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Thursday, March 02, 2006 

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Hawks and Raptors Playoff Round

OK, so that’s not the case yet. But next year this just might be something we’ll see. These teams do clearly have some growing to do in the meantime, but they are both also getting there. If you look down the Hawks lineup right now, it’s really not that bad. It looks on the verge of being good enough to be a playoff team in the East. So why the horrible record? You have to wonder about the coaching when this is how the last 25 seconds go with a 3-point lead:

1. Near-steal, with a lucky bounce out of bounds instead of staying with Chucky.

2. This is followed up after the inbounds by a steal. There was only a 1.9 second shot clock/time clock differential, so if worse came to worse in the double teaming, Johnson could have just held the ball and given the Raps only 1.9 seconds to tie up the game with a three. More likely, they’d have to foul him once 10 seconds at most went by. But what does Joe do? 5 seconds into the double team he throws a weak pass into the middle that Chucky easily picks off. That is just not a smart play by any means in that situation. Even just sitting there doing nothing, and letting the shot clock run out would have been a better option.

3. Foul a guy shooting a three pointer to tie the game???? That’s just awful. Especially when you weren’t even close enough to contest the shot, and you’ve fouled him well after it’s up. Plus, honestly, if you are the Raptors, who would you most want taking three free throws to tie a game in the final seconds? Mope has been huge for the Raps lately, and has always been a cucumber.

These are the kinds of mental breakdowns that come with a team trying to come to grips with itself. They then started the overtime period with a turnover, followed by allowing a basket off an out numbered offensive rebound. Luckily, however, they were playing against another team in the same situation, and they managed to hold onto the win in the end.

Both these teams are better than their records show. The Raptors themselves now have 10 losses on the season that are by 3 points or less. Flip half of those games and this is a completely different season. Nonetheless, these teams are both headed in the same direction, and fortunately for them it’s away from being the jokes of the league. A March game next year between these two teams will mean a lot more than this one did. Hopefully it’ll still be as much fun anyway.

The Boone-Docks

Bret Boone announced his retirement today. In talking with MLB.com, he had the following to say:

“Something I've loved my whole life has become a major, major job for me, I don't think it would be fair for me - or fair to the Mets - to continue something I've loved my whole life and had so much passion for, and all of a sudden that passion isn't there anymore. It wasn't as easy as three or four years ago to get out there every day, but to me, I just lost it. I lost the edge."

No offense to Mr. Boone if it isn’t the case, and it very well might not be, but the edge he is referring to there may not be natural, if you know what I mean. And yes, Don Cherry, I know that I don’t have tangible proof, but this isn’t a blank claim on a big group of people. It’s mostly based on that other-wise unexplainable record season the Mariners had a few years back. To be specific, in 2000 with the Padres, Boone hit .251 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI’s. At the start of the next season Brett looked very different, and backed up the new buff by hitting .331 with 37 home runs and 141 RBI’s.

Could it have just been a new work out routine? Of course. But this past season when attention was paid to steroids, Boone’s numbers came back down to .221 with 7 home runs (and he also made $9,000,000 while doing it, by the way). It’s definitely fishy to say the least. But without any concrete evidence we’ll have to accept the new work out routine in 2001, and then age and loss of passion as the reason for his increase then decrease in production. And we’ll accept it with an uneasy smile. Steroids or not, he did flash a pretty glove from time to time. Now that’s something I’ll always remember him fondly for. All the steroids in the world can’t help you develop that kind of flair.

that post was too short man, too short

who's gonna be the #8 seed in the nhl east?

and you gotta wonder if gagne pulled the same steroid stuff, bulks up, and as soon as the issue becomes big, oh shit, there goes the arm

too short by whose rules? your rules? man, you guys are all turning into vultures!

#8 seed is probably going to be atlanta, but that depens on which Habs team decides to show up and when.

I'm pretty sure gagne was legitimately injured. In the 13 innings he did pitch, he struck out 22 guys. That's pretty powerful. He had a 7.3 strike out to walk ratio, and was 8 for 8 in save conversions. Does that even slightly resemble someone who lost his touch?

As long as Huét keeps up his play and Theodore falls on another doorstep in April, or ODs on Propecia and can't play again this year, the Habs should make it

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