The long, sad march to the end goes on; and Opening Day is soon!
Look at it this way:
Only 13 left to go and after the one in Charlotte and the one last night, the end of this season cannot come quickly enough.
Forget Groundhog Day, I feel like I’m living Groundhog Year around here.
Anyway, still gotta do the job, right?
Finish strong and all that jazz.
I don’t know, either
Yes, Dwane had the age-old lament post-game after watching his team stumble and bumble through the first half and finally get it somewhat together in the second.
When it was too late, of course.
The funny thing is, you never know precisely when the HOTH are going to take an extended period of time off. Could be the first half, could be the second, could be the fourth quarter, could be the first.
All we know for sure is that on the vast majority of nights, it’s going to happen.
How do you fix it? Can you teach mental toughness and intensity? Can you gameplan to minimize the impact of those in-game holidays?
I don’t think so.
I think there’s a two-fold answer but one part of it doesn’t get discussed enough.
Someone on that team – someone wearing a uniform that is – has to emerge as the leader, the guy who gets in the face of teammates and simply makes them play harder.
Sure, Dwane has some responsibility to find some way to quell those dull periods but, seriously, someone has to emerge as the voice of this team – or some old guy has to be acquired and become it – because there isn’t anyone who takes the team by the scruff of its collective neck and shakes it.
And they need it.
How’d that happen?
That’d be the wide-open dunks and layups each of Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson got in the third quarter.
Because the Knicks can be an atrocious defensive team against the pick and roll when Tyson Chandler’s not playing and Kyle Lowry actually ran it a couple of times with the bigs.
Presto! Easy buckets.
I’ve always thought one of Lowry’s challenges as a point guard was running one of the staples of the game, either to get mismatches on switches or to hit the roll man down the lane or to attack the basket himself.
I’m not suggesting he all of sudden turn into Jose Calderon or that he and Valanciunas will be Stockton and Malone but it’s such a basic – yet effective – play with some many possibilities off of it, they have to use it more often.
And learn to use it correctly and effectively to maximize the talent on the team; seeing it work a couple of times so easily has to help.
How’d that happen, II
Two things we’ve seldom seen, of late and all year.
Landry Fields, who was pretty automatic on the corner threes in his rookie year, hit one last night and it was just his second made three – SECOND! – of the season. He’s now 2-14 from beyond the arc this year, not nearly as effective as they need him to be.
And Kyle Lowry had 10 assists, just third time since mid-February – a span of 15 games – that he’s got to that level. Of course, two those assists came on those pick-and-roll layups and to that I just say: See?
Anyway, a wee bit more, if you’d like.
So, I think we can all agree – or we should all agree – that The Band is the iconic Canadian band, right?
These guys? I’d say so; and to be iconic you have to have been around a while and be truly associated with the country.
I smell something I can use for Monday morning, let’s talk about it then.
I’ll have to check more closely later on but I’m pretty sure I didn’t have Florida Gulf Coast (and why do I imagine that’s a school based in some strip mall in a soul-less part of the state?) or Harvard in my bracket.
This is a sign of the times, and the proliferation of TV stations that need stuff to put on the air.
Yes, we are all mightily impressed by the Miami Heat and their 25-game winning streak, it’s as impressive a streak as there’s been since, oh, I guess 2008-09 when a far less skilled Houston team managed to win 22 straight.
(And I think there might be a debate to be had on whether that Houston one was more impressive given the relative talents of the rosters).
Anyway, because TV networks are bandwagon jumpers like you’ve never seen, NBA-TV will now show Sunday’s Heat game against New Orleans and ESPN is picking up their Monday game in Orlando.
Two dogs, truth be told, that few in their right minds would ever be interested. But we will be subjected to breathless analysis, I’m sure, of a great team beating up on two minnows and how cool would it be if the Heat lost on Sunday and ESPN was stuck with a pooch of Miami-Orlando on Monday with nothing to talk about.
That’d be hilarious.
Yes, we could use some mail.
I’m traipsing down the QEW to take some money from cronies in our semi-annual Poker And Storytelling Night but there’s the afternoon to do mail.
You know the drill, right? It’s firstname.lastname@example.org and depending on how the morning/afternoon/night/tomorrow post-game carnage works out, we may have to do two installments.
But you have to do your part.
To all those who trusted the Lakers to get it turned around, I give you this:
A team that’s allegedly going to be dangerous if or when it gets the post-season lost by 23 to an unimaginably bad Phoenix team earlier this week and was beaten at home by 25-win Washington on Friday.
And, no, things are not good after coach Mike D’Antoni absolutely carved them last night. Check out how hot he was in this story and I’m wondering about the wisdom of that tact.
Think they might just tune him out?
With the Lakers, who knows.
Look at it this way:
Opening Day is just over a week away!