I would suggest that of all the many things that Jamal Murray is showing in these ascendant NBA playoffs for him, one stands out above all others.
His level of “I don’t give a crap” is off the charts and I love it and in many ways it’s elevating him above more than a few young stars of the game.
He just isn’t fazed by the moment, by the responsibility, by the threat of failure.
That step-back 28-footer he took last night to seal the Nuggets win over the Lakers was pure ‘screw you’ and he took it without regard for anything.
LeBron James? Yeah, okay, so what? Laker mystique? What’s that? Big lead disappearing? Well, he’s not letting it get entirely away because, screw you, he’s making the biggest shot of the night.
We should not be the least bit surprised given how these playoffs are going for Everybody’s Second Favourtie Team.
Staring down Kawhi Leonard, one of the truly great big-game defenders of the era in Game 7 of the second round? Go at him. See Patrick Beverly of the Clippers – perhaps more a woofer than a player but still not bad – in the same circumstances? Pfft, he got t his.
Drawn into one of the epic series-long man vs. man showdowns with Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz in a compelling seven-game first round series? Guess who came out top.
The kid from Kitchener.
And he never once blinked.
Not against LeBron, not against Anthony Davis, not against Leonard, Beverly, Mitchell or whoever.
And the young fellow is 23 freaking years old.
He’s not supposed to be scared, I get that, but he should at least be a little bit nervous and even when you most expect him to get caught by the moment—like when the Nuggets were spitting up their big lead in the fourth quarter last night, he just collects himself and throws daggers when daggers are most needed.
I still don’t know if the Nuggets can beat the Lakers in a seven-game series – that James fellow has the ability to single handedly take over as an unstoppable force when the stakes are highest – but I do k know this for certain:
Murray isn’t going to shy away from the situation and he doesn’t give a rat’s bum who the opponent is or what’s on the line.
Amazing to see.
One of the things I tend to harp on a lot is that we should all take our sports as events in the moment, to be enjoyed as they happen and I n the immediate aftermath, be it a game or a series or a season or what have you.
It’s mainly because I know how fleeting those feelings can be, how they can come and go with stunning quickness and should be appreciated as such because you never, ever know what the future is going to be.
Too many variables, too many other athletes, too many things can go wrong that trying to extrapolate is often useless.
Got to thinking about that the last couple of days about our Great Mississaguan Bianca Andreescu is going to be sitting at least another large chunk of this tennis season as she recovers from and rehabs injuries that have presently de-railed her career.
Now, we don’t know what the future holds and I would certainly hope she finds her physical form and gets back to the top of the rankings but, man, success can sadly be fleeting.
It’s why fans should appreciate the special moments – like her U.S. Open win, the Indian Wells win, the Rogers Cup win – because nothing is guaranteed.
Athletic careers can be so short, and subject to so many variables that can cause setback so suddenly, that the good moments are so, so special.
Now, I’m a big Bianca fan, l love her tenacity, toughness, willingness to accept the big moments and not shy away from them. Nothing would suggest she won’t be back and once again a force to be reckoned with but I sure hope everyone out there understands the magnitude of her 2018 success because those kinds of weeks don’t come around to often.
Hey, we could really use some questions for the weekend mailbag, my fine Irregulars.
All you’ve got to do to play along is click on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask away.
Do it today, would you? There’s a late start to Heat-Celtics and I’ll have some down time to kill.
Speaking of feel good stories that may or may not last …
How about this roly-poly kid catcher the Blue Jays have brought up – Alejandro Kirk – who has become one of those really neat stories of the season for that group?
Enjoy it to the hilt while you can. I don’t know that his quick success is sustainable because baseball’s a cruel game – I hope it is — and teams that may not have heard of him a month ago are certainly going to start paying attention to a youngster who all of sudden is piling up hits like the Jays pile up mental and physical errors afield.
And since all that drama of the last week of the season I was so looking forward to has fizzled out thanks to a handful of truly wretched one-sided games, this Kirk dude’s about the only thing worth watching so far.