The end of the weekend mail
Far from the largest mailbag we’ve had but that’s okay. Some solid stuff here and it’ll be a quick read before we get going about 6 p.m. for the titanic struggle with the Washingtons.
Q: Hi Doug. Just a follow up on the booing question from yesterday. I'm also not inclined to boo players, but referees are another kettle of fish! In your personal life, are you ever inclined to boo the ref or his call? In last night's game Jose takes the ball in the face from Wade with no call but when JJ does it to Wade, he gets the foul. Seems like the stars got the better of the calls last night and the Raps could get mugged under the basket and nobody would see it.
Keep up the good work!
Dave M, Puslinch
A: Was a poorly officiated game Friday, for sure. A few very odd calls with little consistency. It happens, sadly.
Personally, I don’t ever recall booing an official, although it may very well have happened in my youth. Sure, disappointed when a team I was cheering for lost but not to the point of outbursts directed at them or officials.
Q: Doug, I have seen the halftime show 'quick change' twice now and love it. What are your favourite and least favourite half time shows?
Alex G, Toronto
A: I usually flee courtside at halftime so I might not be the best expert on this.
I am cool with Quick Change, though, and for some odd reason the zany acrobats make me a bit uncomfortable.
Oh, and Fire Guy was silly with the whole ‘spill liquid on the floor’ thing the one time he was here.
Q: Hello again...Since the Flyers asked Lindros to practice with the team, could you see the Dinos inviting someone back for a day? Who would you want to be asked first? Keon Clark? Dell Curry? I would bet he could shoot better than 6 for 20. Maybe Mighty Mouse could teach some of his moves to Alan Anderson.
How about some Bobby Darin?
Bob E, Kanata
A: I’d probably like Oak to come in and show ‘em some interior toughness, maybe Doug Christie could come and show ‘em how to get up in guys on the perimeter and, yes, Dell or maybe Mo Pete.
Only one song, right?
Good late-night, kitchen-warbling-at-the-party tune
Q: About salaries in this short version of a season. Are players being paid the same amount they would have got for an 82 game season or is their salary prorated. Also, is the 10 day salary a league mandated amount or is it negotiated between the team and the player. If league mandated, is it based on a percentage of an average salary or just some number that seems fair.
Gerry T, Halifax
A: The salary for players has been prorated to take into account the days lost to the lockout and a 10-day guy still gets a relative windfall.
It depends on the length of service – if any – in the NBA and what a player’s minimum salary might be but word is that Uzoh will get somewhere north of $50,000 and Anderson gets somewhere in the neighbourhood of $80,000.
Q: Doug, I know you have covered questions like this in the past, but in today's sports, it should be asked once and a while. You mentioned TJ being a good guy, and a Star story included Jose as a true good guy, so, who are the nicest (as in, the kind of person you would want SuperSon to become) people that you have encountered in your career?
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: I’m telling you, for a guy who’s grounded, a family man with very little pretense or sense of self-importance and entitlement, I’d go with Jose; or Dell Curry. Two just genuinely good people. Not that this franchise has been chock full of idiot and knuckleheads, that’s the furthest thing from the truth, but those two stand out in my mind.
Q: Hi Doug. I was wondering if you had ever explored the martial arts training angle in a story about James Johnson.
While I'm not an MMA fan (unlike most of the rest of the universe), I'm most curious to know if any of his fighting skill set translates on the court. Judging from some of his quick reactions on defense and his shot-blocking abilities, there could be a decent story you can use to inform and entertain us.
Jeff R, Toronto
A: We did early in his tenure here and it’s as much balance and awareness as fast-twitch fibers where martial arts training helps.
Q: Hi Doug. Great work as always.
Have you noticed any drop in fan support or people turning-away from the NBA after the lockout? Or from what you have seen, does it seem to be business as usual?
Kevin T, Toronto
A: Haven’t seen a thing, actually. Attendance is actually up marginally here – about 16,900 this season, about 16,500 a year ago – and there’s been no noticeable dropoff in any city I’ve travelled to this year.
Q: Hello Doug! I didn't realize that 'The Third Man' was set in Post-World War II Vienna. That's because I've never seen this classic film. But thanks to your blog and the recommendations of Irregulars, I'll be viewing it soon. So, I mentioned to a friend that I hadn't seen this masterpiece of film noir and she confided that she'd never seen 'Dr. Strangelove'; and then I admitted to her I've yet to watch 'Blade Runner', and neither one of us has seen 'The Lion King'. So, Doug, what films might we be surprised to learn that you've never seen? Do you have a "TBW" (To Be Watched) list of movies similar to the "TBR" (To Be Read) pile of books that many of us have teetering on the night table? And, once again, thank you for your blog. I never ceased to be both amazed and delighted (and sometimes just baffled) by the things you can learn here! Cheers.
Lorie P, London
A: Truth be told, I’ve never seen The Third Man, either, so that has to be top of the list given Super Son’s impending journey. Dr. Strangelove would be another, along with Moneyball and Sea Biscuit, both I probably should have seen.
Glanced at the nightstand and aside from a few dog-eared recent New Yorkers than I tend to re-read, there are biographies of Jerry West and Pete Maravich that need to be taken care of soon.
Q: Hi Doug. Coach Casey seems to have been involved in some spirited disputes in the past few games; specifically with one referee in last Saturday's Chicago game and this week's game against Denver. That had me wondering:
Do the NBA referees tend to hold grudges against players/coaches who "show them up"?
Which NBA refs seem to be the best at defusing potentially volatile situations?
Joe D, Mississauga
A: Don’t think they hold grudges, actually. And I know a coach or two will make sure to have a civil conversation with a ref he may have had a tiff with the next time he sees him.
As for good “defusers” I’d put Dick Bavetta in that group, and Danny Crawford; they’ll calm situations down without being confrontational but rationally explaining why a certain call was made. Am sure there are more but those two come to mind.
Q: Hi Doug. Wondering how The Red Rocket is coming along with his Landed Immigrant status, and why/how it's been taking so long. How many NBAers do you think might be playing for Canada this summer? Thank you for a great blog.
David M, Ottawa
A: As far as I understand it, the Bonner process is wending its way through and he’ll eventually get his status by virtue of his marriage to a Canadian woman. But it won’t matter for this summer because there’s no need to run other than training camps for a senior men’s team; there are no competitions to go to. So I don’t expect a single NBAer to wear a Canadian uniform this summer.
Q: Doug, it seems that Boston is picking it up after looking disinterested through the middle part of the season. Is this just a matter of turning it on and off, or is it a case of focusing as the playoffs come in to view?
Also, it may be sacrilege to say, but I'd rather watch the pro game than March Madness. So in light of that, looking ahead to Washington on Sunday, what can I focus on to make a game against the 29th placed team worth watching?
Thanks, and keep up the good work.
Bill G, North York
A: I think the Celtics are a prime example of an old team that battled some injuries but knew all along it could ease through most of the season as long as it was ready for the post-season. And now that they’ve caught Philly, I fully expect them to win the Atlantic.
And I’m with you on the idea of rather watching NBA than college and would suggest that you just watch and see what unfolds on Sunday. No telling what might happen but you’ll have a “wow” moment, I’m sure. But, as I tell everyone, try to watch, if possible, stuff away from the ball, screens being set, offensive players setting up their man to get themselves open, the stuff that leads to the shots you see taken and often made.