Toros Pay Tribute to Dennis Johnson, Fall to Colorado
By Mark Fagan,
4:51PM, Fri. Mar. 2, 2007
Thursday night the Austin Toros returned to play after having postponed last weekend's games due to the tragic loss of head coach Dennis Johnson. They paid tribute to Johnson before the game and they'll wear memorial patches honoring DJ on their jerseys for the remainder of the season. I must say, my eyes teared up a little when team president Mike Berry informed the crowd that Johnson had recently moved his family to town from California because he had grown to love Austin in his short time here. Chronicle writer Josh Rosenblatt was lucky enough to spend some time with Johnson while preparing his feature “D-League Dreams,” for his tribute to Dennis Johnson click here.
The Toros unsurpisingly looked a little sluggish against the bigger and tougher 14ers. Austin appears to be missing 7-foot-2-inch center Loren Woods who left the team Monday to take a job overseas. The Toros winning ways coincided with the arrival of Woods and let's hope they can adjust without him. Colorado's Tony Bobbitt scored 24 and led his team to a 101-88 victory at the Convention Center. The Toros B.J. Elder continued in his efforts to lead the D-League in scoring by racking up 26 Thursday night. Austin had won their seven previous home matches. Assistant coach Dale Osbourne has taken over as head coach for the Toros.
Despite the rusty play from the Toros, there was much fun to be had thanks to the presence of the mascots in attendance. Everybody's favorite and the D-League's most infamous mascot Da Bull was in fine form Thursday night but the real highlight of the evening was the Boston Celtics mascot, Lucky. He amazed with spectacular dunks off a trampoline and over Da Bull and then worked the crowd making sure everybody went home happy. I can see why he's made it to the NBA. Lucky is one class act. And if that weren't enough, IHOP's Charley the pancake mascot was also in the house spreading his/her syrupy love. God bless the mascots.
Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin also attended the game and signed some autographs for the starstruck fans. Congrats on the big win over A&M Wednesday night guys and good luck in the upcoming Big XII and NCAA tourneys.