Wondering how tonight shakes out
Join Doug Smith for a live Q&A at noon Friday, as the Raptors prepare to take on the Atlanta Hawks.
I had to get this done a wee bit more quickly than usual this morning because it’s time to search the closets for parkas, gloves and hats.
Best thing about first cold snap: Super Dog becomes Super Cranky Dog and the walks are much shorter than usual.
On that note …
What’s this one mean tonight?
Not an awful lot in the big picture and as I mentioned, when I brought up the subject of redemption to a few folks the other night in Milwaukee, there were a lot of “just another game” replies.
I wonder if that’s true.
Now, the game in Atlanta last week (the Raptors were edged 146-115 in a thriller, if you don’t recall) was far, far more about Toronto’s lack of effort than anything the Hawks did, so it’s not as if Atlanta ran it up or anything.
But I suspect that deep in their heart of hearts, these fellows are thinking about putting up a bit more fight tonight, for no other reason than to show the world they can.
Of course, putting up more fight needs to be the nightly goal but I believe that this game will have a little bit more juice to it than another run-of-the-mill regular-season outing.
It won’t be the defining moment of the season and if they lose, they lose, but the manner in which they achieve the result will be something of a telling sign.
Know what I’d like to see tonight against the Hawks, if Jose can’t play?
(And I am virtually sure all we’ll find out this morning at shootaround is that they’ll make the decision at game time, so it’ll be a non-news day).
I’d like to see Turkoglu, Belinelli and Wright out on the court with Bosh and either Bargnani (same scenario as Calderon’s, I think) or Johnson when Jack needs a blow.
Marcus Banks has been okay but if they want to get Turk going or Belinelli going (more on that later) giving them some extra time and a chance to share ball-handling skills might be a good move.
It’s a different look, one the Hawks wouldn’t have seen or had time to prepare for, and is probably worth a shot.
It’s not like Toronto’s been a well-oiled machine on offence the last two games.
Oh yeah, we’ll be here to answer questions at noon so feel free to join in. Attendance has been pretty good – we haven’t cracked the 1,000 barrier yet but it’s growing – and I know there are probably a lot of you frustrated that your questions don’t get through.
Well, for the Bucks one, for instance, we were on the air for 66 minutes and got 248 questions. That’s a lot, I think. We were able to answer just over 70 (these are all figures I’m getting from the company software we use and trust they’re accurate) and that was among the busiest days we’ve had.
So, keep plugging away, we try to get to as many as we can.
I get the boarding passes for the trips this week, Toronto to Cleveland, Cleveland to Milwaukee and back again, and I notice every one’s an ‘A’ seat, like 14A, 12A, 19A and 1A.
Shoot, I think. I’m much more an aisle guy than a window guy, but they’re short flights so I’ll be okay.
Well, turns out ‘A’ seats are both aisles and windows since there’s only one seat on that side of the aircraft.
Cozy? Oh yeah.
Hawks won’t have Josh Joe Smith on Friday, he’s out with a dislocated thumb. At least what it says here in the AJC piece from the morning paper.
Guess all those people who felt the need to be so critical of the group of us who left Chris Kaman off the all-star ballot don’t have the courage of their convictions.
If they felt so badly about the snub, they could write him in as a starter, but the first returns don’t show him anywhere in the top 12.
Maybe their pens ran out of ink.
Speaking of Milwaukee, here’s a Did You Know.
Picking up this week’s New Yorker at a newsstand in the airport, I notice among the gum and candy and sundries that are for sale you can also buy cheese curds.
Don’t see that delicacy in too many airport shops, that’s for sure.
But seeing how the press room meal included spinach au gratin and mashed potatoes with cheddar, it’s not a surprise that the state’s greatest product – now that all the breweries are closed, that is – is available in many versions everywhere.
Back to the all-star ballot for a second.
See that both Bosh as a forward and Bargnani as a centre are third in the first returns.
Makes sense, I guess. But as an irregular pointed out in the comments section, the gap between Bosh and leaders LeBron and Garnett is a lot larger than you’d think.
Now, I am convinced that, if things stay the way they are, there is no doubt in my mind that coaches put Bosh on the team and if they don’t they should have their voting privileges revoked.
The interesting thing to me is that Bosh is right now ahead of Paul Pierce in voting for forwards. Pierce is having a good year but Bosh is having a far, far better one. Guess fans notice that. Which is odd.
This is a day or so old, but I hope a lot of you saw Jay’s quote from my early game story the other day about the handling of Belinelli as it affects his play right now.
"The way I play him, it’s my fault. If I don’t get him in early enough, I just don’t feel like he gets into a flow. I think we’re starting to find that out with a couple of guys. We have to get them a little bit earlier and get them a feel for the game. When that happens, they seem to play better.
“When I leave him (Belinelli) on the bench for a little bit because DeMar’s going well or I put a different sub in, he kind of gets lost. I don’t know if he starts thinking he’s not valuable or he’s not going to help us and I take the blame for that.”
It’s a nice quote and all that, went a long way to helping a quick game-over story have some oomph, but really it’s little more than a coach taking a bullet for an under-achieving player.
I guess the only rotation thing I’d do, if Jay really believes that, is make Belinelli the first sub – putting him in for DeRozan – and bringing Antoine Wright in a few minutes later for Turkoglu.
Not sure that works, though, because there seems to be a continued desire to stretch out the rookie’s first-half minutes and taking him out first cuts him back a bit.
A quandary, indeed.
But it’s easily solvable.
Maybe Belinelli, who has some very good games in the exact same rotation, should just play better more often.
Hey, you gals and guys did a good job filling the mailbag on the off-day. Didn’t see one “When’s Reggie coming back?” question, very few “woe is them” rants of despair. Good questions about the process and the league.
Way to go. But with a shindig to attend Saturday night (which is usually the Answering Hours) it’s going to have to get pretty much finished Saturday during the day, which leaves you just today to get more in.