There’s Something Funny About The NBA

Something happened in the NBA Finals Tuesday night that reminded me why I’ve never trusted that professional basketball league.
Take a look at that score, 113-77.
Sure, blowouts happen sometimes. But this kind of thing seems to happen all too often in the NBA, and on Tuesday in the NBA Finals, no less. Nobody believes the San Antonio Spurs are 36 points better than the Miami Heat, but a comment I heard on ESPN television the next morning, I believe, was telling. An analyst said that the result boiled down to one simple fact —the Spurs played very hard, and the Heat didn’t try very hard.
I have to believe the analyst is correct. And this is a big problem for the NBA.
This isn’t the first time that an NBA team lacked enthusiasm in front of rabid NBA fans, even in front of a national audience. It happens a lot during the regular season, making us wonder if the season is just too long for these professional basketball players. Or maybe they don’t make enough money to put forward a consistent effort. Perhaps their coaches don’t expect the best of them every night —after all, this is a “players’ league.” If the coaches aren’t really in charge, maybe it’s too much to ask of them to expect consistent effort from the players.
But this was not a regular season game. It was the NBA Finals. The Heat are playing for a championship.
Have you ever seen a lack of team effort in the Super Bowl? I’ve seen many blowouts there, but it always appeared that the losing team was trying its best.
Have you ever seen a lack of team effort in the World Series? Maybe the answer is yes if you are old enough to have witnessed the 1919 “Black Sox Scandal.” But since then, I doubt it.
The funny thing is about this 2013 series between the Spurs and the Heat: I don’t think anyone is counting out the Heat despite Tuesday night’s performance. The reason for that, I suspect (besides the fact that the Heat still have LeBron James) is that NBA fans have seen poor performances like this way to much to believe that the losing team can’t bounce back strong in the next contest.
In fact, it happens all the time. A team gets blown out. It’s manhood is questioned. It wins in a rout the next time.
Which is another strange thing about the NBA. Teams know they can stink up the court one game, and apply themselves the next and still come away with a victory.
It’s almost like a game within a game. Wink, wink. Who’s turn is it to take the night off?