National Basketball League of Canada champion will be determined tonight in Windsor, Ont.
A message from Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Theismann hit home with Adrian Moss following the Island Storm’s crushing defeat Tuesday in Windsor, Ont.
The Storm didn’t play well in the 107-88 loss to the Windsor Express to force tonight’s deciding Game 7 of the National Basketball League of Canada final.
The former Washington Redskins quarterback was in town for a Windsor sports awards dinner.
“You don’t always have the opportunity again, so really seize the moment,” Moss said Wednesday about one of the messages he took from his conversation with Theismann.
“When you leave the court you have to know, not only did you play as hard as you can, but you did everything you needed to do to help your team win.”
The Storm led the championship series 3-1 but has watched it evaporate during the past two games. Moss said the Express played with a sense of urgency, knowing there was no tomorrow if they had a bad performance.
With the Storm now facing the same fate, Moss said he hopes it brings out the best in him and his teammates.
“We don’t want to beat ourselves like we did the last two games,” he said. “Win or lose, we want . . . to play our game, do what we do and we think that will be enough to win the game.”
Storm coach Joe Salerno said the team spent a lot of time in the film room Wednesday and had a practice late in the day. Winning tonight, he added, will have more to do with the mental side of the game.
“It’s really not about Xs and Os right now,” Salerno said. “It’s about understanding what we did wrong in previous games and kind of making those changes.”
Moss agreed, saying they have to be “locked in” mentally.
“We have to survive stretches where we don’t play particularly well and not let our frustrations get the best of us,” he said.
A better start would help. The Storm has not led at the end of the first game in any of the first six games of the series.
Moss said they want to set the tone early tonight.
“We want to get up and down, make them run and we want to be physical on defence.”
Moss, who is averaging 9.8 points per game in the series, turned his ankle in Game 4 and was unsure he would be able to play in Game 5. He has played the past two games and said the ankle continues to improve.
“It’s a Game 7, it’s not really a concern to me,” Moss told The Guardian.
“There are a lot of guys banged up at this point. You can’t use it as an excuse, we have to find a way to get it done.”
Salerno asked his players Wednesday if at the beginning of the season they would have been happy to have the chance to play in a Game 7 to win the league title?
The answer was a unanimous yes.
“It comes down to one game,” Salerno said. “We recognize where we are. We have to get over Game 6 and move on to Game 7.”