The next instalment of the all-time great Canada-Russia hockey series will take place at 7:30 PM this evening during the men’s quarter-final match-up at the 2010 Vancouver Olmypics.
Heroes come in a variety of different shapes and sizes.
Will there be a new one born tonight in the history of Canadian hockey?
someone, although fairly non-descript by most other measures, simply seizes the moment, and somehow …
Summit Series, September 1972
does something which is completely extraordinary.
Other times …
someone simply executes a relatively unsung role to perfection, and in the process, allows others to succeed in spectacular fashion …
Keep your eyes on the far left of the screen, at the 1:31 mark of the 3rd period, when Wayne Gretzky, Larry Murphy and Mario Lemiuex begin their 3-on-1 break which eventually led to the winning goal. Pay particular attention to the ensuing slow-motion replays.
Do you see the hook play made by Dale Hawerchuk [future Hall Of Famer], on Russia’s #27, preventing him from completing his back-check?
If Hawerchuk had not made this specific play …
Might #27 have been able to catch up to Lemiuex and disrupt the entire sequence of events?
If this infraction had been whistled by the official on the play …
Would Team Canada have still been able to score the winning goal, in the 2-on-1 situation with just Gretzky and Murphy?
In team sports, there are always an infinite number of small, individual plays made in a game which contribute to one team, either, winning or losing.
Don’t expect Chris Bosh to reveal his free-agent plans during his All-Star homecoming in Big D.made back in November that Bosh likes his situation in Toronto more than many of us south of the border want to believe.
The Dallas native continues to insist that he doesn’t yet “have an answer” no matter how many people ask him to declare his intentions now.
He also notes that “things you like and dislike change daily,” which Bosh says makes it “impossible almost to not only predict the future but predict your feelings” when free agency is still more than four months away.
Bosh, though, did have some encouraging words for the Raptors’ edgy fan base to balance out the open-to-interpretation nature of those quotes when he sat down Thursday to tape an interview for ESPN Radio’s “Meet The All-Stars” show that airs Saturday night at 6 p.m.
First Bosh scoffed at folks who think he’s already made his decision to leave the league’s only Canadian franchise.
“He’s gone, it’s over, it’s done,” Bosh said in a mocking tone.
Then Bosh revealed that he’s not necessarily interested in playing anywhere that he’s not the clear-cut franchise player.
“That’s a good question,” Bosh said when asked by ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher if he’s bothered by the widespread perception that he’s determined to follow either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade by signing on with one of the teams they choose starting July 1.
“It’s funny you say that, because I was thinking about it. I was just looking at what people say and it’s like, ‘Chris is going to go here and play with him or this, this and that.’ I’m like, ‘Wait a minute.’ I feel like I should be built around. And maybe that’s just my ego talking, but I feel that I’m a very good player in this league and I’m only going to get better. So … maybe we should be getting somebody [in Toronto].”
Bosh is sure to field more probing questions about his future Friday when he meets the bulk of the media in town to cover All-Star Weekend. But the above comments, at the very least, give more insight into our assertion
There’s still no guarantee that he’ll stay with the Raps, but it’s clear that the combination of playing in a cosmopolitan city he likes while also ranking as the unquestioned face of the franchise holds great appeal.
… if Chris Bosh eventually chooses not to re-sign with the Raptors, this coming summer, as an unrestricted free agent, it will not be because he thinks that:
1. The City of Toronto is, somehow, less-than a truly world-class city;
2. He is the sort of “centrifugal force” player who is not capable of drawing other top flight NBA talent towards his own franchise … whether they be international-based players or home-grown Americans;
3. The only place in the world he could ever be fully appreciated for his actual worth … both, as a player and a person with an unique personality,
As snow swirled outside the Meadowlands on Wednesday night when the Nets played the Bucks, talk about Rick Pitino making overtures to the Nets about their coaching job circulated inside the arena.
Sources close to Pitino said that the Louisville coach has reached out to Nets brass in recent days, making himself a candidate for the job now held by GM and interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe, and due to open after their woeful season is completed in April.
According to sources, Pitino had intermediaries recently contact Nets president Rod Thorn on his behalf. Thorn himself is in the final year of a contract, and is looking to get a new deal from incoming owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
A source close to Thorn said the Nets’ president has denied that he spoke to Pitino, while Pitino’s camp insists that “no direct contact” was made between the coach and team. Earlier this week, Pitino and Thorn attended the funeral of Knicks Hall of Famer Dick McGuire.
“Pitino is interested in the job,” said a high-ranking team official, who added that the interest is all one way, coming from Pitino’s side.
After reading this story earlier today, and then considering that there were all of 1016 actual people in attendance at last night’s Nets/Bucks contest, in the swamp … due, mostly, to the blizzard that hit New Jersey yesterday … these are the thoughts which came to mind:
University of Massachusetts, 1970
University of Hawaii, 1974
Syracuse University, 1976
Boston University, 1978
New York Knicks, 1983
Providence College, 1985
New York Knicks, 1987
University of Kentucky, 1989
Boston Celtics, 1997
University of Louisville, 2001
“The Real Life Story of Frank & Carl“, 2002
At some point … after all the shenanigans are finished … there really does become, “No one else left to call.”
The Raptors allowed Philly’s D to turn this into a somewhat competitive affair late, but Chris Bosh’s 23 and 12 led Toronto to the win.
only proving, yet again, that …
“To err [really] is human; and, to forgive [really] is divine.”
