Imagine that. A series of botched possessions – both ends – at the end of a close game they end up losing.
Haven’t seen that before, have we?
Oh, wait. Maybe we have. Weekly. Or weakly.
A key guy sits
Our seats were in the corner and were better than many in that spot in various arenas because we weren’t too high or too far away from the court.
And I had a perfect angle to see precisely what the coaches have been harping about with DeMar all season; and if any of you are ever at a game, watch it closely. It’s not something you can see on TV but it’s a huge problem with his game.
When they run stuff for him that involves him curling off a screen, or cutting across the lane, he simply does not work hard enough to get open.
He kind of lollygags at times, doesn’t use his body to get separation from his man and won’t use screens effectively.
I believe he was miffed after the game – he apparently tweeted “Straight Bulls#!+" on the bus to the airport – but here’s what I think someone needs to say to him:
Play better. Work harder. Be more effective. Then you’ll play, as you have in every fourth quarter in every game this season.
It was no message
Man, there was some angst among the populace about the fact Jose Calderon didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
There suggestions that (a) Jose had been traded and (b) he was being “sent a message” and one person with a fertile imagination suggested on the tweeting thing that Dwane was “tanking” the game, because a coach who uses a group who is going well and cuts a 13-point deficit to two and comes within a couple of mistakes of winning sure is coaching to lose.
But it was simple. Very, very simple. As I suggested.
When Jerryd was horrible in the fourth and needed to get hooked early, it was too soon to go back to Jose, Dwane was going to buy some time with Carter and when Carter was doing a good job and the team was coming back and the group was playing well, he stuck with them.
And considering they had about three chances to win or tie in the final two minutes, I’d say the guy coached his roster pretty damn well.
And I’m sure tonight, all things being equal, Calderon will be on the floor in the fourth quarter.
One very tough night
I am going to preface this by saying I quite like Jerryd Bayless as a man and think he’s a pretty good NBA player who is somewhere between a point guard and a shooting guard.
But watching him last night, with five turnovers (and I think at least three of them were what could be termed “unforced”) with three fouls in just over 11 minutes, made me think he’s got so far to go to be even a passable point guard that it’s not even funny.
That was Goran Dragic guarding him, I think Kyle Lowry might have had a few minutes on him, but neither of them are Gary Payton and the fact Jerryd couldn’t handle a modicum of pressure well is truly troubling.
Now, he will have good games again, I’m sure of that; but many more like last night and there’s no way teams think of him as a point guard.
More? A wee bit.
Okay, some of you might think this is a bit spooky or something but I get back to the hotel, decide to decompress for a couple of minutes and get some of this blog done with the early flight.
There’s a pretty good trio playing in the lounge, soft and kinda folky music and I’m about half a glass and a three-pointer into my work and they do a fine rendition of this one.
No, Mary Chapin Carpenter is not my favourite warbler of all time but if you can use her twice in two days, why not, right?
How’s the angst among the citizenry?
So, there’s a bit of a debate, and a fair amount of discussion, down here the last couple of days about the decision by new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine to ban booze from the clubhouse. It’s at least in part a reaction to last year’s “beer and chicken brouhaha” and was made a bit worse the other day when ex-manager Terry Francona said guys who wanted a beer could get one, prompting Valentine to take some cheap shot at Francona, who is now a broadcaster, by saying TV guys are paid to say things and managers are paid to do things.
Anyway, that aside, the whole issue of beer in locker rooms or clubhouses or dressing rooms is an age-old discussion, isn’t it?
Personally, I have no problem with teams having a cooler or a fridge or whatever around for players to avail themselves of one after a game.
The Raptors don’t, actually; and their plane is “dry” as well but if a guy wants to relax with a beer – and I believe it’s far more hockey and baseball and football than it is basketball – I have no issues with it at all. These are grown men, you have to let them be men and you have to trust them enough not to abuse the privilege.
Now, I’m not suggesting you leave a couple sitting on every player’s chair after the game, but having it around in a private players lounge for guys to unwind is not a problem to me at all.
