Everyone finished celebrating?
That was some pucks game, no?
This may not be as dramatic, I warn you.
Everyone finished celebrating?
That was some pucks game, no?
This may not be as dramatic, I warn you.
Pretty good work this week, folks.
Have saved a couple to dole out during the week because, with three more off-days, pickings may get slim.
Until then, though, have at this until the start of the big pucks game but don’t forget to get back here at 7 p.m. for the game.
Q: Hi Doug. A couple of questions (with a bunch of sub-questions) regarding the recruitment of free agents...
First, I'm wondering if you could give us some insight into how teams go about recruiting free agents? What lengths do teams have to go to land a player? In particular, what did BC and his staff do last off-season to attract guys like Hedo and Jack to come play north of the border? Is it anything like in 'Blue Chips' - that movie starring Shaq and Penny Hardaway about high school players being lured by colleges?
Secondly, if you were Donnie Walsh, what do you need to do to get a LeBron, Bosh and/or Wade to play for the Knicks? Does the mystique of playing in New York still carry any weight in our globalized world? Or do you need to go after two (or more) of these players and sell them on the possibility of playing together? Assuming this is possible, of course...
Thanks for the wonderful blog.
Mike M, Ottawa
A: Not a lot of lengths, actually. They do make contact at the first possible minute – travelling to a player’s home to be there the minute talks can commence, for instance – but they pretty much lay out their financial offer, talk up their team and let the players decide. There is no huge outward recruiting in most cases.
If I’m Donnie, I appeal to their sense of competition, tell them they can make something special happen in a good city, be part of the rebirth of a once-storied franchise. Oh, and I tell them I’ll give them all the money I can.
Q: Hi Doug, so we know you are not a "fan" of the Raptors to remain unbiased in your writing. How about when you cover Olympic assignments? Is it possible to not be a "fan" of Canada, being Canadian?
Normiyuki H, Toronto
A: It is. It’s much harder but it can be done. But, truth be told, when I’m working at Olympics, I do tend to wish the best for the country’s athletes a lot of the time.
And I think in their heart of hearts, a lot of writers would feel the same way.
A lot of it has to do with the fact that most Olympic stories are generally under-told and good; better if they involve success and that’s the gist of what we do, we cheer for our stories.
Q: Hi Doug. After reading your most recent blog entry regarding what Andrea Bargnani is working on in practice got me thinking about the sensitivity of the information you share on a daily basis.
While I appreciate and enjoy reading the material, is there a concern from the Raptor coaching staff or Management that opposing teams/coaches are also reading this material which will in turn help them prepare for the team?
Thanks for all of your hard work!
Dan V. Vaughan
A: I think there is some concern, which is why we don’t see all of practice and why some information is kept quite secret and away from us. But I can’t worry about that, actually; I’m here to find out what I can to inform and entertain readers and if it’s information the team would rather not have out there, sorry.
But that’s really seldom the case; coaches and players know that opponents are going to find out quickly enough what they’re up to and no one gets too worked up by day-to-day details getting out.
Q: Hi Doug. No one wants a big showdown between the NBA and the Players Association. But here it is looming up as a major event.
Q1. It appears that the head of player's unions is a major factor in how well CBA negotiations turn out. Who is the head of the NBA Players Asscn. and what can you tell us about his/her negotiating history and positions?
Q2. When do the players really start to pay attention to the CBA negotiations?
Q3. When you get a chance, can you help us and before too long offer a summary of the major issues in these upcoming negotiations?
Q4. Many will say that the players are spoiled millionaires and who cares about their demands/needs? Others will say that players are employees too and that important personal and social issues are present when players' associations bargain with their professional leagues. Which sentiment is likely to win out in the public's mind with this next round of CBA bargaining?
Charles N, Mexico
A: I’m going to be really brief here, if you don’t mind, because this will be an ongoing topic here for months.
Billy Hunter is the executive director of the players’ association, a California-raised lawyer who’s been in his current post for about 15 years. He’s seen as a tough, but fair negotiator and criticized in some parts for being to deferential to the league.
