Ah, yeah, that was really something, wasn't it?
Just think, two more to go!
What could have been
You know what I needed to see after that game?
I needed to see a table of food turned over, or someone’s locker destroyed, or someone screaming in anger.
We had guys talking about winning the next two (as if) and seeing what Chicago does and how the season isn’t lost because there are still games to play.
I know Jay wasn’t going to do it – it’s not in his nature and that’s simply a fact of life, anyone expecting otherwise is fooling himself – and maybe that’s an issue.
But it’s the player’s lack of passion and anger that was really shocking.
Yes, Jarrett said something about the Bulls coming in and taking it to the Raptors and Jose was quite up front about how badly the Raptors played.
But just like in the 48 minutes of basketball before, there wasn’t a lot of anger or passion or whatever you want to call it.
Where’d he go?
If I could tell you why Andrea Bargnani got 10 shots and made six in the first half but only got six in the second when the game got away, I’d love to.
But I can’t and that mystifies me a bit.
On a team starved for offence without it’s best scorer (that’d be Bosh), you’d think the players would realize where the shots had to come from.
I know the coaches did because a couple of them told me before the game they needed a big night from Bargnani.
And as I looked down at the bench at one point in the third quarter, about the time Sonny Weems was hoisting his 19th shot of the night, I saw a lot of people who were aghast.
Now, Sonny’s okay and everything but 22 field goal attempts is terrible decision-making. And short of a coach physically running onto the floor to direct him to pass the ball to someone – anyone – I don’t know what the staff could do.
Until the guys on the floor recognize not only their limitations but the strengths of others and make the sensible play, coaches can talk until their blue in the face and nothing’s going to change.
It’s okay with them
There was no issue whatsoever from any player I talked to after the game about the vociferous reaction of the fans.
In fact, a couple of ‘em might have wanted to boo themselves.
Close your eyes and listen to Jose:
“For sure they want to be in those playoffs and we didn’t show today that we wanted to be there. We played a really bad game and we were trying but nothing worked. For sure, they are going to be mad.”
The funny thing was, the fans were quite involved early, which is a bit odd. Seeing them stand before the opening tip and cheer was uncommon and showed quite the level of passion.
Too bad the players didn’t have it.
But, and this has to be troubling to the big money-counters who live in the MLSEL vault, the game was not a sellout.
Only 19,515 according the official boxscore I got and that kind of surprised me.
Not sure why but what the heck.
A telling sign, and troubling
There was just under three minutes left in the first quarter and a timeout was just ending. I looked up across the court and there was referee Mike Callahan looking at the scorers’ table holding up three fingers on one hand and two on the other while looking alternately at either bench.
He was checking team fouls with the scorers table, obviously, but it begged the question:
What does it matter to a ref how many team fouls there are? It’s not going to affect his calls, is it?
The Bulls have 39 wins, the Raptors 38 and each had two games left with Toronto holding the tiebreaker.
If Toronto wins twice, the Bulls would have to win twice; if Toronto wins once, the Bulls would only have to win once.
The Raptors are in Detroit tonight and home to the Knicks on Wednesday. The Bulls host Boston tomorrow and finish at Charlotte on Wednesday.
Of course, if both teams lose both their games, Chicago makes it.
I’m thinking that might be the most likely of scenarios.
Remember way back last week when we went through the defensive player of the year and all-defence teams so you could see what way I was thinking? Well, I don’t have a pick for the all-star teams but if I did …
(And, remember, just two guards, two forwards and a centre on each team, no need to be more specific than that)
First team: Steve Nash, Phoenix; Kobe Bryant, Lakers; LeBron James, Cleveland; Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City; Dwight Howard, Orlando.
Second team: Dwyane Wade, Miami; Deron Wiliams, Utah; Carmelo Anthony, Denver; Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas; Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix.
Third team: Brandon Roy, Portland; Joe Johnson, Atlanta, Pau Gasol, Lakers; Chris Bosh, Toronto; Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee.
And I understand my friend Ian Thomsen did his and left Bosh off all three. Well, I’m pretty sure I’d listen to argument that way in favour of, oh, say Carlos Boozer or Tim Duncan but I’d probably still settle on Chris.
What’d KC say about that game last night?
Memo to self: Cancel Cleveland hotel for this weekend.
Talk about opportunities missed.
Saturday, right after the Raptors practiced at the Air Canada Centre and while the Bulls were working out, the Globetrotters were playing the opener of their day-night doubleheader three floors below.
And the aforementioned Mr. Johnson and I had a little competition to see who’d be the fires to get Washington Generals into our stories.
Nobody won it seems.
Unless I did just now.
Not sure whether this is entirely worth it but here’s what they’re saying in Detroit about the Pistons as they play out the string.
And, yes, It’s horribly disappointing here; imagine what it’s like down there.
The usual question and answer session for today – which I think would have been one of the all-time angst- and anger-filled hours I’ve ever spent – had to go the way of the dodo bird.
The smelly Ford Focus will be motoring to Auburn Hills at the time and a session just can’t be squeezed in.
Hold it all for Wednesday, when we’ll take care of it as best we can.