I don’t imagine on many teams that many guys would take advantage of it but if a player wants to sit around with a teammate or two for half an hour so, who gets hurt? No one.
This latest thing is far more a story than it should be, at least down here because I presume not many back home have heard or care greatly about it.
I’m with Tampa manager Joe Madden on this one: These are grown men, treat ‘em like it.
Oh, right. I remembered.
Here’s how my man Jonathan chronicled the Rox-HOTH thing from last night in Houston.
Okay, early flight so you’ve got this early; I’ll catch up with you when I can from New Orleans.
Ready for the second half? Hope so, it’s kind of inevitable and after this rather dead time – what’s it been, one game in the last 10 days? – it’s nice to get back into the hustle and bustle. I know we’re a bit late with the whole time zone thingy but after a rather slack weekend, we’ll get fully into the swing of things as soon as we can.
You know, sometimes the media really gets me.
This whole NHL trade deadline crap you may have had to suffer through yesterday – and if you sat glued to a TV for an entire Monday that’s says as much about you as it does about them – says so much about the way some media outlets think of themselves it’s scary.
Folks, “we” are not the story and “we” don’t need, or shouldn’t need, to blow our own horns so much you can’t hear what we’re telling you.
We don’t need, or shouldn’t need, to become as big as the event we’re reporting, we don’t need to yammer incessantly about the number of “insiders” we have or the calibre of our “panel of experts.”
I’m pretty sure, or at least I hope, that fans and viewers and readers and whatever weren’t sitting home with some kind of scorebook keeping track of who had what rumour first, who beat the other guy by 10 seconds reporting the same news, who threw more resources at an event than the other guy.
Yes, we live in an era of immediacy that’s shocking and scary. People want to know right now what’s going on and, as we have seen, the fight to be first is fraught with peril. All too often the media rushes stuff out in the pursuit to be first that it lacks context and is sometimes dead wrong. That’s the worst part of all of it and it diminishes us all.
Now, it’s all well and good to cover a story thoroughly, I am all for that; but it’s even better to cover a story thoroughly and not becoming part of it, even on the periphery by telling everyone how good you are or how much better you are than the other guy.
I also understand the competitive nature of the business, especially in Toronto, which is second only to New York in North America for the amount of sports media that follows its teams with religious fervor.
I understand some measure of public relations and tooting one’s own horn.
What I don’t get is the overkill, the days leading up to it when it feels entirely like some people want to “be” the story rather than “report” it.
A rather interesting social back-to-back here, with Houston tonight and New Orleans tomorrow given the post-Katrina relationship between the cities.
And, of course, it struck a musical chord in the back of the mind and look what I remembered?
Oh, and if I look deep enough in the bookcase where they’re all stored, I’m pretty sure I could find a Mary Chapin Carpenter CD thanks to Super Wife, although I fully admit to liking the sound.
So, how about the Raptors?
Well, it was nice to see them last night – for the five or so minutes that we caught when they got done a two-hour workout – but there’s scant little news.
Looks like Kleiza’s a go for tonight – he went through the whole practice and will do shootaround in a couple of hours – but Bargnani only did a little bit of running on the side and isn’t ready yet.
Yes, it has been a long time, 14 games going into tonight, and he probably is being a bit more careful because of the nature of the injury. Can’t say I blame him, or the people who advise him, entirely, but it’s got to be about time to push it a little bit. If he’s on the court doing work, he can’t be too far from playing a few minutes, you’d think.
A minor leaguer for a minor leaguer?
Man, I bet the Pucks fans felt a bit hard done by late Monday afternoon; the sense I got was they expected fireworks and got nothing.
Now, you also know about me and car racing, right?
(Oh, maybe I was a little, but only because I knew the Orlando airport would be a mess with all-star people and race fans and I was right; it was a Monday zoo)
But, did you see that fire? The one where the guy, driving all by himself, ran into a track-drying truck that was carrying jet fuel?
