It's hard to prepare for what awaits; and what of Marco?
Man, it’s early out here.
Not an awful lot of stuff off Thursday, actually; long travel day for one of us, a day off for the guys who actually count.
But anyway …
You know what the worst possible thing for the Raptors might be right now?
The Golden State Warriors.
Really. A team with an unorthodox style of play, guys who don’t have a thing to play for except fun and frivolity and a coach who can run out combinations of players that would appear to make no sense whatsoever.
If there’s one thing Jay and his staff pride themselves on, it’s preparation, knowing what the other team likes to run, having counters for what they do and having stuff in on offence to exploit mismatches.
And I know yesterday they were a bit perplexed because you really have no idea what the Warriors will.
As one of ‘em put it:
“They don’t run anything. How do you prepare? You put your guys on the treadmill ‘cause all they’ll do is run you?”
And there’s the big issue – and the big danger – for Saturday night.
The Raptors aren’t a bad team and can be quite competitive when they get teams that play a more traditional, halfcourt style. Like the Lakers, or Cleveland, or Dallas or San Antonio or the like.
Teams like Golden State? Teams that go all helter-skelter? Not so much.
What’s why tomorrow could be 140-138.
This might have been a bit dicey.
When the Raptors arrived at their ritzy San Francisco hotel, they found the Portland Trail Blazers sitting there waiting.
Portland was in town to face Golden State over in Oakland on Thursday night.
Wonder if the Blazers looked oddly at Hedo when he was hanging around the lobby.
Oh, can we get a bit more mail over here. Thanks. With games Saturday and Sunday nights, not sure when I’ll get it up, it might end up being an early Sunday morning bonus.
More time for Marco?
Not sure right now how Marco’s back is – we won’t find out until much later today out here after practice – but if he’s okay, it’ll be interesting to see how Jay uses him tomorrow night against the Warriors.
You know how Jay likes to let players get a shot against their former team – to the point of getting Reggie Evans back a week earlier than expected so he could face the Sixers – and Marco has some history in Golden State.
Figure on Belinelli getting some early run, if he’s healthy.
Speaking of San Francisco, here’s what the Chronicle had off Thursday’s loss to Portland.
Buena Vista story time.
For those who don’t know it, it’s a San Francisco landmark known since 1952 for its Irish coffee; in fact, it boasts about having the finest brew this side of Ireland and they are very particular about how it’s made: Warm the glass first, fill three-quarters with hot water, two sugar cubes, a jigger of Irish Whiskey and topped with a collar of lightly whipped whipping cream.
(Late add: Yes, they put some coffee in there, guess it doesn't go without saying)
Anyway, it’s a bit of a rundown place you have to see and last season, on an off-day here, one of the team’s broadcasters (who shall remain nameless) and I do our duty and show up.
So, as Jack (oops) and I are sitting there through three, four, maybe five of these concoctions we do what we do, strike up a conversation with the fella on the other side of the serving area, a guy who happened to a hoops fan. Blah, blah, blah, blah, we prattle on and take our leave.
Next night, Raptors play the Warriors and, if you recall, Jermaine O’Neal first was felled by a flu bug before banging knees with someone and sitting out a half.
But it’s the flu that we’re told is the reason he’s done.
Well, we get back a couple of days later and an e-mail arrives and it says something like:
“I see Jermaine didn’t play because of the flu. Hope he didn’t get the same kind of flu you and Jack might have had.”
It was from the Buena Vista bartender.
Here’s one thing to watch for Saturday night.
How they get along.
It seems to me there’s some more of the finger-pointing and subtle digs that we saw in November creeping into the picture now and that’s a troubling sign indeed.
Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, nothing helps “chemistry” more than a win or two and nothing hurts it more than continued losses so it could go the other way quite easily and quite quickly.
But right now, the body language I’m seeing and the reading between the lines that I’m doing is showing a team not with a break but one with at least a non-displaced hairline fracture.
It can heal, but it might take time.
And some wins.