"Better to lose big than in a heartbreaker"--dumb rationalization?

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by Dumars4Ever, May 6, 2007.

  1. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,175
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Washington DC area
    I noticed at least one commenter on a Bulls website saying that it was better to get obliterated by the Pistons in Game 1 than to lose in the final seconds. You hear that on occasion from teams that have gotten pounded in a playoff game. There is at least some logic to it--if you lose in the last couple of minutes, you might be kicking yourself for this or that play down the stretch that might have made the difference, and that could affect your ability to focus on the next game. Whereas if you get thumped, it's easier to put it behind you and prepare for the next one.

    But, isn't this...a big steaming pile of crap? I hadn't thought about it much before, but it clearly is. For one thing, what about the perspective of the winning team? Are we all saying, "gee, it would have been better to rip the Bulls' heart out in a close game than it would have been to beat the hell out of them, since now they'll better be able to focus for Game 2." Um...no.

    It also doesn't make sense from the perspective of the team that has just lost a close game. Back in the '04 finals, even though I was thrilled by the Pistons' Game 1 win in L.A., I still felt that the Lakers were better and that the first game might just be a fluke. But after losing Game 2 in an OT heartbreaker, in the midst of a ton of media hype about the Lakers having turned the tide of the series with fairy dust and magic elves, I became even more confident that the Pistons would win it than I was after Game 1. The things that got them Game 1--getting to the basket, shooting more FTs than LA, keeping their turnovers low, etc.--were still there in Game 2, so it was clear that Game 1 had NOT been a fluke, and that the Pistons would be in good shape back in the Palace. The psychological gremlins that the media attributed as being on L.A.'s side, with the obviously fragile Pistons now teetering on the brink of emotional collapse, were nowhere to be found. So in the context of this discussion, would it have been better for the Pistons to get trounced in that Game 2, as opposed to losing on a crazy Kobe 3 that sent it to OT? Um...no. Obviously not.

    And what about the Warriors against the Mavs? Dallas was stomping them in the first half of Game 5, but the Warriors came all the way back to lead by 9 in the last few minutes, before collapsing at the end. Were Warriors fans telling themselves, "man, if only we hadn't come back in that game and just rolled over, we'd be better able to focus in Game 6...now we're in worse shape to close it out"? Let me think about it...no. Obviously the ability they showed to take Dallas' best shot without folding was a key factor in maintaining their confidence and putting the Mavs away in Game 6.

    So should the Bulls really be glad that they got stomped in Game 1, instead of losing a see-saw battle? Now they know they're facing a dramatically better defensive team than Miami was, and with tougher matchups for the Bulls to contend with on D as well. The things they were getting consistently against the Heat weren't there at all in Game 1. Isn't that tougher to deal with than staying toe-to-toe with the Pistons and losing Game 1 in the final minutes would have been? Pretty obviously, yes. This age-old excuse is the last refuge of a team that has a steep hill to climb.
     
  2. ahb

    ahb Bench Warmer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,220
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yes.

    I think you oversimplify the factors that could cause a team to gain or lose confidence.
     
  3. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,175
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Washington DC area
    Really? You thought the Warriors were in worse shape going into Game 6 from the fact that they had at least showed some heart in getting back into it? I'm not saying that losing a close game doesn't have any effect at all (obviously it does), but you really think it's better to get your butt kicked in that situation?
     
  4. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,398
    Likes Received:
    830
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    How so? I'd like to hear what you think on this.
     
  5. mikhail1973

    mikhail1973 All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Messages:
    9,647
    Likes Received:
    473
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Kiev - Farmington Hills, MI - Santa Clara, CA
    I think some of it may depend on the way the big loss had occurred. If it is not because the team gets good looks and doesn't knock them down or the other team just hits every possible shot, then there should be a bigger doubt in the mind of the losing team. Look at the Pistons-Bulls game for example. It's not like Pistons hit every shot or Bulls just missed too many easy looks. It was as a dominating performance as you'll see. You would think that Bulls have to have some doubts creeping in.
     
  6. st8ofmind

    st8ofmind Bench Warmer

    Joined:
    May 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,115
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ottawa County, Mi
    It doesn't matter.

    Each situation is unique.

    Big Loss.

    Pros - Uhhhh, maybe you know you need to really bring it now and scrap a bunch of what you tried. Maybe you can hope the 'percentages even out' in the next game.

    Cons - you got your ass kicked.

    Close loss

    Pros - You know you can hang with em, and you know what they'll run late in games.

    Cons - you peed away a chance to win.




    I thought the game 2 loss to the Lakers in 04' would be a backbreaker but it wasn't, it just fueled the Stones for the 5 game sweep.


    I can't see the Bulls possibly getting a better whistle than they did in game 1 (not even if Jordan suited up) so they are going to have to hope they can knock down some shots and be much more solid with the ball.
     
