Lists and memories and early-season trends
Know what’s impossible at this early stage of the season?
To sense trends, especially with a team you see almost every day.
Like your local Heroes of the Hardcourt.
Is Andrea Bargnani really a 20-point-a-night scorer?
It would sure seem that way but it’s too early to tell.
I guess the one thing that’s been interesting is that he’s done most of his scoring inside, on the block, in the paint and if there were questions about his ability to expand his offensive game, we’ve seen that he can – at least for this short stretch of games.
Can he keep it up?
Can’t tell after a week of the season but I’m guessing he can because there seems to be a more confident air about him. Maybe it’s the absence of Chris Bosh or maybe it’s that he’s getting the ball in different places on the court. Whatever, you have to admit he’s looked good.
Now, before some of you go off half-cocked, or fully-cocked given the subject, remember this:
He will not – ever, never, never, ever – be a 10-rebound a night guy. It’s not going to happen. Doesn’t have the instincts to do it, doesn’t have the aggression to do it, doesn’t have the quickness to do it.
Forget that he’s seven feet tall, the history books are littered with seven-footers who never averaged 10 boards a night and he’s going to be one of them.
And, yes, DeMarcus Cousins out-muscled him a few times in the game in Sacramento the other night, about as much as Bargnani abused him earlier at the other end during parts of the game.
You remember the fourth quarter; some of you forget the other end and the fact that Cousins was only able to play 18 minutes because of foul trouble.
Rick Fox is gone?
A travesty, I tell you. A travesty.
Let’s get to a digression-inducing mailbag question.
Q: Doug, just to redirect the interesting debate back to something of gastronomic interest, here is a list request:
Top five places in the world you have had a slice of pizza. Thanks as always for a great blog.
Top five places in the world you have had a slice of pizza.
Thanks as always for a great blog.
Richard Y, Kincardine
A: Wow, that’s a tough one. I do know what isn’t on the list. Pizza Hut in a room at the Sacramento Natomas Courtyard on Halloween night would not be on the list.
Now, I’m going to tell you about me and gastronomic interest: It’s as much about the people as the place.
That said, here’s a list of three favourites culled from various Adventures In Pizza, in no particular order:
Tomasso’s in San Francisco.
Great family style joint, memorable meal there last time I was in the city. Had a menu picked out by a waiter and in included some of the best pizza I’ve ever had.
Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix.
Great atmosphere, fantastic food, one of the gems of the world. Tough to get a table but it’s always worth the wait, kind of downtown and away from the touristy joints.
The original Pizzeria Uno in Chicago.
The one of the Magnificent Mile. Sure it’s cliché and I bet there are a dozen better, smaller places in Chicago that are better but I haven’t been to them.
Now, there’s one I forget by name, sadly.
It’s in Rome, about a kilometer up and around the corner from the main train station, right by the luxury hotel the Raptors and Celtics stayed at back in ’07. Outstanding. And I know my favourite pizza experience might have been Super Son ordering it by the centimetre off street kiosks in Rome; he thought that was very, very cool.
If you want to get in on this mail fun and frivolity, click right here.
The citizenry is angry down here, I’m reading and hearing, and if there was a harbour here instead of mountains, I’d fully expect to see people lining up to throw tea in it.
How about Madison Square Garden? Asbestos falls, game postponed and it’s the World’s Greatest Arena, My Butt.
It’s old and dilapidated and smelly, the visiting locker rooms are a disgrace they’re so small, the ushers and security guards have an overwhelmingly inflated sense of self-worth and the concourses are crowded all the time.
I honestly don’t see the allure; sure, it’s in New York and that’s nice but it’s not like it’s got this magical mystery history of stunning success to draw on, not a whole lot of ghosts of past champions haunt the corridors.
They can’t refurbish it fast enough for me. Or find another spot and start all over.
Let me get back to that rebounding thing for a moment, if I may.
I’ve long held, and so have people in the NBA game who know a lot more than me and whose opinion I respect, that rebounding is as much a team skill as anything.
If you take your guy out or occupy two guys or attract attention, it’s going to allow someone else to perhaps going to grab the ball.
And the fact is that the Raptors have out-rebounded their opponents in two of three games, Reggie Evans is out of his mind at the moment and their defensive rating is, in some advanced stats places, among the top third of the NBA.
Yes, it’s early. But there are signs that the rebounding issues are being addressed.
Oh yeah, what are they saying in Salt Lake?
And we’ll end with trips down memory lane, Energy Solutions Arena division.
Any of this resonating with any of you? Or is it a futile effort in self-indulgence? Just wondering.
Darrell’s costly flip
The fans here can be, um, vociferous and they are right on top of the players – it could be the most intimidating arena in the league in that regard. Anyway, December, 1997 and Darrell Walker’s ticked at the audience and the fact the Raptors lost, which was their 14th straight defeat in a streak would grow to 17.
Anyway, he’s leaving the court and flips the bird to the fans and ultimately gets hit with a $5,000 fine, I believe it was.
After the game, Glen Grunwald, Chris Young and I are sitting in the lobby bar of the old Marriott in downtown Salt Lake City (yes, Mother Star used to send two of us out on the road every now and then) and Glen’s commiserating about the season going in the toilet.
Then the news comes on that Latrell Sprewell had choked PJ Calesimo and was to be suspended for the season and we look at Glen and think, “see, it could be worse.”
TJ’s flip out
It might have been the darkest moment in T.J. Ford’s tenure in Toronto, five horrific minutes of play that alternated between disinterest and selfishness and culminated in him being tossed out of a game on March 17, 2008.
He’d been awful and was ticked off and so was everyone connected with the team, as this insightful report suggests. (Wow, things haven’t changed much here, have they).
A fashion statement
Not a lot of memorable moments that I’ve lived, actually.
But check out that link in the Ford moment and see the green jerseys.
First time they ever wore them, I believe and made me think:
Nothing says Irish like Raptors and Jazz in Salt Lake City.
Anyway, shootaroud precludes a Q and A today again, sorry; we’ll try to get back on some regular schedule soon.