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Truly taking advantage of being at home


Canada-Cuba tonight and finally some juice in this tournament and if you’re looking for one of the keys, watch the guard play.

Cuba’s Casanova Gonzalez and Gelis Gonzalez are the engines that drive that team and while they were good when the teams met in Toronto at the Pan Am Games, you could tell they were holding something back.

I know the Canadians – who also took the foot off the gas a bit at the Pan Ams – expect to see a lot more ball pressure and trapping than they saw in Toronto and I would imagine the likes of Miah-Marie Langlois, Kiah Nurse, Shona Thorburn and Nirra Fields are going to be able handle whatever’s thrown at them.

This is the big game of the round-robin, for sure, and I love how Canada not only set up the groups but the schedule as well because if you’re going to have homecourt advantage, you may as well have it all the way.

Gettng Cuba today – after a day off for Canada and three straight game days for the Cubans – was a masterstroke.

Deciding to play them in the group stage – and Canada got to pick which group it went into – was as smart as anything they’ve done.

I think everyone realizes this is pretty much a two-team tournament and setting it up so they don’t have to play Cuba in the semifinals made entire sense.

So they get to play them and scout them tonight and not have to see them again until perhaps Sunday’s gold medal game was truly taking care of homecourt advantage.

Well done, Canada Basketball.

Great song, great movie and CanCon as well!

Yeah, we need to beef up the mail content for the weekend, if you don’t mind.

Friday’s shaping up to be a very open day – no game, presume a mid-day practice, loads of stool time after (what’s good downtown on a Friday afternoon, Edmontonians? Or should I venture to the Whyte Ave. area that looks kind of intriguing?

Whatcha got?

Here’s one for the list of Hotel Oddities I can’t figure out, like why there’s never enough electrical outlets in rooms.

Hotel here has a bank of three elevators and each has the little slot where you have to slide your room card in to make it work.

Makes sense, as a security measure, right?

Well, tell me why you only need the card in one of them?

Okay, so we’ve all seen the schedule and we had this little item about games you might want to take in but it’s always a fun day for us grunts, too.

Planning, planning to avoid, looking forward, detesting. It runs the gamut.

An easy Christmas

Home on Dec. 22 and not out until an easy trip to Milwaukee and Chicago Dec. 26 and Dec. 28? There’ve been worse, that’s for sure. And it’s an easy train ride from Milwaukee to Chicago – I did it on one entirely memorable trip once upon a time – and fewer times through O’Hare is very cool.

Days and days!!!

That’s what we have before the game in London in January and that’s not bad at all.

A road game on a Saturday and the nothing until Thursday in London and then nothing until Monday back home? If one plays his cards right and the stars and moon and Marriott points align, maybe there’s a chance to have a day or so in some city I’ve never been. Paris? Amsterdam? Or 36 hours in Spain?

When do we go west?

How many trips west (2), how many games in each (5) and how tired are we going to be (not bad)

But for the first time I remember, we’ll be in Los Angeles for two games on the same trip, something that makes entire sense but not something we’ve ever done. That lets us settle in at L.A. Live for a good long time and if you look at the trip, it’s an easy split with some helper.

It’s Sacrament (yuck), off day, back-to-back with Golden State and Utah and then we can be waiting in L.A. for them to arrive.

Hope whoever it is likes three games in four nights to start it off, I have a feeling I’ll sit the start of that one out.

Good off nights

Indy, Boston, Chicago.

No off nights

New Orleans, Phoenix, San Antonio.

Always a quick check of the west cities that are favourites since we only get there once.

Check your tickets

We always hope for scheduling consistency because, like the players, we get into some kind of rhythm once the season starts and even what many would consider minor disruptions are disruptions just the same.

Raptors home games will start at:

7:30 p.m., unless they start at 8 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.

And that’s even before the convolute TV schedule that’s bound to include TSN, TSN1, 2, 3, 4, 5; Sportsnet, Sportnet2, Sportsnet360 and, hell, The New VR is taken into consideration.

I didn’t take the time, nor have the inclination, to look through the other 29 teams but I feel safe in saying unequivocally that the Raptors have the oddest broadcast system in the NBA and probably in all of professional sports.

Now, that’s the kind of stuff we look at when the thing first comes out, what do you do?

TORONTO STAR | SPORTS | DOUG_SMITHS_SPORTS_BLOG

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