Our Daydream, Nicolas’s Nightmare

Twitter awoke from its 113-day long slumber (and don’t try to tell me that twitter’s been fine without basketball. That’s a lie, and you know it) to revel in the friendly between Spain and France today. Full of surreal moments – Serge Ibaka hitting 20-foot jumpers with regularity, Marc Gasol and Nic Batum displaying a camaraderie that crosses international borders and finds a home in the NBA, and Andre the Giant announcing – the game was a dream occasion to watch real NBA players in a game that {almost [kind of (not at all)]} mattered.*

*That is to say, the result didn’t matter. The game itself absolutely mattered. It established Spain, with its barnstorm-worthy lineup, as the clear favorite going into Eurobasket. It showed us that Ibaka might develop a decent offensive repertoire. It gave us Gasol-to-Gasol on the fastbreak. Most importantly, it gave us all a nice reprieve from an offseason that feels more barren than it is because of whitewashed team websites and a looming leviathan.

Not all dreams are pleasant, though.

Batum left the game during the third quarter with what Fabrice Auclert of BasketUSA.com said was an apparent injury to his teeth or mouth. He returned to action in the fourth quarter but the site called Tuesday’s game a “nightmare evening” for Batum.

via Spain Drops France In EuroBasket Tune-up – Blazer’s Edge.

Poor Nicolas. Today, he was the kid at summer camp who fell into a patch of poison oak, had to deal with the drunk “nurse” in the infirmary, glued his hands together during arts and crafts, then was forced by that too peppy counselor to participate in the potato sack race. Upon which he tripped over a rake left out by the “I’m too old for this s—” janitor, knocked out two of his adult teeth, and found that his parents lied to him and went on a vacation of their own – out of the country, naturally – during his time at camp and can’t be contacted.

It’s a memory that none of us will forget; that one time during the dog days of summer where we got to gather around our technological campfire and swap stories while listening to two men clamor on in French. Those are always the best of times, you guys.

It – and the scars – will stick with Batum for a long time, too.

Andrew Lynch

When God Shammgod created the basketball universe, Andrew Lynch was there. His belief in the superiority of advanced statistics and the eventual triumph of expected value-based analytics stems from the fact that he’s roughly as old as the concept of counting. With that said, he still loves the beauty of basketball played at the highest level — it reminds him of the splendor of the first Olympics — and the stories that spring forth from the games, since he once beat Homer in a game of rock-paper-scissors over a cup of hemlock. Dude’s old.