Disappearing players and a big day for rumours
Quite the dull night, wasn’t it?
Kind of a boring game, not much to write home about but there was enough to write here about.
A bad look
No, not the orange Bobcat outfit Rufus The Stuffed Animal was wearing.
It was when I looked down on the court and saw Leandro Barbosa, Julian Wright, Linas Kleiza, Andrea Bargnani and Ed Davis on the floor together.
For some reason last night, it just didn’t work. Julian didn’t have his greatest game, Linas and Leandro had their struggles and we know that Andrea was scuffling most of the night (we’ll get to more on that in a second).
It was one of those nights when Jay was searching for something, as he is wont to do and I’m quite all right with it most of the time, but this time it just didn’t work.
I’m thinking it’s a frosty day in May before that fivesome is trotted out again.
Andrea’s tough night
Oddly detached was the way I first described Bargnani’s rather bad effort and I think that’s pretty suitable.
Two plays in particular:
There’s a loose ball under the basket right in front of the Toronto bench and Andrea’s about a foot away from it. Instead of bending at the knees or – heaven forbid! – diving to the floor, he made some half-buttocked effort to bend at the waist and pick the ball up before a Bobcat simply beat him to it and headed the other way.
Change of possession, Raptors are headed back on defence and I saw Boris Diaw, who is not the, um, most sculpted pro athlete I ever saw – simply beat Bargnani down the floor in a foot race.
Now, in Andrea’s defence, I will note that he didn’t do much or anything at shootaround Tuesday morning because his knees were a bit sore, and he did spend an awful lot of time after the game icing down, but they need a better effort than they got last night.
Hard hits. Good and hard
Couple of relatively tough fouls committed by the HOTH and it was not something you see every day.
The first came from Ed Davis – who continues to impress – when he came from the weak side to try block a Shaun Livingston lay up and laid him out and then second was a hard hit by Linas Kleiza on Gerald Wallace early in the second half.
Not big plays but not ones we’re used to seeing.
And just a wee bit more:
Oh, I’m sure you’ve got questions.
And I will endeavour to give you some answers if you come around these parts at noon Thursday.
(Or dang close)
Q: Hey Doug. Probably a silly question, but how come the June Taylor Dancers never do that kaleidescopey thing any more?
I miss that.
I miss that.
TL I, London
A: I have no answer, I just want people of a certain age to read this and smile like I did.
Okay, I can’t remember who but some insightful reader asked in the comment yesterday if I could dig out the Washington cab ride story in light of my shared ride into Charlotte with Oak.
It took a wee bit of digging but here it is, culled verbatim from that day’s offering:
Okay, here’s why sometimes this job doesn’t suck.
Me and Sun No. 2 are in a cab to the airport in Washington the other morning and we strike up a conversation with the nice man driving. Small talk, mainly, ‘til he asks us what we do and we tell him we’re sportswriters.
"Have you ever heard of Oscar Robertson,” he asks?
Duh, sure, the greatest ever in the opinion of some.
Well, it turns out the driver had some stories. Great stories.
He went to high school with Oscar and this might be the best cab ride ever.
The conversation, as I recall it unfolding.
"Oscar was the greatest, went to school with him,” says driver.
"When did you know he’d be great?”
"About the eighth grade, he could shoot your ass off then.”
"Did you play with him?”
"Nah, I was on the reserve team, he was varsity all the way. Did you know he had a brother?”
"Nope, didn’t know that.”
"Yeah, Bailey. Was a good player, too. Uncoachable, though, never made it.”
Wow, I’m thinking, this dude is cool. And then there’s more.
"You ever heard of George McGinnis,” Mr. Driver says.
"Um, yeah, of course. Who hasn’t?”
"Played with him, too; ran him off the playground when he was a kid, clumsy guy, couldn’t play. Guess we were wrong.”
Man, this is cool, I’m thinking.
"You guys see the movie Hoosiers?”
"I was at that game. Just like in the movie, Milan won, 32-30 and Bobby Plump hits the shot. We called Bobby “Country” back then. Wore a white T-shirt under his jersey. Country could shoot.”
Now we’re at the airport and all I want the dude to do is drive us around for a few hours telling stories.
"I’m retired now, my wife retired from the state department five years ago and I’m driving this cab ‘cause I’ve got to keep our marriage together. Gotta get out of each other’s hair.”
I know that the gentleman, a Mr. Proctor, will never see this but, man, did he make my day.
KC checks in from Chicago with a laundry list of Banged Up Bulls. Read it here and check back tonight to see who survives shootaroud and plays.
I’ll be on a teeny tiny Air Canada Sopwith Camel headed home so I won’t get to shootaround will let you know what I know when I know it.
Speaking of clicking to read elsewhere, Rick says this about that one.
So, big day for the rumour-mongerers out there, that’s for sure.
Dec. 15 – and it can’t really be Dec. 15, can it? – is the day all the free agents who were signed in the summer can be traded and you know you’re going to hear all kinds of rumour, innuendo and speculation.
Some it might even be right.
New Jersey, Houston and the Lakers got things started Tuesday night when word of their deal leaked out – it can’t be finalized until today – and I’m sure there will be more.
Around Toronto? I’m told by people I trust that it’s relatively quiet right now, just the usual chatter between Bryan and a handful of other GMs, talk that goes on almost daily during the season.
There is no one “being shopped” (although I have no clue what that really means since all kinds of names are bandied about here and there) and nothing seems imminent.
Of course, nothing seemed imminent on the Friday before the Jarrett trade on the Saturday.
Oh yeah, the Michael Jordan ceremony? Muted, didn’t extend halftime even a minute and was quite tasteful.
The “didn’t extend halftime even a minute” thing was important to me, of course, but it did drag a wee bit and the players only had about 90 seconds to get warmed up before the second half and it was kind of odd to see guys lying on the floor getting stretched while they were rolling up the Carolina blue carpet.