About Turk and time and hobnobbing with famous families
Everyone feeling a bit better today? Breathing a bit easier?
Now, I know the Raptors got back on the ground in Toronto about 12:30 Tuesday morning. Please, for the love of all that’s good in the world, if anyone saw any of them out getting a bite to eat and perhaps a drink, I do not want to know about it.
The new Manu?
Not quite. But we were goofing with Hedo after the game that Sixth Man of Year might be something he’d like to consider.
“It’s too late for that, huh? Not enough games for that.”
But he, and you, should get used to it because I can’t see them going away from Weems for the rest of this season. And it seems everyone’s quite okay with that.
Turk, a pre-game media session, said he’s got no problem with the decision, Jay likes the athleticism the new lineup brings and there’s no way they should change it in the next nine games.
Actually, no one should be at all surprised at Hedo’s reaction.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over this season is that his default position is to laugh and joke and smile. It’s not that he isn’t upset or angry or disappointed in his effort but his immediate reaction to anything is to smile and laugh. It’s his character and it’s not going to change at this point in his life.
It may not fit the prototypical personality we like in our athletes, he doesn’t slam the ball to the floor or act disgusted or give the greatest angst-filled quotes. But it’s who he is and that’s got to be accepted.
Now, as a backup? Well, it’s not like he’s going to come into games and energize them or up the tempo or get the crowd roiling but he looked last night like a pretty solid second-unit guy.
And Jay made an interesting point before the game: When things were going well, Hedo, Jarrett and DeRozan were the starting backcourt. Now, they play together as a second unit and that can’t be all that bad.
If you look at the minutes distribution last night - Hedo at 28, Jarrett at 23 and DeMar at 20 – that’s not bad and I imagine that’s what we’ll see the rest of the way.
I know there had to be more than a few of you who were quite surprised, and likely upset, when 68.5 per cent free throw shooter Sonny Weems not only found himself on the court but at the line with the Raptors clinging to a two-point lead and 13.3 seconds left in the game.
The fact that he bricked the two foul shots must have led to more angst and visions of a total collapse. Well, here’s why he was there.
When Tyson Chandler dunked to make it 103-101 with 19.2 seconds left, the Raptors had one timeout to go. If they call it then, you know the Bobcats are going to foul on the inbounds pass and no matter what the Raptors do, Charlotte’s going to get the ball back.
And then, if they score with, say, 3.1 seconds left, the Raptors are not going to have a timeout to set something up to get a good shot, just like they ran out of timeouts the night before in Miami, when they sure could have used one down three with 1.9 seconds left.
And if the Bobcats don’t score, at least Jay’s got one left in his pocket to make offence-defence subs and move the ball about 60 feet up the court, which not only leaves them more space to in-bound it but makes it more difficult for Charlotte to go the length of the court and score off a steal.
That’s okay management, even if it meant Sonny had to be in an extremely difficult position.
The other thing to think about in that sequence is why, after the Chandler basket, did the Raptors inbound the ball to Bosh? Maybe he should have been the one taking it out, looking for one of the guards on the court instead of being the recipient of the pass.
Anyway, it worked out in the long run and I guess that’s all that really counts.
Our go-to guy
Antoine Wright’s becoming a huge fave among the grunts. Good quote, accessible, good guy who’s playing well. What more can we want?
Last night, before the game and after we’ve grilled Turk, Antoine shows up at his locker right next to Turk, bugging us to get out of his way.
During the course of the conversation, he tells us they’re winning the game, no doubt about it, and warns us that if they lose, to not come around his little piece of turf after the game.
After the game and after they win, we get into the room and there’s Wright with ice on his knees, his feet in ice buckets and he’s feeling pretty good about things.
And, of course, we need quotes.
Except for one thing: He’s going to shower, politely excuses himself and if the game hadn’t dragged for 2:26, we would have gladly waited for him to give us some pearls of wisdom. Except we can’t wait, deadline’s coming and as he’s wandering to the shower, we make mention that we could sure use a quote:
“I told you.”
And then he’s off.
A wee bit more? Just a wee bit because this is long enough.
You know what would have made the Turk Goes To The Club story even better?
If he’d gone from the game to a Nelly concert and danced on the stage.
That would have been cool.
You know how I’m always one to point out that you’re never “supposed” to win a game and that anything can happen and usually does?
Well, that generally holds true but I probably should note that the Los Angeles Clippers, they of the 27-46 record, play at Milwaukee on Tuesday night and probably won’t get to their Toronto hotel until after 2 a.m. Wednesday to face the Raptors to finish a back-to-back.
Does that mean Toronto’s “supposed to win?”
Here’s what Rick had to say in the cyber pages of the Observer this morning.
Right, the MJ story. Thanks for reminding me.
I’m sure I’ve told it before so you Irregulars who’ve heard it can scroll down.
It’s Portland, Tournament of the Americas, the Dream Team debut in 1992 and Michael’s playing, of course, and Jay’s an assistant coach with Ken Shields on the Canadian staff.
Jay and I are standing in a hallway of the old arena, just chewing the fat when who come walking down the hall all by himself but Michael.
I’m a bit in awe, I’m not sure how Jay feels and for sure neither of us are doing anything other than nodding, I imagine.
Well, doesn’t Michael see Jay and come to a dead stop, give him a big handshake, and tell him that there’s no way Jay should be coaching, he should still be playing and he’s way too young not to still be on the court.
Me? I’m dumb-founded and I think Jay’s a bit taken aback, too.
After a couple of minutes, Michael wanders off down the hall and Jay and I look at each other and, I swear, neither of us could say a word.
So the other night in Miami, before the game starts, I notice Jose waving to some folks in the stands and after the game, I see him stop for a real quick hello with someone on his way to the locker room.
Figure it’s family or close friends and when I asked him about it, he kind of shrugged it off by telling me it’s just some people from Spain he knows. No big deal.
Well, my new friends and Raptor stalkers (Hello, London!) tell me in Charlotte on Monday that, no, it wasn’t just “some people” from Spain, it was in fact Rafael Nadal's Nadel’s family that Jose was hanging out with.
Seems they were in Miami for some big tennis tournament, they got together for breakfast and Jose runs in pretty good company.
All right, ladies and germs. Got a good afternoon flight which gives me time to write an off-day yarn before flying on what could be quite a relaxing day.
Wish me luck.
And be back here Wednesday at noon to ask questions.