There's still lots of work to do for the Raptors
ßSo I’m checking in with some folks back home after the HOTH go through their work yesterday and the story is that Dwane was a bit cranky because it was one of those blah days I warned you about in the interminable pre-season.
It was another off-day with little to look forward to, everyone’s a wee bit bored, a wee bit tired and focus and intensity are lacking and who can blame a coach for being a tad miffed.
Now, I didn’t see the other night’s game but I did see the five before it and despite a gaudy record (if such a thing exists in the NBA pre-season) there is a lot of work to do for these guys and I know Dwane understands that.
They are on a good path – the offence is better than I’d thought it would be, primarily thanks to DeMar DeRozan and his ability to finish at the rim now – but if anyone thinks they’re ready to start the season, I suggest they check their meds. And look at the number of turnovers if you really want to gasp in horror.
The defence has slipped a little bit, they give up far too many points in the paint and the transition defence is sorely lacking at times. It’s what they used as a calling card last season and maintaining that edge is the only way they’ll continue to make gains this season.
But here’s the thing: They aren’t far off from being okay, if Dwane proved anything last season it’s that he can get them to defend more than adequately and suggestions he couldn’t find a way to put in an effective offence have to be squashed by what we’ve seen so far.
That’s the funny part, isn’t it? These guys are scoring at a rate that’s more than acceptable; they need to tighten up at the other end.
Of course, maybe they’re scoring because they’re playing a bit faster and maybe a half dozen or so turnovers every night are directly attributable to the speed at which they’re playing.
As Dwane has been saying almost all the pre-season, they have to find a balance; so far they haven’t struck it.
You know what gets totally under-rated when it comes to entertainment and entertainers and what we should like?
I’m sure a lot of you know a lot about it but I don’t and I’m always blown away when I see the talents of the Broadway performers, or any live musical theatre anywhere for that matter.
So I’m off to Memphis and could do BB King or Elvis or some blues. But, no …
Last Broadway thing I saw was so outstanding you need to hear it.
Oh yeah, Tigers. For real. In six.
And go ahead, have at me for the reverse jinx and everything because someone obviously switched Zito for Verlander without telling me.
And, yes, I (heart) Miguel Cabrera for his hitting acumen but if he had any kind of fielding dexterity, he comes in and gets the ball that hits third base before it has the chance to take a wild hop and he gets the ball in the fourth that goes to his left.
I’m watching the game and having Tiger fielding flashbacks to the last time they were in the Series and they couldn’t catch a cold or field a bunt to save their lives.
And if you can’t field the ball, you cannot win.
Sooner the better ‘cause Friday’s going to be busy and today, not so much.
Okay, okay, okay.
Given that it was 20 years ago yesterday and a first and quite the moment in Canadian sports, I’ll give you the first Blue Jays World Series win was pretty special.
But if you want to put it on that list from yesterday, it’s going to have to be at least seventh because as far as drama goes, I’m putting 1993 ahead of 1992 by quite a stretch.
The first was cool – I was covering it from the bowels of the old Atlanta stadium as a wingman to the one and only CP Slim – but I don’t think the series holds a candle to the next one.
<-p>Sure, the Ed Sprague homer was dramatic and the upside down flag was cool and Game 6 was special (check out Boxer’s recap of that night here and stroll down memory lane) but the Philly series the next year just evokes more memories than the 1992 one does.
I remember the zany 15-14 game pretty well – I was working for Canadian Press and the game went so long a story I wrote during it on the rather odd night of Todd Stottlemyre ended up in the early edition of the Toronto Star and I thought I was the cat’s meow for that little coup.
I remember sitting with Slim and, I believe, the outstanding AP pair of Ben Walker and Ron Blum and betting that Joe Carter would pop out foul to the right side about a minute before he homered (which, in hindsight, seems to have been my first reverse jinx); now that was drama.
Atlanta? I don’t remember an awful lot except the work and tumult immediately following the game. The series? Outside of the Sprague homer, the blown call that robbed the Jays of the triple play at home (it should have raised the first call for instant replay) and the flag thing, that’d be about it.
But I cannot believe it’s been 20 years and a day. I’m old.
I’m not sure whether this 4:30 p.m. start to most games and a 5 p.m. start to the World Series is a good thing or a bad one. Starts the day early but ends the night the same way.
Of course, with an 8 a.m. flight, I guess that’s not a bad thing.
You want a feel good story if you’re a fan of Canadian basketball?
It’s Kris Joseph apparently making the Celtics from a second-round draft slot; a story I read yesterday seemed to make that a certainty.
I remember talking to Joseph at the Chicago combine last June and he struck me as a kid with his head in the right place. He knew, and knows, his limitations and will work on them, he’s unassuming with a solid work ethic and when I saw he’d been drafted by Boston, I figured that was a great spot for him.
Doc, and the other Celtics, appreciate hard work and a willingness to learn and do what it takes to stick. I don’t imagine Joseph is under any illusions about what he is or where he fits in Boston; I’m pretty happy he made it, though.