These are tough times, I'm glad I'm off to Ottawa
No, there is nothing good to say except that it’s over, there are 15 more to go and some of them will be good. Retire the memory of that one quickly and look forward to the next one.
And read this, of course, before you do anything else. And, yes, it's up ridiculously early but I got time to type a bit in the post-game decompressing time knowing there was a long day ahead.
Practice does not make perfect
As part of practice the last couple of days, what they’ve done is have halfcourt, five-on-five scrimmages aimed solely at rebounding and boxing out. Five guys to the offensive glass because no one has to worry about getting back and that means five guys have to turn around and box someone out.
And by all accounts, it works, at least according to Chris Bosh:
“For some reason -- I don’t know, I wish I knew – (but) for some reason practice is so different than the games. We get every rebound, we make sure we put bodies on guys and then the game comes, we don’t do that … Like I said before, there’s no science to anything, it’s not structure, it’s just get the basketball.”
Which leads one to say, in a half-joking way, “sure, it works because you’re playing against each other and we know how you rebound as a group.”
But the fact is, they work on it but something gets lost between practice and games. I don’t know if there’s any one group to blame, I suspect that like so much in sports it’s a shared responsibility between coaches and players but unless they fix it, this team will never realize its potential. And I honestly still think they have talent and I also think we’ve seen enough good games to know that’s a true statement.
It’s the conundrum that is this team: Good in spurts, bad in spurts and unable to find the mental toughness to work through a lot of difficult times.
A bad sign of the times
You know what has to be one of the more frightening aspects of this whole losing streak has to be? At least four people I know – two Irregulars one row behind the visitors bench and another couple of litigators who flit from section to section (and you know who you are!) – bailed at halftime.
Now, these are pretty diehard fans, one of whom is quite the fashionista and Rasho fan, and if they’re hanging it up halfway through a game, that’s a troubling, troubling sign.
A matter of clothing
This has nothing to do with the game but it’s pretty cool and since there’s really not much to say about the game, I’ll use it here.
We’re standing around waiting to interview Chris – and he was quicker than usual but still rather meticulous getting dressed – and there was a bit of a ruckus over on the other side of the room.
Well, not a ruckus really, but Turk was looking for one of the locker room attendants.
“Gus! Gus! Gus!”
We figure he needs some socks or some piece of equipment or something.
Then we hear:
“I can’t find my underwear.”
No idea how the whole thing worked out, was too busy giggling and confirming what I thought I heard with a couple of other guys.
It reminded me a bit of Kevin Willis, the Big Fella, who was a classic locker room yeller.
He’d always be shouting at Young Ray Chow, the team’s massage therapist, looking for “lotion, Ray. Ray, lotion” so I presume Kevin had the softest skin in franchise history.
More? Sure, why not.
The anthem story.
Don’t know if how many of you heard them but little 9-year-old Morgan Hilliker, a good Niagara Falls lass by the way, did a bang up job.
So much so that I saw Jarrett Jack singing along to O Canada.
But, quite aside from that, young Morgan’s got quite the connection with the Raptors.
Not only does she hail from Jay’s hometown but she’s a grand-daughter of a former teaching colleague of Jay’s dad, Howie, who is fighting a good fight against the ravages of a stroke.
And while she sung for all of you last night, I understand she’s also done some private crooning to help Jay’s dad relax and for that she and her family need to be commended.
So there was one nice story out of that game.
Speaking of stories, here’s the one from Oklahoma City this morning.
Okay, look, I’ll admit I’m a bit of a Barack Obama fan, I like what he stands for, I like the change of attitude he brought among the general public and while I don’t pretend to be any kind of political scientist, I think he’s good.
But, I gotta tell yeah, he went so far up in my estimation Friday it’s not even funny.
To pay off a debt with the guy in Ottawa (and that’s about all I’m going to say on that matter), he sent not only the case of Molson that he owed, but he tossed in a little extra.
A case of Yeungling! I tell ya, that’s one outstanding president right there.
Now, if the two of ‘em could find a free trade way that I could buy the stuff here, that’d be pretty good.
I have no idea when I’m going to get the mailbag done (my normal Saturday writing time will be taken up but a drive and a CIS twinbill) but we’ll put out one last call for mail.
I figure I’ll get it up sometime Sunday in the regular rotation.
Speaking of stories, my man Dave D is back on the beat after chronicling curling and the like out in Vancouver and checks in with this missive from the vantage point of a Nets grunt.
I still don’t think they’ll be able to catch Boston, by the way.
Hey, if anyone out there thinks there might be change afoot in the lineup after the Thunder game, sorry.
Not on a back-to-back, they stick with what they’ve got.
And with Sunday likely a day off to travel to Minneapolis and the game there Monday, I’m thinking if they do anything – and Antoine for DeMar is still in the picture – it can’t possibly happen before Wednesday back here.
All right, I’ll be spending a huge chunk of the day in the car en route to the nation’s capital (and I’ve got to tell you, Calgary-UBC and Saskatchewan-Carleton never looked so good) so if it takes a while for the comments to get posted, that’s why. It has nothing to do with their tone, although I will admit to being quite happy to not read the angst for a while).