A milestone for a building and a great, great board game
Ever see this before? Over-matched team hangs in there, plays hard, takes lead, loses lead, loses game?
Nah, I didn’t think so.
Guarding big with little
How many times did we see Dante Cunningham of the Blazers, much smaller and slighter, get right up into Andrea Bargnani on the perimeter and make it impossible for the Raptor to get off a quick shot? About 90 per cent of the time?
But to his credit, Bargnani did put the ball on the floor more last night than he has in weeks and try to create either space to shoot or a path to the basket.
It turned out okay, he took only one three-pointer and got to the line nine times, which is more than he’s been there in 15 games but I’ve got a feeling that when teams watch the tape of that one, he’s going to end up seeing a lot of smaller defenders.
I know it was in a lot of ways a reaction to what Portland was doing but I didn’t mind – particularly offensively – Toronto’s small lineup of Calderon, Barbosa or Bayless, DeRozan, Weems and Bargnani.
There were points where there was good ball movement on offence and a lot of trying to get to the rim and it made for some difficult matchups.
Defensively/ Well, at times it was a train wreck but this team can be a train wreck with a traditional lineup out there.
Jay alluded to in the post-game session with just a little bit of exasperation.
“They went with a smaller lineup and we were able to take advantage of it at the one end, Ed Davis with a rebound over a smaller guy but we don’t convert on the free throws (Davis missed both attempts with the Raptors up five) and then at the other end I think they scored nine straight times.
“That’s the ball game right there.”
He loved it
To a point.
That’d be Jerryd Bayless, of course, who got into one of those zones in the fourth quarter, when he scored all 18 of his points.
Kind of interesting to see a Raptor kind of mugging and taunting an opponents bench after making a series of big shot and it was okay since, at the time, they were ahead.
But it was also nice to hear Bayless say the right things post-game.
“It would have felt good if we had won. When I was in New Orleans, we beat them and I didn’t have half as good a game and it felt a lot better.”
A little bit more?
I’ve got some.
Hey, know what tomorrow is?
Besides Sunday, of course.
It’s the 500th regular season game in the history of the Air Canada Centre.
Not bad, eh?
I saw the note from the hard-working staff of J. LaBumbard – and you know who you are, able to take time out from draft preparations – and it got me thinking.
How many of those 500 might I have seen?
It probably has to be 490, I bet. I remember missing Tracy’s first game back because I was in Minneapolis covering a Final Four; I know I missed a Spurs game while waiting out a snow-caused flight delay at Logan and I’m sure there are six or seven others I might have missed for some reason. Although I’m not sure of that, now that I think of it.
Now, trying to come up with the five best or so is impossible because they all tend to blend together with the passage of time and the ravages of age but there’s one thing I remember clear as a bell.
The first basket.
It was a lob from Oak to Vince off a back-screen for a dunk because Butch, who was the coach at the time, always had a flair for the dramatic and it was like the perfect announcement of the team coming to its new home.
The old standards come floating back to memory:
Triple overtime against the Kings when Peja hit the dagger right in front of the Raptors bench.
A Chris Bosh three from the far corner to beat Houston in OT when Jeff Van Gundy was coaching there.
The Carter play in OT when he was with the Nets to win a game.
The Day of Donyell when he made a billion threes against the Sixers and we couldn’t quite figure out why they didn’t guard him.
And one of the best?
It was the day I didn’t have to cover the game for some reason I forget (maybe I had a flight later that night) and Super Son and I sat in the stands, about halfway up the lower bowl across from where we sit and watched a Golden State game. That was a very cool day, the only time I’ve watched a game live with him.
But this is very, very cool and it’s going to take People Of A Certain Age to get it.
Strat-o-Matic is 50 today!
It’s a great, great old baseball board game, you play with dice and charts and cards for players and different situations and news of its birthday really takes me back.
Now, I’m not old enough to remember the first year but I do know the first pretend baseball game I ever played was Strat-O-Matic; you’d sit there and roll the dice and look at the result depending on the pitcher and hitter and it was a riot.
You can have all these new-fangled video games and their HD Reality but I’ll tell you, sitting around a table with perhaps a libation and rolling dice and hoping for a homer or a double play is an awful lot of fun.
And now I think I need to go to a store and see if I can find one.
How’d that one go over in Portland?
You know, it’s all well and good that Cleveland won – and I am truly glad that it didn’t end at the buzzer with Blake dunking on Jamario’s head at the buzzer to win – but, really, the confetti and streamers pouring down from the rafters?
A bit much, no?
If they beat the Wizards on Sunday, do they give everyone a million dollars?
Hey, people, Super Son and I are spending a quiet night at home while Super Wife lauds Hazel at some black tie gala where I’d be brown shoes so let’s have some mail, can we?
(He’ll be off doing 14-year-old Wii/fFacebook things so I’ll have some idle time this evening, I’m sure)