Everyone feeling at least a little bit better?
Here we go with the last full week before Christmas (yikes!!!); hope the malls aren’t busy.
A loud game
Dwane made a very interesting point in a pre-game chat about what’s made the HOTH a bit better of late.
“You can hear good defence.”
Well put, no?
And sure enough, even from the second row (one row behind the legendary Mr. Wu and The Lovely Katrina who run this website that you should all look at and show around) we heard more chatter in that game than any I can remember this season.
And it’s not long conversations, it’s just like “hey, behind you; watch the screen, shooter coming through, get up in his face.” All things that should come naturally but often don’t even for good teams; all things that make sense but need to be hammered home every day.
It’s working, the question now is whether it will continue.
Game’s on the line and in doubt, Rockets have the ball after a timeout, we’re all wondering how they’d get an open look at the three they needed and what do the Raptors do?
Play maybe their best inbounds defence of the season thanks to something we haven’t seen all year, I don’t believe.
Dwane put Amir Johnson on Jeremy Lin inbouding the ball, a long, tall active guy to disrupt passing lanes and it worked to a ‘T’ because Lin was bothered so much he almost panicked and threw the ball away.
Was a subtle, effective move we’ll see more of, I’m sure.
Speaking of …
We have all seen first-hand the trials and tribulations these fellows go through at times simply trying to inbound the basketball late in close games.
So, yeah, there were some nerves, I’m sure, when they had to do it with about 12 seconds left, clinging to a three-point lead.
And then Dwane went to his bag of tricks.
For the first time I can remember, he spread the floor; put Amir and Jose in the backcourt to run some screen action and had Alan Anderson and John Lucas in the frontcourt to do the same thing.
The ball? The ball was in DeMar DeRozan’s hands and I don’t ever remember that happening.
Worked to perfection, there was room for everyone to see, there was no traffic near the ball as is too often the case and Anderson did his job to perfection, setting a screen for Lucas and then flaring to the near corner. He was open, got the ball, made the three-point play to seal the game and it was a moment of an excellent play and excellent execution.
Haven’t seen much of that.
The rest of the stories?
Man, can’t wait for them to renew the Bills in Toronto thing, eh?
Not only have games been basically atrocious, the atmosphere, I’m told, has deteriorated since any original buzz and excitement.
The Bills players certainly don’t seem to have any desire to come to Toronto; their fans can have the usual tailgate boozefests that might take away the sting of having to watch the crap on the field and organizers couldn’t give away tickets at the end.
(And do you think that’s going to play next year when the poor saps who paid full price three months ago are asked to pony up again?)
Nope, even as a one-off deal that was suppose to fun, this whole exercise seems to have devolved into a boring disaster that no one gets truly excited about.
Can’t wait to ignore it next year.
Okay, I have a question and I absolutely do not know the answer.
Let’s say you’re a dad and you’re out somewhere with your daughter, who looks about three, could be four, might be two but she’s in that neighbourhood.
The wee lass has to use the facilities, as kids – and grownups – do.
Do you take her to the men’s room and hope anyone in there is cool? Do you ask someone you’ve never met to watch her when she goes to the women’s room? Tell her to hang on, you’ll be home soon?
Saw a Dad – at least I presume it was a Dad – with his small daughter – again, I presume it was a daughter – in the men’s room of this joint I was in after the game Sunday night and it got me thinking. Is that what you do?
And since I’ve never been in that spot, I have no idea.
(Yes, we continue to break new ground here; it’s what we do)
I can recall Darrell Walker, who was a relatively young, exciteable coach when I was dealing with him on a daily basis, telling me a lot about African-American art and his education and things like that back in the day and as I told him last night in some texts, he should be very proud of what he’s done and I hope some young players around the league take notice.
Yes, it took a long time to get a university degree and in no way does it help him in his career, but he did it. And that’s a good signal to send.
We were in the presence of greatness and if you don’t believe, take a read of this and see what a young kid thinks about an older gentleman.
And, finally …
I often find it difficult to explain just what I want in a leader – of a team, of a club, of a country.
I think it often comes down to a “presence” and a style and a powerful ability to make points and make those feel that, yes, there is someone in charge that you want in charge, someone in whom you can great faith.
I don’t have an abiding interest in the minutia of American politics, I have beliefs and I’m sure others do to, but I do know when the leader of that country does something so special everyone should sit up and take notice.
I know the proof of his words will be in his actions in the future about the scourge of senseless gun violence that is seemingly never-ending.
But that speech ….