With LeBron saying “it’s only basketball”, reports of weed in the Cavs locker room and Durant saying he shouldn’t be criticized for leaving OKC because LeBron did it, we’ve got the playground rocking.
I said earlier that given their history the Cavs had a slight mental advantage if they lost the first two games. But that was compared to if the Warriors did. Which obviously they did not. So the story line is going down the road of Golden State is the best team ever. We’ve even got Cavs people saying it. And maybe they are. But does that make them a lock? I mean it sure seems like they are. But not for the reasons most people think.
The Cavs are clearly going about the mental game all wrong!
Just rewind to the first 5 minutes of the 3rd quarter in Games one and two. That’s when the game was lost – right after they got whatever (ineffective) pep talk they got. I can imagine – as I wrote last year after Game 4:
Circa June 11, 2016: And then in a stellar example of adding the proverbial insult to injury, Coach Lue harangues the team with “If you don’t think we can win, don’t get on the plane.” Well hec, wouldn’t you have to be virtually bat-sh$t crazy to think you can win? First, there’s those stats telling you no team down 3-1 has ever won. Piled on top of that obstacle sits the value of home-court advantage, the embarrassing memories of getting walloped on that same court and finally, the ephemeral but tangible smell of the supposed curse. What sane person would think they can win in this situation?
It sounds good. Be positive. Believe you can win. Take “Believeland” to heart. But actually, according to the latest brain and emotion science, it’s the EXACT wrong message. Just as the cutaway to the coach-cam mic somewhere around eight minutes let us hear another gem of misguided sports psychology dogma. You have to be mentally tough. Be mentally tough. Stay mentally tough. Lue said “mentally tough” three or four times in a row and then promptly sat helpless while his team couldn’t buy a basket in the face of eight straight points by the Curry gang.
Yes Durant is amazing. Yes the Warriors are astounding. But in Game Two, the differential between shots dropping early in the third was shocking. Why? Everyone else will tell you that the Warriors are better physically. I will say that may be but they are also clearly better emotionally – and that’s what makes the shot drop. The Cavs are using their heads and misusing their hearts. Going down the positive route leaves the worries to ruminate around your body as you go for the shot. The emotional energy literally makes you be off your game – you can’t make your body do what it has the skill to do.
The solution: reread my game two post. Frankly, I haven’t got the time to try to tell one of my hometown teams this /yet/ again.