OK. So I was fooled. Yeah - no big surprise. I mean I am the Fossil Fool after all. But to think I actually thought Bryan Colangelo had some idea what he was doing. What kind of a fantasy world was I living in?
Even though the season isn’t over just yet. I still can’t help but have the feeling that it was over before it began. There was Hedo and Bosh getting hurt in the summer and then missing camp. Then there was Reggie Evans getting injured. Boom. It was as good as done. Or at least that feeling started to creep into my consciousness. But I should I have felt a twinge of false expectations in the air before that, when Colangelo guessed that Reggie Evans would be the biggest surprise of all the newest acquisitions, not for his defense, which he figured we would all expect to be good, but for what he thought was a pretty good offensive game.
And then there was the moment of greatest unease early in the schedule. It should have been nothing. Just a statement thrown out there. But after months of Triano stressing defense, and stubbornly hanging onto his idea of “protecting the house”, he started to talk instead about playing an exciting brand of basketball as one of the goals they hoped to achieve. Excuse me, winning brings plenty of excitement my way. This sounded like excitement that could be promised whether wins came or not. I had to try to push his words out of my mind. But as the season wore on, and running on offense kept getting more emphasis than running back on defense, my mind began to turn as mushy as the legs of a Raptor team in the third quarter of the second game on back-to-back nights.
Oh yeah - there were some fun games. And that helped to keep me fooled. But the weaknesses on defense just took so much away from everything good, even the handful of big wins. Then the final crash and burn at the tail end of the schedule made me forget what basketball actually looked like when played properly. Now I can’t look at the future with Triano and Colangelo and see any promise. I see only a franchise that sells the promise of excitement and hangs it out like a little worm on a big hook.
That fantasy of a team that could edge into the upper tier of eastern conference teams has turned very ugly. And as Andrea Bargnani was killing every chance of winning the biggest game of the season, last week against the Atlanta Hawks, by tapping rebounds out to Hawks players when he had good enough position to just grab the stupid ball, and by chucking up enough terrible, long-range shots to make me wonder why they couldn’t just let Bosh fire threes with his head encased in plaster as the verifiably better option; a new fantasy took hold inside my skull. It wasn’t as good as the fantasy that played out on True Blood, when Jason Stackhouse gets his twinkie soaped up by the porn-ready wife of an evil, right-ring, fundamentalist preacher. That one gets me in a bigger lather than Jason Stackhouse’s twinkie, just thinking about it. The way it built up week after week. And the way it went on further, to sweet love-making right there in the balcony of the church. It’s defintitely at the top of my fantasy pyramid. But this new one of mine was not down far enough from there to be just a part of the wider, middle range. It could be part of an HBO series all it’s own.
And so since there is little else to ever again be excited about with this team, thanks to the “exciting” brand of basketball that the guys in the suits look to offer us from here on in; let me share what played out in my mind as my eyes glazed over that night. Sam Mitchell has been known to attend games in Atlanta. And Colangelo happened to be there with the team as well. I imagined Bryan stricken by a great revelation, and being so moved as to play things out in the fashion of WWE shenanigans outside of the ring, walking into the stands, pulling Sam out of his seat, bringing him down to the Raptor bench, staring down the hapless Triano until the boob skulks away humiliated, and telling Sam that since he is still being paid by the organization, he might as well try to do something with this disgusting mess. At which point Sam calls Andrea to him, and the moment that the 7-feet of hopelessness gets off the floor, he kicks his ass, yelling and screaming, all the way out of Philips arena, through the parking lot, and pulling him by an ear, along the side of the expressway, heading north for miles and miles, with verbal abuse growing louder and more profane with each step, all the way into the Chattahoochee River. Sam rolls around the bank of the river, laughing uncontrollably. And…end scene.
It’s only a dream that spilled out of a feverish mind, but it’s about the only suitable ending this season is going to get. The creator of True Blood could make it almost real. What’s his name? Alan? Alan Ball. BALL! Is Ed Begley Jr. too old to play Andrea?…