Honestly even if I did say you shouldn’t count Denver out in my last post I don’t necessarily feel like a genius. You see, basketball is a game played in waves. In a game either team in a good match up can go up by ten or more points after which you can bet the other team will inevitably follow suit. That’s why there aren’t a lot of situations where each team takes turns scoring for long periods. The word ‘momentum’ is very much at home in basketball and unless a team is completely overmatched it is perfectly normal to go ahead by 10 in the first quarter then see their lead disappear in the 2nd.
The beauty of the game is in how teams survive these inevitable runs. This is why you do not see professional basketball players and coaches panic or cheer when their teams are behind or ahead. Experience has taught them that the other team will get their acts together sooner or later. You just have to prepare for it by making sure you have the correct manpower and enough energy on the court and use the clock well to repel their inevitable comeback run.
This is what happened when Den came into the 4q with a whopping 20pt lead. LAL followed suit with a spectacular 18-2 run coming as close as 6 (or 7?) pts., making Laker fans the world over go ape. It was amazing to behold as Rajon Rondo came up with steal after steal while guarding Murray, both leading to spectacularly effortless all alone Lebron James dunks.
Unfortunately it was so exciting that it completely sapped them of their energy, and my jaw honestly dropped at the sight of Anthony Davis literally strolling last across the timeline during one of their last possessions. He was so tired he could only walk and at a playoff game at that.
Every other guy for either team was grabbing the bottom of their shorts during lulls in the game, but that was ok for Denver who had the lead and terrible for LAL who were trying to catch up. Eventually it took their toll and when Murray sank a 30ft three then followed it up with an amazing assist to an all alone Millsap for a dunk the energy just evaporated into the air for LA.
Den caught the wave on the upswing and weathered the storm as LA tried to ride their own wave coming back. A 20 pt lead while theoretically not insurmountable is still just too much to overcome in just one quarter.
I’m not going to make prophecies here as I literally am not able to see either team with an advantage over the other. Each team’s players match up with each other too well. As such I believe coaching is playing a bigger factor here than in any other game. That isn’t sexy at all and I know that but there it is.