I can't imagine this Sunday matches a week ago for buzz or intensity.
But it's still a game, and we're still here to chronicle it.
I can't imagine this Sunday matches a week ago for buzz or intensity.
But it's still a game, and we're still here to chronicle it.
Thanks, as always.
Have at it, see you tonight just before 6 p.m. for the game, right?
Q: Hey Doug, since NEDA lost its government funding they have suspended operations and basically lost their personnel to other jobs. I am doubtful the government will step up to save the program, do you think an organization like MLSE would have interest in sponsoring it? It seems pretty obvious that private interests will have to ensure the future of competitive basketball on this country's national teams.
Peter S, Hamilton
A: Canada Basketball is one of the leaders in a fight by organizations representing teams to get the government more involved with funding but it’s an uphill fight.
I think NEDA (a program where high school students played and studied year ‘round) was one of the best things that organization’s ever done and it’s a shame it’s been dropped.
That said, I think the private and corporate sector does have to get more heavily involved but the funding needed now is to run programs, what with four teams going to world championships this year, a perfect chance to gain invaluable experience.
MLSE has done an excellent job helping out, with manpower, money and by letting the national teams use its Air Canada Centre facility and I know there are plans to even enhance that role in the future.
Q: Hi Doug. Great blog. Non-Raptors question although I'm extremely pleased with what they are doing now. I have a question about journalism. What are your thoughts on ex-NBAer's Paul Shirley's article on Haiti? http://www.flipcollective.com/2010/01/26/if-you-rebuild-it-they-will-come-by-paul-shirley/ (feel free to delete link if you publish this) As a jounalist, do you think that ESPN should have fired him for this or is it his right as a journalist to write whatever he feels?
Michael B, Ajax
A: I don’t think he should have been fired, no. Not at all. It may not be a popular opinion that he expressed (in a nutshell that aid for Haiti may not be the best use of money or support) but it was his and if you ask people to write opinions and they don’t cross any major boundaries (legal, racist, sexist, what have you) you need to live with what they right write.
Q: Hi Doug. I love how Bargnani's playing this year but have a question on his conditioning, as in does it exist. Even if we take his sore ankle into account for the Knick's game, his numbers on back-to-backs are significantly worse than his average. (Conversely give him 2 or more days and he's dominating)
Is it a matter of his diet or working out? Or is it because he's adapting to a new position and hasn't learned how to pace (ie play it efficiently) yet?
T Y, Toronto
A: You’re argument that he is “significantly worse” on the second night of back-to-backs, I’m afraid, is flawed.
Not counting the New York game – and I’m giving him a pass because his ankle and foot were obviously bothering him – in the nine other times he’s played back-to-back this year (he missed a game in Milwaukee with the back), Bargnani has averaged 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
That’s two baskets below his average, hardly consequential, and an increase in his rebound totals.
Included in those games were a 22-point night at Dallas and a 17-rebound game at Indiana.
So I don’t think there’s a “because” because the argument’s wrong on its face.
Q: Hey Doug. I know I know, I've submitted about 10 e-mail questions this week alone but if you get a chance could you dig up the answer for this one for me:
What is the Raptors longest win streak?
For some weird reason I can only find their longest losing streak online...odd.
A P, Markham
A: You need to get a better interweb, I fear.
The longest winning streak was nine games, from March 22 to April 9, 2002.
The longest home winning streak was also nine, from Feb. 23 to March 8, 2000.
Q: Hey Doug, with all these players hitting scoring milestones in the past month or so: Kobe (25,000 Pts) Timmy and Dirk (20,000 Pts), Nash (8,000 Assists) it got me thinking about how stats are counted. Are they just regular season totals? Do they include post season and pre season? Similarly coaches all-time records are they just based on regular season games? Are post season stats counted entirely separately?
Matthew M, Toronto
A: They are just regular season numbers, the league and teams keep track of post-season records separately.
Q: Hey Doug, you mentioned the Wiz may not be able to void Gilbert Arenas contract. If that's not an easy void, what type of player actions would make a voided contract easily produced?
