Man, am I ever ready to just be home? We just had a really tough road trip out West, losing three of the four games that we played. Counting the trip that we were on before that to Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee, we´ve been home for three days in December. And when you factor in that I got real sick on that first road trip and had to go to the Emergency Room, it´s been a really long month for me!!! At least I did get to celebrate my birthday last week, but we had a six-hour flight and practice on that day.
Here´s to hoping that we can get back home and turn things around. We were right there with Denver last night, but our defense dropped off in the fourth quarter and they pulled away at the end. We held them to 18 points in the third quarter, but gave up 32 in the fourth!!! You can´t win games doing that sort of thing.
We have to play D and that means everybody. We have to do a better job of not allowing anyone to get to the rim on every play.
We went through a little rough patch there, but I´m confident that we can shake it off. We have too many veteran players and too much talent in our locker room to keep playing poorly. We have to defend with intensity, share the ball on offense and play inside-out basketball and we´ll be fine. Every team is going to go through some rough times, and that´s all that´s happening here. We´re not going to go 82-0 and win every game. There is going to be nights where we lose and don´t have energy, but we´ll push through this.
Being that it´s the holiday season, I wanted to tell you guys about some things that I´m doing off the court in the coming weeks to give back to the community. I´ve always said that I´m more than just a basketball player and I want to make an impact in the community and on people´s lives. That´s leaving a true legacy, and that´s my goal for Orlando and Central Florida.
On Wednesday, I´ll be at the BETA Center, a home for teen mothers, to present funds for the new Learning Center that they named after me., I was there last year and it really made an impact on me. I had to do something to help these mothers who are all alone trying to raise their kids. So we´ll have a ceremony there on Wednesday afternoon.
Next Wednesday, a couple of days before Christmas, I´m going to be doing a couple of events to try and brighten the holidays for some kids around Orlando. Early next Wednesday I´ll be at the Toys R Us in Altamonte Springs to take 100 kids from the Central Florida Boys and Girls Club on a Christmas shopping spree. Later that day, I will be working with Burlington Coat Factory to buy 100 kids from the Parramore Kidz Zone new coats. In all, we will be donating 1,500 coats to kids from all over Central Florida. The PKZ, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Coalition for the Homeless residents will receive the coats for the holidays.
Just thinking about Christmas and those events coming up puts a smile on my face. We´re going to get it back together and start winning again. We went through a rough stretch kind of like this last season, and we bounced back from that and still won 59 games. We know we can do it again, but it just starts with defense.
Well, I´m going to get out of here for now. Yuuuuuuuuaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!