Offensive woes and the list of the favourite Chickens
So Jay terms his team a “fair-weather defensive team” right now – a bang-on assessment of a club that derives a lot of its energy from its offence, as troubling as that may be – and there are a couple of reasons that’s pretty dangerous.
First, it’s the trap they fell into last season and we know how that all worked out, don’t we? Shows a wee lack of mental toughness because the one thing that should be constant is defensive effort and, for most of this season, we’ve seen that this group works hard. But there has been some slippage that needs to be corrected. The other troubling aspect?
This team can’t shoot.
At least not well enough so far this season.
The HOTH are firmly ensconced in the bottom third in field goal percentage, shooting about 44.8 per cent as a group, and, lately, not nearly enough of them can make a shot.
Even before the season began, the world coming out from them that offence wasn’t an issue, that even without the guy who got ‘em 24 points a nights they’d find ways to score.
And seeing how they’ve only shot 50 per cent from the field in one of their first 17 games, it would behoove them to get better at that end of the floor.
Or it would at least be wise for them to get better defensively because on the (increasingly occurring) nights when shots don’t fall, that’s how they stay in games. As the coach knows:
“As good as we were playing in the fourth quarter of our win streak, we haven’t been able to get to the fourth quarter feeling good about where we are. It’s a matter of breakdowns, letdowns and a loss of focus sometimes by some of the players.
“Against some teams, you can get away with it; against good teams, they’re going to make you pay.”
Ah, this tweeting thing is something, right?
Where else are you going to learn that Reggie Evans is having surgery later this week? Yep, he spilled the beans last night, I’m told. No real details – I’ve got to figure they’re going to go in and put a tiny screw in the little broken bone – but we have to be talking more than a month at the very least.
Which means in about three weeks we’ll have daily “what’s up with Regggie, when’s he coming back?” questions and it’ll be exactly like last year.
It’s raining out at 6:15 a.m. and it’s already about 5 C and it’s almost December and what do I hear at the Favourite Starbucks (hi, Hurontario and Harbord): Christmas carols.
Way, way, way too early, methinks.
Reminded me of the morning Stumpy and I are standing outside the LAX Marriott about 4 a.m., some November morn waiting for a shuttle to the 6 a.m. flight to go to a game and finish some dopey back-to-back and it’s really warm out and the carols are all over the loudspeaker.
We look at each other with the same thought: Bleep Christmas.
And I have to tell you, if it’s not Bing and Bowie doing Little Drummer Boy, I am so not ready for carols at the moment it’s ridiculous.
So now, all of a sudden, it’s a coaching issue in Miami? Erik Spoelstra’s getting killed everywhere you look because those three guys can’t figure it out on the court?
I thing Mssrs. James, Wade and Bosh need to man up and play better.
I don’t think Spoelstra got stupid all of a sudden and it just goes to me oft-stated opinion that coaches get too much blame when things go bad and too much credit when they go good.
At some point, don’t the guys on the floor – supremely talented and quite full of themselves – need to play better? Play smarter? Do their jobs?
But the train wreck of a season so far has been fun to watch, no?
Let’s go get this one out of the file of lists I’m slowly compiling (and if you’ve got one, click here and send it along with any other questions you’ve got and I’ll take a look):
Q: Doug, here's a list for you. The Raptor is by far the best mascot in Toronto pro sports. Not sure if you've done it before, but how about top 5 mascots in the NBA? What about baseball mascots from back in the day when you covered baseball? Just curious about what makes a great mascot and who's got one.
Christa M, Barrie
A: Top five stuffed animals-slash-Chickens?
Sure, I’m all over that.
I am putting The Chicken from here at the top of the list and that’s not homerism, he/she/it is the best in my opinion.
I’m going with the Gorilla in Phoenix, I kind of like the Bison they have in Oklahoma City, and Rocky out in Denver always seems to put on a good show. Rounding it out? I’ll put Squatch of Seattle, RIP, just because he was excellent before his untimely demise.
Now, what makes a good Chicken? Silly antics, acrobatics and the ability to warm up the crowd without being intrusive. Oh, and they have to look cute, too. Cute’s big.
Now, you have to know that from baseball I’m all over the Original Chicken but I was huge Youppi fan and the Philly Phanatic was/is outstanding.
Kind of missed the Peja update in the morning missive from the newspaper (which is here for all of you who somehow didn’t click on it).
He didn’t practice yesterday and according to one guy close to him, there’s a chance he misses the next couple of games.
Swelling’s down in the knee and that’s a good sign, just needs a little bit more time for it to calm down.
Speaking of questions and answers, we’ll be here at noon for an hour if anyone’s in interested.
The things you see in the practice court every now and then.
As we’re chatting with players and coaches after practice Monday, there are people draping two tables against the wall with paper Thomas The Tank Engine tablecloths.
I’m figuring it might be The Young Onez having some sort of clinic or bash, but no …
It’s a birthday party for Usher’s offspring, we’re told, and we high-tailed it out of there before they brought in the jumping castle.
Or the kids.