North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

Posts Tagged ‘Chris Bosh

Breaking Down 100 Good Points

leave a comment »

I don’t know if there’s any writing more disposable than sportswriting. Maybe grocery lists. Certainly posts like this. The best sportswriting is timeless: nobody’s ever going to forget about Pat Jordan, Red Smith or WC Heinz, let alone pieces like Norman Mailer’s report in the Ali/Frazier fight. But mostly, it’s uneventful stuff. “Then the Habs scored two quick ones, bang, bang, and it was 3-2 for the good guys,” that kind of thing. Most sportswriting is on deadline and is dated by the next day. It’s not meant to be read a week later.

That said, what I do is less reporting and more blogging. My title’s Contributor and I almost never get press credentials, although I don’t apply for many to begin with. And I’ve been lucky enough to bang out words on a weekly (and more usually, biweekly) basis for The Good Point, so there’s a little more latitude when it comes to writing. So instead of covering things, I usually write about whatever’s been happening in the world of sports and react to them. On a bad day, I’m not any more interesting than a hack columnist on some small town newspaper, offering uninteresting and instantly dated opinions (see: this column about the NHL coming to Markham). I feel for editor and general behind the scenes wizard Rob Boudreau, who deals with me every two weeks. He’s probably my most regular reader.

But on a good day, I’d like to think I’m able to shine a little light into some of the more offbeat corners of sports. Over the four years I’ve been writing at The Good Point, I’ve covered a huge range of topics, including some I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone else write about; I’m not sure if that’s a reflection of wider interests than the average sports-scribbler or on my complete inability to function as a journalist.

I recently filed my 100th post for The Good Point. I have no idea how I got to this number, I never thought I’d be there for a full year (then again, I always thought I’d be a beat writer of some sort by now). What follows is a few links to some of my favourite posts and a few words on each.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by M.

July 23, 2013 at 10:00 am

Basketball Hangover

leave a comment »

It’s been hot here lately, maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling so lethargic w/r/t summing up my thoughts on the NBA Finals. It’s not hard to compress things into a few sentences, but still: a lot happened over the seven games and there’s a few things I want to cover.

Games six and seven were two of the most intense games I’ve seen live. They were easily the most exciting games of this year’s postseason and I can’t remember too many others that gave me the same emotions: game seven of the 2010 Finals immediately comes to mind, as does game five of the 2005 Finals. I don’t bring this up to make some Simmons-esque  point about legacy or how I’ll remember things in five years time, but to say this was a hell of a series. It was intense, even for someone who didn’t have anything riding on it; bad enough I had to switch to the radio for game six because I was getting so wound up in the fourth that I knew I wouldn’t get to sleep if I didn’t.

Going into the series, I picked the Spurs to win in six. I was off by a bit, but I’ll get to that in a second. I picked them for a few reasons: rest, their defence, the play of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan in the postseason. Conversely, I wasn’t high on the way Miami had looked against Indiana: Bosh and Wade struggled against a strong defensive team and LeBron James seemed like he getting flustered by carrying the team.

The Finals started in this vein, with the Spurs defence coming up huge late and Parker hitting a crazy game winning shot in game one. It was another game where James was amazing – 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists – but at least Bosh and Wade scored in the double-digit range. Game two was a Miami blowout, although it was pretty close even going into the fourth quarter, before Miami went on a run and took a big lead.

Before long, each team was trading blowouts. San Antonio took game three and Miami game four, each by wide margins. The Spurs had good nights from role players like Danny Green and Gary Neal; Miami’s big three combined for 85 points in their win. Game five was a little closer: a ten-point Spurs win, on Manu Ginobili’s big night (24 points, 10 assists). At this point, each team was winning every other game. People in the media were saying it was unlike anything they’d ever seen, although it reminded me of an Atlanta/Milwaukee series from a few years back. The Spurs were in position to win the Finals in six games as the series moved back to Miami.

They came close, really damn close. They led late, by five points with 28 seconds left. Tim Duncan had arguably his best career game: 30 points, 17 rebounds against a stifling Miami defence. And the Spurs played with a remarkably short roster: four players would finish the game with over 40 minutes played and just nine checked in at all (including a ten second stretch for Matt Bonner). But LeBron had one of his best nights, too: 32 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and the nerve to take three different three pointers in the last 30 seconds. That’ll be my lasting memory: listening to him take those shots on TSN Radio’s scratchy broadcast sometime around midnight on a Wednesday am.

What about game seven? Well, what do ya need to know. It was close and Duncan just about tied it up late. It was intense and I felt glad I didn’t have any professional obligations to cover the game. It reminded me of the time I interviewed Roger Lajoie: he told me the worst event he ever covered was game seven of the 2001 World Series. He was writing for Reuters then, working as their main sports guy. He told me he had to write, erase and re-write his story three, four times as the game swung back and forth. And because he was writing for a wire service, he had to get it out there was soon as he could, going against the AP. Game seven was one of those games, close enough that had Duncan hit that basket, you’d have heard hundreds of columnists slamming their delete key into oblivion.

People are going to try to spin these finals into a greater narrative. It’s one of those sportswriting tricks everyone falls into now and again. Maybe this will be The Last Gasp of the Spurs Dynasty (is this it for Manu? I’d be surprised if he left the NBA but I doubt he’s got much left in the tank either). Maybe it’ll be The Time LeBron Shed His Labels (a stupid idea: he’s been unquestionably the best player in the league for at least four years now). It might have something to do with Kawhi Leonard or Chris Bosh, each resting at the opposite ends of Expectation and Results: 19 points and zero, respectively, in the final game.

