High flying Bargnani and a nifty name for a night of shooting
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.