Larry Brown has made the statement that he doesn’t know whether his Charlotte Bobcats can actually beat the Orlando Magic. Many in the field of psychology would be appalled if they heard the leader of a group say something that would plant a seed of doubt in his team. Being the underdog in the series, you’d think the coach would try to bolster the confidence of his club.
Why, then, would Brown make a comment like that? My guess is that what Larry Brown said is exactly what he believes - and he’s been around long enough and has had so much success that he feels it would be foolish to try to play mind games or use some other psychological ploy. As Charles Barkley (another who’s been known to speak frankly) pointed out, if Charlotte is to win (a game), the Bobcats need someone to have an other-worldly experience in terms of point production, because the Magic, who had five players in double figures in their game two victory, simply have too much firepower for Charlotte.
In the first two games, Dwight Howard, aka Superman, had subpar production, mainly due to foul trouble, yet the Bobcats never even posed a threat. In game two, they scored a mere 30 points in the first half. Their defense, or rather their half-court offensive philosophy of walking the ball up the floor on each possession, limited Orlando to only 41 points themselves.
Gregg Popovich called his team out after their game one defeat in Dallas. He said the Spurs played “like dogs.” Whoa! Psychology majors are in for a real challenge trying to analyze these two veteran coaches. None of the players for San Antonio, though, when questioned, took exception with their coach’s comments. And wouldn’t you know it, the Spurs came out in the second game and played like gangbusters, jumping to a 9-0 start and never looking back, leading by as much as twenty points.
The game did get close, however, when the Mavs cut the lead to five in the fourth quarter but eight straight points by ageless Tim Duncan squashed any hopes the hometown club had on sweeping the opening two games. Not surprisingly, Duncan made no mention of his desire to prove to Pop he wasn’t a dog in the post-game press conference.
Both Larry Brown and Gregg Popovich have grabbed the brass ring - on more than one occasion - Brown claiming an NCAA national championship (Kansas) and a World Championship (Detroit) and Pop winning multiple titles with the Spurs. Then why did Pop’s psychology work better than Larry’s? I’ve done a great many of these blogs in which I’ve stated Jerry Tarkanian’s philosophy of coaching (click on the “Jerry Tarkanian” category and you’ll be sure to find it mentioned on numerous occasions). “Talent” is always Tark’s reply.
There’s an old saying that sums up why Charlotte couldn’t do to Orlando in game two what San Antonio did to Dallas (even though each is a #7 seed playing a #2). Substituting for the chicken products that Charles Barkley - The Round Mound of Rebound - or, as he might now be referred to following Tuesday night’s TNT broadcast, the Prince of Profanity - would use in the old adage, the message is:
“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”