We're talking about motivation and a reason to watch the Final Four
So the chatter at practice Monday got around to motivation and what drives these guys in the final two weeks of the season and we got a lot of the predictable answers about wanting to get better and gain experience and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
But the one point that I liked to hear was the talk about wanting to finish strong because they owe it to the fans.
You know, the people who pay the money for the tickets and still come out even though the season – to steal a line oft-uttered by The Great Dave Perkins – was shot behind the ear a few months ago.
I’m thinking that professional pride, along with the sense of obligation to the paying customer should be enough to assure maximum effort as the final nine games of the season unfold.
That may be a bit Pollyanna-ish but isn’t that the way it should be?
One point that Jay brought up – and it’s the basis of the Bryan quote that’s in today’s story on the coaching situation that I’m sure you’ve all read – is that the makeup of the roster lends itself to a group playing hard as the string runs out.
“These guys have been very professional and maybe it because they’re young and we don’t have an old vet who’s riding it out. The guys who are the veteran guys … are looking for ways to extend their basketball livelihood.”
Sure, there have been some dog games – we all remember Golden State – but overall, he hit the nail on the head. Maybe these kids just don’t know how to mail it in quite yet.
I hope they never figure it out.
Hey, remember how I picked Notre Dame to go to the Final Four? Probably caused some scoffing out there among you, no?
Well, I was right. Nyah, nyah!
Just had the wrong gender.
But now you need to pay attention to the women’s Final Four, which goes Sunday and Tuesday in Indianapolis because it’s got the only Canadian left playing college ball.
That’d be Guelph’s Natalie Achonwa, who played 24 minutes off the bench with two points and six rebounds with a couple of steals as the Irish upset top seeded Tennessee 73-59 last night.
Now, Irregulars will remember Natalie from the stuff we did on the women’s national team at the worlds last summer and if you can find Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine (figure that out if you can) you’ll recall this epic from a couple of years ago.
Anyway, we’ll try to get more on her and the team this week because it’s a pretty good story.
Hey, don’t look now but the top of the East is starting to get a wee bit interesting, isn’t it?
Chicago’s 53-20, Boston and Miami are both 51-22 and the final two weeks of the season have some juice left in them.
At stake, of course, is home court in what’s shaping up to be potentially outstanding second round series.
Maybe we should start living vicariously through good teams?
Got one to root for?
This is kind of fun:
Q: Hey Doug. Now that the Raptors are mathematically eliminated I thought I'd ask a question that is really just an excuse to have you wax snarky for a bit. Toronto's fans seem to love to kill their local players for any weakness, real or perceived and I wanted to see if you could make up some fictional comments that you think you might get if certain players laced up for the Dinos. I'm going to suggest Amare, Carmelo, David Lee and Kevin Love would love it if you added some stars that you think would get ripped in the GTA.
Nik W, Gyeongju, Korea
A: Let’s go.
What’s he ever done that didn’t involve Steve Nash and you think Jose’s Steve Nash? Besides, he’s got those bad knees and had that eye issue and he’s a function of a system.
Oh, great. A one-dimensional scorer! We need defence, I tell you! Defence. What’s a gifted scorer ever won?
Yeah, right. Anyone can get big numbers on bad teams, can’t they?
Just ‘cause he player for Jay doesn’t mean anything and he defends like Andrea.
I’m sitting there watching the Bulls-Sixers on Raptors TV, or whatever it’s called now, and they kept playing this same commercial.
I saw Jimmy King and Clifford Rozier clips, and Garth Joseph and Rod Strickland and Mike James and I’m thinking one thing:
What kind of mushrooms were in dinner because this can’t be happening.
You know me and numbers, right?
How much I love them.
Well, how’s 21 and 24 sound to you as something to think of as the final couple of weeks unfold.
That’d be the second- and third-worst records ever put up by the HOTH, the 21 in the very first year, the 24 in the injury-riddled Last Lenny Year.
(The worst ever was 16 but that’s way in the rearview mirror)
Can they get to either of them this year?
I’m guessing they blow 21 out of the water but with just nine left, it’s going to be life and death to get to 24, methinks.
Speaking of injuries, Reggie worked a full practice Monday and should be okay for Wednesday, not sure about Andrea, who didn’t work Monday and Jay had this to say about “shutting people down” for the rest of the season.
“Not unless it’s an injury that’s going to be harmful to somebody down the road and cause future consequences. We owe it to our fans to continue to play the guys that are healthy. If a guy can’t play and he’s not 100 per cent, we’re going to treat it the same way we did in mid-January but we’ve got to play the guys … If it’s something that’s going to jeopardize someone’s career, then we would shut him down.”
Here’s something to keep in mind.
The good folks at Miller, who’ve graciously given us the seats for the Bucks game tomorrow, are going to make the same offer for the Miami game to end the season.
Nice of them, no?