Of Bargnani and getting drilled in the head by a projectile
I know, super early today. You’re welcome.
Couldn’t sleep, lots of other stuff to get through, so I figured, what the heck, let’s get this over and done with for the day.
|FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS|
|Bargnani channeling the Maple Leafs at training camp.|
A level of truculence?
A bit of bellicosity?
Jay on Bargnani:
“There were a couple of times during camp where he got the ball in the post and he turned and he just went right to the basket. In the past, he would look, put it on the floor maybe once and settle for a jump shot thinking, ‘I don’t want the contact.’
“I think he’s got a lot of confidence in his strength and his physical ability now that he actually looks for contact when he drives to the basket.”
Quick, call the pucks, they could use all the help they can get, I hear.
Now, I’ll wait until I see it in actual games before I’ll truly believe it because the kid has had a way of shying away from the heavy lifting in the past.
But there really is something kind of new about him.
He’s more engaging with us (I had the longest, off-the-record, just-chewing-the-fat conversation with him in the doorway of the practice gym yesterday than I’ve had in total in the three years he’s been here) and he seems far more comfortable with his teammates and himself than he’s been in the past (goofing around, being in the middle of things rather than off to the side watching).
On the court, he’s passing up shots to swing the ball, he’s playing smart defence and he’s mixing it up on the block.
Again, it’s early and it may mean nothing. But to the coaches, it’s a pretty promising sign of good things to come.
Ah, neutral sites.
Gotta love ‘em.
London’s about the eleventieth place we’ve been over the years and while it’s uber-cool for the folks in those cities to see a game and the players, there have been some, um, memorable moments for us.
Here’s a top three lowlights.
1997, at Fort Wayne, Ind.
A guy goes in a day early to work on a feature so it turns into a three-day excursion.
I don’t want to say downtown Fort Wayne’s a dreary place but the hotel was right across the street from what was billed as, if I recall precisely, the Fort Wayne Welcome Center.
It was closed for the entire duration of the stay.
Like most of the downtown.
2001, Billings, Mont.
The hotel’s like a Do Drop Inn off an interstate on-ramp. How unexciting was it? The team flew in the afternoon of the game and left right after, not even bothering to spend a night.
1999, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Nothing wrong with the city, per se, but the gym’s really small, we’re seated in a hockey press box at the top of the stands and as I’m typing in the fourth quarter, I get smoked in the face by a rolled up t-shirt shot out of a gun by whatever the Denver Chicken is.
A wee cut on the corner of the eye and I look like a true hipster doofus as the trip continues to Dallas and Milwaukee and I’m wearing glasses with one of the arms attached by tape.
And the t-shirt was a medium.
Not to worry, there were some highlights and we’ll get to later on.
Hey, folks, this may be TMI but you probably need to know a little bit of it.
Super Wife lost a father, Super Son lost a grandpa and I lost a father-in-law on the weekend so the planned trip down the 401 to London is off, as is taking in the pre-season home opener on Wednesday.
Time to deal with real life issues, I’m afraid, and take a wee break from fun and games.
So, after tomorrow morning, I think I’m probably gone for at least a day, maybe two, depending on what the family needs. Today should be quasi-normal for comments and the like but I can’t guarantee anything after that.
We’ll get started on the regular game stuff from Minny on Friday, okay?
Okay, for sure there’s no Bosh and no Turkoglu going to London and Jay made it sound about 99.999 per cent certain there’d be no Wright and no Weems on the trip either.
So who plays?
Not that it matters in the long term and Jay says he doesn’t know yet (which I think is more politically correct than anything) but it’s going to be interesting who he starts at the three.
It’ll be Jose, DeRozan, I presume Evans against his old team and Bargnani (Evans is what I’d do, Jay may have other ideas) and the fifth? Hmm,
I honestly don’t know.
Maybe you go small with Calderon, Jack and Belinelli? Maybe go with Belinelli and make DeRozan a nominal three?
One thing’s a virtual certainty.
I polled the coaching staff last week about Amir Johnson and while he was impressive, there is no way in the world they see him as a small forward possibility.
This is ridiculous.
Minnesota 117, Milwaukee 103.
Personal fouls: 73.
Free throws: 94.
Quincy Douby, incurable Yankee fan (the Evil Empire Yankees, that is; not the Mighty Yankees of Mississauga North Baseball Association fame), is walking out of the gym yesterday:
“Hey, who do the Yanks want? Tigers or Twins?”
“Doesn’t matter, they’re an all-star team, they’re gonna win anyway.”
“But Joba can't pitch to save his soul right now and you know Burnett’s got a six-run, four-inning gem in his heart.”
“Yeah, maybe. But it doesn’t matter, they’ll still kill ‘em.”
Like I said. Incurable.
How about that
Indy 86, Phoenix 85.
We may soon have a basketball champion to celebrate in these parts.
Wonder what they’ll do for her?
Key to the city?
If they win, I’d try to get her to a pre-season game at the Air Canada Centre, introduce her to the crowd and let ‘em cheer.
Not very often there’s a hoops winner in our midst.
I’m very proud of you folks.
I’m sure many of you saw the little Q and A with Bosh in our Raptors Watch on the weekend and checked out this little exchange.
Q: What’s your favourite NBA road city?
A: New York.
I know there had to be much angst of the over-reactive kind, where people were bound and determined that meant he’s leaving for the Knicks next summer but I haven’t had a single e-mail about it.
What’s wrong with you people?
(I joke. Kind of).
After all, there was a fella, or a gal, I can’t remember, who suggested in all seriousness that Bosh isn’t being bothered by a hamstring injury, is indeed quite healthy and is being held out because some previously agree-to trade with Golden State is about to be completed.
This can be a zany place at times.