Wow. That was amazing and it is entirely beyond me how a professional race car driver, who goes at unimaginable speeds through traffic in tight quarters for a living, can run into a truck with no one else around.
Not enough to make me pay attention regularly but that was kind of neat.
Want to start the mail?
I need a couple of question for Question Of The Day over at the Faceoff place (we can use some more likes, please) so help out if you can.
I view this with very mixed emotions.
Sacramento seems to have a deal in place now for a new arena according to all the reports from Monday and I guess that’s a good thing because I like new buildings and it’s often a shame when a city loses a pro sports team.
But that also means there’s one fewer franchise in play for a relocation and that’s another monster blow to both Vancouver and Seattle and a trade of Sacramento for either Vancouver or Seattle would have almost made up for the disgusting Vancouver-for-Memphis trade that was the HWSNBN transaction of franchises.
Oh yeah, remember this:
We’re two weeks and two days from the NBA Trade Deadline; I better marshal the troops and get the ads done to trumpet our ability to do our jobs.
Okay, Bryan? You here?
Anyway, after serious consideration and a few conversations around Orlando this weekend and looking at what the other options are, here is the one thing you need to do this summer more than anything else:
Throw an awful lot of money at Steve Nash to get him to sign in Toronto.
I’m talking two years at least, perhaps $18-22 million with a third year at his option, and you’ve got to try to do whatever it takes to get him to come aboard.
It’s a bold move but what the hell, isn’t that what you do?
Now, I have no idea whether Nash would even entertain the idea but knowing what I know of him, knowing his circumstances and what’s out there in the league, and after chatting with some folks around all-star weeend, I am 100 per cent confident that he will go into the free agency period with an open mind.
We know he loves Toronto as a city, we know he’s not about chasing a championship because he would have done that two years ago or forced a trade already so don’t go into it thinking you’ve got no chance.
It may be a huge long shot but you’ve got to take it.
It would be a signal to the other players on the team, the other players in the league and a fan base that’s stuck with you through some recent lean times that you’re willing to make a bold move for an immediate return.
What’s to lose?
Would you rather try to spend your money on Nicolas Batum or Wilson Chandler or Andrei Kirilenko or someone of that ilk? They’re all good players who might help your team and everthing but none of them are even close to Nash.
Nash immediately makes DeMar DeRozan better. He immediately makes Andrea Bargnani better. He immediately gets James Johnson better shots and if anyone can make it easy for Jonas Valanciunas to acclimate himself with the NBA on the offensive end, it’s a savvy, skilled point guard who has made a career out of making players better.
I bet the coach would love it, too. Your team is already young enough and you’re going to have Valanciunas and another high draft pick coming in anyway, why not get a guy who makes the transition from Europe or college easier for all. And don’t for a second think that Dwane couldn’t devise an offence – and more important, a defence – that would maximize what Nash can do.
To me, it’s a no-brainer to at least give it a shot; it hastens the rebuilding or retooling process and, as I mentioned, is a clear sign that you’re serious about getting things changed and changed relatively fast.
I’ll get back to you in July when it comes time to spend some of that money you’ve got; until then, think about it, please.
Of all the pretentious affectations out there, I’m thinking glasses without glass are a tad over the top, no?
Not sure if it’s going for the Geek Chic kind of look or what but, really, I’m suggesting it’s more silly than anything.
And they were all over the weekend I just spent.
Please, no more.
Okay, that might have been the best all-star game I’ve seen in a very long time.
Even the silliness of the first three quarters or so wasn’t over-the-top silly and the fourth quarter was really played at a high level and the final four or five minutes were like a real basketball game.
Not sure why, exactly, but maybe this group gets it better than the others did, that fans want to see a bit of a show but also want some genuine competition and the players of this era are giving it to them.
The Wade foul on Kobe, which came relatively early in the game, was a somewhat cheap shot – if it’s in a regular season game, Kobe’s coach is calling for a flagrant – and was the hardest hit I’ve seen in an all-star game in all my years.
It ended up with Kobe bleeding and suffering a broken nose – that’s why there are no post-game Kobe quotes, he was off getting CT scan – and Wade’s explanation was, to me, ridiculous.