Manny G, Mississauga
A: I don’t know, except to say that the “morals” clause in the collective bargaining agreement is vague enough that any good lawyer can argue it’s not applicable. A player once choked his coach and didn’t lose his contract; others went into the stands to beat on fans and escape with their deals still intact.
Q: Hey Doug, do you ever feel tempted to bring out the comments you put up at the beginning of the year about giving the team time, and seeing how things progress? They would seem almost prescient now. (Got any stock tips?)
My real question has to do with "working the refs". It seems that a lot of players question/argue calls and this is supposed to plant seeds for the future to get a break on calls. However, this doesn't make sense to me. The closest analogy I guess us regular folk have would be if you got, say a speeding ticket. "Working the cops" would make things a whole lot worse, and I would think it would be better to be nice as opposed to argue. Can you expand on this at all?
Sohail G, Collingwood
A: I think the byplay between players and refs and coaches and refs is just that: byplay. No malice aforethought, it’s forgotten as quickly as it’s said. It’s just a facet of the game given the nature of the interaction.
Some refs welcome it, some are disdainful of it and I don’t think it works, regardless of the manner in which it’s delivered.
Q: Hey Doug, I was all for naming the franchise "The Huskies" back in the day. Unfortunately, Jurassic Park was quite the hit back in the 90's. I'm loving the throwback jerseys. To me, it seems like they may be making a transition back to the Huskies. It makes sense, as the team colors (blue/white) would then be consistent with EVERY other T.O. team. How likely is it that the franchise will be re-named? Also...do you think 'Raptors' is a somewhat ridiculous team name?
Craig S, Halifax
A: Not going to happen. I don’t know that it’s “ridiculous” more than a bit out-dated but, you have to admit, it’s unique.
And the last thing they should do is go to blue and white to match other Toronto franchises, you want your brand to be unique.
That felt like an odd Friday, didn’t it?
No game, no practice, no nothing.
(And it means there aren’t a lot of snippets here and it’s a bit shorter than usual; giving you more time to spend in the bosom of your family today)
He said “ball?”
Seriously, this whole Hedo post-game interview kerfuffle, where he answered a taken-aback Jack Armstrong with one almost-indecipherable word after the Knicks game has taken on some zany life of its own.
I saw it, I was kind of mystified at the abruptness of it, just as I was kind of happy that he expanded on it seconds later after a follow-up question.
It really should haven’t caught too many by surprise, he’s been suggesting he’d better with the ball more often all season. That part of it wasn’t new.
And as I’ve mentioned more than a few times, I think he’s involved in the vast majority of plays when he’s on the court, with the ball in his hands on virtually every crucial possession, and it’s a matter of him doing more with it when he’s got it.
Anyway, that’s not the point because it’s an old one.
The point is, we – the collective we – are always miffed when we get the same old boilerplate stuff in answers to questions that are often mundane in the aftermath of games.
Finally, a guy does something out of the ordinary and in many circles he’s more ripped for it than he was praised for the game he played.
I have no idea why he answered the way he did, maybe he misheard Jack, maybe he was ticked off about criticism, maybe he just thought he was answering a questions, but it was better than some stock cliché, wasn’t it?
In this age of mirco-analysis and this interweb fad and having to feed the conversational beast 24/7/365, we tend to get caught up in the most mundane of issues and blow them entirely out of proportion.
Like this one.
But the funny thing is, when we do scrums with Turk after games in the locker room, or even after practices, he’s got a tendency to give answers that are almost too long, answers that provide, um, answers, but sometimes include rambles.
Okay, I’ll go over this once here to head off the questions.
The game on Sunday is at 6 p.m. because of television rules.
ABC “owns” a broadcast window when it shows games and it has two tomorrow, Denver-San Antonio at 1 and the Lakers-Boston at 3:30.
Teams can play games in those “windows” if they want but they cannot broadcast them, the NBA and ABC want all the eyes.
So it’s a silly 6 p.m. start here.
You know what else didn’t happen on Friday?
The Hallowed Halls of York University didn’t come tumbling down when an interloper got amongst the academics.
