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And as has been the case all along, every indication is that he’s all in, that this group of contemporaries enjoys each other’s companies, wants to leave its mark on the game here and around world and will, at every possible chance, play together.
This didn’t really come up the other night as everyone basked in the glory of the game at this moment here but the simple fact is the timing is going to make it virtually impossible for all the best players to get there.
The tournament – July 21-16 – butts right up against the NBA’s Summer League and if, let’s say, I’m the Minnesota Timberwolves, I don’t want my prized rookie going from an 82-game season though Summer League and right into basically a secondary global event. Same thing for the Milwaukee Bucks and their young point guard, same thing for the Sacramento Kings and their top draft pick.
Now, every indication is that NBA teams are totally on board with their players being available for the summer’s big event – the late-August, early-September Olympic qualification tournament in Mexico – and that’s what Canada and Canadian fans need to concentrate on.
But simply because of a matter of timing and the total commitment for the summer, “everyone” won’t be there. It doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future so don’t get too bent out of shape about it this time around but understand the reality of the situation.
Last shot at the mail, which I’ll likely tack on to the end of tomorrow morning’s Three Pointers, and I’d like to get as much done today as possible so I can loaf around in the morning, easing into the day day-dreaming. And judging by how sparse the in-box is now, that might not happen, I may have to search out queries in the morning.
So get cracking, get to firstname.lastname@example.org and make it worth my while, if you don’t mind.
Okay, the level of interest here in the NCAA tournament is well-documented but we do have a soft spot for the team coached guy with the blown out Achilles who works from a rolling chair on the sideline and whose kid hit the game-winner with about three seconds left.
That was the story of the day; go Georgia State!
Hey! It’s spring!
Can you tell the difference?
So, stopped by what passed for HOTH practice yesterday – it was far more a workout-treatment day than anything serious on the court, as it should be at this point in the season – and after a couple of in-person chats one thing stood out:
The level at which basic human nature has taken over is astonishing, and quite understandable.
This week is a perfect case in point:
Huge challenge in Indianapolis on Monday and it was met head on. Outside of the overtime win in Washington after the overtime win Brooklyn and the post-all star win in Atlanta, I’d have that as one of the biggest wins of the year.
So back home to play one of the worst teams in the league, eight kids who don’t know how to play, really, who expected more from the Raptors than they gave: A so-so performance that exemplified the ennui with which they – and several NBA teams – approach this time of year.
I fully expect intensity and determination tonight in Chicago because it’s a big game and I would expect a bit of retribution against the Knicks on Sunday afternoon. It is not only human nature, it’s the nature of this team, it has a tendency to respond to challenges but not to seek them out.
Look, in some ways – and it’s entirely dangerous for a group that’s accomplished squat so far – this team’s been trying to coast since about the middle of December. The blistering start to the season basically got them into the playoffs as a division winner by the time Christmas rolled around and I know it took some of the necessary nightly edge away and we’ve seen that ever since. It is to Dwane’s credit that he’s hammered them and coaxed them and coached them to where they are today, which is right in the thick of a chase for second place in the conference.
Now they have to just get through the final month of the season unscathed. As has been the case all year, there will be nights when they are full of vim and vigour, there will be nights when they just don’t have the same enthusiasm.
It’s human nature and to rail against is futile.
Who’ve we got in the quarters of cricket’s World Cup?
How does that happen?