“Yeah, I obviously didn’t want to draw no blood but I took a foul. Kobe fouled me two times in a row so he’s still got one up o n me. But I’m glad everything was cool and we got back to being competitive and having fun.”
Let me get this straight:
In an all-star game, a take-it-easy-all-star-game that’s as much about show as anything, Wade’s whining about non-calls to the extent that he intentionally fouls a guy hard enough to break his nose?
Yes, I slept in and didn’t even get to start this thing until about 7:30 a.m. and the best part of that?
Haven’t heard hide nor hair of NHL trades; and I’ll be fresh to ignore it the rest of the day.
Easy to do down there since no one really cares about it, to tell you the truth, but you folks back home have a wonderful time.
So a fella wanders outside to see what’s going on before the game – just to get a taste of the scene because I hadn’t been around a lot all weekend – and who’s on the stage they’ve got set up on the street for the pre-game concert?
It’s like all of a sudden I can’t get away from the guy; despite my best intentions to do just that.
It would appear that I need to go see The Artist.
Is that a correct assessment?
What about the HOTH?
Well, I heard this weekend that Andrea’s doing a little bit of running and on-court work, would suggest to me that it will be Friday at the very earliest that he returns and next Sunday might be more realistic.
On the weekend, Dennis Rodman may or may not have told me I’m cute and Jesse Jackson shook my hand unsolicited when I bumped into him and his entourage at halftime on Sunday.
Yeah, that’s not a bad all-star weekend at all, actually.
Leaves make a trade yet?
I’m telling you, if the Crusty GM (who I quite like, actually, because he’s a no-nonsense quote and I don’t have to deal with him every day) doesn’t make some kind of substantial deal – and I’m talking about top of the line player or goaler and not some third line winger for a 17-year-old prospect – I would imagine the Angstometer back home will break.
On second thought, that’d be waaaay cool. No deals, Burkie. Let’s see how the citizenry reacts to that.
Random thoughts from a Saturday night/Sunday morning.
I don’t know what they can do to jazz up that Saturday night – nor do I know how it might have played out on television – but, man, something has to happen.
Even in the arena there really wasn’t a buzz, the girl/guy old/guy thing never creates to much excitement because fans are just setting in; didn’t seem to be an awful lot of extra effort in the punt/pass/kick contest and the three-point shooting thing capture some attention, but not much.
The dunk contest?
Been there, done that, bored the first time, more bored the second.
Best dunk, for sure, was the Evans one where he caught the two ball and dunked them both; hadn’t seen that before.
P. Diddy as a prop? Guy stealing DeRozan’s dunk from a year ago with the pass off the side of the backboard? A motorcyle rather than a car?
It was hilarious at the end when Derrick Williams was capping the night with two minutes of dunking futility – and that is a very, very long time of dunking futility, by the way.
As soon as the buzzer went to end the hijinks the fans started to flee like someone had pulled the fire alarm. Don’t blame them.
How do you fix the night? I have no clue, sadly; one suggestion in the hospitality suite was to make some of the competitions more team-oriented, have two three-point shooters from a team, make the dribble-pass-shoot thing a relay instead of guard-against-guard.
That might make some kind of sense but the dunk contest? I’m not entirely sure it can be saved. Sometimes things just run their course.
I have now seen Flo Rida perform live.
One of the coolest things of the night was Anthony Morrow doing the three-point shooting thing wearing a throwback tribute jersey of Drazen Petrovic, the former Nets great killed in a car accident.
At least this time, the majority of the people in the building got it, unlike a couple of years ago when Rudy Ferdandez was robbed in the dunk contest wearing a throwback jersey as a tribute to Fernando Martin, the first Spanish NBAer, who also died in a car crash.
Just got a release that says the TV ratings in the States for Saturday night were the second-highest in the 27 years of the event and got one yesterday that said the kids game Friday drew the biggest ratings ever.
If that’s not a sign the apocalypse is upon us, I don’t know what is.
