Some pap, some drivel and some wildly entertaining nuggets.
All right, four in a row. Everyone feeling somewhat better about the Heroes Of The Hardcourt?
I know, it’s not like they beat the Lakers, Magic, Celtics and Cavs but the schedule is what the schedule is and beating bad teams counts as much as beating good ones. And we all know that just because an opponent is allegedly weaker doesn’t mean a thing where these guys are concerned.
THREE THINGS I LEARNED
One big play
The dagger came with just about a minute left on the Weems dunk but it was set up by one of the most under-stated plays of a big game from Chris Bosh.
It was simply effort – and I know it should be commonplace but we all know it isn’t – but when he reached around or over a defender to tip a missed shot back out to Andrea Bargnani, it was the kind of little play that decides close games.
It set into action a chain of events where Bargnani didn’t force anything and held the ball to make the right pass, Turkoglu did what he was supposed to do and drive the ball rather than shoot it and they got a huge basket out of it.
There were all kinds of questions, and all kinds of angst, about why there was such a limited role for Sonny Weems early yesterday.
I had people wondering if he was sick, if Jay had lost his marbles, if he was hurt.
So, intrepid scribe that I am, I went to a pretty good source the first chance I got to find out why.
And I was told by someone who’d know that the coaching staff was upset that Weems was “hugging” his man on the weak side while defending, putting him out of position to box out on the defensive boards, allowing the Pistons free passage to the glass.
And it goes to prove a point oft-made that when teams are hammering the Raptors on the offensive glass, it’s not always the bigs who are missing assignments.
Back to Bosh
Yes, he had a monster first half, 19 points and nine rebounds and it looked like a huge game was coming.
No, he didn’t score much in the second half but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
It was because the Pistons showed something defensively that few teams have tried this season.
On a handful of possessions, they had a small guy – Tayshaun Prince a lot of the times I was watching away from the ball closely –- wrestling with Bosh on the block while a big was behind him or cheating over on him not more than a yard or two away.
Made it all but impossible to quickly and efficiently enter the ball to him and that’s why he didn’t get many shots or touches in that stretch.
It’s also part of the reason the offence got so stagnant at times but, again, offence is not going to be an issue with this team and they eventually figured it out.
The swung the ball side-to-side and got good looks and even with their main offensive weapon somewhat neutralized, they got enough scoring.
And now, more.
Yes, it took 2:49 to play that marathon yesterday, TWO HOURS AND FORTY-NINE FREAKING MINUTES.
Longest non-overtime game they’ve ever played, beating by four minutes the very first regular season game in franchise history way back in 1995.
(Talk about your long-standing records? They don’t get any more long-standing that that, do they).
Anyway, as I’m sitting there two seats down from Paul Jones, I’m thinking, you know, there probably aren’t too many people who worked both of those games.
This is a little bit old but it’s also the first time we’ve been here in a few days so tardiness is allowed.
Stan Van Gundy was saying the other day in this story that the NBA should do entirely away with Christmas Day games, a radical proposal indeed and one with which I agree one kabillion per cent.
I didn’t watch a lot of games on Friday for two simple facts:
I’d rather hang with my family eating and drinking and having fun, and, just as important I guess, the games generally suck.
I understand completely that the TV networks call the scheduling show for almost the entire season and they like the live programming they can offer. Nothing is likely to change simply because Stan and I – and lots of others, I imagine – wish it to change.
If the NBA Cares, as it says it does, wouldn’t it be good to send a message to its players, coaches, fans and employees that there should be some time to spend with ones family around the holidays?
I do recall the one and only time the Raptors played on Christmas Day, back in 2001 against the Knicks.
Lots of anticipation, lots of logistical nightmares for a Grunt with a five-year-old and others connected to the team with young children and lots of bad, bad basketball.
Toronto got drilled, it was one of the most poorly played games of that year and only because a Benevolent Boss went an extra mile to make things easy on me and my family did I not hate it with red-hot intensity.
This idea of Stan’s will run counter to the thoughts of many who like to sit in front of a TV and watch endless holiday games for various reasons.
But if there were no games, don’t you think they could find something else do to?
I’ve adapted this from a wisecrack I hear in the media room after the game but in the time it’s taken you to read this far, Bennie Adams, bob Delaney and Derek Richardson have called three personal fouls, two cheapies on Andrea Bargnani.
This is how that game Sunday was chronicled down in Detroit.
Let me get this straight:
Guy somehow manages to get explosives through security and on to an airplane. Tragedy is averted only by luck, it would seem.
And now the U.S. Transportation Administration and its Canadian counterpart have decided the thing to do is give more power and responsibility to same collective group of hourly-wage employees that let this happen?
Yeah, I’m feeling far more comfortable now about my flight to Boston on Friday.
This is kind of interesting and not something I knew about until I just glanced at the post-game notes the crack PR staff of the Raptors put together.
I did realize that Toronto will finish December with a winning record regardless of what transpires on Wednesday against Charlotte.
The Raptors are now 8-6 this month and I imagine not many figured that would be happen after the ugliness of November.
But it’s also the first time since 2003 that they’ll be over .500 for December.
That strikes me as a bit surprising for some reason.
What do you think?
Of the dozen or so readers who wrote into say they would never watch this sorry bunch of heartless losers again about three weeks ago and to call them around the lottery or when Bryan/Jay/Me/Everyone was fired, how many are back?
Am I a dope or what?
(You don’t have to answer, it’s rhetorical).
I file the first of many stories to the website about 6 p.m. last night and somehow type Antoine Walker instead of Antoine Wright, getting my slowish bad three-point shooting Antoines mixed up.
An alert reader points it out about 7 p.m. in a private e-mail and we get it fixed on the web then.
So, what had I done?
Well, I’d cut and pasted the same mistake into the second game story I wrote (this one with a fresher angle for those who get their news either in the paper or first thing in the morning) and it stays there until just now, when I was again reminded – not so gently – that I’m an idiot.
It’s a hazard of having many stories, containing some similar elements, about the same game.