Remember Basketball?
Old 09-26-2011, 03:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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We've got nothing but a few youtube clips from summer games. And that might be all we have for some time to come. That could make talking about the game a little abstract and unsatisfying. But there is something more that we can draw upon. We still have the memories. Misty water-colored memories (cue Streisand, and get me a hanky). And we can share those memories and rekindle our love for basketball.

To make the attempt, I want to move away from the minutiae and look at the big things that have drawn us in. They will be different for each one of us, and elicit varied responses, but so much the better.

So in this first instalment in a series of at least one, let me try to explore the mental aspects of the game. Some of my earliest memories of basketball involve the Celtics playing big games in a hot, smokey, Boston Garden. The team in green always seemed to convert the aura of that place into the confidence they needed to win. It might have meant a difference of 5 or 10 points. Maybe more. It's impossible to say. It might have just been the stuff of sports mythology. But it managed to make those games larger than life, and as such, irresistible.

Recently we've seen quite a few other examples of how psychological pressures impact the game. Shaq wrote of how Rondo was completely thrown off his game by comments made by Obama when the team visited the White House. And we all witnessed Lebron becoming a shell of his former self, as the pressure to win it all increased more and more. Phil Jackson brought in the same psychologist to work with MJ, and then Kobe. And the player formerly known as Ron Artest gave a lot of credit to his personal therapist when he helped the Lakers win the season before last.

So how big of a deal is all of that to you as a fan? Do you try to get into a player's head as they take a big shot? Do you have your own favorite examples of the importance of a mental edge enjoyed by a player or team, or where it was mysteriously lacking? Or do you downplay the whole idea, and like with bad calls by refs, consider it to be mostly a wash for both sides?

Last edited by LX; 09-27-2011 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Dr. Naismith would be rolling in his grave if he saw these turkey's squabbling over gazillion dollar contracts.
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Dr. Naismith would be rolling in his grave if he saw these turkey's squabbling over gazillion dollar contracts.
Why bring the subject up in a thread which was created to get away from all that stuff?
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I dunno 007, from a completely purist, and perhaps a bit abstract angle, that was a brilliant response.

MY answer to LX's post.... I try to watch NBA games from a very cerebral viewpoint. One that includes past knowledge, as well as current knowledge about certain players. It's hard however, not know what goes on in the room, not knowing whats said by the GM and coach to the player, their agents... hard not knowing what the cliques on the team are. Then, I think about league biases, officiating bias, that sort of thing, and it gets sad.

But really.... my real joy in watching the game, any game, any sport, are the moments... small ones, little moves, fakes, a clever steal in a lane or a charge drawn. Everyone loves the big block shot, but what about the altered shot, the shots where just a tiny bit of finger gets on the ball from behind, no hoopla, the stats guy doesn't record it, but many times it's a really solid defensive play by a guy busting his ass... I love that shit..... I'll leave ya with one such play, maybe some of you remember this, Toronto playing San Antonio. Now When I played I always liked to look in one direction and sell what I was doing then BAM, swing a super fast pass back door, or right through the lane while everyone looked the other way.... this reminds me of that and I love it....

Watch the subtle glance here, just enough to get the defender to bite and check his lane.... Gold.

Carter for the win: It's #6 at 1:30.

Carter Top 10 Game Winners - YouTube" target="_blank">Vince Carter Top 10 Game Winners - YouTube
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Dr. Naismith would be rolling in his grave if he saw these turkey's squabbling over gazillion dollar contracts.
Who from that era wouldn't? Nobody from that time would even be able to fathom this kind of dough.
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Here's one of my most unforgettable moments.

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Old 09-26-2011, 10:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That was probably my favorite moment from VC. And there is a guy that I never understood soon after that. He clearly had an edge physically, and was smart enough to accentuate that. But more and more he started to ignore the little things that win games, and his own advantages were diminished. What I ended up remembering the most about him, was making big plays halfway through the 3rd quarter, celebrating the fact that he's extended a double-digit lead, and then coasting, and often losing. That happens with more players than just him. I saw it end a couple of Pistons runs in the playoffs thanks to Rasheed Wallace. It happened a little bit with Wade against the Mavs. These guys can be their own greatest equalizers. With all of Iveron's flaws, that was not one of them.
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 007nites View Post
Here's one of my most unforgettable moments.

derek fisher 0.4 shot - YouTube
You and me both. Again - notice the early celebration. That was out of character, and understandably so, of such an even-keel team. So would it have made a difference if they had allowed Fish and the Lakers to feel the game was over on their own, instead of increasing their level of defiance? Or was it just a fluke either way?

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Old 09-29-2011, 08:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You and me both. Again - notice the early celebration. That was out of character, and understandably so, of such an even-keel team. So would it have made a difference if they had allowed Fish and the Lakers to feel the game was over on their own, instead of increasing their level of defiance? Or was it just a fluke either way?
Fisher was defended pretty well on that play by Ginobili. It was just a extremely tough shot that he happened to make. If the Spurs won this game they would have probably went on to the finals. This shot changed everything.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Fisher was defended pretty well on that play by Ginobili. It was just a extremely tough shot that he happened to make. If the Spurs won this game they would have probably went on to the finals. This shot changed everything.
Forget the defense for a moment. The Lakers saw the celebrating. I think that makes them that much more determined to make an impossible shot. Teams that get a punch in the gut when suffering at the hands of their opponents play, can get taken out of a game mentally all on their own, or they can see a team acting like the game is already over, and gain the kind of focus that comes with a rush of adrenalin. It's either going to be fight or flight when a team gets knocked down. Never make it easy for them to choose to fight when everything points to them doubting their ability to win.
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Old 10-01-2011, 05:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Not sure about you guys, but re-watching this always makes me miss the NBA.


Giddy up, Stern. We want some ball.
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Old 10-01-2011, 06:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Loved this:

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Old 10-01-2011, 09:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I remember watching the 0.4 shot in real life... that was a long time ago now.
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