Bad game, good job and some Vince for good measure
Next stop: The Riverwalk in San Antonio.
But first …
Slow, slow motion
One play, fourth quarter, that pretty much sums up one of the worst games Andrea Bargnani’s had in some time.
He gets the ball out beyond the arc on the left side with, I believe, David West guarding him.
Bargnani waits, and waits, and waits. He makes a head fake and a jab step and goes nowhere. He can’t decide whether to shoot or drive or what. The seconds tick off the clock, I think I might have dozed off for a minute or two and, finally, you can almost hear him say, “screw it, I can’t figure out what to do” so he passes the ball back to Jose, who has to fire up about a 27-footer at the shot clock buzzer that misses badly.
Terrible possession late in a very bad game and if he’s playing like that, they’ve got no shot to win.
Let’s say you’re an NBA head coach and you’re on the road and your team’s playing its third game in four days against a pretty good team.
You look down the bench and see:
Ed Davis, rookie; Sundiata Gaines, still learning the names of his teammates; Joey Dorsey, game but under-sized; Solomon Alabi, rookie.
There are no shooting guards or small forwards. No experience, no shooters, no nothing.
And someone your team is in the game until the final seconds?
I tell ya, they should have fully guaranteed the third year of Jay’s contract last night for the way he managed that motley crew.
“We tried to keep it as ugly as we could.”
Knowing your opponent
First Toronto possession of the game, Andrea – when it looked like he might be okay – gets the ball on the left baseline, makes a move on David West, who’s the only guy covering him, and draws a foul.
While Bargnani’s at the line, Hornets coach Monty Williams finally gets the attention of Trevor Ariza, who is guarding Julian Wright and makes sure Ariza knows it’s okay to go double Bargnani when that situation arises again.
Bargnani never really got a clean post up again and the Hornets knew that Wright wouldn’t kill them.
A wee bit more.
Have to say: A piano, a clarinet, a bass, a drum kit, a couple of friends and an Abita or two makes for a lovely Bourbon Street evening.
Fritzel’s, if you’re ever here.
Caught up with the familiar face on the bench before the game and he seemed quite content.
No harsh words for the Raptors (although he said he was disappointed with how the final day in Toronto unfolded) but overall he sounded like, as they say, in a happy place.
“It’s a peace of mind just knowing what it is. There was a lot of, I guess, things that were unspecified when I was in Toronto, I didn’t know if I was going to play 40 minutes or 17 minutes or 20 minutes. Here? I pretty much know what it is.
“I mean, would I like to play more? Who wouldn’t? But it’s the situation and you have to know it’s bigger than you and you have to go with it. It gives you some peace of mind when you know what it is every single day when you step on the court. You know when you’re going in, you know when you’re coming out. It kind of relaxes you in a sense and that kind of relaxation I didn’t have in Toronto my last year.”
Pretty valid point, I guess.
And then he goes out and has 17 points just to make his point, I guess.
Oddest sights from a couple of nights on Bourbon?
The seven or eight rather, um, beefy fellows, obviously over-served, walking up the street on a quite cool Sunday night wearing nothing but jeans and aprons.
A wedding procession of about 40, led by bride and groom and a horn player, walking up the middle of the street, making us all feel like wedding crashers.
They didn’t seem to care.
Here’s what Jimmy Smith had to say in the pages of the Times-Picayune.
I don’t know if it was just for us but the trumpet player who did O Canada in New Orleans was named Glenn Hall III.
Got this out of the mail and more than one of you pointed it out:
Q: Hey Doug. I was shocked to notice today that Vince Carter scored his 20,000th career point, making him 37th on that list. Now, I am not suggesting VC is a Hall of Famer, because I personally believe to be a Hall of Famer you have to win something or be pretty darn close. Of the 36 people ahead of him, only Mitch Richmond (#35) and Tom Chambers (#36) are not in the Hall of Fame. (Of course the likes of Shaq, Kobe, Garnett, Payton will be in there eventually). I can't help but look at that stat and just dwell on what could've been? Not what could've been of Toronto, but what could've been of Vince Carter. He had the skills to be one of the greats and I can't help but seem disappointed by how is career turned out. I feel like he had all the talent in the world to be in the Top 15 of all time, but he did not have that desire that MJ or Kobe or even LeBron has. With that said, when VC's career is over, what would you take from it? What would you remember him for?
Dave R, Markham
A: My first reaction:
That’s a lot of points, wonder how many I saw.
Anyway, there is a phrase I use to describe Vince that I’ve been using for quite some time and it’s this:
He did not take responsibility for his greatness.
I mean, that kid could have been special but he just couldn’t come to push himself to the absolute limits of his abilities because he wasn’t strong enough of mind, or interested enough in maximizing his talents or what.
And when his career is over, I will be left with an empty feeling when I think of what he was as opposed to what he could have been. I feel a bit cheated. I also feel very lucky to have seen him when he was pushing himself – and he did at times, just not often enough – and the few moments of jaw-dropping moves and dunks will have to do.
I do know this: There are people in the game – players who had more desire but not as much talent, coaches who saw so much untapped talent – who are angry that he wasn’t more than he was.
Here’s a travel Did You Know
Did You Know that you cannot fly from New Orleans to San Antonio without stopping somewhere? Seriously. Two major centres, pretty close together and you either have to change in Houston or Dallas to get from one to the other.
Yep, long day ahead pour moi.
Hey, you want to do mail, or say hello, or whatever?