In Indiana, where things remain a tad out of whack (and I wonder if the Pacers won’t make some jarring trade at the deadline), the inimitable Mike Wells had this to say.
Can I just say that I am entirely against minus-18 C weather? Best thing about it is that Super Dog doesn’t lollygag when she goes out to take care of business. But, dang, it’s cold outside.
Hey, you know who got lost in all the Turk Played Great, How About That Bosh Drive And What’s Wrong With Andrea stuff from the other night?
Man, that kid’s going great, isn’t he?
Look at his last three games: A total of 13-15 from the floor, 16 rebounds (five on the offensive glass) and, yes he fouled out against the Knicks but he was energetic and not many of the fouls – to the best of my recollection without looking at the tape – were of the silly, not-moving-the-feet-on-defence variety.
The question on everyone’s mind is what happens to him when Reggie Evans comes back (and in case you’ve been under a rock, the expectation on Reggie’s return is the game after the all-star break).
I suspect Jay, like most coaches, doesn’t really like to play a four-bigs rotation and that’s going to cause an interesting dilemma for the coach, if Reggie is ready to contribute right away.
What I suspect will happen is that Jay’s going to have to at least investigate playing four bigs and perhaps limiting Amir’s minutes every now and then.
It’s a nice problem, I guess, since Johnson and Evans bring two different styles to the court, but it’s going to be problem nonetheless.
Hmm, as I glance at the in-basket, it seems a wide majority of mailbag submissions have now been answered with the Hedo stuff up above.
So, folks, one last chance to submit some, the Great Yankee Buntoss isn’t until 7 or so (unless there’s an early special Coaches Meeting to get ready for it) and that gives me a few hours to get some work done.
If anyone deserves a day off, it’s these guys, don’t you agree? That was a tough, relatively gritty win in tough circumstances; not something we usually see here from The Heroes Of The Hardcourt and they deserve a day of rest.
Like I do.
And you do, too.
Let’s all coast today.
That’s what they were talking about
We’ve seen, and discussed, all kinds of growth in Andrea Bargnani’s game this season, mostly in his post offence, but there were two plays late last night that really stood out to me.
And go to what Jay’s been saying for months, that if Bargnani does “the other things” he’s way more valuable.
The blocked shot on Harrington with 59 seconds left was huge, just as it was for Bargnani to stick with the miss and grab the loose ball.
And the way he defended Harrington the final Knicks possession, closely and aggressively out at midcourt (and I’m pretty sure Bargnani got a hand on the ball at least once) was stuff we hadn’t really seen too often.
In days gone by, Bargnani let his offence dictate is defence and there’s no question his offence was missing last night, in no small part because he was bothered by a sore ankle. (I’m told by people in the know that that was more of an issue than a foot during the game).
But when he couldn’t make a shot, he still made a play and it’s another step for him.
It’s what stars do
Can we now, once and for all, put all this crap about Chris Bosh and fourth quarters and not being The Man to rest?
Can we just make it go away? Like forever.
Not only does he make the game-winning basket on a huge, tough, determined drive (kind of like the Philly game except from the other side of the court) but he stays with a tough defensive assignment the next time down the floor and blocks Tiny Nate Robinson at the rim.
It’s been said of a long, long time in these parts that Bosh is truly a great player and a great finisher and all he ever needed was better players around him to let his team flourish and he to be even better since opponents would have to worry about other Raptors.
And with the way Bargnani’s going and the way Jose’s been going and Jarrett and last night, Turk, we’re seeing just how dominant Bosh can be.
We’ve said forever that it’s never about one guy, never has been, never will be and we’re seeing with Bosh how true that is.
He’s getting help, and he’s playing out of his mind.
Pretty nice to watch, isn’t it?
I was stunned, too
No, I didn’t know Turk could dunk, either.
I figured he could. But three times in a game? One a drive down the lane that was not only powerful but, dare I say, quick?
Heckuva game by the favourite piñata of impatient fans, wasn’t it?