Sadly, the majority of the players won’t get actively involved until the very last minute, although there was more vocal involvement at the all-star game meeting from big names than I can remember so early in a process.
The issues are all economic, the owners think they’re giving too high a percentage of income to the players. Contract length, the guaranteeing of all contracts for their full value and maximum salaries are also part of it.
Generally, the public sentiment seems to be on the owners side, I presume that will hold again.
Q: Hi Doug. An Olympic basketball related question. In the Sydney games, did the NBA suspend the season for two weeks for Olympic Basketball? I didn't follow basketball back then, I have no idea.
Wilson C, Toronto
A: No, no. The Olympics are held before the NBA season begins; in Sydney I remember coming back from the Games and having about two days before training camp began.
Heckuva game, no?
You want value for your entertainment dollar or time spent in front of the TV? Well, you got it with that one.
Close all the way, entertaining, lots of points, lots of big shots.
Sure, the home side didn't win but you can't have everything, can you?
No, but you can have this stuff:
Not good, at all
It wasn’t so much the shot that Hedo missed at the end of regulation time that was the big problem. After all, he’d drilled one from almost exactly the same spot to tie it with about 70 seconds left in regulation and I’ve yet to see any hue and cry about that decision.
No, the issue from this vantage point is that there didn’t seem to be any screens set anywhere to make the Cavs switch or jump or hedge or do anything.
Jarrett kind ambled past Turk from the far sideline as Turk dribbled right but didn’t hit anyone. The off-the-ball action seemed far too spectator-ish than proactive.
Giving the ball to Turk in that situation and telling him to make a play is fine with me. It’s worked before – a pass-off to Bosh to win that game at Philly comes immediately to mind – and without the security blanket of Bosh, Turk shooting would certainly be a good second option.
Yeah, he probably should have turned the corner a bit more aggressively but he didn’t; he was ticked about it, and so was Jay. But he took a shot that didn’t go in. Stuff happens.
But the other stuff is the worry; they can’t be satisfied standing around waiting for something to happen.
Those days are gone
Saw this coming in the Portland game when it became apparent that trotting out a frontcourt of Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans gave Toronto’s offence all the flow of sludge and, sure enough, about five minutes into the game, the change was made. That’s when Jay took Rasho out for Amir – a few minutes earlier than he normally would – so he could start a four-bigs rotation that wouldn’t put Johnson and Evans on the court together for even a minute.
Now, he got nothing from Johnson when he made the move – I think Amir lasted all of two minutes – but it did allow for something a break-out game from Evans.
What you saw last night was what they expected from him all season, a lot of activity on the glass, an opponent flying through the air on a tough box-out at time and general mayhem being created.
Now, maybe making post moves every time he touches the ball might not always be the best decision ever made – I think he should probably work on kicking the ball back out so they can swing around for an open three – but there’s no doubting Evans’s effort.
And if he keeps going like that, there is no way Jay can’t play a four-man bigs rotation every game.
I know it’s not something he wants to do with regularity but you can’t deny Evans time if he keeps playing like that and Johnson, last night’s rather pedestrian effort aside, needs to be out there for his length and ability to finish in transition.
Better get to work
Didn’t see it an awful lot from the Cavs but did see it enough times to think that teams are going to start doing it more often to the Raps if they’ve got the personnel.
And that’s post-up Toronto’s point guards.
Delonte West did it to Jose twice that I can recall; they had Jarrett down in there at least once, too; and it came on the heels of Portland having some success with Andre Miller on the block, too.
Neither Jack nor Calderon have a lot of experience holding guys off on the block, or with moving them out of there by five or six feet. I would expect them to get some more work on it in practice now that two teams in a row have tried to exploit things down there.
Just a wee bit more, if you don’t mind.
And some of it has to do with basketball.
This doesn’t, though.
I hadn’t given much real thought to the Canadian Olympic women’s pucksters, to tell the truth.
But now I love ‘em.
Every one of ‘em.
