Morning Coffee – Sat, Mar 21


Get used to this kind of TV programming – if you got a webcam, whip it out.

In the midst of crisis, athletes tap into their coping skills | CBC Sports

Alexander drills into the old adage about controlling what we can.

“We can help control the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and quarantining ourselves. Basketball is all about teamwork, putting team before self, and that’s exactly what we need to do right now. Even if COVID-19 may not be dangerous to you, you could pass it along to someone who is vulnerable. It’s not just about you.

“When everyone buys into a basketball coach’s game plan, we find success. We can overcome COVID-19 by listening to our government officials and following their directions. Wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, cough in a tissue then throw it out, sanitize surfaces. Stay up to date on what your governments are telling you.

“Now more than ever, we need to be good teammates to each other. Check in on loved ones and neighbours. Help those who have a hard time getting groceries. Don’t hoard all the supplies. Your neighbours need them too. Help one another. Choose to eat healthy, stay hydrated and keep our bodies moving. To perform at a high level on the court we need good fuel and good care of our bodies. We can keep our immune system strong with healthy foods and balanced meals. We can go for walks or do at home workouts — there are plenty on YouTube.

“How many times have we seen a basketball team come back 20 points to win? Those rallies are about attitude, and believing in the best possible outcome. So choose positivity and try to see the bright side. There is a blessing in disguise here: TIME! For many of us right now, we have time at home with our loved ones, so enjoy it. Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Now is the time. Read that book, put together that business plan, organize that closet, start that YouTube channel. You never know when you’ll have time like this again. And I throw in a little fun fact: ‘Do not be afraid ‘ is written in the bible 365 times.”

Can the Olympics be postponed? Yes, but it’s complicated | CBC Sports

Is it even possible for the Olympics to be postponed?
The answer is yes, but it’s complicated.

Japan’s Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto has said that Tokyo’s contract with the IOC states that the Games must be held during 2020. That would give organizers leeway to at least push the starting date back.

In the past, the IOC has been adamant that the Games would open July 24. The Paralympics are scheduled to start Aug. 25.

“The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games, there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counterproductive,” the statement said.

Postponing the Games would have ramifications on TV rights, sponsor contractors, transportation and managing the workforce needed for an event like the Olympics.

Dick Pound, a Canadian and the longest-serving member of the IOC, told The Associated Press that if the organization decides the Games cannot move forward in July, “you are probably looking at a cancellation.”

USA Basketball still planning for 2020 Olympics – Sports Illustrated

As managing director of USA Basketball, Colangelo is responsible for putting together the 2020 Olympic team. For months, Colangelo and his staff have been monitoring the 44 finalists for the U.S. team. The plan, Colangelo says, is to have a team assembled by early June. That team would have a minicamp in Las Vegas, play a couple of exhibition games overseas and then hit Japan for the start of the Games in mid-July.

“There’s really been no change on our end,” Colangelo said. “All systems are go until we are told it’s not.”

But things have changed. The NBA is on hiatus, but owners are hellbent on finding a safe way to finish the season. Should the coronavirus be contained in the coming months, the league is perfectly willing to stretch the season into July, even August.

That complicates thing. Colangelo’s finalists are all NBA players. His head coach is Gregg Popovich. USA Basketball and the NBA have formed a symbiotic relationship during Colangelo’s tenure, with an Olympic roster spot again becoming sought after and players using the experience to become better NBA players.

“Pop and I have spoken a couple of times over the last week or so,” Warriors coach and USA Basketball assistant Steve Kerr said this week. “And everything’s just up in the air. There’s no sense of whether things are going to be delayed or anything. We’re all kind of sitting here wondering what’s going to happen, and so is the rest of the world. We’re just going to plan as if this is going to happen, and we’re going to try and put together a roster, and that’s all we can do.”

Rudy Gay on fighting cabin fever, the MVP debate and his all-time favorite kicks – The Athletic

Give me your five favorite kicks, non designer edition.

I’d say my favorites … And no, I don’t want to be politically incorrect … I’m going to keep it real. My favorites of all time, Jordan 3s.

Which ones? Black cements, the True Blues, what are we talking about here?

White ones. White and black, you know what I mean? Both of them. And you know what? It was crazy when Kanye used to start wearing them, when he brought them back out. I was like, “No.” I didn’t even realize how crazy these were. Obviously, Jordan 1s, everybody loves those. We’ve actually, in Toronto, me and DeMar played in them. He’s like, “Man, I don’t know how Jordan plays in these, man. I don’t know.”

Well, it was 30 years before that. They were hooping in Chuck Taylor high tops, bro.

I’d say, Huaraches 2K… What is it? 2K4? Damn. The new Puma Sky Dreamer, man. You know I have to throw some of them in there. The new ones.

Yeah, yeah. Those are hard. Those are hard. The high top joints with the straps?

What else? And 11s, Jordan 11s. I remember I had, when they first came out, when the Space Jams came out. It was back in them days, I was in high school. It was back in them days where you had to …We were young. New shoes were expensive.

Why Miami Heat president Pat Riley can’t leave the NBA

Riley flew home worried and got a text telling him to be ready for a call. About 15 minutes later, his phone rang and Paul was on the other end. The agent handed the phone to LeBron, who started by saying, “I want to thank you for four years …”

“I was silent,” Riley says. “I didn’t say anything. My mind began to just go. And it was over. I was very angry when LeBron left. It was personal for me. It just was. I had a very good friend who talked me off the ledge and kept me from going out there and saying something like Dan Gilbert. I’m glad I didn’t do it.”