I have no idea where it came from or when it might come back but the sense was he wanted to dominate from the start and did.
I haven’t watched the replay closely enough but it struck me during the game that he didn’t have the ball any more than he usually does, they still ran dribble-handoff stuff through him about 80 per cent of the time, but that he simply did more with it when he had it.
And he made a shot or two, which I always knew he would eventually do.
I don’t think anyone’s ready to pronounce him 100 per cent back but I think even the greatest of detractors would have to admit he’s getting there.
There are other tidbits, too. Like …
I see in Dave’s notes that Dino Meneghin, an iconic Italian star, was at the game in his role as president of the country’s basketball federation, trying to convince Bargnani, Belinelli and Gallinari to play for Italy this summer.
Word is that he didn’t get a yay or a nay from any of them and it looks like we’re headed for another summer questioning whether key Raptors should play for their countries or not.
So let’s get this out there right now: Yes, if they want to, they should. Without question.
Just like Turk should play for Turkey, Bosh for the United States, Jose for Spain and if Rasho shocks us by making a Slovenian Comeback, he should, too.
We’ll have this debate a lot, I’m sure, because the whole “they’re-main-obligation-is-to-the-team-that-pays-them-the-most” issue won’t ever really go away.
But it’s really quite a simple decision to me: Representing your country is one of the greatest things an athlete can do; I’m not sure some people understand that, but it is.
And they should.
If they want.
Ask me what I’m doing today.
“What are you doing today, Doug?”
“Thanks for asking. I’m about to head to York University to take part in their annual Sports Business Seminar and, yes, I fear for the future of higher education if they’re listening to me but they asked and I’m glad to help.”
Seriously, this is now two things in a week for me out among the people (Hi, Ernst and Young!) and the next thing you know, someone’s going to show up with a camera, some pizza and soda and I’ll be truly at the top.
In New York, one of the local rags wrote this about that big game.
(Speaking of the Knicks, as I’m watching Nate Robinson hang on a rim like it’s the first time he’s touched one, and David Lee preen after the huge accomplishment of making an uncontested dunk, and Al Harrington flick out his shirt like he’d just made a shot to win a game, I’m thinking: That team is far too full of itself for one that’s got such a horrid record. And I’m wondering if there’s a correlation there and I’m thinking, yeah, there is.)
Getting back to Italian stuff for a minute, I don’t know if this catches on, or if it should, but an Irregular sent an e-mail this week suggesting we refer to Marco’s penchant for zaniness as “tiro ignorante.”
Seems there’s a somewhat legendary Italian national team player, Gianluca Basile (a guy I remember being out of his mind good in the Athens Olympics semifinals) who would take a rather entertaining or ill-advised shot every now and that’s what his offence became known as in some circles.
I guess the literal translation is “ignorant shots” and that’s far from what they are, but it’s an apt, and cute, description.
When I mentioned this to Marco, he was rather taken aback.
Let’s just say he thinks his skills are far, far better than Basile’s, an opinion shared by others in the Italian basketball community I spoke to the other night at the Heat game.
Anyway, no idea if that’s interesting or not, but it’s an item.
Speaking of items, there’s always room for another mailbag question or two; don’t forget to send ‘em here today because we’ve got an early close this week thanks to the Mighty Yankee Parents Night Out Tomorrow which, if history holds, could be legendary.
Back for another night of fun and frivolity?
The wireless issues that plagued us this afternoon seem to have been resolved so we might get through the night unscathed.
At least I hope so
Join Doug Smith at noon Thursday for a live basketball Q&A, as the Raptors get ready to take on the New York Knicks.
Another home win, another pretty solid outing, and a season-high two games over .500?
Man, things are going pretty good, aren’t they?
How many of you are waiting for the other shoe to drop?
But for now, rejoice!
And read this.
The right moment
Oh, those are a crafty group of coaches on that Raptors staff.
For most of the first three quarters, I’m wondering when they’ll send a second defender at Dwyane Wade or try to trap him coming off screens because they’d just been forcing him one way with only one defender.
