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Energy, Emotion, Passion and Game 7, Celtics vs Lakers

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on June 16, 2010

Last night, near the end of the game, Mark Jackson said something like, “well, one thing for sure, the coaches won’t have to motivate their teams to come play Thursday night. It will be all about energy, emotion, and passion.”
There’s always a lot of talk by coaches and commentators about one team “coming to play” and the other team not. I dispute this. I don’t dispute it in the regular season – the long, long regular season – where it is impossible to “bring it” every night, but in the playoffs? C’mon, I believe in the most fundamental definition of all those “energy” terms, in the playoffs, especially The Finals, these players come to play, but the circumstances at the outset, usually the first few minutes, but occasionally a little deeper into the game, actually decide who sustains that energy, and who wins and who is deemed the team that brought the passion.
Basketball is unlike other sports, especially individual sports. Think about track and field or tennis; the hardest thing to do in those sports is once you are ahead, to then remain ahead. The energy comes from the pursuer. In basketball, for some reason, it is easier for individuals and teams to gain energy once they get on a little role. Success begets success and success brings new life, looseness, energy and freedom to the body. Made shots lead to more made shots, swarming defense by one player brings quickness and desire to the next player, a quick transition basket leads to quick feet and another steal and on and on. You’ve seen it a million times. An avalanche of energy; but the key is getting to the top of that first hill before the other team. At some point one team is saying to the other, “you are now reacting to us. Bye bye.” You’ve got to not just come with energy, but you have to win the energy game that exists within the bigger game. That’s why the first quarter, who wins the first quarter has been so important in this series. Whoever has won the first quarter has won the game in all six contests. You win the first quarter and you win the battle of who can sustain the energy. And, further, that’s why Rondo is so important to the Celtics. He’s the energy guy; he gets them out and going. If he starts by owning every inch of the 94′ x 50′, the Celtics will feed off him and give themselves a shot at winning the game. If Rondo, drives and dishes, or drives and makes the Lakers defense react, then it takes the pressure off their shooters when they run their sets (which proved totally futile last night and will prove futile again tomorrow tonight). Rondo must create. Rondo = energy and if that energy translates to made shots (as Jeff VanGundy said a few games ago, “this is a league of makes and misses”) then that energy brings the Celtics the championship. If the Celtics don’t push Rondo to that 100 mph role, then the Lakers with home court crowd and the momentum of Game Six, size, rebounding advantage and the indomitable Kobe Bryant, will grab the energy trophy and hoist it over their heads at game’s end.

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2 Responses to “Energy, Emotion, Passion and Game 7, Celtics vs Lakers”

  1. Steve Watkins said

    Good analysis. Basketball is all about energy – utilizing every drop of energy for a worthwhile purpose. So many players waste their energy, especially in college. Rampant misuse of the three point shot in the college game has made the game quite ugly.

    Let me tell you why the Celtics lost – Ray Allen went like 3 for 14 – why? did he just have an off night? No – it is because the Celtics as a team utilized their energy inefficiently. In particular Ray Allen had to work very hard for his shots. The Celtic guards Pierce and especially Rondo failed to penetrate and utilize their energy to get Ray Allen open. Why didn’t Rondo penetrate? because Rondo is a WEAK mid-range jump shooter and the defense could play off of him. Rondo is a highly overratedpoint guard and will never be great until he develops a consistent mid range shot. Pierce, who is a great mid-range shooter was getting pushed too far out from the hoop by Artest. Instead of driving the ball however, he consistently attempted WEAK step back jump shots. Those shots fell in Game 5 in Boston because he was able to get closer to the hoop. But a shot from 20 feet out requires more kinetic ebnergy at the release point than a shot from 15 feet. When you are moving away from the hoop, you can’t deliver the energy needed to shoot smoothly. You have to drive the ball, which Pierce didn’t do.

    Now by driving the ball the Celtics guards could have utilized their own energy to get Ray Allen open. When Ray Allen has to spend his own energy getting open, he has less potential energy for shooting. He cannot deliver the kinetic energy needed to hit from 22 feet or beyond, which is where he likes to catch the ball. Further more by moving around screens, it is more difficult to catch and shoot with your momentum moving forward toward the hoop. If he catches the ball behind the arch, his momentum moves backward. The point is that you can deliver more energy when you catch and shoot with your momentum moving forward rather than backward, which is absolutely essential when shooting from long range because the shot requires more kinetic energy at the point it leaves your fingertips.

    In contrast if the ball is passed out from the paint on a drive and dish to Ray Allen who is conserving his energy for a spot up shot, Ray Allen can deliver more needed energy to make that shot.

    Now, combine all of this with the fact that Ray Allen wastes all kinds of energy on his ridiculous pre-game routine where he goes through practically a full workout prior to the game. He gets to the court three hours ahaed of time and sprints up and down doing spot-up drills. It is insane. All of these things make you realize that the top players and coaches in the NBA know little about the concept of energy and could SERIOUSLY benefit from a course in basic physics.

    I will conclude from this discussion that the mid range shot is is the cornerstone of the game of basketball because it sets up all other opprtunities, including the three. The college game today is played in an ugly manner because players foolishly strive for the three instead of catching the ball within mid range where they are a triple threat. They are not a triple threat from beyond the arch because they are too far to drive and too far to shoot. Consequently, they waste energy. The three point shot has turned the game into a chinese fire drill.

    Like

  2. Yes I agree. Basketball is unlike other sports, especially individual sports.Nice one! Keep Posting 🙂

    Like

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