A series of thoughts and mildly interesting observations
A series of unrelated items from the ramblings of an idle mind.
Remember back in late January and early February when it was suggested that perhaps the dog days of the season were upon us?
Well, those were poodles.
These are big old German shepherds.
Really, 18 games left, nothing really to play for and it can be a dangerous time for a team, its coach and its fans.
What’s to play for? Can selfishness kick in? Will players continue to work hard to improve, individually and in the team concept?
Jay thinks so (and, yes, I would have been shocked had he not) as he told us Thursday. But he also issued the requisite warning:
“Pride. I think a of these guys have pride and they want to do well but if guys aren’t going to what we’re asking them to do as far as fitting into our team or fitting in the right way to play, which we’ve tried to preach all year, then if they don’t do that, then we won’t play them.”
But I do think the one trademark of this team that’s been around all year is that this group does work hard and I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t continue between now and the middle of April.
They may be young and inexperienced and, most nights, physically over-matched but they do play and want to get better.
I have no clue what that translates into with wins and losses but that’s probably not the biggest consideration. Yes, they want to win every game they play but playing hard and getting better and more familiar with each other is equally important.
And what of you, the people who watch?
Well, as it’s been for most of the last two months, I think it’s a matter of taking each game as a one-off entertainment opportunity. At this point, don’t look big picture if you’re in the stands or in the house. Watch, hope it’s a fun night, cheer for good plays and wins and take every game on its own.
I read a note somewhere yesterday that Frederic Weis is retiring over in the French league.
He still did provide me with the most impressive thing I ever saw Vince Carter do when Carter leapt over him during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Incredible moment.
And I also remember the night the Knicks drafted him and passed on this local kid named Ron Artest.
Yeah, that draft’s an exact science, for sure.
You have to give Chris Bosh credit, don’t you?
He was quite vocal about wanting the ball in a better spot for him, vowed to be more aggressive when he got it and then went out against the Lakers and did exactly what he said he would, 24 points, most of them from inside and coming against two guys – Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum – who’ve given him fits in the past.
Not bad at all, even if it did spoil the night of tens of thousands who were on couches hoping the Miami train wreck kept getting worse.
What’s going on with the Pacers, besides them freefalling and my man Mike Wells suggesting more than one of the players seem to have thrown in the towel?
Well, here’s what he wrote today and if you’re able to catch the Pacers pre-game show on their local broadcast, make sure you do. You never know which of your favourite grunts may show up.
Speaking of Los Angeles, you heard about Kobe, right?
Game ends, Lakers lose after he’s taken a series of increasingly peculiar shots down the stretch. Quick jumpers, long threes, an odd assortment of quite perplexing decisions was hardly Kobe-esque.
But there was, an hour or so after the game, shooting all by himself on the court in Miami and I guess it was such a good show, some of the grunts moved from the press room back courtside to watch him.
That’s an extra-added bonus for a night’s work and probably gave everyone a unique angle for their stories, which is never a bad thing.
I’ve heard of Raptors going upstairs to the practice court to shoot or work out after games, never a visiting player, though.
This has to be at least a little heartening to fans of the HOTH.
After a very light practice Thursday, Alex English was spending an awful lot of time working on mid-range jump shots with James Johnson and it looks as if Johnson will be Alex’s responsibility over the summer.
Seeing what Alex did with Amir Johnson last summer, that’s got to be a good thing, right?
I asked Alex what kind of flaws or quirks they see in Johnson’s form and what they have to work on.
They want him to release the ball more in front of his forehead rather reach back behind his head to start shot (that’s the fatal flaw in Julian Wright’s jumper) because the fewer moving parts, the better.
But the one thing more than anything else, Alex said, was they want to see Johnson snap is wrists more forcefully as he takes a shot and hold his follow-through a split second longer.
This is not something that’s going to happen overnight, and a lot of the success will be determined by Johnson’s work ethic, but it’s a start.
You read where Air Canada is making some veiled threat about taking away some of its NHL sponsorships over the latest gruesome incident in the game.
Wonder who’ll be the first enterprising sort to ask that airline if they’ll also stop accepting money for flying teams around with their charter service?
Yeah, don’t imagine that’s going to happen.
Speaking of airlines, had a guy ask in the mail the other day for a “favourite airline” list and it’s taken a while but …
Now, understand that I don’t fly an awful lot of international carriers, most of my journeys to Europe or Asia have been with the Air Canada so things like El Al, which I’ve heard nothing but good about, can’t be included.
But if you’re floating around the skies, I can recommend:
Took it to Turkey, great service, somehow it just felt like more space for long flights.
I like that that hubs are in Philly and Charlotte, a couple of good airports.
Northwest, or Delta, or whatever it’s called now.
Lots of options through lots of hubs and they seem to fly to more NBA cities than the others.
Again, I don’t mind the hub being in Cleveland.
For some reason, the check-in process seems to go more smoothly.