They've had their one long night, that'll be the end of that
I’ve now seen a three-hour, four-minute, double-overtime NBA pre-season game and if I never see another one, I think I’d be just fine with that.
But it might be a paragraph in the book so there’s that part of it
Too much respect
Of course, the first question – semi-serious – to Dwane post-game was something along the lines of this:
“Why in the name of everything good in the world didn’t you play for the win at the end of the fourth quarter and save us all from 10 more minutes of pre-season basketball that was basically Summer League hell?”
Okay, not phrased quite that way but it wasn’t far off.
Anyway, I had an inkling what he’d say and he didn’t let me down.
He said he owed to his players and to the game to play for the tie and see what happened after that and I’d probably have been a bit disappointed if he’d said anything otherwise.
It did give five guys who’ll likely never get the chance again to play in a fun, long finish of an NBA game – albeit pre-season – and they probably quite enjoyed it.
There better not be a next time. But that’s how Dwane rolls and I’m okay with that.
Ross’s big night
Yes, lots of people were over the moon about Terrence Ross hitting threes and tying the game at the end of the first overtime and getting some big buckets and, yes, he did indeed.
But as Dwane pointed out post-game, Ross also eased into the game far too slowly – backups like him have to have an immediate impact, the second quarter was atrocious – and there were two huge missed free throws that could have iced the game.
So, no, it wasn’t a brilliant night from the kid, it was a night like so many others; Some good, some bad and the maddening inconsistency that’s been a trademark of his.
I know they didn’t play all that much and haven’t really, and there are still two more pretend game to go (and that thought is kind of scary) but the minimal impact Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson had last night was worth noting.
And while you might at some level give Valanciunas a pass because Tyson Chandler is a tough guy to go against, the fact Johnson hasn’t had a true impact game or even a stretch of game yet is mysterious.
Dwane kind of sloughed it off after the game, suggesting Johnson’s still doing all the good little things he does like set solid screens, drag defenders with him when he runs the floor to create space and whatnot.
He’s right, he’s still doing that because that’s what he does but I get the sense there’s more they need to be getting out of Johnson and it should probably come soon.
As the man used to say, here’s the rest of the story
(We have Irregulars who remember that, right?)
I have no earthly idea why I thought of these guys yesterday at some point but I did.
My mind can be a scary place.
Have been watching with minimal interest the euphoria of the pucks start and the angst of a couple of pucks losses and am thinking it’s going to be a wild ride all season and am hopeful that it is so some people leave us to our own devices in the other sport.
That’d be fun, no?
Big adventure ahead for the final pre-season road trip!
Milwaukee has a new, full-service Marriott downtown and we can finally get out of the dumpy old Courtyard we’ve stayed in for the better part of a decade.
It’s funny but as the season approaches and the travel plans are being made, you start kind of looking forward to the old haunts and maybe a new thing or two and a new hotel is kind of interesting.
And when I checked out the website to check out the amenities and the location (Milwaukee’s a walk-to-the-arena city from the Courtyard) I saw this as the name of the restaurant:
Millioke Meat. Cheese. Beer.
And I’m thinking, ‘yeah, this might work out quite well.’
As long as there’s no spinach with the meals because I’m down on spinach for some reason.
Noted with interest that Detroit Tiger manager Jim Leyland hung ‘em up yesterday, saying there was no fuel left in the tank, no energy left to do the job correctly.
It’s funny – and I might have mentioned this briefly last week but I don’t remember entirely – but I used to think Leyland was pretty cool.
He had some crusty to him and that’s a trait I quite like, he’d sneak to the end of the dugout or the tunnel leading to the clubhouse for some fresh air and I quite like that, too; he was something of a curmudgeon and that can be endearing.
But it struck from afar – and we’re talking quite afar – that he’d become just surly. I remember one time this season when Justin Verlander joked that he came off the mound and went to end of the dugout farthest from Leyland so the skipper couldn’t come and take him out of the game.
Kind of a funny, goofy, inconsequential joke and then I heard Leyland minutes later rip the pitcher and treat it like it was some snub or something.
I think one of the best qualities an old-timer and a leader can have is a sense of humour, the most self-deprecating the better, and a willingness to play along to lighten the mood when it’s needed.
When Leyland didn’t, it struck me that he wasn’t a charming curmudgeon and that’s not good, in my books.
I love managers and coaches and general managers and even players who’ll play along with a joke or a story or a moment and not take things too seriously all the time.
The wry smile, for instance, that Dwane shot us when he walked into the interview room after last night’s game told me he knew what was coming and would play along and he did. Sure, he made his point but he also cracked a couple of jokes, telling us he was sorry for our deadline hell and he agreed with us at the end when we told him it was all well and good to have one game like that but that was the end of it.
It was light-hearted and conversational and not at all bad; it’s what I like in the leaders of men and teams.