On Jalen and a day of worldwide pickup games
Another quiet day yesterday (this series really needs some player or coach to say something inflammatory, doesn’t it?) but at least we get back to the game tonight.
Two days off might be nice for the players to rest and recuperate; it’s killing us looking for good stories. But now we get game, day off, game, day off, game and there might be some momentum built.
Don’t forget we’re back here just before 8 to do an in-game blog and be there right on time because they aren’t wasting a lot of time getting things started; I’m told tips at seven minutes after the hour are certain for these games.
Until then …
You gotta love Jalen.
The big ESPN breakfast yesterday – chatting with Mark Jackson, Hubie Brown, Dr. Jack and, supposedly, our old friend J – unfolds for about an hour and there’s no Rose.
So I’m wandering outside over to Starbucks, hugely disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to see Jalen spread his unique brand of early morning cheer, when this big old Range Rover-ish thing pulls up, the door opens and there’s he is, all his Jalen Glory, sunglasses on, cellphone at his ear, big smile. Seems he’d been at a doctor’s appointment – even had the band-aid in the crook of his elbow where they took some blood – but was stopping by for his breakfast.
After stopping to have a picture taken with some passersby, he sees a familiar face, big hug, handshake, a ‘how are you?’ and then he gets right to the heart of the matter.
“How are they going to fix that mess north of the border? Bringing back Delfino going to be their big move of the summer? What’s that?”
And then he’s off, up the stairs to hang out.
So, what’s going to happen tonight?
I wish I knew but it’s impossible to get a really good feel for either of these teams right at the moment.
The Lakers were as good as they’ve been in the entire playoffs the other night but we’ve all seen them stumble at various points in the post-season.
The Magic haven’t been as bad as they were in Game 1 the entire playoffs, either, but they’ve shown a great resiliency over the course of the first three rounds.
So, it has to be a good game, right?
Well, it’s only going to be a good game if the Magic make some three-pointers – saw a replay of Game 1 and the number of open shots they missed was shocking – and if the Lakers don’t dominate the paint.
I do think the Magic are okay with Kobe getting between 30 and 40 as long as they shut down the other guys (as they did in the Cleveland series) but they cannot get out-scored by 30 in the paint and survive.
Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, and because I saw this series going the distance, but I do expect the Magic to get it together and at least give themselves a chance to win. Which I think they’ll do.
I’m pretty sure not many of you caught the big WNBA opener here yesterday (Sparks 78, Shock 58, by the way) but if you did, perhaps you saw the thin edge of the uniform wedge.
The Sparks showed up not with “Los Angeles” on their jerseys, or even “Sparks” or even some snazzy motto dreamed up by marketers. They showed up with “Farmers” stitched across the front, the name of some insurance company or something. Phoenix has the same thing going on, too.
So, does that mean it’s coming to the NBA? Well, David Stern said “I don’t think we’re going to see it any time soon” but then added a codicil.
“We'll study it. I just saw that an insurance company replaced AIG on Manchester United's uniform for a price. If you have an offer you'd like to make for the owners, I'm prepared to receive it, but right now it's not for sale in the NBA.”
Soon, I have a feeling, it might be.
As I’ve finished this up, just got done watching some tennis on TV and, apropos of nothing to do with hoops, I’ve got to think Roger Federer might be my favourite athlete in the world.
Classy, unbelievably skilled, seems like a really good guy.
The next time we’re all stuck on the Gardiner or the 401 or QEW and cursing traffic, take solace that you don’t live in this armpit of transportation.
Seriously, we’ve travelled from the home base in Hollywood to the downtown Staples Centre for games and practices and yesterday we had to go to El Segundo to the Laker practice facility because the arena was being used for the Farmers-Shock game and every single time – morning, afternoon, night – the freeways we use are stopped. Dead stopped.
An eight-mile trip takes 45 minutes. It takes 10 minutes to get down the ramp on the freeway.
This city blows when it comes to traffic.
This is a very cool thing.
It’s a plan to get every pickup player on the planet – or at least a few million of you -- playing on Wednesday.
Sean, the fella in the video you can see by clicking here, is a Toronto guy who’s a friend and this just seems to me to be a pretty cool thing to try and pull off.
Not for some hugely altruistic reason of saving the world or anything, but just because it’d be neat to know you’re missing a 15-footer at the same time some girl in Ghana or boy in Beijing is.
If you can’t get enough information off that site just mentioned, here’s a Facebook place you can look, too.
Hey, to give me something to do on my flight home, and to make sure I’ve got something of substance to put here Tuesday morning, the mailbox could use some submissions.
This was rather unique.
The Clippers worked out presumptive No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin yesterday at their practice facility here and they invited an audience.
Usually, the workouts are open only to the media and only at the end, long after the real work has been done; and some teams don’t even provide that kind of opportunity.
But the Clips, who need the publicity and need something good to happen more than any other team in the league, not only let writers in to see the entire session, they had about 150 or so season ticket holders in the gym, too.
A couple of guys I know who went said Griffin looked really good, a lot bigger than you’d think, really powerful but his mid-range jumper was very, very ordinary.