Ok, I did something that I have not done since we were at MSA. I got to the fieldhouse when they opened up the doors. Actually it was sureal to be in the fieldhouse with litterally maybe 20-30 other people (besides workers & players).
I went to my seating area but thought, oh what the heck I'll just mozy over to the middle of the court & sit as low as I could to watch shoot around.
Toronto's entire team is out doing a pre-game shootaround & from our team Ed Gill, Saras, A.J., Danny Granger & Jeff Foster were out on the floor shooting around. On our bench set Jamaal Tinsley who was drinking Gatorade.
Here are just some things I noticed in the shootaround (you can learn a lot from these if you watch them close enough)
1. Ed Gill does not miss in pre-game. He must burn up all of his magic at this time because he can't hit a shot during a game to save his life but in pre-game the man is a God. He & Danny were guarding each other & he was just raining threes down on Granger like he was Reggie.
2. Anthony Johnson is the consumate pro in the pre-game. No messing around, no trick shots, no joking. He was all business & had a very strict regiment he was following including shooting 100 free throws (or close to it I quite counting after awhile).
3. Danny Granger shoots & shoots & shoots some more in the pre-game. He was out there before I got there & stayed on the floor longer than anybody else. There were other players that came out much later that were on the floor after Danny went back to the locker room but none were on as long as he was.
4. Saras only did a quick shoot around & went back to the locker room.
As Ed Gill was getting ready to leave the court he stopped by to see Jamaal. He & J.T. joked around for a few min. & then he gave Jamaal the ball. Jamaal proceded to shoot four shots from his seat without ever getting up. He missed all of these shots.
A.J. stopped by Jamaal as he was heading to the locker room. He bent over & whispered something but Jamaal waved him off afterwards. A.J. then went & signed Autographs.
At this time only Granger, Chuck Person (who was playing with some young kids in the front row) & Jamaal were on the floor.
Danny worked on the long ball while Jamaal proceded to go to the corner to work on his three point shot. I paid attention to this because he has stunk so bad from the field that I wanted to see what he did in pre-game.
Sure enough he missed his first 7 shots but then ripped off 5 in a row before moving in for some closer work. By this time J.O., Jax & I think Pollard were out there.
More & more people were starting to filter in so I knew that I would have to move back to my seat before long. As I was getting up I saw Jamaal doing spin moves under the basket vs. Dan Burke.
Why is any of this important? Because it was the last time I saw Jamaal for the night.
I heard no pre-game so I had no idea what was going on till tip off when I saw A.J. starting. I turned around & yelled up to Roaming Gnome to ask if he knew what was going on with Jamaal & he said that in the pre-game show Mark Boyle has said Jamaal was benched. I thought it was odd that he wasn't on the bench but with this team who knows.
It wasn't until I came home that Diamond Dave told me that they listed Jamaal out because of an achilies injury or something like that.
Um, if this is true how do they explain the fact that the guy was doing spin moves on the baseline?
It was very obvious that Jamaal & A.J. were haveing an issue, I don't know what it was but it was obvious.
I know there are those who hate whenever any of us question an injury or illness, but in this case I'm just going to come out & call this one pure & utter B.S.
Even if he developed some pain from his practice, which he showed zero signs of, what would keep him from dressing in a suit & sitting on the bench with the team?
I've heard now there is something going on between Rick & Jamaal & once again people are on here choosing sides.
How about this for a side.
Let's get rid of both of them. Yes, Jamaal is a talented player. Yes, Rick is a talented coach.
Both have flaws & IMO both have worn out their welcome here.
I just thought I would tell you all this.
Ok, there was one really funny thing in the warmup lines just prior to tip off. If you have never seen David Harrison & Scot Pollard dance you have not lived.
I cannot even begin to describe the dance David was doing but it was the funniest thing I've ever seen on the floor. He had Pollard & Foster busting up.
BTW, side note, isn't it nice to have a big guy who doesn't take himself to seriously. Scot Pollard may have been a very good influance in the career of David Harrison for that reason alone.
Jermaine O'Neal can be serious enough for the whole team, so it's ok to have Pollard & Harrison be funny as long as they do their jobs.
To the game.
Have you ever had one of those feelings that you just didn't suck as much as the other team instead of being the better team? Well that's how I felt during this game. No matter how bad we played we just couldn't play as bad as Toronto was, although we tried very very hard to give this one away as well.
Two additional notes.
A. The fieldhouse was a barren wasteland devoid of human life & spirit.
B. During the announcement of the home team it was so quiet that you could clearly hear Steven Jackson being boo'd. The boo's outnumbered the cheers for Jax in this one IMO, at least in our section. But then again Roaming Gnome was behind us so we could be skewed in our view.
Mike James just tore us apart. I'll say this, if Carlisle does stay then Mike James is your man. He is about everything that he would ever want in a p.g., he would have to work on his man to man defense a little but by no means is he bad.
Pope Sow is Short. I mean really short. I don't care what he is listed at he is no taller than 6'8" tall because Granger was taller & bigger than he was. This was my first time seeing him in person & I was shocked at how small he was. So those NBDL stats. are way way way over inflated because he will never ever be able to reproduce even a 1/3 of those in the NBA.
Sam Mitchell was about to have a seizure evertime one of his team would mess up on the floor. He griped at the refs. maybe 2 or 3 times all-night and the rest of the time he was on his players.
I know that wouldn't go over well with our guys & in truth it's probably not that affective but man would I love to see someone go after our bunch with 1/2 as much vigor as Sam went after his players.
Good God the Raptors kept putting Peja at the line all night long. I don't know how many freethrows he shot but it was a lot & I think he hit them all.
Edit* just checked he was 12-12
I'm glad they did this though as he was not shooting well from the floor for most of the night.
Saras had a good night from the floor as well. He got 11 points, all in the first half, but he still laid out some nice assists. When he is hitting his shots he does change the game for the other team because they cannot leave him alone.
Jeff had a good night on the floor & another solid night on the boards. He did a very good job guarding Villanueva forcing him into several bad shots.
Jackson, well, Jackson had a Jackson kind of a night. He scored a good amount & played decent defense but he made some real bonehead plays that I have no idea how they did not count for turnovers.
I think he was distracted by Roaming Gnomes boo's from the upper deck. On a funny side note, he did get the evil eye from the people in front of us during the game. I'm sure they just loved it when he came down & set with us after the half.
A.J. had a decent evening. Although he was smoked by James on several occasions during the game. At least he hit some timely shots in the 4th to keep us on the lead.
I'm sorry I'm not more up after this game guys, but in truth we just couldn't give this one away.
Although we will probably make the playoffs, that's not a 100% certainty btw, I just don't see us doing anything once we are there.
I have a feeling, well as Boston would sing More than a feeling, that this team is a mess behind closed doors.
Neither Walsh or Bird were at this game, which I haven't seen that in a long time. I don't know what that means or even if it means anything at all.