But it doesn’t have to be put into anything. It was just a damn fine series: seven good games and at least three I know I’ll be thinking about all summer. It had two of the best players of their generation playing at the highest level; it had a few players standing out beyond what anyone expected, too. I have a bit of a basketball hangover right now – I don’t plan on watching anything, even highlights, until sometime in July – but the nights were worth it.

A Quick NBA Finals Prediction

with 2 comments

Last week, I wrote about the Western Conference champs and a few days ago, about the Miami Heat going to a game seven, so I’ve already written a bunch about the Finals already. But here’s a few more loose thoughts and a prediction for the Finals, which start tonight.

Read the rest of this entry »

What did Turkoglu really mean when he bashed Toronto?

leave a comment »

When Hedo Turkoglu goes out and bashes Toronto, yeah it’s sour grapes.

He’s somebody who came here, walked all over the staff and got his own way. He’s somebody who played awful and got mad when people took his picture. He’s somebody who got booed and was upset he got booed and never seemed to realize that when you miss a game with sickness, going out to a club, even for a little bit, is bad politics.

It seems safe to say Hedo’s a guy who maybe doesn’t realize things right away.

But, still, when he bashes Toronto, he’s got a point.

When he says “people have to realize something is wrong with that organization and nobody wants to go there any more,” he’s kind of correct. Something is wrong with the Raptors and it does appear people don’t want to come here too often.

It’s too bad that Turkoglu didn’t elaborate on his comments and what he thinks is specifically wrong with the Raptors. But, he needed worry, since I think I got it covered.

When Hedo said that something is wrong, he meant literally that. Something is wrong with the Raptors. Namely, that thing is “they’re not very good.”

As of now, they’re in the lower third of the NBA’s talent pool. They’re very unlikely to make the playoffs and will probably get a very good lottery pick. It’s to be expected, though, since the Raptors are rebuilding.

But when Hedo was playing for them, and even before, the Raptors just haven’t been that good.

Since the Vince Carter era ended in 2004, Toronto has been above .500 only twice. They’ve only made the playoffs twice. While they’ve had Chris Bosh for the entirety of that era, but there’s never been anybody that approached his talent; a true second option for the team.

In that time, the have Raptors traded for Jermaine O’Neal, TJ Ford and Carlos Delfino, among others. Their draft hauls have included Charlie Villaneuva, Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan. Free agency has brought in Jose Calderon, Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon. None of those players are the kind a contending team can be built around.

So what is wrong with Raptors management? It’s not something silly like “they’re not committed to winning.” It’s closer to something like “profit vs spending.” The more I think about it, the more I feel like Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – who own the Raptors – just aren’t willing to spend what it seems to take.

According to one source, the Raptors have not spent more then 67.4 million in salary since 2007-08. Even they did go over the cap, they were still just inside the NBA’s top half in terms of spending – Sacramento, Milwaukee and Indiana all spent more then the Raptors did that season.

And it’s not like the Raptors are hard up for cash, either. According to Forbes, the Raptors are the 11th most valuable team and are worth close to $400 million. Last December, Forbes listed the Raptors income at $133 million, a figure greater then Orlando, Denver or Utah – three teams that have had more playoff success the Toronto has in recent memory. But those teams are willing to spend to bring in players. Toronto doesn’t seem to be.

Could that actually be why players don’t want to come to Toronto, as Turkoglu suggested?

Indeed, it would make a lot more sense then the cultural idioms that are commonly said: there’s too much curling on TV, the schools teach differently then in the US, for forth and so on. Really, when somebody signs with the Raptors, they’re brought in to play basketball. That they don’t care for the TV fare should be irrelevant (and besides, it’s not that hard to get a grey market dish; I’m kind of surprised that nobody within the Raptors organization is in charge of that, unofficially of course).

But who wants to come to a team that’s not spending as much as the completion? That has a very poor history in the draft and in trades? Well, one only needs to look at the LA Clippers for one extreme case. In the case of Bosh, it’s that the team never was willing to go out and spend the money to get somebody else close to his talents for the long-term (it would have been great if they had kept Marion for more then a couple months).

Still, these are things that are easily correctable. And as crazy as it sounds, the Turkoglu deal was a good way to start; the Raptors wined and dined and spent to bring a player in. That he was a bust is beside my point, which is that the team has to show players they’re willing to commit.

That’s what I think Turkoglu meant. Players don’t want to go to a city where the team is just spending enough to finish with an equal number of wins and losses. They want to go to a place where the team is willing to commit more then just that.

At least I know I would.

Written by M.

August 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Is it worth getting Miami’s leftovers for Bosh?

with one comment

Here are two stat lines. Each represents a player at the same age – 20 years old. Player one is in his second NBA season, while player two is a rookie.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by M.

July 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

What Will Chris Bosh’s Toronto Legacy Be?

with one comment

As another famous Raptor gears up to go, it seems only fair to see where he places in relation to the other famous ex-Raps.

After all, it’s clear Bosh’s tenure with the Toronto Raptors is over. Sometime over the next weeks, probably before too long, he will sign with another team as a free agent.

And as he goes, my mind turns to his legacy here in Toronto. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by M.

June 30, 2010 at 7:10 am

Handicapping the NBA’s MVP at Midseason

with 6 comments

With a little less then half of the NBA season left, it’s about time for lazy NBA writers – such as myself – bang out a column predicting awards.  Because after half a season, we all know who is likely win awards.

That’s the key word here: likely. It’s far too early to say for sure who is going to be the most valuable player in the league at the end of the season, but it’s not too early to make some educated guesses and handicap which player would be likely to win. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by M.

January 27, 2010 at 5:03 pm