Sports Basketball

Focus can reset to basketball after All-Star Weekend

By Torben Rolfsen

Western Conference center Marc Gasol of the Vancouver Grizzlies (33) and Eastern Conference guard Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers (2) clown around during the second half of the NBA All-Star basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

Western Conference center Marc Gasol of the Vancouver Grizzlies (33) and Eastern Conference guard Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers (2) clown around during the second half of the NBA All-Star basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

The sometimes three-ring circus that is the NBA pulled into New Orleans Friday through Sunday, where it set up shop for its literal three-ring circus: All-Star Weekend.

The league’s soap operatic silliness has been cranked up in recent weeks, but thanks to a couple of big trades by the Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans, the focus can now be reset on basketball for the next couple of months leading up to the playoffs.

The Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 192-182, covering the six-point spread and allowing fans to temporarily take a break from the dysfunction in New York, the inanity of Kyrie Irving’s scientific theories, and defence.

The hapless Knicks are trying to put the Charles Oakley ugliness behind them, even as their fans would have liked to vote him into the All-Star Game as a sign of rebellion against owner James Dolan.

Cleveland’s Irving, meanwhile, has been nominated for a Hugo Award after his ridiculous statements about the shape of the Earth and dinosaurs.

Kyrie, you see, believes the Earth is flat, despite all evidence to the contrary. It actually resembles a basketball.

NBA commish Adam Silver – who, ironically, resembles an alien – felt compelled to release a statement saying he believed the Earth is round.

Irving also said we have no idea what dinosaurs looked like – that experts get one bone and digitally make up the rest.

That could be bulletin board material for the Raptors.

I wonder what he thinks dinosaurs looked like: Transformers? TWenty-foot Kate Upton? Metallica?

No doubt he’s on a fast track for some sort of science spokesman for schools position in the current cultural climate down south.

But the two bold trades book-ending the break bring a glimmer of hope for fans of reality.

Serge Ibaka to the Raptors (from the Magic) and DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans (from the Kings) have a chance to be huge difference-makers for two franchises who were floundering on their road to the playoffs.

Cousins, combined with Anthony Davis (both University of Kentucky scholars), gives New Orleans a 1-2 big men punch the league hasn’t seen since the heyday of David Robinson and Tim Duncan in San Antonio.

Toronto now has a “Big Three” of sorts. It might not be of the caliber to win a NBA title, but it’s a solid step in the right direction.

The Pelicans next game is Thursday versus the Rockets, while the Raptors return to the court Friday against the Celtics.

Toronto and New Orleans also play each other in a couple of weeks (March 8).

That will be one to watch, provided the league hasn’t fallen into a wormhole by then.