Time for Hoops

The temperature is dropping and summer is drifting further and further into the rearview mirror. For basketball fans, it's a perfect time of year. There's a little something for every type of hoops fan right now - some thrilling championship games as well as the clean slate of a new season on the horizon.

WNBA: Right now, the Indiana Fever and the Phoenix Mercury are locked up in a tight WNBA Championship series. No matter what the sport, championship events are always riveting. There is a saying that "big time players make big time plays in big time games," and this series is no exception. In a close series like this with so much on the line, fans can tell that the athletes are working just a little bit harder. Superstars like Indiana's Tamika Catchings play their best with championships on the line. In Game 2 of the series last Thursday night, Catchings had 19 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, coming close to picking up the first triple-double in WNBA Finals history.

NBA: While the WNBA reaches its thrilling conclusion, the NBA is just getting started. Players have arrived at training camp and teams have already held a couple of practices before the season gets started later this month. This is an exciting time for players and fans. Expectations are high for everybody. And even though nobody has played a game yet, the players are working harder than ever. They need to be in top physical condition by Opening Night so that they can perform at their best. Basketball isn't just about slam dunks and 3-pointers in front of jam-packed arenas. A big part of it is putting in the effort in the off-season to stay strong and keep your skills sharp.

College: In men's and women's college basketball, the preseason is also a very important part of the year. Many players from last year's team have graduated, and each team has a lot of new faces with incoming freshman and transfer students. In the weeks before the season starts, these news players have to gel with the team, to learn the new plays. The preseason is the time when a group of individual players transform into a team.

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