Isn’t that strange?
I believe I just saw Jeremy Lin rescue a kitten from up a tree.
And there were a dozen breathless New York media guys chronicling it.
Maybe I was dreaming.
Trying different things
There’s no way Dwane Casey’s going to let his team lose without trying everything at his disposal to make things right.
Look at some of the matchups he tried last night:
He had Jose on Carlos Delfino to start because he thought Jerryd on Jennings and DeRozan on Livingston were better; he used everyone from Kleiza to James Johnson to DeRozan on Dunleavy when he got hot. He played a little bit of zone – it’s like some hybrid matchup thing with zone principles – for a while and he even went to a bigger, slower Magloire in that horrid first half to add some – and I hate this word – physicality to the proceedings.
Nothing worked particularly well but at least there were all kinds of schemes and different looks used primarily to throw the Bucks off.
Oh, wait. I guess one thing did work: Jennings was a total non-factor for most of the night, they always seemed to have a second guy waiting for him in the paint, they played him well on the perimeter and it was the other guys who they couldn’t get stopped.
But for defensive creativity, I haven’t seen a better Raptors coach ever; and I saw KO for like 75 of his 82 games.
Time to bulk up
I said this in the IGBT but if Ed Davis and DeMar DeRozan do nothing these next few months than live in the weight room, their games are still going to improve.
Saw at least three instances where Davis was stripped of the ball under the basket because he wasn’t physically strong enough to take it up and through a defender and DeRozan got knocked down a couple of times because he couldn’t withstand contact any NBAer should be able to.
I’m not saying that’s the only flaw in either of their games – Davis needs major reconstructive surgery on his jump shot – but the Bucks are neither the biggest nor the strongest team in the league yet they pushed around the two young Raptors too easily.
I know the coaches have noticed – it comes up in private conversations – and last night there were a couple of glaring examples of what needs to be fixed. And fixed as fast as possible.
It was going well
We have no clue how long or even if Jerryd Bayless will be out after leaving the game with a sore left ankle in the third quarter but he had been showing a fair amount of improvement in some key areas.
A couple of times against Milwaukee, and a handful of times in the Washington game, he’d made one of his forays to the basket along the baseline only to find a couple of rather imposing gentlemen waiting for him.
In the past, he’d have a tendency to leap in the air with nowhere to go, flail his arms and throw the ball somewhere. Last night, I can think of at least two times where he simply kept dribbling along the baseline, came out the other side of the basket and made a smart pass.
Just a little thing, but a better decision and a sign of at least some growth.
Now, I still think his future is as some combo guard who comes off a bench to provide some offence to his team but he’ll enhance his chance at sticking around by making those kinds of smart decisions.
More? There’s some.
Everybody pumped for the big Davis Cup tie betwixt Canada and France this weekend? Thought so.
If there’s an event that lost its lustre more than the Davis Cup over the years, I don’t know what it is.
It’s all well and good that Canada gets to play with the big boys finally – that win over Israel last year got them back in the World Group in the rather confusing world of Davis Cup but it’s still an individual sport being pumped up as some big team competition and, frankly, I think it elicits more yawns than enthusiasm.
Wish ‘em luck, though.
Zambia 1, Black Stars 0 in the African Cup of Nations semifinal?
But I can almost handle losing a team known as the Chipolopolo, or Copper Bullets, and they shall now become my team in the final against Ivory Coast.
What were you doing 48 years ago tonight?
Now I was just a wee toddler and the memory is very, very vague but I can sort of remember sitting around that Sunday night with a whole bunch of people glued to the TV.
First time on North American TV and if that wasn’t reason enough to watch Ed Sullivan that night, not sure what was.
The boys could sing a bit, no?
I like Mark Heisler an awful lot, have admired his work for years, and am a big fan of My Man Sheridan’s website where Mark’s doing some work these days.
But he caused me a wee bit of angst yesterday with a throwaway line in his weekly power rankings about the HOTH thinking about adding Jonas Valanciunas sometime in the next little while.
The chance of that happening?
Less than zero.
Not only is Valanciunas’s season still got some legs – there are a couple of Cup competitions still to go – but the last, the very, very, very last thing they want to do is to bring him over and blow a year of his wildly affordable rookie scale contract for the sake of a dozen or so games in a somewhat lost season.
Not going to happen. Please cut and paste this little item for future reference. Thank you.
Got some mail? There’s some room in the in-basket if there’s something on your mind or if you just want to say hi.
Boy, am I ever glad the hype is going to start today for the big outside hockey game in Michigan next year.
I was wondering what the biggest story of the day would be.