Even Now, Faith

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“My idea is that every specific body strives to become master over all space and to extend its force (–its will to power:) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement (“union”) with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: thus they then conspire together for power. And the process goes on–”

— Basketball analyst FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, recapping last night’s game

As games go, it was an unlovely thing.

The inside offense never materialized. Crisp passes smacked into the hands of the “bigs,” Nolan and Brimah, who would then attack the basket with all the quickness and explosiveness of an Ent. DeAndre Daniels, having temporarily morphed into Bernard King, turned back into a pumpkin.

It really came down to those two determined guards, those sons of single mothers, and even they seemed occasionally out of communion with one another. Napier, in one memorable exchange, shoved Boatright in the direction of greater spacing and the latter nearly fell down.

Richard Messina/Hartford Courant photo

Richard Messina/Hartford Courant photo

Still, it came down to who wanted it more.  To no one’s surprise, those two guards wanted it a lot, and Napier wanted it more than anybody. In the final minutes, you got the feeling that Nietzsche whispered more loudly in Napier’s ear than did, say, John Wooden.

And when it was over, the camera lingered on Napier as he fell to the floor in what yogis call “child’s pose.” He was supremely alone, not in a pile, having a final, tearful visit with those inner brokers with whom he negotiated all night, mortgaging every last speck of energy.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a basketball player whose battle was so chiefly inside him.  It connects to Kevin Ollie’s dry-erase exhortation to the team last Saturday night, when they were down 16-4 to Florida. Ollie — and this should become the stuff of legend — wrote “Even now, Faith.”

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