Well, here comes the fourth quarter and here comes an entirely different look and it was all planned, as it turns out, according to Jay after the game:
“Throughout the game, we tried to show him different guys ad then we were sitting on trapping him. We waited and waited and waited and finally, in the fourth quarter, we thought it was time to hit him and make somebody else to have to make shots because the way he had it going for a while there, it was one of those games where you didn’t want to give him the opportunity to take over.
“We didn’t want to wait too long but he gave it up and other guys missed shots so the strategy worked.”
So there is method to the apparent madness.
As good as it gets
I’m not sure Antoine Wright’s played a better game this season that he did against Miami and he was a huge part of the result.
Two plays back-to-back stood out.
Near the end of the third quarter, he wheels and deals in the lane (not a warp speed but with some determination) and misses a Marco-esque layup. But to his credit, he stays with it, grabs the rebound, gets up another shot the refs say was goal-tended, gets fouled and makes the free throw.
The next Miami possession – and this was a good play I bet few noticed – the Heat miss a shot. There are four or five guys battling pretty hard for the miss but Wright sneaks past them and steals the miss along the baseline. Heady play.
Not sure exactly when it was, all I know was that it came in the second half because my notes are indecipherable, but there was an Andrea Bargnani move that perfectly sums up his development.
He got the ball at the perimeter on the left side and took off towards the basket; we had a perfect view of it on the angle he took.
He beat his man rather easily – and that’s not out of the ordinary – but when the second defender slid over to help, I think everyone in the gym expected a charge because, well, because that’s what he does.
But instead of barreling full tilt into whoever was there, he made a subtle move to his left, got his hip around the defender and finished with a finger-roll-like layup without the slightest bit of contact.
Pretty solid move from a guy who’s showing more solid moves every single game
In other, you know, stuff …
How screwed up are the Washington Wizards now?
They can’t trade Gilbert, not sure than can trade either of Butler or Jamison because they don’t know what the final resolution of the Arenas situation will be and who knows if GM Ernie Grunfeld will survive this awful mess.
But I give David Stern credit because the penalties he doled out yesterday made by far the most sense to me. Yes, it was beyond stupid what Arenas and Crittenton did but to do more than a rest-of-the-season-timeout would have, in my opinion been entirely piling on.
It’s a strong message but not too strong; stupidity will be penalized but there is a measure of compassion.
And I’m not entirely sure the Wizards, who are at least a bit complicit in this whole mess because of the way the coddled and cow-towed to Arenas over the years, are going to be successful if they try to void Gilbert’s contract.
Oh, I’m sure they’ll try and, yes, he’ll have that criminal record; and, yes, what he did was unconscionable but we live in a society where second chances abound and I don’t think they’ll end up winning what’s going to be a court-arbitrated decision.
In Miami, Ira said this about that and the sneaking suspicion we both had is that it’s going to be a 35-game race between Toronto, Miami and Charlotte to see who finishes five, six and seven in the East.
Personally, I think the Raptors are heavy favourites to win and I think you can throw a blanket over the other two.
He was Disappointed DeMar at news he didn’t have to subject himself to the Rookie-Sophomore Silliness on all-star weekend (and I really think it’s the weakest part of the entire affair) but at least the kid could crack wise a little bit:
“I might have more legs for the dunk contest.”
Want to talk today?
How’s noon fit everyone’s schedule? Imagine it’ll work a wee bit better than yesterday when things slowed a Hakeem Olajuwon crawl thanks to the I-Thing launch and about a zillion live chats at 1 p.m.
Anyway, I’ll be here. Will you?
Today’s the day, folks
All-star Subs Day.
A week or so ago I gave you what I thought the rosters would look like after the coaches voted with the provision that I could change my mind.
Well, I did a bit.
So, without further ado, I think this might be the way the coaches filled out their ballots, at least if they were, you know, as smart as I am.
Remember, coaches had to pick two guards, two forwards, a centre and two others and had some leeway on deciding who was, say, a centre or a forward and a guard or a forward.
Chris Bosh, Gerald Wallace, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Andrew Bogut.
