FIVE QUICK NBA THOUGHTS
1. CHRIS GRANT (Cavs): The GM gets fired on Thursday after his team won only 29 per cent of its games during his tenure. Obviously, a totally undermanned Lakers team beating them on their home floor was the final straw. Wow, what a mess it is right now. Many folks thought with the addition of Jarrett Jack, Andrew Bynum, head coach Mike Brown and first overall pick Anthony Bennett that they would be knocking on the door for a seven or eight seed in the East. No such luck. It's been dysfunctional and the idea of signing LeBron James in the summer looks like a pipe dream and the ability to hold onto Kyrie Irving (in spite of what he says) is in serious doubt. Fragile business.
2. ENES KANTER (Jazz): Have watched him twice in person and on TV a bunch of times and I gotta confess, I'm more of a Derrick Favors fan. Not sure both of these guys can co-exist. Kanter is averaging 12 and 6 and when I watch him I see a guy that is a bit robotic with his game. Yes he's a bruiser but it's hard to play that style unless you have great skill to go with it. Still a work in progress.
3. CHRIS PAUL (Clippers): It's a bit chilly and rain is in the forecast here for later today in L.A. Rather this than snow and freezing temperatures. News that warmed me up today was the fact that the All-Star point guard won't make his return from injury until Sunday so the Raptors catch a break not seeing him. But it will still be a very difficult game to win for Toronto here on Friday. It will be great for Paul to get on the court this weekend and play next weekend at his first professional stop (New Orleans) in the All-Star Game. Good for the sport. Terrific player and class act.
4. RAPTORS at KINGS: It was the fourth time in the last few weeks (Celtics, Lakers, Bobcats) that the Raptors played down to their competition and "Played the Record". Games like these haunt teams and cause sleepless nights for coaches. I felt for Dwane Casey on Thursday night - he tried everything to get his team going with little success. I'm sorry but this team isn't good enough to overlook anyone. Totally got outplayed and didn't deserve to win. Winning teams have real good habits. This team still floats big time with its focus. It's easy to get up for the 'name teams' but as usual guys get it backwards. It's really hard to win those games. Play really hard against the teams you can beat and you'll have a really nice season and then steal the occasional game when you play a team that's in the 'upper class'. Tough lessons to learn. Time they actually learn the lesson and do something about it. You want the third our fourth seed and home court in the first round of the Playoffs? Punch the clock, bring the lunch bucket and hard hat and compete like crazy. You do that - you'll have success. Time to grow up a bit. I have no issues with losing if you lay it all on the line to the best of your ability and the other guy happens to be better that night - that happens. Shake his hand and hold your head high and get ready for the next one. Stop teasing folks. This team is good enough and has good people on it - they'll figure it out.
5. TOM THIBODEAU (Bulls): I like what he said recently about playing time. He's the boss and he and only he will determine who gets the privilege that you have to EARN to play and finish games. Carlos Boozer is upset with his fourth quarter role of late. I have a suggestion - play really hard and well and guess what? You'll play and finish games. Coaches want to and have to win. It's your job to please your coach, not the other way around. A coach's ultimate loyalty has to be to winning and team. Nothing else comes close. Believe me you could coach a guy you completely dislike personally yet you'll play him every minute if he helps you win.