You get to these things and they generally run buses from the media hotel to the arena and the volunteers who handle it are generally helpful and well-meaning.
But there’s always a glitch. Or two.
About 20 of us are on the first bus to the arena yesterday and the guy marshalling the drivers and passengers comes on and makes sure we’re all going to the Amway Center and not the Jam Session, which is about six or seven miles out of the way.
Yes, we let him know. We are.
Driver gets on, we start the journey and no one’s paying much attention because it’s a mind-numbing trek down traffic-jammed I-4. Well, no one’s paying much attention until the driver starts heading for the convention centre and the Jam Session when we all start mentioning the faux pas in somewhat loud voices.
Driver seems stunned that we’re going to the arena, ends up taking back roads back to the highway and a trip that took 25 minutes at the end of the night ended up taking 65 on the way there.
Oh, and we get to the security checkpoint on a small road about half a mile from the arena and the heavily-armed officers are somewhat upset. Seems the security seal on the luggage had been broken and all of a sudden the cops are quite upset, telling the volunteers to get away from the bus – while we’re still sitting on it! – and bringing out the bomb-sniffing dog to check things out.
There was no bomb, of course, but the fact they let us sit there like dopes while telling the others to stand back was a tad disconcerting.
I’m sure there were all kinds of famous people at the arena last night, wish I knew who they were.
We’re walking from the really good baseline seat I had to the back after the, um, competitions and there’s a great hullabaloo as people want their picture taken with this one young lad.
“That somebody” I ask the Friend Of A Certain Vintage who’s walking with me.
“No idea,” he says.
Guess the pop culture knowledge isn’t quite up to snuff.
I’ve got the West tonight.
How about you?
Oh, and don’t forget we’ll have an IGBT going tonight. Tip-off is allegedly just after 7:30; I’m guessing closer to 8 p.m. but I’ll be in place shortly after 7. See you then, right?
Of course, I’ll understand if you all only stick around for a half so you can get to bed early for a good night’s sleep. After all, tomorrow is NHL Trade Deadline Day, isn’t it?
Here you go again.
Take this for now and depending on how the hospitality suite worked out, I’ll either have some leftovers from Saturday night first thing this morning or sometime, um, later.
Oh, and don’t forget, IGBT tonight, right?
Q: Hey Doug: I swear, this gets harder each week. I'm thinking that maybe all the questions have been asked and answered, so that is why there are times when the mailbag seems a little 'light.'
I don't think this has been asked before, so I'll give it a try:
In the 'blurb' next to your blog, the 'bio' says: "(Just don’t ask him about music nowadays it's not his cup of tea)." Now, being of a certain age like yourself, I partially agree with that sentiment. But, perhaps you could elaborate on why today's music is not your cup of tea?
Thanks again for all that you do for us - it is greatly appreciated!
Tim H, Windsor
A: I’m sure there’s lot of good music out there these days but I’m not at all a fan of hip hop or rap or heavy metal stuff and there doesn’t seem to be much melodic stuff being performed. Plus, I just like people who’ve been around a while.
I will take credit for having rather eclectic tastes so maybe there’s stuff out there I just don’t know about.
That little bio line might have something to do with trying to keep up the Old Grunt persona I’ve kind of made my own.
Q: Hi Doug. In the past you've mentioned the passing of some of the "Giants" of sports journalism, and how they're not being replaced. I agree that many writers today do not seem adept at crafting "a story". Are you aware of any compilation books of classic sports writing? I think this would make a great read.
Glenn M, Boston
A: I am. And if you can find Greatest American Sportswriting of the Century you will be glad you did. It’s a classic compilation of great tales and greater writing.
Q: Hi Doug, I know you don't like talking 'what-if' trade scenarios....but we love reading about them, so let's compromise!
Which current Raptors do you think other playoff-bound teams might be interested in? Are there are any 'core' players that other teams are interested in (and who, in your opinion, are the Raps core players)?
