A series of unfortunate mistakes, and some Minny memories
Well, there’s a little baby Delta plane sitting at the gate waiting to shuttle me off the Twin Cities but first …
Sign of the times
Sometimes, guys just don’t get it.
Very first possession of the game and Toronto wants to go to Bargnani in the post. Smart move, see if they can get a quick foul, get him started off quickly.
Well, he posts up, takes the entry pass from Jose and when a second defender starts inching over he kicks it back out to Calderon.
Now, the smart play is for Bargnani to then get deeper position, repost himself and Jose knows this. And he waits. And is ready to re-enter the ball.
And what’s Andrea do? Instead of re-establishing himself in the post, he moves further away from the basket and, yes, he made the shot but that’s not the point.
So to all who wonder why they don’t dump the ball into him more often, that’s a pretty good indicator of why. Sometimes, he just doesn’t want it.
Good game, one blip
Yes, Amir Johnson was outstanding – 24 points and 12 rebounds and no serious foul trouble – but there was the one play that kind of sticks out.
Biting on an Ersan Ilyasova fake 25 feet from the basket and fouling a 29 per cent three-point shooter who happens to be the sixth-best free throw shooter in the entire NBA with a second left in the first half kind of sums up Toronto’s decision-making process for most of the night, doesn’t it?
But otherwise, Amir was very, very good.
Decisions, decisions, decisions
Bad ones, that is.
A Sonny Weems three-point attempt down three with 33.8 seconds left in overtime so unbelievably bad, it should be a “how not to win” lesson for all of basketball.
There were about 10 seconds left on the shotclock, Weems is a 24 per cent three-point shooter who hasn’t even attempted one in a game in, oh, a month or so and there were about two teammates within about 10 feet he could have passed to.
Yes, Jose fouling Delfino on the resulting possession was a big mistake and mental gaffe but if they don’t get a ridiculous shot just before it, well, who knows.
A bit more? Why, of course.
Mysteries unraveled because that’s what we do here.
You know how Julian Wright sometimes starts a game with a headband and then shows up later in the game without one?
Want to know why?
Sometimes he just forgets.
Now, Julian might be – how do I put this? – the biggest sweat hog in the history of the team. He’s drenched after the slightest workout like you can’t believe and he told me last night he goes through two uniforms, three undershirts and, yes, a couple of headbands every game.
And sometimes he just forgets to put the second headband on.
There you go.
I swear I was sitting sipping after the game and looked up to see Kevin Garnett smack Phoenix’s Channing Frye right in the testicles when Channing was in the air shooting a jump shot.
No one’s that much of a punk, are they?
No self-professed NBA tough guy/leader would do something that cheap would they?
Couldn’t have happened, could it have?
So, Minnesota, eh?
Raptors do beat the Timberwolves like a rented mule, it’s 12 games and counting back to 2004 but it was no forever thus.
In fact …
It got ugly.
I remember being there late in the 2001-02 season when they got drilled by the Timberwolves. A bunch of guys were hurt, they played like crap and the season was pretty much in the toilet.
They stayed in Minny that night, the team hotel was a short walk from the arena and Dell Curry and Antonio Davis, who were entirely miffed by what was going on, decided to walk back. They resolved to salvage the season and did, going on to win 12 of their last 14 to make the playoffs.
Now, if they’d only taken Chris Childs with them on that walk and given him a math tutorial, who knows what might have happened. That was the year Childs forgot the score in Game 5 of the Pistons playoff series.
It got uglier
It’s early November, 2003 and we’re still trying to get used to Kevin O’Neill and his interesting suck-the-life-and-fun-out-of-basketball style.
Well, they go to Minneapolis for what I seem to recall was their first or second road game of the season and O’Neill’s stifling defence holds the Timberwolves to 73 points.
And that was good enough for a 17-point Minnesota win because KO’s lads only put up 56 points and that remains the fewest ever scored by the Raptors in a game.
Speaking of Minnesota, the Timberwolves lost in Utah on Friday and here are the ugly details.
And while we’re at it, Charles F. reports on the Bucks like this.
This comes out of the mail, which could use a bit of a jolt so if you’d like to send a wee note click here and do it.
Q: Hello Doug. By merely reading the headline of the OJ Mayo suspension story yesterday my immediate response was to wonder how on earth a player could be so naive as to use a banned substance. However, Mayo stated that he purchased the supplement over the counter and was unaware that it contained the banned substance dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
Whether he knew or not, I would suspect that players looking for an "edge" to increase performance or even to combat the effects of chronic pain due to injury - or whatever the reason - it's not difficult to understand why a player might succumb to the allure of these substances. Can you tell me what sort of guidance, information, advice the Raptors organization provides players about the use of these products? Do teams ever conduct their own "in-house" tests? Thanks!
Lorie P, London
A: I guess the easy answer to why he did it, and why he got a 10-game suspension for it comes in one word:
In this day and age, you’d think any athlete anywhere who was taking supplements would bring the bottle to the arena, give to a member of the team’s staff and let them check its contents for prohibitive substances. It’s lunacy not to. But, guess some of them are loons.
Teams make sure every player knows what’s on the banned list, how dangerous some of the stuff you get over the counter can be and like to approve every dietary supplement a player takes.
But, no, they cannot do their own tests under the collective bargaining agreement.
I have no idea how Rob Base was, I paid no attention whatsoever.
Just letting you know.
All right, think it’s around noon Eastern time when I get to Minny, won’t be back before then. Play nicely among yourselves until then, okay?
And, yes, we’ll be here at 8 tonight for anyone who’d like to hang out.