For the last 6 1/2 years, I have been feeling an acute absence in my heart. There’s been something missing — a feeling I’ve been chasing, but haven’t been able to replicate.
It’s the feeling of writing about how a very good dog can encapsulate the way you feel about the state of affairs in the NBA. I had that, once. I haven’t had it since.
This, friends, is a good dog. We know this because, ultimately, it is a dog, and because it is enthusiastically following every run-out-the-clock dribble of the San Antonio Spurs’ 114-102 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last Tuesday. I understand completely the feeling of being really intrigued by how Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray moves with and how he handles the ball; I spent some time watching that this summer, and it’s a pretty fun thing to pay attention to! (This dog also does other things, including lounging with other good dogs, and there are pictures of that, too. Please enjoy them with our compliments.)
We know this, too, because it was not a one-off occurrence. This dog was back at it again on Wednesday night, keeping an eye on the Boston Celtics’ shellacking of the New York Knicks. This time, though, the focus wasn’t ball handling; it was tracking ball movement, and trying to will the Celtics to shut down the Knicks’ chances of generating an open shot:
The best thing about Wednesday’s appearance: this very good dog also was also extremely committed to the Celtics finishing off their defensive possession and turning it into offense, repeatedly snout-butting the television to try to implore the C’s to push the ball after the rebound rather than just going through the motions. Every coach knows that, even in a game you have well in hand, it’s important to develop good habits and not let your guiding principles slip; to this very good dog, every possession is an opportunity to get better, whether it’s in the first minute of the game or the last minute.
I can hear you all out there, and sure, rebooting the “Air Bud” franchise with this hoop-loving pup would obviously be an idea that would print money and captivate a new generation of children. But let’s not try to jam a square peg into a round hole. Let’s let a good dog hunt its passions. To borrow the parlance of the film series: there is no rule saying a dog can’t be an advance scout or a development assistant. Let’s get this dog in the gym, so it can fulfill its lifelong dream of helping players reach their full potential. Ideally, while getting many belly rubs and scratches behind the ear.
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