Of schedules and improvement and coaches as friends
Hey, there’s a game tonight.
Odd feeling, isn’t it?
They really need to get back the game-every-other-night schedule that allows some of us to get into a routine.
The one thing I got from talking to a few people around practice yesterday about this whole Revenge On The Bobcats thing they’ve got going is this:
It’s got to be more about the Raptors proving something to themselves more than showing those Dastardly Charlottes what’s up.
Jarrett Jack, by far the most outspoken guy (and since he’s something of a go-to guy for quote-starved grunts we’re quite glad of that) even alluded to it when he said even if they play well and lose a close one, he’d be, not happy or satisfied, but not crushed.
It’s about playing with the same passion and aggression they’ve shown more often than not over the last 10 games; it’s about effort and rebounding and sharing the ball on offence.
It’s not like the Bobcats, 12-17 and a scary 1-13 on the road, are some great measuring stick for a team’s progress. They’re okay at best and can scuffle along like the worst of them.
This is about personal growth for the Raptors as a team, regardless of opposition or past indiscretions. Yes, being edged by 35 that dark night in Charlotte sucked and might have been the low point of the season as a matter of fact given all the circumstances but if Toronto plays well tonight and loses by five or on a last-second shot or because they got 1-for-21 from three-point range, if they play hard and compete, it’s a good step.
Apparently there’s some pucks thing at noon today, which means the whole interweb will come to a crashing halt as people breathlessly await the news.
So because we are Proud Canadians – and because I could use the extra hour to go get new glasses and take care of some other errands – we’ll delay the usual in-game chat until 1 p.m.
See you then, right?
To borrow a phrase from a great television thespian:
Do you people know that tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve? And I read somewhere that it’s the end of the decade, too, or something like that?
I better get cracking on some end-of-year, end-of-the-decade lists, don’t you think?
Luckily, there’s no game tomorrow so Friday morning’s a perfect time to sum stuff up, isn’t it?
And it’ll give you something extra to do while you’re watching the New Year’s Day parades and I’m standing in a three-hour security line at Pearson getting ready to fly to Boston.
Speaking of summing up, here’s what Rick was up to down in Charlotte yesterday.
You’re going to be reading and hearing an awful lot of about Chris Bosh over the next little while as he surpasses No. 15 to become Toronto’s all-time leading scorer.
Even with my crappy math skills, I see tell he’s 72 points shy of the number and I guess he gets to it Wednesday in Orlando. Unless, you know, he goes off for 35 in Boston on Saturday and we all know there’s not much chance of that.
Anyway, it’s a rather significant achievement, in my mind, even if the franchise is so relatively young.
And that seems to be the opinion he holds as well.
“Really, there are only 30 franchise leading scorers in the history of the NBA, just to be in that company is very cool. I’m pretty proud of it.”
I remember the day pretty vividly last March when Charlotte came in to Toronto and drubbed the Raptors by about a dozen in a game that wasn’t that close.
It was the ninth loss in 10 games for Toronto, they were a blistering 24-45 on the season and no matter what anyone wanted or thought, it was going to be awfully hard for Bryan to keep Jay around.
I recall a day later talking to some people in the organization who were mightily impressed that Larry Brown, one of the icons of his industry, had made sure to stop by the Raptors locker room to offer support to a colleague in tough times.
Jay brought it up yesterday.
“They beat us here and he came into the locker room and talked to me and just said, ‘you’re doing the right things, keep it up.’”
The relationship between the two goes back more than a decade, actually.
(Did I mention that the year ends in like two days or something? Who knew?).
In 1999, when Canada shocked Puerto Rico in San Juan to earn a berth in the 2000 Sydney Games, Brown and Triano coached against each other and have remained friends ever since.
Oh yeah, because it’s another holiday week, let’s put out an earlier-than-usual call to fill up the mail bag. Send all your goodies here and it’ll give me something to do New Year’s Day in Boston.
As it gets crazier and crazier in Chicago, it seems (and reading this story from My Man K.C. makes it seen quite zany around the Bulls), I want to bring up one point.
And it is only for interest sake that I raise it because I know nothing and I’ve talked to no one but I bet it tweaks just a few of you. And that’s what I do, right?
Well, you know who Vinny Del Negro’s lead assistant is, right?
Well, you know who Bernie Bickerstaff once hand-picked to groom as young coach, right?
Just sayin’ is all.
I measure this out at about the usual length and want to point out that not once have I mentioned how utterly ridiculous I think it is that anyone would remotely think obtaining Tracy McGrady makes any sense whatsoever.
Yes, packaging up the four or five players you’d have to combine to get to McGrady’s salary, therefore gutting the team to get an old guy who’d play the same positions as a guy you gave a five-year contract to and a rookie you want to develop and then maybe – and in the arcane world of salary caps and free agent holds and the future of Chris Bosh it’s a maybe at best – having money to spend next summer is a great idea.
And by “great idea” I mean stupid idea.
Glad I didn’t have to mention that.