  7. linwood

    linwood All-Star

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    4,423
    Likes Received:
    1,439
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I would rather put up a good fight and lose than get my ass kicked. I can't really think of a situation where this wouldn't be true.
     
  8. Dlev59

    Dlev59 Bench Warmer Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Messages:
    2,632
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Laurel, Maryland
    A loss is a loss.

    If you are a veteran, battle tested team that is well coached, you take it in stride and look forward to the next game.

    Something the Chicago Bulls are not!!!!!!!
     
  9. ahb

    ahb Bench Warmer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,220
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Heart is one thing, but the fourth quarter in Game 5 exposed specific tactical weaknesses (as opposed to the generic teamwide weaknesses everyone had known about all year long) that could be used to the Mavs' advantage in individual possessions should Game 6 have been tighter than it was, and it gave Dirk a chance to restore his confidence in the highest-pressure of situations.

    Should the Warriors have folded in the second quarter of Game 5 and the Mavs won by 15-20 as in Game 2, well, they're a 67-win team with a deep and talented roster; they have certain matchup advantages; they made shots; our offense is such that we'll miss shots; they won at home as they're expected to do, etc. There are a variety of rationalisations that can be be constructed to account for one team playing above its head at the same time as the other is playing below standards, and whether or not they're realistic is not as important as whether or not they're perceived as believable. But given that the Warriors had already won three games in the series without the opposing coaching staff having been able to devise an effective defensive scheme or adjust to the Warriors' defense, Golden State had ample reason to believe that in general there were enough favorable matchups for them to remain competitive, and that while blowouts would occasionally happen, any blowouts that might happen would be the exception rather than the rule.

    That the Mavericks coaching staff was able to discover their brains and find one way to shut down the GSW offense in the fourth quarter of Game 5, while it had been unable to do so in any of the four previous games, could do nothing but create an additional source of unsurety; and that Dirk had hit a number of high-impact shots in carrying his team to a comeback victory certainly gives your defenders more cause for worry than if he'd gotten hot enough to hit a string of essentially garbage buckets in a blowout.

    Similarly with the Bulls: the Pistons may be a better team, but they aren't 30 points better. With respect only to the confidence level of the Bulls and hence their mental approach to the rest of the series, the Baby Bulls can attribute the blowout just to bad luck or chance or their general approach to the game, and so can proceed to Game 2 with a few minor tweaks and re-applying themselves to the system that made them a winning ballclub all year long, rather than re-inventing themselves on the fly to try to account for specific but major failures.

    Either that or the Pistons really are 30 points better.

    I'm kind of hazy right now, so tomrrow morning I'll see if this makes any kind of sense and get back to you.
     
  10. 4cwebb

    4cwebb First Round Draft Pick

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tokyo
    Agreed. I think the Bulls can certainly tell themselves that their bench players probably won't shoot 3-30 again in a game, and that Gordon probably won't pick up 2 fouls in the first 3 minutes of a first quarter again (although it wouldn't bother me in the least if he did). There are areas they need to work on, but it would seem to me that had they played very well and still lost a game to the Pistons, they may have been more deflated than losing a game where seemingly nothing went their way (other than maybe the officiating).
     
  11. buddahfan

    buddahfan Retired from Forum

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,361
    Likes Received:
    1
    Best not to lose at all

    :hoops:
     
  12. Nemo

    Nemo Fantasy-Football Snub Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Messages:
    12,306
    Likes Received:
    1,502
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Lake Elmo
    A loss in Basketball is like potatoes. Many different ways to serve them up. Some are very tolerable, some will make you sick...................
     
  13. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,175
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Washington DC area
    Can we at least safely say that following one beatdown with another beatdown is bad for the losing team's psyche? If the Bulls had made Game 2 close after getting stomped in Game 1, they could justifiably point to that as a momentum builder going into Games 3 and 4 at home. But somehow I doubt that anyone's going to be coming with the excuse of "good thing we didn't lose Game 2 in a close one; getting pounded will make it easier to focus on Game 3 than if we had lost in the last minute."
     
  14. mikhail1973

    mikhail1973 All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Messages:
    9,647
    Likes Received:
    473
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Kiev - Farmington Hills, MI - Santa Clara, CA
    I think we can. They have been beaten badly and there were no indications that there is anything pointing to this beating having any positive impact on the Bulls.
     
  15. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater All-Star Forum Donor 6x Fantasy Champion

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    12,155
    Likes Received:
    582
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Land of the Spuds.
    No, I think we should beat them down next game just to make sure we can safely say it isn't a good thing. No sense leaving it open to speculation.:MusicBigGrin:
     
  16. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,398
    Likes Received:
    830
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    I agree with Darth except that we need to administer ANOTHER beatdown after beatdown #3.
     
  17. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,398
    Likes Received:
    830
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    In regards to psyche. My two friends in college were avid basketball players. They would trade wins back and forth. Then one of them got a little better and never started losing. He said to me several times that he thought the other guy never really believed he could win so he ended up always losing.
     

Share This Page