- Lots of talk about Christmas today. With a game against the Pistons tomorrow and then a full three days before the guys need to be in Memphis for 6 p.m. Sunday night, the break is so close you can almost taste it. As someone who is flying home to Nova Scotia on Thursday morning myself, I’m itching for the next day to move in fast forward, too.
- Made my heart pull to hear Solomon Alabi talking about Christmas memories and the best gift he has been given as well as the best gift he has given. The best gift he had ever been given was a pair of Nike basketball shoes. He says they were on sale and left at the store because they were the only pair of size 18 shoes and no one else needed a pair that size. Alabi says the best gift he’s given is clothes. I’m guessing he’ll top that this year.
- While the Pistons are in town tomorrow and they will be looking for revenge from that massive comeback that the Raptors had in Detroit a couple of weeks ago, Jay Triano says he has been trying to get his team to think of how nice it will feel to go home with another win under their belt rather than a loss to think about.
- Triano also said that he thinks the three days away from basketball will be good for his team, especially those with nagging injuries and strains.
- Amir Johnson isn’t the only Raptor staying in Toronto for the holiday: Solomon Alabi will be in town as well as Julian Wright. Wright said his mother arrives today and she will be cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas since he wasn’t home with her on the actual Thanksgiving holiday. Johnson told me he will be getting his grandmother to make extras of everything so he can pack them in the freezer. He also said he’ll invite Alabi and Wright over for dinner.
- On his plans for when he is back in LA on Thursday:
“I just want to see my family. I don’t care about nothing else. I just want to go home and spend time with my family. That’s it. Stay in the house, laugh and joke with the family, try to enjoy every moment.”
- What he is most excited to eat when he’s home:
“Homemade macaroni and cheese. Every day. It’s got to be ready when I get home.”
- On whether his bedroom is still in order at his parents’ new house:
“It’s still there. All of my stuff is still there. They better not get rid of my stuff. I ain’t got nowhere else to stay.”
On Christmas day basketball:
“I always watch the games. I remember every Christmas game, especially the Lakers. The Lakers always play on Christmas. It’ll be a good one to see, Lakers-Heat.”
- On his favorites from a home-cooked holiday meal from his mom:
“Ham, candy yams, macaroni and cheese. I can’t…Everything. That’s Thanksgiving, but we’re doing it on Christmas. I was gone [during Thanksgiving in Boston], so I figured, alright, let me get a home-cooked meal. Also in Chicago, it’s hard to get out of there if it’s snowing. They cancel direct flights like it’s nothing. I don’t want to risk going home to Chicago.”
- On his best gift received:
“I opened it before I was supposed to: Pac-Man. I was like seven or eight. I opened up the Pac-Man and I hid it under the tree. Then it was the first gift I opened. It was bad. I just taped it, you know?”
- On the best gift he has given:
“My rookie year I went to Portland and got $1000 allotment of Nike. I’m calling people getting sizes and everything. That was a hassle. I’m trying to get baby sizes, women’s sizes. I think that was the most thoughtful, hard-working gift.”
Going for gift cards: “Especially with our schedule and being here not going home to Chicago, I’m just going to have to send them home like that. We go home — well, I think we go to Chicago on the 3rd. They better send my Christmas gifts. Seriously.”
- On the status of the team and guys not practicing:
“We ended up going 4-on-4 today, which is about the best we could do. Patch ‘em together, and see if we can get one more before we get to the break…Linas made it all the way through. Jose only made it halfway through today…We’re having a hard time figuring out when the last practice was that we went 5-on-5 live. To be honest, today was a good day for us. We went 4-on-4. We went pretty hard live. I thought we got some good stuff out of it.”
- On the Pistons flipping up lineup a bit:
“We saw them in the New Orleans game. It’s not like they’re brand news players. But they’re guys that are getting more minutes. They’re a tough team to play. Ben Gordon gets going and Charlie V can shoot the ball from the outside. You don’t know if Stuckey is playing — he didn’t play last game — but he’s capable of putting up numbers. If Rip plays, he’s capable of putting up numbers. And Tayshaun is so steady.”
- On if the Pistons will be extra motivated to get a win to pay back Toronto for their comeback in Detroit:
“When there are 82 games, you look for every incentive and every way to motivate possible. If I was coaching [them] I would definitely bring that up.”