Bill L, Toronto
A: I can’t tell you specific teams because the people I talk to tend to keep that kind of information to themselves but Leandro is attracting some interest and Dwane told us before the Pistons game that teams are calling about Jose.
And if GMs don’t make at least cursory calls to find about the availability of Bargnani – which is non-existent – they aren’t doing their jobs.
Q: Hey Doug: I might have another 'draft' question you might be willing to answer:
You're the GM of a new NBA franchise, and to make your life easier (because, after all, it's always about you), the NBA has allowed you to pick a starting line-up. You get to pick first, eleventh, 21st, 31st and 41st. Which POSITION do you pick at each spot? Names are not necessary - don't want a tampering charge against you.
Thanks again for all you do to keep us informed, amused and entertained!
Tim H, Windsor
A: Hmm. I guess I’d go wing, point guard, shooting guard, and then two bigs of interchangeable denominations between power forward and centre since it’s all semantic there.
Q: Just watched your video clip about the first half of the NBA season and this thought hit me. Noticed how all these web clips for the Star has some videographer. Are these videographers hired by the Star? Or freelancers? And if they are hired by the Star, who would have thought that the Star, originally using a print medium, would have such a thing as videographer. I think it goes to show the evolution of your industry which is intriguing.
Jordan W, Columbus
A: The videos I’ve been doing have all been shot by staff photographers, who are growing with the times and adding video work to their usual duties. We don’t have specific, video-only people; it’s all about multi-tasking in this day and age.
Q: Interesting that when I mentioned the Raptors might be interested in Wilson Chandler last week, the blog note stated I was misinformed??? Oh well...
Question - do you see the Raptors keeping Aaron Gray next year? Seems they could use a back-up big man who is improving. Will they keep the veteran Magloire?
Arlene E, Chesley
A: I’m going to take exception to the Chandler comment; I’ve been writing since December that the Raptors had or have interest. I don’t recall your specific comment but my stance on it hasn’t changed since the season began.
Gray? I think they like what he brings and I could see him in the role of fourth or fifth big at the right price. But don’t forget, barring any transactions, they’re going to have Valanciunas, Bargnani, Johnson and Davis there already so there’s a possibility of a logjam.
Magloire? Not sure I see a scenario in which he’s back.
Q: Hey Doug! Hope you're having fun - or something pretty damn close to it - at this All-Star Thing. So, as part of your official duties, both for the paper and PBWA, I would think you HAVE to attend lots of those Hospitality Suite Schmoozefest Things, and I would think that having attended a few of these in your time, you're developed that handy skill of being able to tell within a minute or two of arriving - based totally on who's in attendance - whether it's going to be a blast or a bust of an event.
So, we'll steer clear of naming the names of the party duds and instead ask you to name the party dudes: who are the NBA characters that make a good time - hospitality-wise - even better! Can you give us your All-Time Top Three? Thanks! And hope all your events are a blast! (Oh, and enjoy Nicki Minaj! I hear her music eventually starts to grow on you.)
Lorie P, London
A: Oh, we’re all pretty good at storytelling but if you can get a table with the one and only F. Kerber of the New York Post, you’ll hear some good tales.
And here’s how the hospitality thing works: We usually drag ourselves back into it about midnight or a little later. It’s generally quite crowded at that point so there’s a lot of wandering from table to table like at a big cocktail party but as 12 becomes 1 and 1 becomes a bit later, the weeding out process begins and by the time they’re about to turn on the bright lights, there might only be a half dozen or so of us left. Funnily enough, I seem to be in that group.
The Stuff You See And Hear Around These Things, Vol. 1,292,375:
Not sure of this a compliment or whether it was meant for me but …
Odd thing early Friday morning.
I’m in the lobby with a handful of NBA office types chatting and catching up and who comes wandering but Dennis Rodman.
Now, he’s got the lip ring and a nose ring, a couple of humongous earrings and he’s wearing sweats and what looked all the world like a pink mesh tank top. He’s got a comely young lass on his arm and, yes, it’s quite a sight.
He stops to say hi to a couple of the NBA folks he knows and as he sashays away, he looks over – I think at me – and says,
“That guy’s cute. And I’m not even gay.”
