An odd night and an odd game; and Erin Go Braugh
Well, that was one of the best ugly games I’ve seen in a while, except for the whole “miss first edition with gamer but write a plugger on Forbes in about seven minutes while watching to see what’s actually going on and talking to the nice people in the IGBT” stress.
But that’s what they pay me the mediocre bucks to deal with, isn’t it?
Memphis missed 20 of 51 free throws.
The Grizzlies threw the ball around like it was on fire with the 18 turnovers; the Raptors threw the ball around like it was on fire and burning toxic chemicals with 22 turnovers.
The Raptors wanted to foul but fouled too early; they wanted to foul and couldn’t catch a guy to do it; they didn’t want to foul a guy shooting a three-pointer but they did.
I saw the rarest of back-to-backs with a toe-on-the-line-free-throw-line-violation-followed-by-a-palming-violation and as I was mentioning to Jonesy after the game, I would bet you could comb play-by-play logs of every NBA game ever played and not find those two calls being made on successive possessions.
Oh, and it took 3:13 to play.
Yep, one for the ages.
Leandro’s gone and Jose’s hurt and that leaves three guys – Bayless, DeRozan and Forbes – to play two positions and Dwane’s doing some juggling.
And for players, who can be creatures of habit, it must have felt odd, for one night at least, and likely for tonight.
DeRozan, for instance, usually plays the first nine or 10 minutes before getting a break when Leandro came in.
Last night, DeRozan played the first 16-plus minutes of the game and then the final 90 seconds or so of the second quarter, which is a truly unusual run. Second half was a bit different, he got a break in the third quarter so he’d be fresher for the final minutes as Dwane tried to figure it all out.
It’ll change, of course, when Calderon’s back and Forbes simply slides into the Barbosa role but it was a weird night and might be the same this evening.
Helping in many ways
Jamaal did a good job in his 15 minutes wrestling with Marc Gasol but that’s not all he did to help.
It’s early in the second quarter and the Raptors made some egregious mistake – I think Aaron Gray might have made a rather silly pass – and Dwane’s hot. He’s yelling a bit and you can see he wants to explode and while he’s staring daggers at everyone, Magloire gets up off the bench, takes a step or two on to the court during the stoppage and offers encouragement, deflecting the attention of a couple of teammates away from the irate coach.
It was a solid veteran move to diffuse a situation and I’m told that’s exactly the kind of thing Magloire’s been doing all year, acting as the older brother calming everybody down.
Sometimes it’s not a bad thing
Yes, the Raptors fouled far too often for most of the game – 35 personals, two guys disqualified, handful on the verge – but I’ll tell you this.
That was a tough a game as they’ve played and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
They hit Gasol and Randolph and Gay, guys like Ed Davis and Amir Johnson went to toe-to-toe in the paint and, as much to themselves as anyone, it proved they have the “physicality” to not take stuff lying down.
Now, I don’t prescribe sending the other team to the free throw line 51 times in a game with regularity but if they play that tough and are that willing to bang, it’s not a bad thing at all.
Here we go …
Two cabbies, two levels of knowledge.
On way to shootaround, guy finds out what I do, we get to talking NBA and college basketball and, it being Memphis and all, it gets around to John Calipari, who is not liked by all around these parts.
Me: What’d you think of Cal?
Smart guy: We run that crooked cheating (word best left out of a family blog) out of town. He damn afraid to come back here.
Much salty language ensues and it’s apparent that Calipari is not on this fellow’s Christmas card list.
And then, on way to game …
Driver: And where are you from?
Me: Toronto, in for the basketball game.
Driver: Toronto? A team from Canada? All of Canada?
Me: Um, yeah.
Driver: Is it a friendly? Or a real game?
Or so they tell me.
Good for her.
Well, here’s a first.
I beat the HOTH to Charlotte.
Seems there was a bit of a mechanical issue with their plane late Friday night getting out of Memphis, they had to check back into their hotel there and didn’t get out until after noon, or weren’t supposed to because as I type this, they’re still back there and I’m catching a bit of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Charlotte out of my hotel window.
(Had to get dropped off a couple of blocks from the hotel because the road was closed and was forced to cut across the parade route to get here. Felt a Ferris Bueller Moment)
Anyway, it’s the first big plane messup I can recall with these guys; they’ve been delays before but I don’t remember a plane issue keeping them back. They did get an extra night in Indianapolis a year or so ago because of weather but never mechanical issues.
Just heard everyone’s cool but they aren’t likely to get to Charlotte until about 3 p.m. local time and that’s a really short turnaround for a 7 p.m. game.
Could be another wild night ahead of us.