April 12, 2013 by bronasvalanciunas
On most gameday mornings Dwane Casey wakes up at 5:30 and walks over to his full-length mirror to practice his stoic scrutinizing stare for ten minutes before he heads downstairs. He then goes downstairs and makes himself a cup of instant coffee, which he doesn’t drink until it gets cold enough to make him grimace with each sip. While waiting for his coffee to cool down, he stares at his wall (unadorned, expect for a single piece of cardboard on which is written the word “BLEAK”) and contemplates trimming his beard. This is the most important part of each game day for Dwane.
Only when he has finished his coffee and donned his silk bathrobe does he begin to think about the game plan for his beloved Toronto Raptors that night. However, Dwane’s routine is so habitual that by this time of the morning all creativity has oozed out of his brain. By this time any set plays or defensive schemes have left his mind for good and all that is left are his 3 go-to strategies, which he writes in blood in his pocketbook:
- Give Rudy the ball. Let him shoot.
- Give Alan Anderson the ball. Hope he spontaneously turns into Kobe.
- Give John Lucas the ball. Laugh at how short he is and/or how funny he sounds.
And so, the Raptors game plan for the night becomes set in stone. From this point forward Dwane’s job consists only of looking thoughtful, or at least more thoughtful than Andrea Bargnani.
But on the morning of Friday April 12, 2013, something changed. Today was the day that Dwane was rudely awakened by his neighbor coming into his house at 5:25 to borrow a screwdriver. By 5:28, Dwane had departed with his Phillips head and was already downstairs. Without even becoming fully aware of it, Dwane had skipped his early morning mirror stare and was downstairs in his kitchen 12 minutes too soon! He attempted to carry the rest of his morning out as per usual, but he accidently drank his coffee when it was lukewarm instead of cold, and contemplated trimming his pubes instead of his beard. Such a tumultuous morning meant that all the creativity had not oozed out of his brain, but had instead piled up at the back of the frontal lobe.
The result was a classic epiphany. Somewhat common for cartoon characters and funk musicians, this was Dwane’s first epiphany as Raptors coach. He immediately called up Andea Bargnani and told him to shave. To the point where he would almost appear clean-shaven. Then he called up Mikael Pietrus and told him to bring twice as much gum as usual to the game that night. Thirdly, he called up Linas Kleiza and told him to wear his most exuberant hairstyle that night (Linas, of course, would go to Matt Devlin for help with that one). Finally, he called up Aaron Gray and told him to bring his basketball shoes to the gym that night.
When the Toronto Raptors assembled against the Bulls that night there was a nervous hush about the arena. Even the most casual Raptors fans were confused by the general look of the Raptors team. Most confused though, were the Bulls. In the beginning of the game, as the Bulls got out to an early lead through the hot hand of Carlos Boozer, it seemed as if Casey’s masterplan was really just smoke and mirrors. Fans began biting their nails as they wondered what on earth Aaron Gray was doing on the floor and the Bulls players seemed unfazed by the comedy bench trio of Kleiza, Andrea and Mikael. But as the game wore on with no explanation for the hairstyle of Kleiza, the more-obnoxious-than-usual gum-chewing of Pietrus, and the clean face of Andrea, the Bulls became less and less focused on the game and more and more obsessed with the Raptors’ injured players. At no point was this more obvious than when Rip Hamilton got himself ejected for an uncharacteristic elbow, stating “I just couldn’t look at [Bargnani’s] baby-smooth cheeks for a second longer”. The Bulls started running on autopilot.
Ordinarily, running on autopilot against the Toronto Raptors will lead to a victory for a playoff team. Just take advantage of some sloppy defense and let Rudy Gay and Alan Anderson self-destruct with missed jump shots. Today though, Dwane Casey broke habit and managed to sneak a secret weapon on to the floor.
Acy was able to take advantage of an unsuspecting Bulls team and quietly pick them apart with hustle defense and o-reb putbacks. He blocked man-mountain Carlos Boozer and even managed to approach a double-double. By the time the Bulls realized what was going on late in the fourth quarter, Acy had logged a season high in minutes and the Raptors were up by 7. Not even the exceedingly average Marco Belinelli could pull the Bulls out of that hole.
Final Score: Raptors 97, Bulls 88.
When asked after the game how he had managed to weave this web of destruction, Dwane Casey had this to say, showing off both a limited knowledge of Greek mythology and human anatomy:
“It was your classic Trojan horse tactic. I spoke to Andrea, Mikael and Linas before the game about showing up in a style that might suggest [the Raptors] were going to run away without even playing the game. I then let Aaron Gray start the game. He was a peace offering, to trick the Bulls into thinking we would just let them sleep off their overtime game last night with the Knicks. Aaron was our Trojan horse. Then just as the Bulls were passing into the land of nod, I gave Quincy the signal to open the trapdoor and step out of Aaron Gray’s formidable frame. The scoreboard can tell you what happened from there.”
With that, Dwane Casey left the post-match interview. One reporter even thinks he saw Dwane smile.