Some good, some bad and of course Turk had to play
Tough night and there will be more of ‘em; get used to it if you aren’t already.
But it was a close game, almost a buzzer beater if Bosh gets that shot about a foot further, good early comeback by the locals and, all in all, not a bad night’s entertainment.
Lose A Game, Save A Guy
Yes, Hedo Turkoglu was bad last night, couldn’t make a shot, didn’t play with much energy, took two very bad three-pointers late in a game that he shouldn’t have.
And you know what, I’m fine with him being on the court. No problem with that at all.
No one knows precisely what family issue he was dealing with last weekend in Turkey – his coaches and teammates know, we don’t and that’s cool with me, too – but it was obvious he wasn’t right.
But coaching is as much about managing men as drawing up plays and it was important for Turk’s psyche that he be out there and I’m sure Jay knew that.
“He wasn’t the only guy that struggled but when you think about what he’s gone through the last week, instead of knocking him down, we’ve got to try to pick him up and get him back into the fold with us.”
Yeah, they lost and Turk missed shots. But in the grand scheme of things, it was one game. And if you send a message and still take a loss, well, stuff happens. There goes the 30-0, post-all-star finish. Big whoop.
You don’t think Turk noticed that his coach stuck with him in tough times? You don’t think the rest of the players didn’t think, ‘hey, Jay’s giving a guy going through crap his usual role?’ I’m sure they did. And I’m sure it’ll pay off sometime. That’s how the game works.
It didn’t work out last night. Big deal. They still had a shot to win and didn’t.
Two Out Of Three Pinfalls
I will say this for Andrea Bargnani last night: He got down there and did some hand-to-hand combat with Marc Gasol that made me sit up and take notice.
He was locking him up arm-in-arm fighting for rebounds – Bargnani has a tendency to shy away from that kind of wrestling – and I swear I saw Andrea get two rebounds in traffic in the fourth quarter.
I know it’s one game but, still, it had to heartening to see and when you compare it to the manhandling the Grizzlies put on Bargnani and Bosh and the Raptors when they played in Memphis eons ago, it shows how far the Raptors have come.
A whole lot of people thought last night might be a big Reggie night because they needed his girth and guile to go up against Zach Randolph.
Well, how about that Amir Johnson?
Reggie was okay in his four minutes – four points, four rebounds – but it was Johnson who more than held his own defending Randolph for long stretches.
I don’t know what the future holds for Amir – I still think he’s perfectly suited for the role of frontcourt sparkplug off the bench – but he continues to be the surprise of the season for the Raptors.
The rest? Here’s the rest:
Some deal, eh?
No matter what transpires the rest of this season, Danny Ferry won himself the executive of the year award with that gem of a trade Wednesday.
In case you missed it, here’s how it breaks down
Antawn Jamison from Washington and Sebastian Telfair from the Clippers.
Los Angeles gets:
Drew Gooden from Washington.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the rights to former second-round pick Emir Preldzic and a 2010 first-round pick from Cleveland and Al Thornton from the Clippers
I know the Cavs had a dalliance with Amar’e Stoudemire and everyone expected that deal to get done but Jamison is, in my opinion, so much better a fit it’s not even funny.
Great guy, doesn’t demand the ball, can play at both ends and would seemingly be a perfect complement to LeBron and Shaq.
Jamison, 33, may have two years and about $28 million left on his deal, but if you’re the Cavs, who care? This is all about winning this year and making LeBron happy.
Does is give Cleveland, which already has the best record in the East, what it needs to compete with the presumptive West champion Lakers?
Probably not; the Cavs are thinner at centre, are still lacking at point guard (if anyone thinks Telfair helps, they best adjust their meds) and don’t have many athletes at the wings.
But they had to do something to try to appease James and this was a bold, bold move.
So I’m watching the Olympics for a second in the press room yesterday afternoon, listening to a curling tutorial going on over my shoulder, when I glance at the TV just in time to see that cauldron thing behind the fence.
And I’m thinking: Did they model that after the rusty monstrosity on the west side of the Air Canada Centre?
Oh yeah, if you want to send mail, send it along to here. Figure with the game here on Saturday and no practice Sunday, we might delay the mailbag a day and do the usual post-game stuff on Sunday.
Or we might do what we did last week, nice tight mailbag and the usual drivel on Sunday morning.
This is how trade rumours start, sort of.
I’m sitting on the bench a couple of hours before the game when a guy sidles up to me.
“You hear? Chris and Andrea for LeBron and Shaq.”
Much guffawing and laughing and I tell the guy, sure, I’ll put it out there, citing an inside source.
“No way, use my name, let’s get this started.”
Okay, so, according to Alvin Williams, the Raptors are toying with a blockbuster that would send Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani to Cleveland for the expiring contracts of LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal.
(Now, before anyone – and someone will – starts debating the merits of it, it’s a joke.)
Down in Memphis, this is how that game played in the papers.
Still with trades, since so many aren’t official – Tracy to the Kings for Kevin Martin, Nate Robinson to Boston for Eddie House, even John Salmons to Milwaukee for Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson – we won’t fully dissect them until the morning.
First off, deals can break down; secondly, I may need stuff for here in the morning.
I will say this, though:
Darko Milicic for Brian Cardinal is perhaps less significant than Patrick O’Bryant for Will Solomon a year ago.
So what’s going to happen with the Raptors before 3 p.m. today?
Well, every source I talked to last night suggests very little, which means something big could happen.
I kid, of course, but I do know Bryan is working hard seeing what’s out there, both in big names and little names, bold moves and tweaks.
And as we saw yesterday, things have a way of changing rather quickly. Amare’s not a Cav, Tracy’s not a Knick and the stuff you read in the days leading up to today don’t necessarily come true.
Speaking of Stoudemire, I asked a very high ranking NBA executive last night if Jamison to Cleveland meant Stoudemire to the Heat. Here’s what I got:
“Don’t know, but I’m beginning to doubt it.”
All right, time to go get settled for what might be a busy deadline day. Travel times – a 4 p.m. Porter flight to Jersey – and practice times are going to preclude anything live in these parts today but, rest assured, soon as I hear something, we’ll get some post up from here.