Tag Archives: miami heat

Youth is wasted on the young – the inexperience of the Oklahoma City Thunder

Following the Oklahoma City Thunder’s consecutive losses in Games 2 and 3 of the NBA Finals, there has predictably been talk in the media about the Thunder’s youth and inexperience. Perhaps just as predictably, there was the backlash from twitter and the blogosphere about the mainstream media’s tired use of old clichés which supposedly have no bearing on reality. That is, the practice of substituting ‘narratives’ in place of objective analysis. One such opinion came from the great Eric Freeman from Ball Don’t Lie, who linked to his piece in The Classical from a week ago on twitter.

Usually I too am bored by the lazy use of narratives to explain NBA phenomena, as well as the selective cherry-picking of information and facts to fit these narratives. In this particular situation however, traditional wisdom has some merit. To win in the NBA, you do need experience, and history backs this up. The average age of Finals teams over the last 20 years is 28.1. When adjusted for playing time, it’s actually a little higher at 28.6. The average age of Finals MVPs since 1981 is 29.5 years old. Put simply, the NBA playoffs are an old man’s game. Meanwhile, this precocious young Thunder team have an average age of 25.8, and their weighted average age is 25.4 (Miami on the other hand have an average age of 28.6, with a weighted average age of 28.5). They are the youngest Finals participant of the last 20 years, and if they go on to win, they would be the youngest Championship team by almost a full year.

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President Obama and the Tragedy of LeBron’s Brilliant Game 6

POTUS and LBJ: more in common than you may think

Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States on the back of a marketing campaign emphasising the idea of “Hope” and “Change”. He was the fresh face who was not yet entrenched in the slimy ways of Washington and its pseudo-corrupt web of lobbyists and big corporate influence. He was the “Great Liberal Hope” who would break the political deadlock, rescue the broken economy, and usher in a more modern, progressive era of American history.

Obama fell short of our expectations, as we were treated to a rather discouraging stasis in US politics. For all his pre-election rhetoric on ending the influence of lobbyists, he appointed several former lobbyists to important positions in his administration. Despite the big deal made of him representing a break from the past two administrations, he appointed Larry Summers as an economic advisor. For all his tough talk on shutting down Gitmo, holding the Wall Street Banks to account, and all the other liberal reforms that were promised, what we were treated to were not Big Victories but Small Compromises. But at the same time, nothing Obama did in his four years in office can really be considered to be the equivalent of turning to the “dark side” either.

Unlike say, LeBron James.

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Last year, this year and next year: The state of the Dallas Mavericks

“That was our dress rehearsal” – Jason Kidd

Come on now, 6 picks and no one’s taken the defending champs?

“Never underestimate the heart of a champion” – Rudy Tomjanovich

— Me, a month ago

It has now been just over a week since the 2011 NBA Champions were swept unceremoniously out of the first round.

All year, I had been in denial, thinking that when the playoffs came around the veteran Mavericks would ‘flip the switch’ and start playing championship-calibre ball again. How laughable that seems in retrospect, as the Thunder absolutely overwhelmed this squad of old-timers with their athleticism, skill, and most tellingly, their hunger.

I could sit here and talk about chemistry, mental toughness, fight, and all of those intangible qualities that the Mavs lacked this year. They sucked on the road (13-20), they sucked in close games (4-26 when trailing after three quarters and 10-13 in games decided by five points or less), they got off to sluggish starts, and once they fell into a hole they lacked the fight to come back and win (6-22 after trailing in first quarter, including playoffs).

Last year the team was unflappable; they’d gone through so much collective disappointment that nothing phased them. In round one they shrugged off the disastrous Game 4 in Portland where they surrendered a 24 point lead (the biggest collapse in playoff history, at the time). In round two they walked into the defending champs’ house in Game 1 and came back from a 16 point halftime deficit. In round 3 they pulled off a 15 point comeback in just 5 minutes against the same Thunder. And as if one fourth quarter comeback on the road wasn’t enough, they did it again on the biggest stage, coming back from 15 down with 7 minutes left in Game 2 of the NBA finals. Dirk reflected the personality of this team in that series, as injuries, illness, none of it mattered. Every series, they were counted out but their mental toughness kept them in it.

Where did that mental strength come from, and where was it this year? The Mavericks’ 2011 summer transactions tell a large part of the story. Tyson Chandler was the guy everyone credited with being the as being their emotional and spiritual leader last year. This year he was replaced by a guy who came in out of shape and unmotivated last year because they brought in competition at his position.

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The 2012 NBA Playoffs: who will find true love and who will be forever alone?

The past year has been pretty good to me. My Mavericks finally broke through and won a ring for our beloved German, and in the most memorable and satisfying way imaginable. My Patriots made it all the way to the Superbowl, and although the game ended in heartbreak for me, it was great to see Tommy boy on the big stage once more. Hell even Arsenal won a trophy (fuck). On top of all that, I got into law school, I started this blog, and the immortal Andrew Mulligan follows me on twitter (along with 1600 others but still). But there is still one thing that still eludes me – the love of a good woman. 60% of the writers here at Double Technicals are in loving long terms relationships, and as a passive aggressive way to show how jealous I am of them, I have ranked the playoff teams in tiers, according to how steady a relationship they have with the Larry O’Brien trophy.  I know it sounds a little convoluted but I promise it’ll make sense as you read on. Being full time students, none of us could do the preview by ourselves, so we decided to split the preview up between three of us. To do this we did a “fantasy draft” of teams we would write about, and went in turns to pick the teams in order of most likely to winning the title this year.

Here we go.

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