Knowing roles, not knowing what to do and not knowing people
Say one thing for the HOTH, they continue to confound and entertain and pull rabbits out of their hats.
And now riding a four-game win streak, they get four days off to reflect.
Which I did, too.
Doing the job
Been a pretty good stretch for John Lucas III, no?
Big fourth quarter on Sunday, a couple of big shots on Tuesday and his big 15-minute stretch last night in New York with the dagger on that little fade from the corner over Jason Kidd in the last minute.
This team is pretty lucky, actually.
In much the same way Aaron Gray was a pro and ready to contribute when he got his chance, Lucas bided his time as the third point guard, barely played and comported himself well until he got his shot.
Now, also like Gray I think Lucas is best served as a third guard rather than a primary backup and these three games certainly haven’t done anything to change my mind. He still has some issues with his decision-making and running and offence and those aren’t going to go away.
But he can make a shot – the big one last night – and he’s obviously professional enough to be ready when his team needs him.
Doesn’t lessen the need for a guard – and that has to happen in the next week – but at least made it less crucial over these last two games.
Speaking of …
Landry Fields has probably had a lot of good days in his life, although I can’t imagine many were better than yesterday.
As we find out through the tweeter (and that really does lay life bare for some people) he got engaged to his girlfriend during the day, he gets a matchup-driven start in the city where his career began and plays extremely well guarding one of the best scorers in the NBA.
Now he’s off, apparently, for a couple of days away with his fiancée and all has to be well in the world.
Not a bad day, all in all.
So, where are they?
Well, on a bit of an ascent, actually.
I’ve wavered between thinking they might play important games in April with some faint chance at the eighth spot and thinking the horrid start had – as my man Perk once uttered – shot the season behind the ear.
But three quality wins in a four games – at Indy, over Denver and at New York – were totally unexpected (before that stretch, you might have thought one was good, two would have been a pleasant surprise and three was unthinkable) and who knows what might happen now.
Give ‘em all credit – Bryan, Dwane, the players – because they are playing entertaining games, playing hard and seem to have something good going on.
Kind of makes the unofficial “second half” of the season worth waiting for, no?
A wee bit more.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
(The card, flower and chocolate companies thank you)
No, I’m not all that big on Valentine’s Day and not that big on “love songs” but if you were to play this a couple of times tonight when you’re dancing with the Missus (or the Mister) it’d be a good mood-setter for the day.
Mr. Clapton has some singing chops.
Me? I’ll likely be in some saloon in Houston watching Lakers-Clippers and hanging with the other all-star weekend hostages.
Couple of housekeeping matters, if you don’t mind.
We’ll be here – live once again from some departure lounge at Pearson so we can wait out the inevitable delays together from 11:30-12:30 this morning (flight’s allegedly at 1:20 or so) so come armed with your questions and hellos.
And if you can’t make it, there’s firstname.lastname@example.org for whenever I can find time for a weekend mailbag or two; not much over there now, help a fella out, would you?
Goes back to Turkey, takes some kind of supplement, it’s got a banned substance in it and, boom, he gets nailed by the PED police and gets a 20-game ban.
Look, I like Turk, quite a bit. Was a funny guy whole stole a bunch of money when he was here but he never, ever struck me as a guy who’d take something to help him have enough recovery ability to hasten is workout regimen to return from an injury.
And maybe that’s why I found the story so hilarious.
That and the fact that now two of the eight players who have ever been caught using PEDs used to play hear – Lindsey Hunter was the other ex-Raptor – made it even more interesting.
I’m not naïve enough to think that Turk – or the other seven who got caught – are the only players who put illegal substances in their bodies, although it’s kind of ridiculous to me that any athlete would take something even close to dubious during a season.
If you want to take something, there are armies of team staff and league staff and union staff who will tell you what you can take; trying to “sneak” something you got on your own is courting disaster.
It’s unfathomable to me that any player in any sport would go rogue; it makes no sense and speaks to a level of invincibility that’s troubling.
I don’t feel in the least bit sympathetic towards Turk, or any player in any sport who offers a lame “I didn’t know what was in it” excuse. There are ways to find out, people to help you do it and if you don’t and you get caught, tough noogies.
Speaking of Turk …
That never gets old.
I guess nothing should really shock us about athletes who are idolized because we have so often been disappointed and stunned to learn of their human failings long after we’ve lauded them for their athletic expertise.
It’s hard being a fan though, isn’t it? People we think we know do things of an unspeakable nature and we should all start examining the reasons why we cheer.
And as I’ve warned a few times before, we need to cheer for athletic ability and competition and that alone.
We can’t pretend to know or like or admire anyone for any other reason because these men and women are humans and many have demons.
We need to appreciate them as athletic entertainers because to get too caught up in their lives away from the sporting venue is ask for disappointment.
I wrote this about Oscar Pistorious this past summer as an athlete and I remember being miffed at myself for not writing a longer, more in-depth piece on him as a man.
Given what’s transpired, I’m glad I didn’t.