Hello from Chicago and halfway home.
Even keel, folks. Even keel.
No, they’re not as good as they were the other night against Cleveland and, no, they’re not as bad as they were In Memphis on Friday night.
At least not at the moment.
And if it was going to take 15 or so games to see how this all shook out before the season began, that remains the truth today, a mere two games Into an 82-game marathon.
But there were some things at the FedEx Forum. Like …
(Oh yeah, sorry I’m late, 3:30 wakeup for a 6 a.m. flight and there was no way I was doing this instead of getting about two hours of shuteye).
THREE THINGS I LEARNED
It may eventually work
About six and a half minutes to go, game’s still in doubt and they run a play you better get used to because it’s going to be a staple.
Hedo’s handling on the wing, they run a side screen-roll with Bosh as the other three Raptors are on the other side of the court.
They get a switch, Bosh immediately goes in the post with a small guy on his back, Hedo dumps it in and the Grizzlies immediately send the double-team off Turkoglu.
Bosh waits for the double to arrive, kicks it back out to a wide open Turk who misses a three but Bosh, because he’s got a small on him, easily gets the offensive rebound for a putback.
I know no one’s seen that enough in two games, mostly because Turkoglu is very much still finding his way and not nearly as aggressive as a facilitator as they want him to be, but it’s something you’ll see a lot of as the season progresses, I’d bet.
Here’s how Turk put it when it was pointed out that he didn’t get a whole lot of shots:
“We had guys who were feeling it … I just tried to do my job and keep myself ready … I took fewer shots than I normally do but if we are doing a good job of sharing the ball, then I am more than happy.”
Chicken angers Antoine.
Don’t imagine you caught this on the TV.
Forty-seven seconds left, the game’s over, the fans are on their feet and the Memphis Chicken, kind of a scrawny looking bear, is at midcourt waving this huge flag.
Well, he/she/it doesn’t notice the timeout’s over, the Raptors are walking back on the court and the thing almost clocked a couple of players with the flag.
Antoine Wright didn’t take too kindly to it – and I don’t blame him in the least – so he grabs it and gives it a nice tug.
The Chicken scurries away, wisely.
The rook’s up and down
Three DeMar DeRozan moments that perfectly illustrate what he’ll bring most nights.
Great block of, I believe, Mayo in the second quarter but only because he let Mayo blow by him on the way to the basket.
Excellent putback baseline dunk of a miss in the second half, perhaps his most athletic play in two games.
And, most important, a wicked crossover move on, again I think it was Mayo, early in the game that showed he can put it on the floor and if that becomes part of his arsenal, he’s going to make himself far more valuable. He’s been aggressive in straight-line drives; if he gets moves to get to the rim, he’s much more potent.
And, now, the rest of the story.
I heard there was some contretemps between assistant Micah Nori and Marc Iavaroni on the bench the other night – I didn’t see it but that’s what I’m told and have read about – so I figure I better find out just what’s going on.
Well, according to both principles in separate chats, they weren’t really mad at each other, they were both screaming at referee Greg Willard (and you all know the refs on Wednesday probably needed to be chastised a little bit) and it only appeared like they were at each other’s throats.
And, so I’m told, they cooled it when Willard looked over at them, put
his whistle to his mouth and was about to hit one or both with a technical foul.
I’m not a big Halloween guy at all so it never really bothered me that it me seems we’ve always been on the road or at a game on the big night.
Sitting at home with Super Dog going berserk with every ring of the doorbell and seeing a gaggle of cute little urchins was never my idea of fun.
“Look, honey, another Harry Potter character! How, um, cute is that?”
This year, I presume, we’ll be inundated with vampires since that’s the flavour of the month; can’t wait.
I believe they have just halted production of the shrine to Andrea Bargnani in Springfield, Mass.
But if they’re still building it, I’m pretty sure Marc Gasol just pushed it over.
If you were in Memphis this morning and woke up to see what was in the newspaper about the game, this is what you would have seen.
Hmm, Vince got a bit banged up in Jersey on Friday, mild ankle sprain is how the Orlando Sentinel reports it here, and he “hopes” he can go Sunday afternoon.
Now, I’m going to say this knowing it’ll be reason for all kinds of derision but, please, can you all get over the booing. It’s been almost five years, for goodness sakes.
Let it go. At least on every single occasion he touches the ball. Really.
And silence is golden, right?
Tomorrow’s mail day, let’s try to not be game-specific, okay. Send ‘em in today and I’ll have something to while dodging ghosts and goblins tonight.
Speaking of Sunday, there’s some scoreboard tribute planned for Brendan Malone, who soldiered through that first season 15 years ago coaching an undermanned team to a record it probably didn’t deserve.
All Brendan wanted to do in every single game he coached was to win, even knowing he was ticking of Isiah Thomas every now and then by not playing more kids.
Brendan never cheated himself, his players or the paying customers and when they do that video thingy this afternoon, you should stand up and cheer like crazy for him.
He deserves it.
One last trip down memory lane.
Our western friends probably know this name far better than you do in Southern Ontario or somewhere else but the media room in Memphis is named after the late Don Poier, the Grizzlies broadcaster in Vancouver and Memphis who died suddenly in 2005.
I got to know Don fairly well in our travels over the years, he was a good guy very passionate about his job and a top-notch broadcaster taken from his famiiy and us far, far too soon.
Nice to see him honoured.
Oh, now that I think of it, a few more you would know him without really knowing him. He’s the voice that’s on the EA Sports NBA games that came out between, I think, 2000 and 2003.