What’s better than dragging out a bottle of champagne and a couple of beers and a cigar or two and showing some unadulterated joy at winning a gold medal at home over your arch rival and capping off four years of hard work.
You’re supposed to celebrate stuff like that, aren’t you?
And if those stick-in-the-mud IOC types – who have been known to have a few glasses of complimentary champagne every now and then if they want – have a problem with that? Tough noogies.
Here’s a newsflash: Athletes let loose when they win. Egads!
And, yes, believe it or not, sometimes letting loose involves intoxicants and cigars. Shocker!
Way to go, ladies.
Oh, right, basketball.
This isn’t official as I type this in the pre-dawn hours but the whispers I was hearing around the arena last night that it’s questionable whether or not Chris Bosh travels with the team to Oklahoma City and Houston.
Sitting out those two makes a bit of sense, no?
It gives him another week to get entirely healthy before they face the Knicks and Sixers here next week just before they head out west.
As I said, it’s not official and there could be one of those miracles but if you tune in here later on tonight or tomorrow and see a story that says he’s not going, don’t be surprised.
It was pork schnitzel on the menu in the media room last night -- $12 gets you a pretty good meal game-days – and it must have been good because we had a rather imposing visitor dining with us.
Yeah, guess the food in the locker room wasn’t up to snuff or something because he was sitting there among the peons choking back some grub a couple of hours or so before tip-off.
No, I don’t imagine he had to cough up the twelve bucks.
Usually we get scouts, and maybe an assistant coach or GM or two, and Jerry Sloan’s a regular but this is the first time I can remember a player of Shaq’s stature sitting down to sup in the room.
Right. The Cleveland report. Well, here it is.
And as an added bonus since tomorrow morning is going to be mailbag time, here’s what’s up in Oklahoma City.
As we’re sitting in a corner of the local downtown establishment (as opposed to the new local Hazelville establishment) watching the end of the pucks – high drama, indeed – they show an interview with an obviously miffed Pierre Leuders.
We couldn’t hear exactly what he said but he was quite grumbly and ticked off and kind of stormed off.
What I hoped to find out was that when the interviewer asked him what he thought of his run, he’d stared at him and said:
And then walked away.
Speaking of mail, here’s the absolute last call.
From the department of much ado about nothing, are you proud of me for having written this much and not once referring to any of our brilliant elected public servants as a “doofus.”
All right, some baby plane is going to take me to Minneapolis soon, where I will sit waiting for a couple of hours waiting for another baby plane to ferry me to Oklahoma City (what a guy will endure to miss changing planes at O’Hare) so I’m not sure when I’ll get back to these parts to deal with all your insightful comments.
But, trust me, I will.
Have fun, kids.
Getting to be the dog days of the NBA season, the slow time post-trade deadline and pre-playoffs.
Join Doug Smith at noon Friday for a live basketball Q&A, as the Raptors get ready to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
So it’s snowing and blowing here and it finally feels like a winter morning and all I can say to that is:
Bring on spring!
Seriously, this is enough, thank you very much.
The things you see that make you rub your eyes and shake your head.
We’re standing around after practice Thursday, waiting to be entertained by the musings of the eminently quotable Raptors (and, actually I’m being quite facetious) and there’s the usual hijinks going on on the court.
Alvin’s down at one end try to school someone in a one-on-game (and trash talking all the time), a couple of guys are getting up free throws and right in front of us, Marc Iavaroni’s working with Andrea, Amir and Rasho.
Usual stuff at first -- post moves, up-and-unders, jump hooks – and then the move a few more feet from the basket and run some screen-roll stuff.
And I swear, during the running of said drills, we watched Andrea peel off imaginary screens, roll hard, take a lob pass and dunk.
Now, that may not sound like much but think. Think hard.
When was the last time you saw Andrea Bargnani leap, take a lob and dunk?
I can’t remember one and I see him working after practice three or four days a week.
E Koreen mentioned it, too; and if there are two of us who don’t think we’ve seen something before, there’s a good chance we haven’t.
