"Piercing" the Veil of an Even Series: Boston Celtics-Chicago Bulls
Be it for it's game winning or game tying shots, its record-tying rookie performances or it's back to back triple-doubles, the first round playoff series between the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls will, certainly, go down as one of the most memorable of recent years.
But it will also go down as one where well known key elements of modern basketball were easily identified as factors in each game's outcome.
In my previous article, I argued that the Celtics experience had won Game Three against the Bulls youth. To a certain extent, in Game Four, it was the other way around. It was not that the Bulls won it with their youth, but rather that the Celtics lost it for lack thereof.
Please, don't let me be misunderstood. I'm not talking about quickness, reaction or strength. I'm talking about the mindset. I'm talking about the hunger for the win.
Last night's game confirmed what I had noticed in the previous games: when you look at Paul Pierce, he doesn't look like he's hungry for the win and his game is showing just that.
When you're a 31-year old, seven-time all-star you simply cannot turn the ball over in one of the final possessions.
But most of all, you cannot go out and play like you don't believe in yourself or in your team anymore. You're team captain. You're the franchise player. You have to go out there and flash your teammates with your smile and get everyone fired up for the only thing that matters: to win!
I don't care if you think that Lebron James is better than you or that your team is weaker without Kevin Garnett. You live with those facts and try to overcome the deficit they create by leaving everything you have on that hardwood floor.
As in previous games, everytime there was a close-up view of Paul Pierce, I could almost sense the "I don't believe" attitude and the "I have proven myself and they still don't think that I'm good" posture.
Well, Paul, greatness is measured not only by what you're able to do when your at the top of the hill, but even more by what you do when you get thrown back to the bottom and have to climb it back up again.
One of my coaches used to say that you measure a player by the amount of basketball that he leaves in his pockets at the end of each game. That's why, sometimes, he would criticise us after a win and congratulate us after a loss.
I have been taking this lesson with me ever since and have used it in different aspects of my life. It checks all the time.
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