Some this, some that, some time to take it easy
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.