Time to set Canadian sights a wee bit higher
So the national junior team wins the bronze medal at the FIBA Americas qualification tournament in Brazil last night, beating Argentina by two in the third-place game.
They finished 4-1, losing to the hosts in the semifinals, and easily qualified for next year’s worlds.
Good on ‘em.
But while it is a good accomplishment and a taking-care-of-business step in the process for which they should be congratulated, it now is just that: A step.
Gone are the days that anyone should be overly excited that a Canadian age-group team – boys or girls – got to a world championship or finished on the podium at a FIBA Americas qualification event.
It is to the credit of the fine folks at Canada Basketball that qualification is a foregone conclusion and we need now to look at how the under19s or under-17s – both genders – do on the world stage rather than just in our hemisphere.
The group in charge of the game at the national level – and that’s coaches, athletes and administrators – have moved basketball so far along the line globally that even casual fans need to think bigger. We need to watch these kids against the best in the world rather just the best in North and South America; they have conquered that world in many respects – qualification for the worlds is now almost a given rather than a surprise – now it’s time to expand the horizons.
Still, it’s cool that the junior men did what they did, I fully expect the cadet men to have a successful run at their world championships shortly in Lithuania and you all know I’m pretty pumped about the women’s team as it starts its Olympic qualification tournament in Turkey on Monday.
We lose track of these teams and players for 10 or 11 months each year because they break up, other things occupy our time and life doesn’t allow for paying a lot of attention, unfortunately.
But those who follow them even at a cursory level should know that it’s time to up the ante, it’s now time to see how the youth measures up against the world.
Sorry, any Irregulars from Lisbon.
Gotta be Portugal today? Right?
I am absolutely sure there are all kinds of famous people at these games down here but I am also absolutely sure they are musicians and performers I've barely heard of and not people who'd be recognizable.
In fact, in all the years I've been coming to games in Miami -- and that includes at the old arena where you had an armed guard walk you to the media parking lot after games -- I've only run into two "stars" that I knew.
One was a long time ago when I saw Sylvester Stallone in a back hallway (he's waaaaaaay shorter than you'd think) and then there was this guy.
And who doesn't need a little Jimmy Buffett in their day?
Couple of reminders.
We’re here tonight at 9, perhaps for the last time this season, and there’s all kinds of room in the inbox for weekend mail offerings, if only to say hello in some secret code.
Wonder how the TFCs celebrated the road draw in Houston last night?
Bet not too many of them ventured to the clubs.
Want to know what’s going to happen tonight?
It’s called Koppett’s Law, named after the late, great sportswriter Leonard Koppett and it says the outcome of any game will be that which inconveniences the greatest number of people.
And if you don’t think a whole lot of us have already checked flights home for tomorrow and that our families and friends aren’t doing and thinking the same thing, you’re mistaken.
There’s a nice, direct Air Canada flight at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon that still has seats available, by the way.
Hey, I can’t find the comment or the e-mail that gave us Perricone’s as a place to eat in downtown Miami but thanks, whoever sent it.
The Old Guyz out here stopped by last night and it was an excellent call, made me look like I knew what I was talking about and, yes, I gave you credit.
If you go, try the baked brie and the lasagna and perhaps a Peroni or two to wash it down.
So, what happens tonight here for real?
But I will say this, there is every chance this one will go down to the final seconds, as almost every game in the series has so far, and I think we are seeing the value of experience as the difference between the two teams.
I’m not talking about “waiting your turn” because that’s simply a trite cliché that doesn’t really mean anything.
I’m talking about knowing what to do down the stretch and doing it, by hook or by crook. It’s not fouling needlessly, it’s making the big shot instead of missing it, it’s mental and physical and, so far, the Heat have shown the ability to rise to the occasion more often than the Thunder has.
The Durant miss in Game 2 (foul or no foul, he needed to make that chippy to tie the game)
The Harden foul on LeBron, I think it was, in the final minute of Game 3 when he should have played out the possession.
The Westbrook brain cramp with the foul in the dying seconds of Game 4.
Those are mistakes that seasoned teams don’t make, it seems, and they have been the difference so far.
I’m not counting OKC out by any means – I know the Heat aren’t all that enamoured of the idea of going to Oklahoma and that atmosphere for two games and are treating this as something close to a Game 7 – but it’s going to take a major reversal of form for the Thunder to win a game that’s tight and tense in the final seconds.
Talk about your tough scheduling breaks.
TOD’s here on the weekend and I won’t be? Too bad, it’d be nice to catch the lads in the amusement park/ballyard in this ‘burg.
I’ll have to leave Griff a note on where to hang out but he’s far more a South Beach guy than I am so maybe my spots aren’t his spots.