The next year, the Heat missed the playoffs, Riley consumed with self-doubt, his own mind whispering that he’d stayed too long. Then last season Miami lost Bosh to blood clots, but the team still fought to the playoffs, falling to the Raptors in seven in the Eastern Conference semifinals. On the flight back from Toronto, Riley and his staff drank wine and debated the free agents they’d get to join Wade for another deep playoff run.

The beginning of July, all that fell apart.

Wade decided to leave Miami, his bond with Riley fractured. They’d been like family once, with Wade visiting Riley at home and Riley a guest at Wade’s wedding. But with Bosh’s return in grave doubt, Wade saw an uncertain future in Miami — and just like that, the Big Three had disintegrated. Hurt and wounded, Riley and his wife booked a last-minute trip to Paris, leaving three days later for a reprieve and a few Bruce Springsteen shows. During the first one, Springsteen played Riley’s favorite song: “Land of Hope and Dreams.” It’s an anthem for Riley, because he spends a lot of time imagining the future he might have, when all his battles have been fought and won. He dreams of a different life, and not in an abstract way. He sees it, down to the taste of the dinner he’ll eat and the music he’ll play.

The NBA’s New Workout Plan – The Ringer

The Serge Ibaka HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Express Workout
Who among us hasn’t tried to sneak in some cardio without going outside or getting on a treadmill? Well, here’s the Raptors big man running sprints in his living room hallway to try and get a sweat in. NBA players … they’re just like us?

I respect Isaiah Thomas shamelessly roasting Ibaka in the replies by telling him he would need to do a thousand of those to even make it worth his while. And while Thomas is probably right, sometimes all you need to do to feel better while being stuck at home is move. Who’s to say that these half-hearted minisprints aren’t psychologically preparing Ibaka for his long day ahead? I’m giving it a week before Ibaka adds a weighted scarf to his workout.

Suspension Journal: Quarantine media recommendations for every Toronto Raptor – Raptors HQ

Pascal Siakam
Soylent Green

In my mind, Siakam is Charlton Heston’s Detective Thorn, the man who knows something is afoot in his overheated city (and planet) and won’t stop until he gets answers. The ending of Richard Fleischer’s film has been spoiled many times over by now, but it still has the power to trouble the mind thanks to Heston’s gusto and the overall clarity of its vision. Siakam is closer to the beginning than the end in his career (and it won’t be as unsettling as this film, I hope), yet the mutual drive for resolution here is the same.

Marc Gasol
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

We’re a long way away from the horrors of McCarthy’s book, I admit. But for the Raptors’ player with the most Dad energy, I must recommend the most end of days dad book out there. Typical of McCarthy, The Road is sparse and mean — but also beautiful in its way. If nothing else, Gasol would surely appreciate the story of a father willing to go through hell to protect his son.

Your definitive season-by-season Toronto Raptors Viewing Guide, Part II – The Athletic

The deep cut: Bulls 92, Raptors 76, April 11
With Bosh out for the season, the Raptors pretty much had to win this one to sneak into the playoffs. Needless to say, they didn’t — Derrick Rose torched them. How can you not love Hedo Turkoglu putting up one of the all-time weirdo lines in Raptors history: six points (2-for-12 shooting), nine assists and 19 rebounds. What a short, strange trip it was.


The hit single: Nets 137, Raptors 136 (3OT), March 5 (London, England)
Just an awful, awful year. And in a way, this was an awful, awful game. It was fascinating, however. Both sides had plenty of chances to put this game away, and awful possessions ruled the evening. Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan had 60 points between them but went a combined 1-for-5 in the final 10 seconds of regulation and the three overtime periods. James Johnson commits a game-losing foul. Blech.

The solid album track: Heat 103, Raptors 95, February 16
The Heatles’ first game in Toronto. Chris Bosh had 25 points in his return to his home for the first seven years of his career. LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh were a circus unto themselves this season, and this game was no exception, with the trio combining for 76 points. Hey, Bargnani had 38 points as the Raptors kept the game close. That’s not nothing. A trip: The Heat attempted just 11 3-pointers in this game, made only two, and that was totally normal.

The deep cut: Raptors 84, Mavericks 76, December 28
Never forget that the 22-win Raptors, the worst defensive team in the league, held the eventual champions (albeit, without Dirk Nowitzki) to 76 points and a miserable 90.4 points per 100 possessions in this lost season.

Strolling down memory lane, three Raptors performances that may brighten things up | The Star

Terence Davis II

23 points at Charlotte on Jan. 8.

This one truly came out of nowhere and came one game after Nick Nurse delivered one of his best zingers ever.

He’d been asked the night before about the fact Davis had only played like eight minutes and his answer was the line of the year.

“It was about five too many.”

And to Davis’s credit, he went out the very next game and had the best night of his career to that point, and 11 rebounds and some lockdown defence on Terry Rozier at the buzzer in a 112-100 overtime in win Charlotte.

Davis had higher scoring nights, like when his teammates fed him incessantly to get him 31 in a rout of the Bulls but the Charlotte game was entirely unexpected and will be the one we remember his rookie season by.

Norm Powell

33 points at Orlando on Nov. 29

Yeah, Powell was on a tear when the season came to a halt – and we still don’t know how serious the ankle injury he suffered in Utah was but that hardly natters now given the rehab time he’s had – but the first big night was a portend.

He played with crazy confidence and entirely in control, out-scoring the Magic by himself in the third quarter of the eventual 90-83 win when the offence was basically brutal the whole night.

Of all the players and performance that have been surprising all season, Powell’s big night in what was the sixth win in a row for the Raptors was, I’d argue, the most welcome. It set him on the path – his two injury absences notwithstanding – to by far the best, most consistent year of his career.