Friday, April 24, 2009

Satisfaction kills in the NBA

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Author Louis L'Amour once said, "Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content."

Years earlier Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

Fair enough Ralph -- here's what I know...

The Zen master himself, Phil Jackson, once told me the toughest job an NBA coach has is keeping a player from being satisfied. In his own way, Jackson was echoing L'Amour or knowing Phil...The Rolling Stones.

Last week, I wrote that you should expect few surprises in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Then I was blindsided by a series of e-mails chuckling about all the Game 1 upsets. Chicago topped Boston and Philly stunned Orlando in the East, while Dallas stung San Antonio and Houston upended Portland in the West.

Instead of answering, I laid in the weeds and waited.

Sure enough, the "underdogs," content with winning the first game, all came up empty in Game 2.

Painting them all with the same brush is a little unfair, however.

The Bulls have played with purpose against the Celtics.
After taking Game 1 in Beantown, the Bulls followed that up with another impressive performance and were simply done in by a great shot from a great player, Ray Allen. Ditto for the Rockets in Portland, who were torpedoed by Brandon Roy's fabulous performance.

The Sixers and the Mavs?

They were both thrilled to capture their Game 1s and sleepwalked through the respective sequels, while dreaming of the home cooking on the horizon.

Philadelphia took care of the basketball like they were Brett Favre in St. Louis on Wednesday, while Dallas looked like a group of cardboard cutouts as Tony Parker went through a glorified layup drill in its Game 2 performance.

Consequently, the Bulls and Rockets have legitimate shots to move on, while the Sixers and Mavs will soon be reserving tee times.

The will to win has always separated the good NBA teams from the pretenders.

Every club from the Cavs on down has talent. Heck, the woeful Los Angeles Clippers can throw Baron Davis and Zach Randolph at you. Even the NBA-worst Sacramento Kings have Kevin Martin.

The great ones like Jordan, Magic and Russell had that will to win. They were never satisfied, never content and it carried over to their teammates.

If you beat those Bulls, Lakers or Celtics, you can rest assured that you earned it.

When you beat the 2009 Sixers or Mavs, you yawn and move on to the real competition.

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