(Not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Yes, every now and then, odd things occur.
Okay, I dare anyone who watched the Rising Stars thingy Saturday night – you know, the rookies and sophomore “game” – to disagree with my assessment that it’s the most un-fun thing of the weekend.
So, here’s how the Friday things work here at these all-star things.
Early in the afternoon is the media availability with the players and it is a circus beyond belief. For 45 minutes for each team, the players are trotted out, put up behind mics on podiums and anyone with a credential can join a scrum and ask anything they want.
(If you want to know how silly it can get, the one year a guy showed up with a trumpet or a kazoo or something ridiculous like that – I’ve tried to block it entirely out of my mind -- and asked all the players to play a tune gives you an idea of who can get a credential to this thing.)
Anyway, there’s always one guy who attracts the biggest mob and, not surprisingly, this year it was Dwight Howard. Had to be 50 people hanging around his little table 30 minutes before he arrived; to think you could get a question in or heard was folly.
The players know what’s coming – Carmelo Anthony was last year’s Flavour of the Month and he thanked Dwight for making it easy on him when he walked past him this year – and Howard was boring and impossible to bait and the entire thing was pretty much an exercise in futility.
Oh, and the fun question yesterday was, of course, about Linsanity and a handful of players were asked which teammate’s couch they would want to sleep on if they had to sleep a teammate’s couch, ala Lin.
Fun times, indeed.
You gotta give Chris Bosh credit.
You know how sometimes reporters like to ask athletes where they rank themselves compared to others in their sport? Like the guy who got Eli Manning to say he was among the top quarterbacks in the NFL, a quote met with some early-season ridicule last fall?
Well, Bosh was asked where he’d rank himself among the top power forwards in the NBA today and he gave perhaps the most insightful – and truthful – answer I’ve heard.
I don’t think the guy asking the question was trying to bait him or anything so he could mock Bosh’s assessment of his own abilities but Chris’s answer was bang on.
“Those are things I don’t really concern myself with because I feel I am the best and everybody else does, too. I think that’s something that’s very important, you have to have that supreme confidence in yourself.”
Spent a fair chunk of time around the Steve Nash table during the west availability (you’ll see the full results here later and in the paper Sunday) and, because it’s omnipresent, like air, Linsanity was a topic.
All had to do with whether Nash saw similarities between he and Jeremy Lin (and that’s the biggest stretch in the history of comparisons given the relative abilities of the two men) because, well, because that’s what we do.
Nash, as bright and insightful as usual, plays along and is laudatory of the youngsters while pointing out he can do some things Lin can’t (shooting came quickly to mind) and that Lin can probably do some things Nash can’t (dunking came quickly to mind). It was maybe the third time he was asked a variation of the same question that we got the money quote; and the laughs.
“You can also make similarities for a lot of players. If you wanted to, you could find similarities between me and Blake Griffin.”
Two Chuckling Grunts
“Huh? What would they be?”
“Muscle mass. Jumping ability.”
Okay, just a few quick hits; I believe now it’s brunch by the pool, a Nash story and some mail. If you want to get in on the fun, you know where I am.
Bonus weekend for you, folks.
There’s this and in a little while there’ll be the usual stuff ‘cause it’s all-star weekend and there’s all kinds of little items you might like.
Enjoy this; be back later. And since there might be some sitting-by-the-pool time this afternoon, if you want to add to the leftovers for tomorrow, you know how to do it.
Q: Hi Doug, two quick questions for you. I'll start with the important one:
Now that we have Real Sports downtown, do you find yourself there post-game most of the time, or do you still frequent Harbour Sports?
If a player is asked to assist in the dunk contest (such as Amir helping DeRozan), would he have to pay his own way to the ASG?
Kevin L, Toronto
A: Oh, I’m pretty much a creature of habit but the fact is, with all the games followed by flights the next day even getting out anywhere is a chore. I will say this, though: Real Sports is far too loud and night-clubby for a Grunt Of A Certain Vintage so it never factors into the equation.
