Old bad habits show up and another new guy is arriving
Yes, it was an entirely ugly game, poorly played at both ends by the locals but if you’ve learned on thing about this team this season it’s that consistency is not a trademark.
Too bad because the good’s been pretty good. But the bad’s been pretty ugly.
The thing is, the bad usually only lasts a quarter or so which means every game can be competitive; when he bad lasts 48, you get last night.
New kid on the block
Okay, folks, time to get to know Ben Uzoh.
The press release should come out later this morning – not precisely sure when but it’ll be before the 9:30 a.m. start of their day – telling all and sundry that Uzoh, a 6-3 guard who’s been toiling with Rio Grande Valley of the D League, is the latest add-on as the season marches inexorably to its dreary end.
Don’t know an awful lot about him, I do recall he had a cup of coffee with the Nets last season and had an oh-so-brief time in Cleveland last month.
It’s unclear whether it’s another 10-day deal or something until the end of the season but with Jerryd Bayless being hurt – and Bayless wanted to keep going last night even after his hip seized up – more guard help can’t hurt.
Unclear, again, whether he’ll really help or get a chance to play but considering Alan Anderson got eight minutes last night even though he probably hadn’t even met some of his teammates, it’s entirely possible that Uzoh ends up in the rotation tomorrow night.
Actually, with the dearth of guards – and who knows when DeRozan or Bayless will be back, although the plan is Wednesday – we’re getting a look at what a good guard rotation is for a playoff team when or if the post-season ever rolls around.
You run three guys through the two guard spots, first sub is for the shooting guard with a combo guard about 10 minutes, the starting point guard goes about 14 minutes before getting about a four-minute break and the starting shooting guard replaces the backup about five minutes into the second quarter.
You do the same thing approximately in the second half, no one plays much more than 40 minutes and it’s a nice, tight rotation.
Maybe it doesn’t happen for every game in the regular season because of foul trouble or back-to-backs or whatever but I really like that as a way to maximize your best players in the biggest games.
One thing being learned
All season, even when he wasn’t playing or was playing a position he’s really not suited for, the coaches have been telling us that Gary Forbes was a true NBA scorer.
Guess they were right.
It may not be a revelation to them but I imagine some folks are surprised at how seamless Forbes has made the transition from spectator to contributor; he’s twice set career highs in points in the last week (20 in Memphis, 21 last night) and he looks entirely comfortable about there.
Not sure what the long-term plans are for him but it has to be comforting to know that he can score rather easily, and possesses a really smooth jump shot.
Sure, a wee bit more
Let’s say you’re interested in American college basketball solely for the Canadian content because (a) you’re a nationalistic zealot or (b) well, there might not be a (b).
So no reason to watch any more, is there?
As the funnyman used to say …
“Wrong, yak breath.”
If you can find it deep on some satellite TV station – and as far as I can tell there’s no one in Canadian broadcasting remotely interested in it and I can understand why – the NCAA women’s championship would fill that Canadian need. At least for one more night tonight as they finish up their Elite Eight.
Natalie Achonwa of Guelph (this is an old story but it might catch you up) plays an awful lot for Notre Dame, No. 1 seed in the Raleigh Region.
You’ll read more about her, and the rest of the very good Canadian senior women’s team, in the next few months because they’re off to the final Olympic qualification tournament in Turkey in late June and will be the big Canadian basketball story this summer.
I (heart) Stan Van Gundy even more after this quote following the rather embarrassing end.
“I was like, ‘wow, they’re going to cut the lead to 16 and the whole place went nuts like they won the championship, I had no idea what was going on.
“I mean, everybody’s on their feet, standing ovation and the whole thing and then a guy in the crowd next to me sitting baseline said everybody gets a free pizza so I guess that was exciting. That was the loudest the crowd was all night, they were into that. That was a big basket by Ed Davis.
“They’re going to put that on their highlight film at the end of the year. I was like ‘wow what happened I though he had like an 18-point play and tied the game or something.”
Oh, no, Stan, that was just for a piece of lukewarm cardboard covered in sauce and faux cheese.
“Really? We got a standing ovation for a slice? They told me they got a free pizza. A slice? A slice you have to sit in your seat and clap; you can’t stand up on a slice, that’s bad etiquette.”
Yes, folks. That’s what some of the Toronto fans are becoming known for around the league.
And having watched Dwane Casey have to go down after the game and explain/apologize to Stan and having watched most of the bench up telling the guys on the floor to dribble out the clock, I’m kind of hoping Bryan meets with whatever marketing mavens came up with that nonsense and says something along the liens of:
“Will the ridiculousness ever end? Please”
Hmm, I type “Wrong, yak breath” and have some time on my hands, start thinking about mayonnaise jars and Funk and Wagnall and one thing leads to another and …
No, they don’t make late-night TV like that any more.
Okay, I could tolerate the camouflage jerseys on a one-off basis; support the troops and all that.
But to wear ‘em again? And with two more times to come?
Well, you can place the blame for that squarely with the Tallest of Foreheads in New York; the NBA mandates the minimum number of times a team has to wear an “other” jersey in a season.
I still think a one-off situation is the best way to show support for something but I’m not in marketing, which is one of the driving forces of the league I cover.