Welcome back to the usual fun and frivolity
Lots of family time and game-watching? Well, forget that. We’re back to the usual routine here, folks, with some idle ramblings from a mixed up mind.
Happened to catch an awful lot of basketball over the last 48 hours – on the gardening breaks as the legs stiffened up – and I have to tell you, there was nothing more compelling than that Spurs-Mavs game on Sunday night.
That’s the kind of playoff basketball I love, tough, hard-fought, great performances from unheralded players and if there was any doubt the Spurs are for real, they should have been dashed after watching them play defence like in the olden days.
Aside from the punk move by Eddie Najera – and the horse-collar hit on Manu was as bush league as any I’ve seen this post-season – the game had everything.
But, two questions did emerge:
Do you think they’ll trade Tony Parker since, as has been pointed out to me numerous times, it’s stupid to have something like $13 million tied up in a backup point guard?
And how ugly does Manu look with that contraption on his face? Anyway, that game underscored one clear fact about playoff basketball: You never know who’s going to step up and win a game for you out of nowhere.
George Hill, who’s good but not great, makes every shot he looks at – and scorches Jason Kidd and Jason Terry like I’ve seldom seen – and DeJuan Blair comes out of nowhere to provide about 14 minutes of exceptional energy that keys a huge run.
That’s what’s so cool about the playoffs, kids coming out of nowhere. And it doesn’t matter now if Hill or Blair disappear completely for the rest of the year, they’ve won one game for their team and that’s about all that can be expected.
How much money do you think Raymond Felton’s costing himself in the Bobcats-Magic series?
He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and I’m sure teams are watching closely as he’s continually burned by Jameer Nelson, who is becoming a very good big-game player.
So, you’d think the Bobcats might in the market for a point guard this summer, wouldn’t you?
Know any teams with an extra one?
Speaking of point guards being abused, what Russell Westbrook is doing to Derek Fisher should probably be illegal.
And it’s really turned that series into something a lot more than I thought it would be.
I still think the Lakers win it because Kobe’s eventually going to go off and they’ll also figure out a way for Pau and Bynum to dominate as they should but Westbrook is emerging as the story of the series, isn’t he?
I remember last year, when the Thunder were still very much a work in progress, discussing that team and how Durant was going to be a star.
The guy I was talking to was quite impressed with Durant, as we all were, but he kept going back to the same point: That Westbrook had the chance to be really, really, really good.
He kept hammering the point home before each of the times the Raptors played Oklahoma City and any time mention was made of that team.
Raptors assistant Gord Herbert, who seems a pretty astute judge of talent, even from a distance.
Going to be a late night, I hope and expect.
Because of few of you have asked – and I generally tend to listen – we’ll try to do one of those in-game blog thingies off the Suns-Blazers, which doesn’t start until 10:30 eastern time.
Sooooo, maybe nap time this afternoon but we’ll give it a shot and see how many are around. And, I’m told the system should work just fine for me to see the insightful comments you send so all should be good.
We’ll figure out today how we handle the rest of the week, okay?
Speaking of the Blazers, not sure if I’ve mentioned the tremendously cool thing they do before a game at the Rose Garden, which is one of my favourite arenas in the whole league.
Just before they get thing started, they started passing a game ball down through the stands, from the upper deck to the lower deck to the top seats along the sidelines and finally to midcourt and to the players.
The arena is dark-ish, there’s a spotlight following the ball and the fans really get themselves worked up as the whole thing is shown on the TV screen on the scoreboard.
Now, it’s not a real game ball but the thought is there and it’s cool to see and sure beats, in my opinion, some waif no one’s paying attention to walking shyly out to midcourt to hand a game ball to an official.
I’m sure there are people at the highest level of Raptordom reading this and it’s an idea they should steal.
Oh, and don’t forget the Karaoke Cam we’re stealing from the Pistons, either.
I tell ya, I may single-handedly improve the “entertainment” experience at Raptors games.
And we haven’t even started about ways to improve the whole pizza ridiculousness.
So, when did Michael Jordan start channeling is inner Mark Cuban?
Watching the Bobcats for the two home games, it became apparent that Jordan’s really trying to become a hands-on owner, sitting at the end of the bench – it looked like he was just another injured Bobcat – and dispensing advice while cheering his head off.
I’m not sure owners should ever be that involved in a game, to tell you the truth; I admire enthusiasm but I think there needs to be some separation between ownership and the people who coach and play the game.
In the heat of the moment, I think there’s too much of a chance for an owner, or a coach, to say something they might regret.
But it does give the TV directors a closeup they can bore us with repeatedly.
Here’s one left over from the mail that’s kind of pertinent to what’s going on these days:
Q: Hey Doug. I am a big fan, I was just wondering if you think there is any chance the Raptors get Jermaine O'neal back this off-season. I am sure it’s a long shot but I feel like depending on what happens with Bosh he could bring a lot to the table with a smaller contract this time.
Scott C, Ottawa
A: Having watched Jermaine in this series against Boston only re-affirms the somewhat emphatic “no” I would have given anyway. The last – very last – thing the Raptors would need in the event of a Bosh departure is an aging big on his last legs. Not a chance in the world I could endorse even a sniff of that idea.
Speaking of Miami, how good was Wade on Sunday? I have no idea what his future plans are but I tell yu, if Pat Riley isn’t working back channels today to get rid of about five of Wade’s supporting cast and surround him with even average NBA players, he’s going to lose him.
And if I’m Miami, I try to find someone – anyone – to take Michael Beasley and give back someone who cares on every possession. That kid’s lack of engagement is shocking.