, I was wavering between Kobe and LeBron all year; I still think Kobe’s the best player in the game for all the things he does and LeBron may be the most physically imposing specimen in the game today.
But despite Kobe’s greatness (and I honestly think sometimes he gets short shrift in the East because we see more Cavs highlights than Laker ones over the course of the season)., there’s no way I can’t vote for James this time around.
The ballot, however, contains five slots and filling them out isn’t going to be easy at all.
So, when it comes to turn mine in, it’s going to look like this (unless someone convinces me otherwise today, and I don’t imagine that’s going to happen):
Have at it, those who disagree.
I presume you’ve all read this quote in the game story from today’s paper and website but in case you didn’t, what Bosh said after the game resonates:
“For me, playing basketball period is always fun. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s more fun when you’ve got something to play for but it’s still fun, it’s the NBA. I’ve said this before, it’s always been my dream to play here and it’d be a shame and waste to come out here and go through the motions and act like I don’t want to be here.”
Okay, finally, we’ve got a playoff matchup definitely set.
Cleveland-Detroit became unavoidable last night when the Cavs won and Pistons lost and while there might have been a time when the Pistons could have expected to win a series like that, there’s no way they win a game this time around, I don’t think.
But, most importantly, and most significantly to the Raptors, Chicago’s win over Detroit keeps alive the Bulls’ hopes of finishing sixth and getting Orlando in the first round instead of Boston.
That means they may very well need to win tomorrow night against the Raptors and could turn an otherwise meaningless game into something with a level of intensity.
Now, the other thing I’m going to be watching closely is the reaction of the various grunts.
What do you think they’d rather have: A playoff series in Boston, one of the truly great cities with character, atmosphere, a buzz about it. Or a playoff series in Orlando, a series of off-ramps to outlet malls and amusement parks?
Hmm, I see it’s raining here in D.C. as I get ready to post this and head to the airport. Since the last time I tried to travel in the rain it took almost 11 hours to get from Pearson to Laguardia, I’m sort of hoping for a better day today. After all, the final off day of the regular season should be spent checking out the culture in Chicago rather than the dreariness of DCA.
Wish me luck.