Brandon Roy, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Deron Williams and Zach Randolph.
You’re welcome, maybe this’ll save you some time tonight.
Black Stars update!
I know it’s been a while (I think the last I mentioned it was when the tournament began, which seems like July) but the big semifinals of the African Cup of Nations goes today.
Black Stars vs. Nigeria at 11 a.m. Eastern time and Algeria-Egypt at 2:30 p.m.
Just so you can tune in the TV to catch it.
Speaking of tonight, let's see what the Post has to say for comic relief.
Oh, and speaking of tonight, I won’t be in the Garden, this was a long-scheduled Dave trip, we were supposed to split the trips to New York but I had to bail at the last minute a couple of weeks ago.
The plan, after a nice day of laundry, house-cleaning and, if there’s a Supreme Being some quiet time somewhere, is for a usual in-game thing for the 7:30 start.
See some of you then, barring any unforeseen developments.
Pretty busy day today, DeRozan, rookie game, Arenas.
Lots of work
And now a game.
Is this a snub?
You could sure make that case.
Just got word from the NBA on the rosters for the Rookie-Sophomore silliness as part of all-star weekend and, as a surprise to me, there’s no DeMar DeRozan on the rookie team.
Instead, the panel took this auspicious group:
Tyreke Evans of Sacramento, his Kings teammate Omri Casspi, Stephen Curry of Golden State, DeJuan Blair of the Spurs, Jonny Flynn of Minnesota, James Harden of Oklahoma City, Taj Gibson of Chicago, Brandon Jennings of the Bucks and Jonas Jerebko of Detroit.
I can’t argue with a lot of those suggestions except Jerebko. No way I’d take him over DeRozan but they never asked me for my vote.
The two of them score about the same, Jerebko has better rebounding stats but DeRozan’s a bigger part of a better team.
I think they got it wrong.
And by “they” I mean NBA assistant coaches, who were the voters in this.
The sophomore team?
Chicago's Derrick Rose, Miami’s Michael Beasley, Eric Gordon of the Clippers, Kevin Love from Minnesota, Brook Lopez of the Nets, Danilo Gallinari of the Knicks, Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City and a pair of Grizzlies: Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo.
Think that’s a pretty solid group.
Anyway, that’s the latest I’ve got for you at the moment.
Join Doug Smith for a live Q&A at noon Wednesday, as the Raptors prepare to take on the Miami Heat.
What’s this? A “big” game on a Wednesday night in January? Seems that way.
We’re standing on the concourse waiting for practice to end Tuesday – a few minutes before we saw DeMar come limping out of the gym – when a great visitor from the west came out of the elevator.
Wayne Embry, who remains the guy who started this whole Raptors renaissance in motion by getting the Knicks to take Jalen Rose way back in the day, is in town and it can only mean one thing:
Trade deadline’s coming and all hands are on deck to talk about it.
Along with the presence of Jim Kelly, who we saw out and about Sunday evening, it’s time for those kinds of organizational meetings that happen once or twice a year.
(Trust me, Wayne’s pretty anti-winter and to see him here instead of at his warm Arizona home means it’s a command performance).
With the trade deadline three weeks from today, it’s about time to start figuring out what’s out there in the deal world anyway.
About the only thing of real interest I’m hearing from the Usual Suspects I talk to in the organization is that there is some chatter from teams interested in Antoine Wright but that the Raptors would be looking at an upgrade at the backup two-three spot without a huge financial burden if they were to move him.
The sense I’m getting from these conversations is that there’s nothing huge percolating at the moment and that there’s not a lot of activity being initiated by the Raptors.
But I warn you – and I warn you every year about now – things can happen relatively fast and just because there isn’t anything going on now doesn’t mean there won’t be anything going on Feb. 18 when it comes time to fish or cut bait.
The first clue was the blue shoes on a couple of guys at practice Tuesday.
Tonight’s a Huskies Night!
Yep, lots of extra pressure on the lads against Miami tonight as they put a all-time unbeaten record in Huskies blue and white on the line.
Forget about the 2-0 this year.