- Alexander Pope
Please take a closer look at the following exerpts from the actual play-by-play:
PART ONE – Where the 76ers began the 4th down by only 13 points, after once trailing by 23
Philadelphia 76ers (20-31)
Toronto Raptors (28-23)
Start of 4th Quarter
Smith Turnaround Jump Shot: Made (4 PTS)
PART TWO – Where the 76ers had cut the deficit to just 7 points with 6 minutes left to play
Green Jump Shot: Made (10 PTS) Assist: Williams (2 AST)
PART THREE – Where the 76ers tied the game on consecutive driving layups with 2 min remaining
Williams Driving Layup Shot: Made (26 PTS) Assist: Brand (1 AST)
Jack Driving Layup Shot: Missed Block: Brand (1 BLK)
Iguodala Rebound (Off:0 Def:8)
Young Running Layup Shot: Made (15 PTS) Assist: Iguodala (5 AST)
PART FOUR – Where Jose Calderon made an exceptionally rare 4 POINT PLAY and Bargnani
then made a 3, to put TOR ahead by 3 possessions with only 41.9 ticks left; and, then, PHI miss-fired
on their 3 next possessions to seal their fate
Calderon 3pt Shot: Made (9 PTS) Assist: Wright (1 AST)
Green Foul : Shooting (4 PF)
Calderon Free Throw 1 of 1 (10 PTS)
Team Timeout : Regular
Calderon Substitution replaced by Weems
Williams Fade Away Jumper Shot: Missed
Jump Ball Bosh vs Brand (Young gains possession)
Williams Turnover : Lost Ball (2 TO) Steal:Wright (1 ST)
Bargnani 3pt Shot: Made (14 PTS) Assist: Jack (8 AST)
Green 3pt Shot: Missed
PART FIVE – Where Bargnani converted 2 FTA’s to seal the deal for TOR
Iguodala Foul : Personal (3 PF)
Bargnani Free Throw 1 of 2 (15 PTS)
Bargnani Free Throw 2 of 2 (16 PTS)
Team Timeout : Short
Bargnani Rebound (Off:1 Def:6)
Iguodala 3pt Shot: Missed Block: Bargnani (2 BLK)
Bosh Rebound (Off:3 Def:8)
Williams Foul : Personal (2 PF)
and, then, try to suggest … at least, with a straight face … that last night’s game SHOULD actually have been described as being just “a somewhat competitive affair late.”
A quick review of the facts would seem to indicate otherwise, as …
* For the most part, this was a game of runs, which saw:
- the 1st quarter played almost evenly … until a late surge by the Raptors opened up a 6 point working margin [fuelled by the insertion of Jose Calderon/PG and Amir Johnson/PF, at the 2:27 mark; which produced 5 consecutive possessions where El Matador registered 4 straight assists plus 1 version of his now prototypical "stretch layup"], i.e. TOR 30, Phi 24
- the 2nd quarter played almost evenly, i.e. TOR 20, Phi 17
- the first 9 minutes of the 3rd quarter dominated by the Raptors, i.e. TOR 26, Phi 12
- the last 3 minutes of the 3rd quarter dominated by the 76ers, i.e. TOR 2, Phi 10
- the first 10 minutes of the 4th quarter dominated by the 76ers, i.e. TOR 15, Phi 30
- the final 2 minutes of the 4th quarter dominated by the Raptors, again, i.e. TOR 11, Phi 0.
In general, a NBA game tied with only 2 minutes left to play is not what yours truly would describe as being just a “somewhat competitive affair late.”
Sincere kudos to both …
I. The 76ers [in this game]:
* For battling back from a 23 point deficit, in the 3rd quarter, in a valiant effort to sustain their relatively modest 5-game winning streak, achieved while playing without Allen Iverson … rather than simply giving up, which is, unfortunately, exactly what happens far too frequently – usually on the road - in the NBA [i.e. Exhibit A, see the Clippers];
II. The Raptors [in this game]:
* For opening up a 23 point lead during the 3rd quarter, in the first place, despite playing without the services of Hedo Turkoglu/SF;
* Weathering the subsequent Philly storm-back … i.e. in the latter stages of the 3rd quarter, when the 76ers finally righted their badly listing ship, and through the first 3/4′s of the final frame when they firmly “took it” to Toronto; and,
He may have mastered Zen, but he has not mastered Los Angeles.
There will be no statue of him outside Staples Center. There might not ever be a night honoring his achievements. There will be very little fanfare when he retires, just as there was very little outcry when he left the team several years ago.
He is not Tom Lasorda. He is not Pete Carroll. He is not Mike Scioscia. He is not the sort of folksy personality that this town expects of its high-profile coaches.
More than anything else, he is not Pat Riley.
When longtime Lakers fans think of coaches, they still will think of Riley, even though he coached one fewer season here. Riley looked like Los Angeles. He acted like Los Angeles.
“Pat Riley is the L.A. story,” admitted Jeanie Buss, Lakers executive vice president and Jackson’s longtime girlfriend. “This was the birthplace of him as a coach and a leader, we watched it all happen, it’s like a mother and a child, any success that Pat has, we feel we have part of.”
“Before Phil came here, all I knew about him was that he was a freaky dude who left his job in Chicago on a motorcycle,” said Buss. “I thought that was strange. A freaky dude.”
That is still the way much of Los Angeles looks at Jackson, and that is too bad, because that freaky dude may be the greatest sports leader in this town’s history. That we haven’t completely embraced him is as much about the city as it is about the man.
At the end of the day, it really is all about being able to say with the utmost conviction …