There really isn't a whole lot to say but we have to say something
Good question, eh?
I wish I knew.
There are no easy answers and anyone who tells you otherwise is blowing smoke and that’s got to be the most confounding thing to the staff right now.
It’s not one guy and it’s not one thing, there are a lot of problems and it’s going to take determination and hard work to get back on track before this thing goes entirely off the rails.
Can they? Well, they did back in December, which is grasping at straws, but if you’re in that locker room, you need something good to think about and I don’t know that there is anything like that at the moment.
Calling himself out
It was kind of interesting to stand there and listen to Jose take responsibility for not getting Deron Williams stopped for a lot of the game.
It might have been the first time this season that I heard a guy in that locker room use the word “I” when discussing what went wrong.
“He got me in the first quarter like three times in a row or something like that After I was a little bit better in the second half but he’s a tough guy to guard and he had a good game. It wasn’t my best game, it happens sometimes.
“It was too easy and it was kid of straight line sometimes so it was my fault. What are you going to do? It happens.”
Not that it’s any consolation, of course, he had a bad night like about four other guys did. He missed a couple of open looks early, couldn’t keep Williams in front of him – not that many point guards in the league can.
If you think he was the sole reason they lost, think again; but a guy standing there and taking stock of what he did was kind of nice to see.
Man, I’ve got to tell you, trying to come up with three talking points off that one is hard.
Let’s do this: How ‘bout them Jazz?
That’s a pretty good basketball team over there but I will take umbrage with one point Jay made about them a couple of times in his post-game session when he twice said:
“They’re bigger, they’re faster, they’re stronger.” I don’t think they are, actually.
They are not overly big, they are not overly athletic and, yes, they may by strong but it’s not a roster dotted with a bunch of Hercules clones
What they are is tougher
Way, way, way, way, way tougher.
They know what they want to do and they do it. They played every possession like it mattered, they competed every minute of the game at both ends of the court.
They were the anti-Raptors.
I still don’t think they can win the West – precisely because they are under-sized and relatively unathletic – but they are fun to watch for their workmanlike approach to the game.
Change for change’s sake
You saw a whole lot of zone defence from the Heroes Of The Hardcourt last night, didn’t you? Now, I’m actually working on an Inside The Game takeout on that very issue for the weekend and it was nice of them to play some last night to help me out.
But the reason isn’t something that goes with the usual decision to switch defences.
Last night, as Jay said, it was a case of necessity.
“I thought the zone was okay only because it made five guys have to guard one and make him do something else than break us down or dish off to somebody.”
Couple of other quick things:
You know, having watched this team for each of its 15 years, I consider myself Canada’s foremost expert in bad – very bad – basketball but we’re talking a historical stretch of ineptitude of late.
As pointed out by the crack Raptors PR staff, the 115-89 loss to Oklahoma on Friday and the 113-87 loss to Utah last night is the first time in franchise history they’ve lost consecutive home games by at least 26 points.
See, it’s not that bad: You’ve witnessed history.
Something to tell the grandkids about, isn’t it?
You probably noticed a little change in the way things looked last night, and I’m not talking about the nifty green Jazz uniforms.
The game was backwards.
The Jazz is one of the very few teams – might be the only one in the league to do it now – who turn the arena around, shooting at the west end of the gym to start the game.
The visiting team always gets the choice of which way they want the game to go but teams usually choose to have the defence in front of them for the fourth quarter.
Except Jerry Sloan, I guess.
Oh, and the Nets used to do it every now and then under Lawrence Frank, too, but those are the only two I remember.
Speaking of the Jazz, here’s what the Tribune in Salt Lake had to say about that one.
It’s always fun to get out courtside a couple of hours before the game, when the very first group that does its pre-game warmup takes to the court.
The first group out is Sonny, DeMar and Patrick and it’s almost worth the price of admission (given the last two home games it probably is worth the price of admission) to watch ‘em. Trash talking abounds, the rotating one-on-one games that also include Alvin Williams are, um, spirited and it really does look like a bunch of kids just having fun playing ball.
Kind of refreshing, actually.
Yesterday, it ended with the three players sitting in the front row courtside at about the hash mark trying to make shots from the seats.
I think Sonny was the first to make one, which caused even more jabbering and was quite entertaining.
Then the game started and mood went sour pretty quickly.
Okay, I’ll ask for mail but, please, no rants and no “They suck. Your thoughts?” questions, okay?
A moment of silence please.
Now run out and rent Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
And as many seasons of I Spy as there are out there and relive the glory that was Robert Culp, who died yesterday at 79.
Okay, glory might be a stretch but that is a pretty good movie, as I recall.