Everyone's back and ready to go
Anyway, we’re on central time for a week with some awful travel (the 7 a.m. flight out of here to Dallas to complete the back-to-back sucks, having three days in Houston isn’t the greatest thing to ever happen because I’m not a big fan of the city) so I have no idea when I’ll get this done every morning.
But done it will be, like it is now:
So, what’s up with the post-Christmas HOTH?
A brutal schedule – six of seven on the road, the lone home game against Boston, Andrea’s not on this trip – could have them dead and buried shortly after 2011 starts.
Of course, we know “that’s why they play the games” and who knows what actually transpires but man, things seem bleak, don’t they?
I know they’d had four days off after the Detroit game but it looked like the same old banged-up group here Sunday night.
Amir Johnson was wandering around like the 2,000 Year Old Man (and he was …) with ice on his back after practice, I asked Sonny how his back was feeling and got an expletive as a one-word answer and things didn’t seem a whole lot better than they were after the Detroit game.
But, on the bright side, seems everyone had a happy holiday.
Chef Solomon Alabi was relatively pleased with his first attempt at a nice chicken and rice stew (“It was okay, only good for me, I’ll be better next time), Amir got his gumbo (“ate great and slept, a nice break”) and the rest of ‘em seemed quite relaxed.
I do think the mental break was almost as important as the physical respite they got; they were stumbling along, playing poorly, with game piling up one on top of the other before Christmas and getting away from the game – and each other – probably wasn’t a bad idea.
And since they’re about to start a stretch of seven games in 12 days, being mentally fresh is significant. They don’t have good physical health but at least they seem mentally rested.
Wonder what that’s worth?
One of the big surprises of walking into the Grizzlies practice facility to catch the final few minutes of the Raptors workout Sunday night?
Everyone was there.
Alvin got stuck in that blizzard that was raging in Philly yesterday morning; Micah was in Indy on Sunday night scouting the Grizzlies but, other than that, everyone who was supposed to be there was.
There have been guys – hello, Mo Pete! – who historically had travel woes getting back after the Christmas or all-star breaks and missed the first practice (their wallets were lighter for it) but this entire roster arrived on time.
And that includes Leandro, who made a quick trip to Brazil, and Sonny, who came from across the Mississippi.
What’s up with the Grizzlies?
Well, they knocked off the Pacers on Sunday and here are the gory details.
Speaking of Memphis, I don’t recall a whole lot of extraordinary things happening at games here (they did get drilled here a year ago that really exposed them as physically unable to compete some nights) but there have been a few stories that create trips down memory lane.
Rob’s excellent idea
It was late 2005, I think, when the Raptors had an off-day here during a road trip.
Rob, bless his heart, arranged for a second bus after the team plane landed to take whoever wanted to go to the Civil Rights Museum for a private tour.
A great, great idea to show the players and coaches a bit of history they should never forget – and that many of their parents and grand parents lived – and it was one of the best things he did.
The fact that about three players and a couple of coaches were the only ones to take advantage of the offer says more about them than anything.
A memorial work place
The media room here at the FedEx Forum always evokes memories – some sad, mostly good – when I arrive there.
It’s named after Don Poier, the long-time radio and television voice of the Grizzlies here and in Vancouver. Don, who also did some EA Sports work and kids would know his voice for sure, died of a heart attack in January, 2005, in Denver during a road trip.
I know it gets to Jay a little bit, too; they were broadcast partners and it was always a gas to do a game in Vancouver and hang out with them.
He’s missed to this day.
That’s Mr. Mayor to you
You remember KO, right?
Well, after his rather short and unglamorous stint in Toronto, he did a bit of work as an assistant here in Memphis.
Now, if there was one thing KO knew, besides how to sap all the excitement out of NBA offence, it was to know a place to decompress after a bit after a game.
I remember the year he worked here and we were coming; the Grizzlies where headed out on a trip right after the game and when they were in Toronto earlier that year, I remember asking Kevin for a post-game recommendation and wondered if he knew of a good place on Beale Street.
“Know a place? I’m the Mayor of Beale Street.”
Oh yeah, you might want to grab up the Raptors No. 12 jerseys.
At least all you Ronald Dupree fans; he’ll wear that number in honour of Donald Whiteside maybe? Or the Big Kitchen? Or Skip To My Lou?
This is why I kind of like just chatting with Jerryd Bayless.
Stopped by his spot after practice to see how he was feeling after what was a really bad bout of stomach flu that floored him for almost a week.
He’s better, no question about it, got home to Phoenix for the holidays, but said he was throwing up a little bit even when he got there. Then, kind of sheepishly, he adds: “And I was going to bathroom a lot, of course.”
Don’t know why, but I found that kind of funny.
I’ll tell you, there’s nothing quite like sitting upstairs at BB King’s, eating catfish and hush puppies and listening to live jazz.
A nice Sunday night.
Okay, we’re back to some semblance of normalcy here, everyone have a good week.