These guys have never, ever, not once been beaten in the throwback jerseys.
They’re 3-0 (opening night, 1996) and if that’s not enough to add to the hype, I don’t know what is.
Chat today? How about noon? Work for you? It works for me so let’s do it.
It was rather interesting to listen to Chris Bosh talking about the Miami game and what kind of buzz he expected – if any – for a Wednesday night game in the middle of January for a team that’s having a hard time selling out a lot of games this year.
The thing that got me was this one:
“Any time Dwyane Wade is here a lot of Dwyane fans come out and there’s a lot of hype behind the game.”
Coming on the heels of the Kobe love-fest from a large chunk of Sunday’s game, it seems people do take notice of these things.
I have to admit, I don’t remember any particular time the fans were all about Wade like they are all about Kobe, but I guess there has been some open appreciation showing.
Everyone I talked to about Sunday’s Laker game was uber-impressed with the energy of the crowd down the stretch but there were some eyebrows raised about the number of No. 24 jerseys in the crowd.
The Heat are starting a stretch of something crazy like 11 of their next 13 games on the road or somesuch and here’s how Ira wrote it up this morning.
Speaking of Huskies Night, it’s also a night to “recognize” a blast from the past.
Hello, Doug Christie, it’s your time to shine.
Yes, I’m told she’ll be here, too.
As part of daily session with us – a growing number of “us” these days because they’re winning and all the part-timers are coming around – Jay was asked about Marco and his shot selection and how often he cringes when a wacky one gets hoisted up. Jay surveys the crowd around him and gives us this:
“I don’t think I’ve ever complained about any shot any of our guys have taken. The last time I complained about a shot somebody took was probably when Sherman took one back in the Olympics.”
Of course, Sherman Hamilton, who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for being one of the best broadcasters in the game in this country, is standing right there in the thick of the scrum and takes umbrage.
“I was open when I took that shot.”
And as I recall a lot of Sherm’s shots, I bet it went in.
All joking aside, when Jay added this, his point was made:
“Guys aren’t going to take shots thinking they’re going to miss, they’re going to take shots thinking they’re going to make them. I like to give guys the freedom to be able to shoot the basketball.”
Not only is that music to the ears of players, it makes entire sense because, as we’ve pointed out numerous times this year, offence is not a concern with this team; it’s going to score enough points to win on an overwhelming percentage of nights and if some of those points come on unorthodox shots, so be it.
Okay, here’s the deal.
The First Annual Winter Celebration And Reunion Of The Mighty Yankees – Parents Only Because There Will Be Intoxicants is taking place Saturday night at a local Swinging Hotspot (first one to get that esoteric lyric reference wins undying gratification) and that’s sure to not only take that evening out of the work rotation but make Sunday morning a tad, um, cloudy.
The results are in:
You people are good; and it's not just Young 'Uns here. Nice to know People Of A Certain Age read this stuff. Well done.
So get the mail in early by clicking here because the usual Saturday night at the desk watching games and answering isn’t going to happen.
A few of us had a very interesting chat with Bruce Kidd on Tuesday morning before practice; he’s the new chairman of the Team Up Foundation, which is the new conglomeration of charitable groups representing the various Maple Leaf Sports teams.
I’ll get into this a little bit more in the next couple of days but Kidd – one of the most respected educators, social commentators and leaders I’ve come across – seems to think his group can take a lead in helping change some blights on youth today because, as he said:
“We’re facing a crisis of physical inactivity in our society.”
I do think the now-defunct Raptors Foundation, run by a couple of hardest-working in show business, did a very good job with its programs to promote fitness, literacy and other issues and I can only hope the well-respected Kidd keeps that good work going.
Giant corporations like Maple Leaf Sports do have an obligation to do more than take money and disappoint fans and they need to be more active in important social causes.
Doug Smith has been a sportswriter for more than 30 years, a journey that's included seven Olympic Games, numerous and varied championships and more dreary regular season games than he'd care to remember. Here, he'll talk about them all, as well as current events and pop culture. (Just don’t ask him about music nowadays — it's not his cup of tea).