A true pro shows up and a man's unmasked
I can hear it now:
Ra-sho, Ra-sho, Ra-sho
Some night for him, eh? Consummate professional all the way.
Oh, and a pretty funny guy, as you know.
Asked him about the Slovenian Dream Shake move and he says, something like:
“I was saving it. I didn’t want to bring it out too early; you told me the all-star weekend was boring and I didn’t want to go. I wanted the days off.”
Anyway, on to the stuff
End of the first quarter, Nets score with 5.5 seconds left. Raptors inbound the ball, Jose goes 50 feet in a blur, hits Antoine Wright with a perfect pass, Wright takes his time, pump fakes a Net and drills a three-pointer with two-tenths of a second left.
End of the third quarter, Raps have the ball up eight, the Nets have been charging. They move it smartly around side-to-side, Andrea (I believe it was) finds himself on the post with a double-team coming and the clock running out. Instead of forcing it, he kicks it to Jose who pump fakes someone and drills a smooth three with four-tenths of a second left.
This has not generally been a team that finishes quarters like that; quite to the contrary, actually. They usually give up those shots instead of making them (how many uncontested buzzer beaters can you remember them giving up to end quarters?) and that’s what made last night at least mentionable.
Good one night, not so much the next
Remember way back in, I think, the Milwaukee game, when the Raptors junked it up and played a whole whack of zone defence near perfection in a comeback win?
Well, not so much last night. We saw that zone for the first time (at least in more than one or two successive possessions) and I think the Nets scored on at least the first three – hitting a couple of threes that made the game a bit closer than it should have been.
I don’t know how much they work on it at practice, but if they’re going to pull it out of the bag, they need some more. What I saw was slow defensive movement side-to-side, which is a danger inherent in zones and if they don’t clean that up, they can’t use it.
No masked man
I look up before the tip and see Hedo fussing with the straps of the mask and then about six minutes in I notice it’s gone and I figure something’s wrong with the strap and it’s being fixed.
Then he never wears it again and I’m like, “oh, oh, this might be an issue.”
Says Turk when I asked him:
“It’s really bothering me because the game’s I’m playing with it, it’s effecting my shot and my game. I’d rather take it off and play without it.
“It makes me look bad, and not just from the look. I’m not worried about that; I look bad playing, not myself. You keep trying to fix it, it slides. You go into a pick and you get hit and hit covers the face. I make that decision … it’s basketball, you never know, but at least I know I’ll feel more comfortable now and try to play without it.”
The best thing everyone can hope for today is that when the doctors get a look at him again they find that the tiny fracture has healed well enough to go sans mask. And, believe me, it must be getting a lot better because there would have been a big issue with the staff last night had it not.
More? I’ve got a little more.
You know what’s cool on the road, especially when you’re on the east coast?
You finish writing and have time to relax, head back to the hotel, find a lounge and sit and check out what’s going on in the late games.
You discuss strategy, talk about the players, wonder what teams will call out of timeouts and generally go over and break down the game while letting the post-writing adrenaline rush calm down.
Same thing here Friday with one exception.
Thanks to whatever way-up-the-dial NBC network they had on the corner, a couple of scribblers broke down a narrow overtime triumph for Canada’s plucky women Olympic curlers and I think I’ve found my favourite Vancouver Games team.
It cannot, at any level, be any fun covering those New Jersey Nets. But you have to write something and here’s how Dave D’s guy summed up loss No. 50.
Same scenario plays out before games in every NBA arena. About 90 minutes before, some kids or fans line the edges of the stands next to the tunnels leading off the court and try to cadge autographs from players as they head back to the locker room after the warm-ups.
Well, we’re standing there last night as the early work gets done and Alvin Williams is heading back to the locker room.
A handful of kids are along the rail as Alvin jogs by, trying to get his attention. One was louder than the other:
“Hey, Mr. Banks! Mr. Banks! Mr. Banks! Please sign.”
Oblivious, Al keeps going, looking back over his shoulder to see where Marcus was. Marcus was nowhere to be seen, seems the kid was a tad confused and, I have to admit, Al wasn’t all that impressed being mistaken for a guy about five inches shorter.
Got a lot of yucks out of Marcus and him, though, when they heard about it.
Speaking of stories from other places, the Wizards upset the Denvers on Friday and here’s what the Washington Post had to say.
Oh, and this’ll be your last shot for mail; figure I’ll do it for Monday ‘cause tomorrow’s going to be really dead with a day off for the lads and, I believe, a Mighty Yankees Coaches Meeting And Social Hour to watch some pucks game.
I just heard some Talking Head on ESPN, talking – still – about the golfer dude’s soul cleansing statement yesterday and he said something like (and I’m paraphrasing here because I was too stunned when it was being spoken):
“People will remember it as a ‘where were you when Tiger Woods spoke moment’.”
I swear. He did.
It was a pro athlete confessing sins to save his marriage and his image. Nothing more. Nothing less. It was better than I thought it’d be, actually, but to use that kind of phrasing (and it goes back to the John Kennedy assassination, you young ‘uns) is just plain stupid.
Anyway, a plane awaits in a couple of hours to shuttle me to the island so I’m close to the arena and can get right to work. Not sure how much I’ll be around here to do comments but I’ll get to ‘em eventually.
Have a nice day.