Thursday, May 7, 2009

The First Game of a Series

Monitoring the second round of the NBA post-season has continued to get me thinking about the different forms that NBA play-off rounds take.  I think there are patterns that evolve and the preliminary results can tell you a lot about the different strengths of the teams involved and what is going to happen in the long term.

For instance, the Rockets game in and played physical and won game one.  In the second game the teams matched physicality and LA won.  What will happen in game three?  Well only time will tell, but history is a good place to start looking if you want to know the outcome.  Unfortunately, I'm completely ignorant of the history of the NBA.  

Like most everyone else.  A good sports bettor and analyst needs to be known as a historian of the game.  And not just knowing box scores and numbers and statistical data on "which teams win a series which percentage of the time depending on which game they won" but also keeping into context how  the game was won, if it was a blowout, etc.  

Another note is that I think Dwight Howard might be the next Shaq in one critical area: motivation.  While he lacks the physical tools and passing ability of Shaq in his prime, he does bring that lack of motivation and killer instinct that is typical of guys who have the physical greatness to show up and don't have to practice a thousand jumpers a day to stay in the league.  

While Ray Allen's game requires him to be a great shooter, constantly monitoring his form and percentages, Dwight Howard or Shaq don't have to focus with determination.  It makes them less tough, so to speak.  They don't have the mental toughness of an MJ, a Pipper, or even a Ray Allen.  Why?  Because when Dwight's game is off, he just has to get more physical and emotional.  But for Ray Allen, that won't help.  He has to get more focused, more calm, and more "in the zone".  There's a big difference with those things and how they play out with effort and championship level basketball.

Maybe thats why MJ won so much.  Because he was only 6'6".  And LeBron might not win as much because he is taller and has more physical gifts?  Interesting question.  Could height be a hindrance?

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