Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Hoop & The Harm: Notes from the Hardcourt

Beyond The Arc

It hasn’t been a banner season for Jay Triano and the Toronto Raptors, and that was more than evident on Monday night.

A shorthanded Raps team fell prey to some last-second heroics from Rudy Gay to win the game for the Memphis Grizzlies, an eighth straight loss for the fourth-worst team in the entire NBA. The hurt doesn’t end there though.

When you’re not winning and things aren’t really going well, you try to hang onto the small victories out there on the court, to give you something to feel good about. Well, the Raps have one less accomplishment in the works as a streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer came to an end on Monday too.

Before going 0-for-13 in that loss to the former Vancouver Grizzlies, the Raptors went 986 straight games with at least one swish from beyond the arc – an NBA record dating back to February 26th, 1999. To put into perspective just how long ago the streak began, here are some tidbits from the Raps website (from when the streak hit a decade in 2009) and some of my own. Since that first three pointer:

-There have been three US elections and two Presidents, along with four Canadian elections and three Prime Ministers.

-The average price of gas was 49.9 cents per liter in February of 1999. I believe we are hovering around a dollar per liter today.

-The NBA’s salary cap was $30-million in 1999…this season it’s $58-million (the minimum salary a team can have is still $13.5-million more than the cap was in ’99)!

-Stuff like iPods, Bluetooth headsets, Hybrid cars and YouTube didn’t exist when that first three-ball found mesh. The hard drive on your 1999 laptop was probably about six or seven gigabytes…Napster was just about to burst onto the scene. People listened to music on Discmans! Do you have any good ones?

The point is: 1999 was a long time ago! Lets hope the Raps give their fans something else to cheer about sometime soon!

Staying in the Nest?

Some good news for the New Orleans Hornets to kick off the week – the team isn't going anywhere!

That is, at least for now.

The NBA had to buy the bankrupt team earlier this season because the owners could no longer afford to run it, and that led to some speculation that the franchise could be on the move. One thing leading to that speculation was the prospect that the team could opt out of its arena lease, should attendance fall below an average of 14,735 for a two-season period.

The good news on Monday was that the team met the attendance benchmarks needed to keep the lease going, which in effect keeps the team in New Orleans for at least another season. The even better news on Monday was that a David West fade away jumper with 0.5 seconds left handed the Hornets a 91-89 win over the OKC Thunder, a ninth straight victory.

It’s nice to see that the locals really want to keep the Hornets in town and are willing to rally around each other to make it happen. The league is currently looking to sell the club, but ESPN notes that could be tough to do with the impending labor dispute.

Either way, at least this is a feel-good story for now. Compare this situation with what’s happening in the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes: In New Orleans, the people want the team to stay and the league wants to help make that happen. In Glendale, no one seems to really care that the team might leave (except for the fact that they’d have an unused rink) and the only one really pushing for the team to stay is the NHL!

Good on the people of New Orleans – I hope it works out down there!

Price is Right?

How much would you pay to watch the two worst teams in the NBA’s Eastern Conference in person?

Keeping in mind that the average ticket price in the NBA is about $48, I want you to think about what you’d be comfortable paying for the chance to sit in the stands as the 13-32 NJ Nets take on the 8-36 Cleveland Cavaliers:

A) $48 – Who cares who is playing, I’ve never seen an NBA game
B) $20 – I don’t care what the league average is! These teams stink!
C) $10 – I’d pretend to be a student if it meant cheaper tickets
D) 11¢ – It’s the only way I’d get my money’s worth!

If you chose “D,” you would have been in luck on Monday night, says the NY Times' Off the Dribble! There were reports on Monday afternoon that tickets were selling for as little as a quarter online, which set off some kind of “price war” that eventually saw some tickets drop all the way down to eleven cents.

Benjamin Hoffman reports that a courtside seat for $180 was the most expensive seat sold that night on StubHub.com, while the cheapest sold for just 48 cents.

My goodness is that ever sad! I wonder if Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov ever regrets his purchase…

Other stuff…

Speaking of the Nets, they’ve backed away from a potential trade for Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony…so what now?

Ricky Rubio hasn’t even played an NBA game yet and he’s apparently ready to give up on the Minnesota Timberwolves…

Is age starting to slow down the LA Lakers? A Laker legend seems to think so…

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