This is an older article or blog post that I had in my evernote... Alot of the information that is talked about is pertinent today
Tough vs. DumbEveryone seems to be riveted to the NBA playoffs this year, and for good reason. The games have been unbelievable — and extremely physical as well. And whenever you have a physical game, at any level, there comes a time when players have to make decisions on how physical; how tough do they want to play?
In the Chicago – Boston series, both teams have very competitive players, staffs, and organizations. Both teams want to win so badly. Both teams are pretty evenly matched. So, without a doubt, emotion enters the equation. But it is important that it be intelligent and positive emotion. It is positive emotion that helps your team get over the hump. It can’t be bravado emotion that only registers with those who don’t understand the game anyway.
Both teams have to make sure that they make tough plays and not dumb plays. Tough plays are plays that are made of hustle and grit; often times they don’t even require skill. But they are definitely within the rules. Dumb plays are those made doing something that looks tough but gets your team nowhere and often times hurts your team. Players need to understand this if they are going to be champions. Championship teams make sure they protect their turf but they do so in an intelligent, disciplined, and tough way!
Truth be told, players today have to understand that in a run for a championship, often times the tough play is the one where you don’t retaliate to something done by the other team. Instead, you beat them on the scoreboard. The toughness comes in from the discipline that champions have to be bigger and smarter than the moment.
What I love about this series is that both the Celtics and the Bulls are trying extremely hard to make the tough, intelligent plays without giving up any edge or turf. And they are clearly doing so in a very emotional, hard-fought series! I wish all of you had a chance to be down there on that floor experiencing the effort, the determination, the sweat, the diving, the physicality, and the will to succeed. I can’t even begin to describe it in words. It’s why this is the greatest game there is!