Hey, I'm back. Miss me?
Look at it this way: It’s going to be fun living the ups and downs of a playoff race – checking what Miami, Charlotte and Chicago do each night – than it would be sitting solidly in fifth bored for the final 18 or so games of year, isn’t it?
Want to know one reason why I think it’s wise to have Jose replace Jarrett as the starting point guard? As we’ve seen all year, Toronto’s defence comes off its offence – it’s a terrible trait and one they have to break but it seems undeniable at this point in the season – and it strikes me as the offence just runs more efficiently with Calderon at the helm.
High screen and roll works a bit more smoothly, possessions have a bit more “calm” to them and there’s just a greater sense of confidence in those moments.
That’s not a huge knock against Jarrett but it’s probably the biggest reason I expect to see a change against Atlanta tomorrow night.
What else might we see?
Well, I can’t say for sure because I can’t read Jay’s mind but he’s been talking an awful lot about shortening some rotations, or at least tweaking who plays with who and how much.
So I really expect to see less of Reggie Evans in the next little while with Amir Johnson getting some steady run and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if one of Sonny Weems or Antoine Wright saw their time cut back.
Antoine limped out of the Rose Garden on Sunday night on a wonky ankle – it’s why he didn’t play at all in the second half – so that might be one reason we see less of him in the near future.
But as I’ve been saying all along, I think less is more in some instances and if Jay can get to a tight nine-man rotation, I think it’s better for everyone.
It’s been a while since we checked in with some national team news but there have been some goings on of late you should probably know of.
And one way you can help in a small way to ease what’s going to be a pretty heavy financial burden this summer trying to run significant programs for four teams headed to world championships, which is the first time I can ever remember that happening and I’ve been watching the organization pretty closely for a couple of decades now.
If you’ve got a second, and $5 to spare, you can simply head to your phone, type in some numbers and make a donation.
Easy, peasy, no?
The details are here, you should check ‘em out and do what you can.
This is textbook Coach Protects Players stuff here.
The other night in Portland (and I revisit it because a couple of people asked yesterday in the comments section), Jay gave a rather obtuse answer after about a five-second delay to a question I asked about a quick third-quarter hook for Andrea.
Here’s the verbatim exchange:
Q: You took Andrea out real quick in the third quarter, too when they got a couple of offensive rebounds. Did he have a tough night with Aldridge’s length? Quickness? Speed? Effort?
A: “They hit a lot of threes, they were 12-for-20 from the three-point line. So we’ve got to make sure we get out and close out on guys from the three-point line.”
Pretty easy explanation, actually.
I knew, he knew, Andrea knew, the players knew, you knew that the offensive rebound mess was as ugly as maybe it’s ever been and I needed a good quote for the story on it.
Jay, who is loathe to kill his players in public, knew precisely where I was going but didn’t want to play along.
It’s a game some coaches play all the time but not answering directly is sometime as telling as really pouring it on.
Speaking of Portland, I have to reiterate that it’s might be the best place to watch a game in the league now.
Great, knowledgeable crowds, outstanding arena, very good young team and a game-ops presentation that focuses on, you know, the game. Sure, they have June Taylor Dancers and a Chicken but nothing too over-the-top and I think our western Irregulars who get a chance to go down there will agree. You should see a game at the Rose Garden if you can.
Oh, and speaking of the national team, I mentioned the men’s games against France that they’re hoping to finalize soon for mid-August here in Toronto.
But I’m also hearing rumblings that they might find a way to get a game in Vancouver about the same time. That’d be cool, no?
Kansas, West Virginia, Kansas State and, because I don’t want a lot of grief from Alvin, Villanova.
I reserve the right to change my mind before tomorrow night, and perhaps change it again before brackets have to be flnally filled in by Thursday morning but that’s the way we’re leaning here.
Of course, when Super Son and I sit down to do it, things may change but, for now, take that to the bank.
Best sign I saw in Portland:
Mrs. Turkoglu, thanks for Andre.
The things you see at O’Hare during a 10-hour travel day.
Patrick O’Bryant, hanging in the departure lounge like you and me, ready to catch the United flight back home.
Patrick’s been away from the team for a few days attending a family funeral and was just like one of us other travelling zombies making their way home yesterday afternoon
Good guy, Patrick is. It’s got to be a hard gig, knowing you’re never going to play significant minutes here but he goes about his business like a pro, gets his work in and is ready.
You can say the same thing for the other guys who are in a similar situation – Marcus Banks and to a large extent Rasho. No disruptive behaviour, no public grumbling, just work and professionalism.
Not bad at all.
What’s up this week? Atlanta here tomorrow, Oklahoma here Friday and at Jersey Saturday?
You’d think they really have to go 2-1 through this stretch to get some of their confidence back, no?
And because the NBA is so wacky, I figure they just might. If there’s one thing you know about these guys, it’s that you never know.
You know what’s crazy?
We had more page views here yesterday than we’ve had in weeks and with a horrid travel day (three hours sleep, connecting flight, no time to sit anywhere for a couple of hour and write the usual drivel) there was nothing new up here.
Sorry about that, Irregulars. It’ll be the last time we go a day without something between now and the end of the season because it’s obvious you do want something to read each morning.