A rather key stretch cometh
A rather calm day around there Monday, they got some good work in (Belinelli and Wright went through the whole session, which is significant) and there no huge issues to deal with.
Just as we like it.
Yeah, it always gets back to the pucks, doesn’t it?
Jay’s asked yesterday about the importance of these games coming up – the ones against mainly second-tier Eastern Conference rivals – and he goes all hockey on us.
“These are big ones. I don’t think our guys understand what a four-pointer means but that’s what it is. These are big games because they’re teams who we’re going to be competing against in the East. It can create some separation or it can tie things up.”
Seriously, though, the stretch is rather important.
Indy, Charlotte, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Washington, Chicago in the next eight with a Grey Cup Sunday visit by Phoenix to break up the monotony.
It’s too early to say they need to get six of them, or even five of them, but if they want to get some of that separation, this would be a good time to start getting some of it.
It’s tough that five of them are on the road but the world’s a tough place and if you want to be good, you need to win some hard ones away from home.
I’d say 5-3 going through this stretch, which would get them .500 after 22 games would be an admirable start for a shade over a quarter of a season.
Remember, this is not a 50-win team, it doesn’t look like. I’d say 43 is still a pretty good guesstimate and seeing how the schedule eases somewhat in the second half, hovering around .500 between now and Christmas isn’t a bad thing at all.
You can say what you will about the schedule and eight games on the road out west in the first 12, the 21 back-to-backs and whatever other minor complaints there might be but I, for one, am thankful for one thing:
Orlando’s not coming back the rest of the year
Here’s one thing I love: Readers write, professing regular attendance here and for in-game blogs and chats and it’s all very flattering.
Then the question: When will Reggie Evans be back?
So, part of our almost daily attempt to bring everyone up to speed, the answer: No ones. Could be two weeks, could be four. Jay said he’ll go on this trip to see a specialist for his foot.
It’s a mid-foot sprain which is a very delicate injury, apparently. The last thing they want is for him to come back to soon, maybe break one of the billion or so bones in there and have to have some kind of surgery.
(No, surgery is not being contemplated, it’s the worst possible result, please don’t ask when it’s scheduled).
That Amir Johnson, what a cut-up.
As he’s leaving the practice gym, we notice he’s walking a bit gingerly on the left knee he banged up Sunday.
So we point out that he’s walking like a broken-down, 50-something sportswriter.
Glances over his shoulder walking out and says:
“I’ve go the Alvin limp.”
So we arrive at practice yesterday ready to wait out the requisite 45 minutes or so on the concourse before we’re invited in to see the final few minutes of the workout.
And it’s like we landed on some Hollywood movie set.
Got a couple of those green screens set up so they can superimpose some background on the pictures or video, cameras on tracks on the ground, cameras suspended from tracks above.
There’s more equipment lying around than we’ve seen any day this season and I’m sure they’re shooting some elaborate television commercial.
All for a FIBA-arranged photo shoot for Hedo Turkoglu to get some shots to promote next summer’s world championships in Turkey (the tournament I’ll be covering, right boss?)
So Turk’s leaving the practice gym, the team’s uber-organized media relations department corrals him to remind him. Turk says, “what photo?”
Claritan. Sinutab. Every imaginable Tylenol product ever produced and still, nothing.
I swear, if this cold doesn’t go away, I’m sacrificing a live chicken or something.
No, not a Chicken. A chicken.
It’s happening already
Changes to schedule when television networks realize teams are very, very bad, matchups they thought in August would be good are horrible and alterations are made.
Luckily, no one who runs an American network really gives a rat’s bum about the Raptors so there’s no impact on them.
Yet. But that ESPN job in New York late in the season will absolutely be in jeopardy if both teams are bad and I guess there’s a chance for that.
Already, they’ve dumped Phoenix-Minnesota for Milwaukee-Oklahoma City next week (and I don’t imagine they’ve blown off a Suns game for a Bucks one ever, which tells you something) and then they’re also whacking Detroit at Philly in early December for Chicago-Atlanta.
Usually, the networks like to let the season play out a bit more before they start making changes, I think this tells us they’re worried about building viewership through the season and aren’t willing to take dogs early.
And in this regard, ESPN and ABC have it all over TNT. That network’s pretty much locked into a season of games because the league doesn’t routinely schedule a third Thursday night game.
Guess that’s why Charles complains about the games he’s forced to sit through sometimes late in the season.
Mike Wells, of Indianapolis Star fame, sets up this doozy thusly, with news of a Pacers roster change.
I don’t know much about dancing but I’m pretty sure if you fall down, your chances of winning a major television competition dwindled significantly.
Speaking of FIBA, today’s a big, big day.
The draw for next summer’s world women’s championships in Czech Republic (the tournament I’ll also be covering, right boss) is being held and we’ll find out who Canada’s paired with in the opening round.
Oh, right. Since we had the largest attendance for a game-day chat last week when we went at 1 p.m., we’ll go back to that today, if that’s all right with you.
Given shootaround media goes until 11:30 or so, not sure when GruntTV gets up on the air but the chat seems to be working better the earlier we go.
See some of you then.