Now, I’m not saying they’re going to put backdoor cuts in for Andrea into the playbook or anything but they could.
I don’t know much about miracles except that I wish I could conjure one or two up every now then but I do know that it’s not easy to get that done.
And for that reason, I put it a 1-99 that we see Mr. Bosh on the basketball court tonight. Maybe even less than that.
If he’s still got some pain in his left ankle and still hasn’t done much more than stationary shooting drills this week, there’s absolutely no sense to run him out there.
This team has bigger fish to fry other than one game against a good Cleveland team on a Friday night in late-February. Bosh knows it, Jay knows it, the other players know it and so do you, really.
If Bosh knows anything, as he mentioned Thursday, it’s folly to think try and come back too early from anything.
The ankle’s getting better, the swelling’s gone, but there’s discomfort and there was some pain and that’s more than enough to spend another night in a suit.
So I’m watching the women’s pucks for a minute (I still can’t get over the longshot that it was Canada-US for gold) and the dude doing the play-by-play is picking out the famous people in the stands.
He nails Gretzky with the prorogue doofus from Ottawa, gets Michael J. Fox right and then sees one of our best Olympic athletes of all time signing autographs.
“And there’s Sara Hughes.”
And I don’t know whether to sigh in exasperation or barf.
What’s up in Cleveland?
Well, they say Shaq suffered a “significant” thumb injury last night as the Cavs laid waste to the Boston Celtics.
My man Brian Windhorst makes it sound like a pretty big win.
Got any questions? Well, I’ll be around here about noon to answer them if you’d like.
That’s what they call shooting sessions that Antoine Wright goes through with assistant coach Eric Hughes back at the Air Canada Centre most evenings after afternoon practices.
Saw Antoine give Eric a signal for a 6 p.m. get together when practice ended just after noon on Thursday and figured I’d check with Wright to see how long he’d be hanging out and shooting.
He said it really depends on the night, his mood and the willingness of the ball to go into the basket.
Sometimes if he’s making shot after shot, he can get to 250 attempts and feel good about in 45 minutes; sometimes it can be appreciably longer.
The drills are pretty much as you’d expect. Five-station shooting drills inside and outside the three-point line, one dribble pull-ups and work coming off imaginary screens.
Pretty basic stuff but as Wright said, he needs to feel each night that he’s in a good rhythm before he’s satisfied with the work.
I’m told the big pucks game doesn’t start until 9:30 Friday night? Sweet.
We may get four quarters of uninterrupted basketball and you’ll still have a chance to repair to the comfort of a nice seat to see the buik of the big game while some of us type.
Very cool for you. And me.
So, I get practice over with and a tortuous torturous time in the dentist’s chair getting cleaned up (actually, Liz wasn’t torturing me as much as helping) and was able to go check out a game.
And let me tell you, the Hawthorn Hawks had a tough afternoon.
Before a home crowd of 3, which swelled to double-digits for a few minutes after PLASP got out, I think, they were edged 48-33 by the Cougars of Queenston, a team that looked like the Lakers of the Peel Grade 8 league.
Super Son wasn’t sure what that did to their playoff hopes. I can’t imagine it did much.
Oh, and get the mail in here, please. I figure a nice night in a lobby enjoying a refreshment and doing the mailbag is a fine way to spend a Saturday eve in Oklahoma City and I need some help with good questions.
And since the most convenient way to get to Oklahoma City on a Saturday while avoiding O’Hare is to fly through – get this! – Minneapolis, by the time I eventually land amongst the tumbleweeds, I may need that lobby and a way to put travel woes out of mind.
That was rather a “blah” night, wasn’t it?
Kind of lethargic at both ends, fans more interested in a hockey game it seemed and at no time – even when they got the deficit to one in the third – was there any level of confidence that they’d come back and win.
One of those nights.
And one of those mornings:
A move made too often?
It was early in the game, first quarter if my chicken-scratch notes are to be believed, when Andrea Bargnani did it again.
He gets the ball about 18 feet from the basket, pump fakes to get his man in the air and when the guy doesn’t bite, Andrea still tries to lean in, draw contact and a foul and hoists some odd, flat, silly shot.
