It's bright and early and here's some stuff for you
All right, I’m not messing around with travel crap and Mother Nature today. Up bright and early here to get this finished so you can all be enthralled and have something to do when you should be working or studying.
Heckuva guy, aren’t I?
Anyway, here we go from cold, cold Milwaukee:
THREE THINGS I LEARNED
He has to be better
Hedo Turkoglu, that is.
That was exactly the kind of game he had to take over and he didn’t and unless they start getting more and getting it more often from him, there’s no way they do anything other than muddle through.
Now, you know I never think one game’s entirely on one guy but, c’mon man, do something.
Go off for 30. Get a bit selfish. Take 20 shots.
The big free agent signing’s been good some nights but never really great and it’s time he has one of those great games everyone’s expecting.
I know it’s not lost on his coaches, and I’m sure it’s not lost on his teammates. They are disappointed and know he can do so much more. A couple people with titles are already making mention of it in private conversations; nothing too harsh but the criticisms are there. And they might get louder.
I think he will improve and have a greater impact on a greater number of games. But I think he better do pretty soon or the grumblings are going to get louder.
Don’t know for sure if he needs as one insider put it “a foot up his ass every minute of every day,” but something has to start getting through to him.
I know he’s got more game than he’s shown, I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it and the folks who gave him a $53 million contract have sure seen it.
About time we see it again.
A chatty fellow
We have a pretty good seat at Bucks games, on the baseline right by the visiting team bench, and it’s about as close as I’ve been at any game this season.
And let me tell you, Chris Bosh was in full throat last night.
I mentioned a couple of times in the Minnesota game that he was very talkative on defence right in front of us on the court but last night – maybe because there was no noise in the joint – saw it on the bench as well.
He was calling out screens, exhorting teammates and just talkative.
Didn’t work but still …
He was asked post game about one moment on the court, where he was getting after some teammates. And said this:
"Everybody listens. We were behind a little bit and it was all about trying to get back in the game. I was just telling everybody to keep your head up. It's a long game. We can't get hung up over one run or two quarters, anything like that. We just keep playing hard. We got back in it a little bit. We gave ourselves a chance, but we didn't stick to our principles."
A big deal?
A couple of guys I talked to last night entirely downplayed the game with Atlanta on Friday night and it’s redemptive significance.
Yes, the Hawks drilled them a week or so ago; it was the worst moment of the season by far.
But it was far, far more about what the Raptors didn’t do rather than what the Hawks did do and that’s what they need to concentrate on.
As we saw in Washington and Chicago and to a lesser degree against Minnesota but not in Milwaukee, they can get it done.
The fact that it’s the Hawks shouldn’t matter a lick.
And in other news.
I presume this news from Canada Basketball got widespread distribution yesterday.
It’d be a helluva thing to get the Olympic qualifier in Canada – and specifically in Toronto, which has the requisite number of top-notch game and practice facilities – and it’s probably going to come down to one thing.
Lots of it.
Canada Basketball needs to find a guy, or a couple of guys, or a couple of companies, to write some big old cheques to win the bid.
And unless that happens, I’m afraid Leo’s Road Warriors will be on the road again.
So if you’re out there, call Canada Basketball. They need you.
Good to see Roko last night.
And good to see him have a good game.
I like his game – and I don’t like his jump shot but I do like his game – and I think he’s an NBA player.
As I mentioned in the notes in the paper, he was a bit frustrated about his role but he got a chance to play last night and played well.
And coach Scott Skiles noticed.
“Roko is a guy that every day is the same. I probably should have given him some more looks before this, he certainly earned some more looks now. He’s good with the ball, he made shots and he’s got a burst of quickness and you can certainly tell it’s evident when he’s out there.”
A few days ago, we gave you a somewhat sappy but heartfelt list of five things I like about the game. It wasn’t comprehensive, I’m sure there’s more, but it was a nice jumping off point.
So today, let’s do the other side of the coin. The things that irk me. Again, not comprehensive but maybe it’ll give someone something to talk about.
Thunderstix and those goofy balloons they hand out to fans behind the stanchion.
They don’t do anything except make an infernal racket and I’m sure the use of voices and/or hands would make just as much. Of course, the night in Season One at the Dome when they handed them out at the wrong end and the fans still waved them was pretty comical.
It’s a game of movement and teamwork and cutting and passing. Ballet on hardwood. Four guys standing around while one guy goes one-on-one generally does nothing for me.
Thunderstix taken to the next level. Heard it last night in Milwaukee, see it in Jersey, too. All of a sudden there’s screaming and yelling and clapping and you look up in the stands and everyone is sitting there, sedate. Bogus. Make it go away.
Now, I’m as big a fan of the June Taylor Dancers and The Chicken as the next guy but, really, there can be up to six timeouts in the final two minutes of a close game and that just kills it for me. Maybe that’s why I had respect for Butch Carter as a coach, he generally let ‘em play through those final frenetic seconds. Loved it.
Yes, I know it’s got to do with TV and arenas and the like but back-to-backs, three-games-in-four-nights and four-games-in-five diminishes the product, wears down the athletes and, quite frankly, leads to some horrid basketball.
I suppose it’ll never change but if they were to lop off two weeks or so off the never-ending pre-season, that’d at least give them a little more time between games.
The product would be better, the health of the players would be better and the pre-season would be shorter.
Win. Win. Win.
Speaking of Milwaukee, where it was bitter cold this morning by the way, here’s what they read in the paper today.
Mail time, folks. There are a few in there that I can use but here’s your shot to get more in before the weekend hits.
No practice today – it’s the usual after back-to-backs – but there will be some action around the arena, I’m sure.
The two most recently injured guys, Calderon and Bargnani, are sure to be in for some treatment and to head off the inevitable questions, I don’t know when they’ll be back.
They’ll get treatment today, go through shootaround tomorrow and then they’ll see how everyone feels.
There. That should save you from asking.
Okay, off to catch the puddle-jumper to Cleveland to catch another puddle jumper to Toronto. I have no idea what time we’ll be back at the machine so if your comments take a while to get posted, well, tough noogies.
I’ll get to ‘em when I can.