Stuff to mull over while I'm on a long, boring drive
Fun game, no?
Lots of shots, lots of scoring, good tempo and sufficient amount of defence that the outcome was in doubt until there were less than 30 seconds to go.
Give me one like that any time.
Just not good enough
Under no circumstances – ever – should DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems, starters on an NBA team, combine to play 71 minutes of basketball, take a combined 28 field goal attempts and not once – NOT ONCE – get to the free throw line. That’s unacceptable.
I don’t know what Jay can do because I know he wants them to drive the ball a lot more, but that’s simply not good enough.
Proving the theory right
There is a school of thought that says when things are going bad, teams and individuals get nothing but bad breaks and there were two instances in the final few minutes that kind of showed that school of thought (not be confused with the School Of Rock, which is fun movie though I digress) may be right.
The HOTH are clawing back, down seven with about 4 1-2 minutes left and you could sense momentum. They have a pretty good defensive stand, surround Afflalo on the baseline and it looks a turnover or stop is coming. Well, Affalo bounces a pass through about three sets of hands and JR Smith nails a three and angst on Jay’s face as he buried his head in his hands was classic.
Fast forward to one of the key possessions of the game.
Down four after a Bargnani three with 47 seconds left they play really good defence and force Chauncey into a bad miss.
But, instead of grabbing the rebound, I think it’s Kleiza and Barbosa (the chicken scratch hand-writing isn’t what it should be) who kind of bump into each other and the ball goes out of bounds to the Nuggets.
Then it’s time to foul and the game’s effectively over.
Two bad breaks, no one’s fault but kind of sums up how things are for these guys right now.
No numbers, good game
Julian Wright played 14 1-2 minutes, the longest stretch he’s had in a game still in doubt maybe all season.
He took only two shots, made one, had a couple of free throws and only gathered in one rebound.
And played very well. Really.
He was maybe the best defender they had on the court, mostly handling JR Smith when the Raptors started to claw their way back into the game.
I don’t know if it earned him any more playing time for the simple reason that I think they play too many wings now and another one just clouds the issue further but if Jay’s thinking about sending a message to a Young Onez, he would seem to have a guy capable of filling in.
Want more? I’ve got some.
I would think that George Karl, demanding and all about respect for the game, might have some issues with the, um, free-spirited Nuggets. So it was especially nice to see each of them go up to him individually after the game to offer congratulations on win No. 1,000.
And George, who I quite like, provided one of the quotes of the year so far about it:
“A lot of times during an NBA season, the coach and players aren’t really connected, they are fighting a lot and this was a moment not only on the court but in the locker room afterwards (that) there was a great connection. So it was good.”
And now he can go back to ragging on them and screaming at JR Smith for crazy three-pointers.
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!
It’s two weeks until Christmas?!?!?!?!
Yikes. How did that happen?
All gift ideas accepted up until noon on Dec. 24.
A quickie from the mail:
Q: Regarding filing an extra story you said, "Means an extra story for me, which is a minor pain, and we know this is all about me." Does an extra story translate into an extra something on the pay check? Just wondering :)
Colin W, Toronto
A: As a wise man once said:
Seriously, though, if the Smelly Ford Focus makes it all the way to Auburn Hills this morning, I should have some time this afternoon to start on the mail so click here and we’ll see what you’re thinking.
Look at the bright side.
No fan threw a waffle on the court like disgruntled Leaves fans did Thursday.
Which begs a question: What in tarnation were fans doing with waffles?
Benjamin’s Denver report? Right here if you’d like.
And what's up in Detroit? Right here if you'd like.
So I’m sitting here trying to come up with three wacky, or at least mildly interesting happenstances from our trips to Detroit over the years and it’s hard.
Seems to have been a lot of boring games and the best one happened a game I wasn’t even at.
Jalen’s at it again
Detroit, for some reason, is a place where tickets are in high demand among players and the hard-working media relations staff are always left juggling and begging and shifting allotted tickets around to satisfy all the players.
As you’d expect, Jalen Rose was top of the list of players needing ducats and one game, I think it was probably in the ’05 season, he got a tad exasperated trying to take care of everyone he needed to take care. He’s standing around at shootaround going over the list and finally says:
“I’ve got to stop this. My entourages are getting entourages.”
I tell ya, Jalen doesn’t get nearly enough credit for being a good quote.
Butch’s master stroke
This is the one I wasn’t at but I remember it this way:
Raps are in a tight game, Pistons have the ball out of bounds and Butch decides to put two guys – one was Marcus Camby, I’m pretty sure, and I can’t remember the other one – on the guy throwing the ball inbounds.
Much confusion surrounds the Pistons who cough up the ball, Raptors get a steal and win the game and it’s one of the best out-of-the-blue coaching moves I’ve ever seen.
Who is that guy?
This isn’t Raptor-specific but, like I said, there’ve been few memorable moments.
Way back when the Pistons were always in the Eastern final and we covered them, the media seating was excellent, a few rows on risers on the baseline.
Sitting there one day and there’s a guy walking past me to his seat, wearing some kind of old Pistons Bad Boy replica jerseys (might have been Isiah’s, I can’t recall) and he looks awfully familiar.
Tall, lanky guy and he seems to know a lot of people.
Rub my eyes, look more closely and, yes!, it’s none other than Carlos Rogers, playing the part of Joe Fan.
Have a good day; I'll get to the comments when I get to the Troy Marriott sometime this afternoon.