Didn’t get the foul – which was the right call by the officials – didn’t make the shot and it’s about the third or fourth time in the last couple of weeks I can remember him pulling off the same play.
And I don’t remember it working too often.
It’s maybe something he only wants to pull out rarely, or work more often on in practice because he doesn’t quite have it down pat.
Good, then not so good
Sometimes even hustle plays aren’t really rewarded.
A couple of minutes into the fourth quarter and Reggie Evans coverts a layup, gets fouled and is at the line, which is always an exciting proposition because you’re never sure what you’re going to get.
Well, not surprisingly, he misses the free throw, only to have Amir Johnson get on the floor scrambling after a loose ball and kick it back out; one of three offensive boards Johnson would get on the night.
Ball goes out to Sonny who gets in the lane and gets fouled.
He makes his first one but – you know what’s coming – he misses the second, the Blazers get the ball and all the Raptors get out of it is a three-point possession they could have had if Reggie had just made his free throw.
Getting all zany
Yeah, the game was all but over and it was time for drastic measures but we saw something last night that I cannot imagine we’ll see again.
About a couple of minutes, maybe three, to go and Jay really tries to junk up the game, sending out a fivesome of Jarrett Jack, Jose Calderon, Antoine Wright, Sonny Weems and Amir Johnson.
Full court trapping with his quickest group and a signal that he was trying just about anything to kickstart his group.
Didn’t work, of course, but I never thought it would.
Oh, yes, there’s more. Quite a bit.
Got asked the other day if I’d had an Olympic “moment” yet and figured I really hadn’t.
Have one now.
Happened to be in the press room on some idle time when she won her bronze medal and I have to say I didn’t tear up but it was a pretty emotional moment.
Great kid, spectacular athlete, helluva way to end a career.
Great story hidden a bit, sadly, by a hockey game.
Okay, now The Chicken has made it.
Never mind getting all kinds of love here, did you notice the camera crew out on the court during a late timeout when everyone’s favourite stuffed animal swallowed a June Taylor Dancer?
Inside Edition, kids. Inside Edition.
I guess that schtick where the blown-up dinosaur gobbles up a dancer has gone viral, if that’s what they call it. Everyone’s watching it, and the big TV shows are all excited about it.
I’m sure fame won’t go to his/her/its head but it’s nice to know we knew her/him/it way back when.
In Portland, they read this about that game.
It’s almost the weekend so it’s almost mailbag time and the solicitation shall begin. Send the questions here and please try to limit the rants and the game-specific stuff and I’ll start planning my Saturday night in Oklahoma City.
No, there was no video tribute to “honour” Marcus Camby as it turns out. Didn’t see him on the bench during the game, which may have had something to do with it; or maybe they just realized this whole saluting of players for a manufactured anniversary thingy really doesn’t make sense.
Rasho on Rudy, when it was mentioned the somewhat electric Fernandez reminds one of an equally-frantic Belinelli, only better:
“No, he’s a right-handed Manu.”
Probably a more apt description but, I tell you, I like Rudy’s game a lot.
Not sure how it fits with the way the Blazers play, which is at a rather sedentary pace but he’s going to be very good in this league when he finds a team that plays more quickly.
Speaking of the crowd, it was a rather surreal experience at times during the game.
Nothing of substance happening on the court when all of sudden there’d be a huge buzz in the crowd, lots of cheers, murmuring, happiness.
Yes, there were more than a few multi-tasking pucks fans among us and it was odd.
And here I thought they all had their little computerized devices tuned to the in-game blog.
I know, there's this other thing on TV or something.
But surely there'll be a couple of stragglers around here for some real men's professional basketball.
Rather quiet around these guys these days, isn’t it?
Guess that’s what having three days between games will do. Thankfully, it’s four-in-six starting tonight against Portland so there’ll be all kinds of stuff to dissect and discuss.
Until then …
It’s been kind of fun to watch the fourth quarters of games of late, just to see what Jay and his staff have cooked up as their big secret defensive weapon.