The all-star “helpers” have their expenses covered by the league; except for their personal entertainment decisions.
Q: Hey Doug. With your travels to cover the All-Star game do you get a chance to reconnect with other sports writers or broadcasters that you might have worked with at some point in time or know from your grunt travels? If so is there time to sit down and chat or is mostly just covering the players and the games? Do you get a look into whatever franchise they are working for and their inner workings? Does it give you an inside look especially during this trade-talk time?
Love the blog!
Judy S, Toronto
A: Oh, it’s a veritable schmoozefest at these things, there’s probably a group of 20 or so diehards – other writers, broadcasters, league officials – that you see every year. And the league opens a hospitality suite after the events of each night where we all seem to end up to swap stories, catch up, talk about our respective teams and the players we cover. It’s a really nice time and very informal with old friends catching up. We don’t do a lot of “inside looking” though, it’s more stories of the season.
Q: Hello Doug. I'm not quite sure anymore why I dislike Kobe Bryant, but I basically have since he joined the league. I've never been more scared of a player against my team within the last couple of minutes with possession, or innings. If you can recall or were a diehard fan of specific sport teams, which players would give you the most anguish?
David G, Ottawa
A: There really wasn’t anyone because it’s been decades since I had a true hard-core affinity for a team. In fact, for more of my life, I’ve been far more a fan of games rather than teams so seeing people excel in the pressure-packed moments was a joy rather than anguish.
Q: As you watch the team this year, it’s about the growth of the young players, are they, the players, progressing in the manner that you thought they would be?
Darwin N, Swift Current
A: Some, yeah. I think Ed Davis and DeMar DeRozan, the two I was most interested in, still have some growing to do, and still have to learn to win and play consistently but guys like Bargnani and James Johnson have exceeded expectations to this point.
But there is still half a season to go and that’s a lot of time for growth or regression.
Q: Hi Doug. Will you be attending the All Star game in Orlando, despite no Raptors playing in the big game? Hopefully Mother Star will be sending you and you can enjoy some warm weather.
What is your most memorable All Star game that you attended? Can you give us the a top 5 list of best cities that have hosted the NBA all star game.
Thanks as always,
Monty M, Toronto
A: Oh yeah, I’m here now working furiously.
Memorable? They all seem to fade together, actually, and the ones I like are for varied reasons. I really liked my first one, in San Antonio in 1995 because it was new to me and that’s a great city; Dallas was cool because of the stadium (the freak snowstorm was a pain) and Cleveland was very cool because it was the Top 50 Players Of All Time weekend and that was outstanding.
Hated Atlanta because of downtown gridlock, Philly was the same although that’s an exponentially better city and Houston was just too spread out to be any real fun.
Q: Hi Doug...Who is your favourite game show host? Are you and Art Fleming or Alec Trebek kind of guy? If Colangelo showed up on You Bet Your Life, what would the secret word be?
Can you mention the OFSAAS are on shortly and the people should support the ball being played. Go see some high school ball!
I really appreciate the musical intervals. How about either Chuck Berry or Jackie Wilson? or Little Anthony and the Imperials, or The Mystics, or Don and Juan or...
Bob E, Kanata
A: I’m not going all retro on you and saying Hugh Downs or Bill Cullen so I’m going with Trebek because I still say Jeopardy is the best game show ever because it challenged intelligence and was, back in the formative years, a nice lunch time diversion.
I heard the OFSAAs were coming up – I have a friend who was the convenor of SOSSA, I believe it is – and if you’re in a town hosting one of them, do stop by.
How about this one, which isn’t one of the folks you mentioned but is still a pretty cool ditty I was made aware of by the Legendary Looseleaf of The People’s Wire Service.
Doug Smith has been a sportswriter for more than 30 years, a journey that's included seven Olympic Games, numerous and varied championships and more dreary regular season games than he'd care to remember. Here, he'll talk about them all, as well as current events and pop culture. (Just don’t ask him about music nowadays — it's not his cup of tea).