A team in trouble and a guy getting what he wanted
There might be some longueurs in here but bear with me, it’s that time of year where it’s always going to be a series of unrelated items that get us through the day.
And, yes, this is a little late, blame Mike (who’ll you meet later on).
Okay, Bulls cruise in Game 1, Heat survive Game 2 and pretty much dominate Game 3 and the over-riding sense at the end of Sunday was that Chicago’s in a heap of trouble.
What Miami’s done the last two games is turn up the defensive intensity like you can’t imagine, especially in the fourth quarter and there’s nothing the Bulls can do about it, it seems.
In particular, it’s killing Derrick Rose who, in the fourth quarters of Games 2 and 3, has a grand total of two points because Miami is simply denying him any space to operate in.
And there is no one else on the team who can do anything consistently on offence. If Rose can’t get it done, the Bulls can’t get it done and there’s no reason to think, given what’s happened the last two games, that Chicago can figure it out.
That, folks, was precisely what Chris Bosh wanted when he left Toronto.
Great game on a big stage, the ability to operate against single coverage with the luxury of two great teammates to take the pressure off him and a chance to showcase his talents.
And watching him go something like 13 for his last 18 from the field, I don’t think anyone can deny he’s a very, very talented player.
Am sure I’ll be writing about him later today off Heat practice but suffice it to say, his teammates are pretty glad he’s around.
Here we go again and it makes you wonder if any of these guys will ever get it.
Joakim Noah not only gets into a “discussion” with a fan as he’s coming out of the game in the first quarter on Sunday – which is patently stupid – but he then uses the same slur that Kobe Bryant used in a game in April.
Now, we all know how I feel, that the use of that word is disgusting, it hurts more than many of you can know and professional athletes need to know that their words sting far more than, say, mine or yours.
And if I know David Stern, Noah’s going to get hammered today.
Stern hit Kobe with a $100,000 fine (a pittance compared to his salary but still a large chunk of change) and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t hit Noah with an even larger penalty today.
A message has to be sent and while it’s all well and good that Noah apologized right away, that’s not mitigation at any level and I hope Stern gets him for $125,000 or so.
There’s no place anywhere for that word, not in private, public and certainly not between an athlete playing a game and chattering with fans and the commissioner has to keep hammering that point with the only weapon he’s got – getting into players’ pockets – until the knuckleheads get it.
Bob Marley on the juke box, you can order wings or other deep-fried brown things at 1:30 in the morning, great staff, $3.50 glasses of Yeungling and it’s steps from the hotel?
I call it heaven, the locals call it Mike’s.
You can’t find it without a search warrant (around a corner, in a condo/office building, up an elevator, down a winding hall) but because I know people (hello, Mr. Enlund!), it’s a familiar joint I haven’t been to in a while and a fine place to finish off a day. Put it on the list of league-wide favourite.
No, they didn’t have cake but, to be honest, it wasn’t that big a deal.
All right, major fumble over here.
When I was gathering information about who the Raptors met with in Chicago last week, the e-mail I got was full of last names – Walker, Thompson, Knight, Burks, etc – and I made some presumptions.
Well, one bad one, it seems.
It was actually Tristan Thompson of Brampton they met with, not Klay Thompson of Washington, and when I got the correction last night, I heard the young Canadian was quite impressive when he was chatting with the HOTH.
Not sure that means he’s going to be a Raptor but I guess it’s good to know.
And I needed to get the record straight.
Wonder if I mention that it’s time to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, how many people here will tell me that band was done years and years ago.
Walking around a couple of shootarounds and the pre-game media period at the game on Sunday, ran into a bunch of people I know from the teams and the media and the first question, invariably, was:
“What are they doing with Jay?”
And when I tell them – assistant coaches, front office types, other writers – that I fully expect they’ll pick up the option any time this week, the overwhelming response is:
But for those of you who wonder if the Raptors even resonate around the league, they do. Especially when there might be a job opening.
One thing that tells you you’re at a big playoff series rather than some run of the mill regular season game – besides seats in the stands way up at the top of the lower bowl instead of courtside or on the baseline – is increased security.
And Super Dog screwed ‘em up a bit last night.
In a new twist, as soon as you walk in the media entrance of the American Airlines Arena, you have to put your bag on the floor, step back, and a bomb-sniffing dog goes over it.
Well, mine gets plopped down, this really smart dog gets at it and there’s all kinds of excitement. It’s sniffing the bottom and nuzzling it with its nose and I’m wondering what the heck’s going on. Well, the little fella finally walks away, the cops looks at me and says it’s all cool to go and then it hits me:
It wasn’t bomb residue the dog was hyped about and when I asked the cop if the extra attention could have been because Super Dog has a tendency to hang around the desk where my bag sits at home, the guys says, yeah, happens all the time.
More Raptors tidbits, not big but what the heck.
Apparently there’s some gang workout for draft eligible kids today and/or tomorrow in Minneapolis and they’re there again.
And I’d imagine we’ll find out this week some kind of schedule for individual workouts back in Toronto when the fun really begins.
For those who wonder when they might start narrowing down a wish list of draft picks, I don’t think that’s going to happen until mid-June at the earliest and it could be the Monday before the June 23 draft when they get around to really deciding who they want if he’s there.
Hey, you people are all right.
Just wanted to say thanks for all the comments and best wishes of the day yesterday.