We’ve heard him allude to it a couple of times, about waiting to “spring” something on some unsuspecting opponent in the final five or six minutes of a close game.
Sometimes it’s a double-team, sometimes it’s a change in how they defend screen-and-roll, sometimes it’s where and when a second defender comes from.
And lately, it’s worked.
But lots of people wonder why? Why keep some strategy in abeyance until the fourth? Why, if it’s going to work, don’t they use the same stuff in the first, second or third quarters?
NBA players are smart.
IF you show some defence to, say, a Brandon Roy or a LeBron James, it’s not going to take them very long to figure out how to counter it. It might only be a couple of possessions before they make the necessary adjustments and then they’re likely to have success.
If you wait and use it late in a game and get two or three stops while they figure things out, that might just be enough to put you over the edge.
Really good NBA players, the guys who run their teams, tend to spend the first three quarters or so feeling the game out, getting teammates involved, checking out what’s working and what’s not.
But when it comes to crunch time, they are going to make plays for themselves because that’s what stars do.
And if you’ve got some new wrinkle to show with five minutes to go that you haven’t used in the first 43 minutes, that might just be enough.
Games aren’t won or lost in the first or second quarter; saving something special for when they are seems to make entire sense.
Because coaches and players like to keep opponents guessing in all kinds of ways, the word around practice on Tuesday was that they would wait until today to see if Chris Bosh can go tonight.
Well, let’s get this out of the way now:
There’s a greater chance you’ll play tonight than he will.
No practice Monday, no practice Tuesday, no game Wednesday.
Simple as that.
Of course, some miracle could occur but I’m pretty sure it won’t.
Portland started its long trek East by winning in New Jersey on Tuesday – that’s no biggie – but Marcus turned an ankle and probably misses tonight.
And here’s how the Oregonian chronicled it.
Blazers-Raptors hoops at 7; Russia-Canada pucks at 7:30.
Wonder what the record is for lowest basketball TV viewership?
And wonder how many of the Irregulars will forsake us?
It was interesting to listen to Jose and Jarrett back-to-back after practice yesterday when the talk got around to the team’s place in the standings and the next 25 or so games and where they can go.
Jose’s all about one at a time and see where they end up, not worrying about what’s going on around them:
“What happens is going to happen. We can’t think too far, just the next game and go step by step, that’s the best thing we can do.”
Jarrett, on the other hand, is always wondering about what’s going on around him, he made reference to both Boston and Atlanta losing the other day; he knows where the Raptors are exactly and what might happen in they win one and someone they’re chasing loses one.
Not sure which is the right approach, actually.
Do you turn a blind eye to other results and just take care of your business?
Or do you intently scoreboard-watch and update calculations every day?
Either, I guess although I know most fans are in the latter category, right?
I think it’s too early to be too worried about standings and games behind and who has what game coming up. That’s more fun from the middle of March to the end of the season.
This a tad sacrilegious but I honestly think the Olympics – which are going on in Vancouver, I understand – are far more about Ashleigh McIvor than Sidney Crosby.
But that’s just me.
Questions and answers, anyone?
How about here at noon?
I’ll be around post-shootaround.
Because the Raptors run so many players out during a game – a 10-man rotation is the norm – this whole “first unit” and “second unit” stuff really doesn’t carry much weight.
It’s not like they rotate in five-man shifts and Jose hammered that point home again Tuesday afternoon:
“Like I say, for us it’s not more coming off the bench or being a starter or something like that, it’s just a team. We play together with each other, we feel comfortable with each other. It doesn’t matter how many minutes you play with another guy.
“We do a good job in practice and in the game to be sure that everyone’s on the same page so that’s good.”
Finally, some snow to shovel. Whoop-dee-damn-doo!
But while I’m working, you can read:
I can’t think of a single time in the past when any Canada-Germany game in any sport anywhere caused as much concern as this big tilt Tuesday night does.
When you think rivalry, that’s hardly up there with the biggies.
