This whole “get this thing done by 7 a.m.” plan takes a beating on the day after games, doesn’t it? Man needs his sleep as it turns out.
A bit of a show
Maybe it was a portend in the second quarter when the Raps showed a bit of something we haven’t seen before but something we know Dwane likes a bit.
A halfcourt trap.
I know they’ve been working on it in practice and in shootaround but we haven’t seen its full effect in games, and didn’t last night.
But it’s there. A couple of guards pressing the ball a bit at three-quarter court, a couple of bigs ready to pounce just over the midcourt line and another big playing centrefield.
Raps didn’t do it aggressively against Houston, falling back passively into a zone defence but it did scramble a couple of possessions and is something to look for once they get a few more practices under their belt.
Speaking of …
The game-winning run in the fourth quarter was set up almost entirely by the HOTH defence, a couple of steals, a stop or two, a change in the pace of the game with a couple of easy buckets and all of a sudden there was some speed to the game.
For a team that has a penchant for making odd, and bad, plays at key times in the halfcourt, it was a refreshing break. One that pleased Dwane Casey more than anything.
“That’s the key. That’s the way we want to play, that’s how we can get it up to 116 points and you don’t have to come down and grind it out; we’re not a grind-it-out kind of team.”
Logging some time
Yes, it was good to see DeMar DeRozan on the court in the fourth quarter – meant I didn’t have to check out twitter too closely in the aftermath of the game.
But not really surprising.
DeRozan played 39 minutes Wednesday after going 38 against Orlando and 45 against Golden State.
In fact, in the five games since the one in Houston a week or so ago, he’s averaging almost 40 and, no, it had nothing to do with his complaining.
It had, and has, everything to do with the way he’s been playing, at both ends of the court and the level of trust his coach has in him.
Oh, boy. Two biggies to finish off.
Indy was about the centre of the sporting universe and even more than Jim Nabors and Back Home In Indiana, I’m guessing John Mellancamp is the sound you think of, no?
And who doesn’t like a some good fiddling along with him.
Now, I understand the nature of sports of business more than most, I would think; there tough and often unpopular decisions that management has to make yearly that are difficult and which are sure to turn off some fans.
I also understand the mercenary chase-the-money nature of some athletes who can be as “me first” as anyone you’ve ever met.
Yet there is something about the Peyton Manning thing that bothers and saddens me.
I guess in my heart of hearts I understand that the Colts couldn’t commit a $28 million bonus to him, even if that bonus was as much a thank you for turning the franchise from dirt to gold. Sure, it makes financial sense to save that money – and the relatively paltry $7.4 million or so that Manning was due to earn in actual salary next year – to spend on other guys, somehow.
But I don’t for a second believe the Colts will do that, I believe they will save most of that money in their back pocket and never spend it.
It is not often one athlete is so associated with a city like Manning was with Indy. He brought it from nowhere to the top, he could eventually retire as one of the greatest – and I bet you could argue he was the greatest – quarterback to ever play.
He carried himself with distinction and class, was the ultimate team guy, made the Colts what they are, made the owners and the city richer than they could have ever possibly imagined. He did nothing to embarrass his team, his city, his family ever. He was funny and glib and oh so talented.
The stadium exists because of him, the Super Bowl came about because of him, I don’t know that there’s an athlete in North America so associated with his city (maybe Jeter and the Yankees, perhaps Kobe and LA) as much as Manning was with Indy.
I have no idea if he’ll play again, or how good he’ll be if he does. I suspect he has at least a couple of years left and I will be cheering quietly for whatever team he lands with.
I know loyalty is a fading commodity in pro sports – on both sides – and what Jim Irsay did makes some semblance of sense.
But you know what?
It’s only money, a mere drop in the bucket compared to the money Peyton Manning made for his team and his city and his league.
They should have given it to him as a thank you, let him play next season while tutoring the kid Luck and allowing him to finish his career as it should be finished.
I know it wouldn’t have made a lot of financial sense but it would have been the right thing to do.
Doing the right thing is sometimes more important. This was one of those times.
I’m gonna tell you, whoever set the over and under on the number of Maple Leaf Sports franchise wins Wednesday at 1 1/2 is pretty darn bright.
Mail? Got a bunch yesterday, expect a bunch today. Wanna help a fella out?
Sometimes, fans are simply knuckleheads.
There are 48,000-plus at the dome last night, I’m told, and the atmosphere for the TFCs is somewhat electric.
But the idiot who tossed the beer bottle right before the game-tying goal had to put at least a damper on it and you know that when they show highlights of the night, the singers and chanters and real supporters will be lost in the sight of Beckham holding the empty can.
I’m all for fun and cheering and having a good time, I can understand the game-disrupting streamers even if that does come awfully close to disrupting the game in a bad way but sometimes a dolt or two gets carried away.
Of course, Maple Leaf Sports is a bit complicit in this. Starting the club-sanctioned boozefest early in the afternoon and organizing a march from their nightclub to the park was all but telling the fans to get good and liquored up.
And you get total knuckleheadism from more than a few when things like that happen.