And that got me thinking, in the kind of non-linear thinking that I tend to do about the Raptors and their rivals and who they really are.
Top five all-time Raptors rivalries
(Done with the proviso that these things come and go and you have to recall the circumstances around each of them)
New York, circa early-2000s.
Vince-Sprewell, Butch-Marcus, Oak-history, Mark Jackson-Alvin.
It was outstanding and there was a real edge to it.
New Jersey, the Booing Years
Yeah, him. Intensity like I’ve never felt around the building here. Oh, and the whole “let’s wear red jerseys just to mess ‘em up thing” was kind of fun.
There was a bit of an edge to Vince-Ray Allen over Olympic team stuff and Butch was persona non-grata in some areas of Wisconsin because the Bucks thought he’d tampered with Dell Curry. And he might have.
It will vault way up the list if they meet in the playoffs this year, won’t it?
Oh yeah, this one’s got a lot of player in it, actually. It’s not that they hate each other a lot, but there is some “screw you” in the Raptors when they play them. Or at least they'll try to give off that vibe.
We get all kinds of suggestions here that when some Raptor gets hurt someone else better “step up” and fill the void.
Yes, they do; but, as we’ve said before, it’s not like they try harder or anything. They give whatever effort they have every night and just because someone’s missing – like, say, a Chris Bosh – doesn’t really mean much.
As Jarrett pointed out yesterday:
“We don’t have a meeting and say, ‘you know, Chris is out and we’ve got to …’
“I’m being serious, we just come in, we know what the situation is with Chris being down, we have to come out and play with that same heart, that same intensity, that same effort that we’ve been doing all season long.
“And when Chris gets back, it’s going to be the same thing. We’re not going to have a meeting and say, ‘Chris is here, everything is all right.’ Chris is going to come back, be that presence we so desperately need and keep on rolling.”
Canada vs. U.S. for women’s pucks gold out in Vancouver?
Who’d have figured that, eh?
So I’m watching Atlanta-Utah last night (if they did Ice Dancing With The Stars it might have been different) and, of course, there are all kinds of promotional commercials for what’s coming up on RaptorsTV.
Longing for the return of the Norma Wick Comedy Hour, I sit intently watching and see them setting up Wednesday’s game.
And they’re doing it by plugging Bargnani vs. Roy and I’m thinking they really think Andrea’s come around or they don’t see some of my e-mail, where the tired old debate rears its ugly head every now and then.
So Andrew Bogut goes 12-15 from the field, had 20 rebounds including six on the offensive end as Milwaukee edges the Knicks 83-67 and the night does not include a single free throw?
Oh yeah, that’s one tough Knicks team indeed.
Bet LeBron, Bosh and Wade are drooling at chance.
It was a little interesting listening to Jay talk Monday about the Raptors’ depth and who plays when and how he always expects guys at the end of the bench to be ready to contribute when called on.
The context was, of course, Rasho and what he’s done in the last couple of games but Jay turned the conversation rather quickly.
“That helps define who you are as a team and we’ve been very good with being ready to play when guys get an opportunity.
“Marco Belinelli is a perfect example. He hasn’t played in two of the last three games but he hasn’t done anything wrong, it’s just been a matter of, I think our first game back we lacked energy so we went with Sonny; and with matchup problems he doesn’t get in.
“But he could play major minutes against Portland on Wednesday and be a key factor in our game Friday. Everybody has to stay ready and that’s part of being professional.”
Now, I imagine a lot of that was a coach tossing a player a proverbial bone with public comments during tough times (and I know Marco’s not happy at all with DNP-CDs, but who would be?) but it was a little interesting nonetheless.
And I will tell you this:
If they use Marco tomorrow night to play against Rudy Fernandez, it is going to be wild. Those might be two of my favourite “you never have any idea what you might see next ‘cause they make it up as they go along, too” players in the league today.
Oh yeah, the Hawthorn Hawks wrap up the arduous four-game regular season against the dastardly Queenstons on Thursday. In case you wanted to buy tickets, that is.
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).