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Happy to Be Laughably, Absurdly Wrong

October 12th, 2020 · No Comments · Lakers, NBA

I posted an item late and in a hurry last night; I wanted to make sure my lightning-bolt of insight — that the Miami Heat was a better team than the Los Angeles Lakers — could be seen before Game 6 of the NBA Finals tipped off.

It was close, but there it was: the Heat was ready to win the final two games and become NBA champions.

Ha! Not my worst idea, but somewhere in the bottom quartile of ridiculous predictions.

But I can say this still holds: I said I would be happy to be proved wrong, if the Lakers won. Which they did in overwhelming fashion, 106-93.

The lessons?

–Watch out for “recency bias”. I tend to believe that whatever I just saw — the Heat beating the Lakers on Friday night as Danny Green missed what would have been a series-ending three-pointer in the final second.

–A team can, in fact, “leave it all out there”. The Heat clearly had not recovered from the stupendous effort it generated in that series-extending Game 5. That was one wrung-out crew, and it was plain to see in the opening minutes.

–And this, in particular: Do not give up on a team led by a focused and ferocious LeBron James.

The heart of my argument was that LeBron did not have enough help to fend off Miami’s superior supporting cast. Which kinda overlooked Anthony Davis, one of the best 10 players in the game, and assumed continued struggles for everyone else.

Then Rajon Rondo went for 19, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 17 and Green scored 11, nine from beyond the arc on 3-for-7 accuracy.

Also, I did not take into account the fear and loathing baked into my sports expectations when it comes to the Lakers.

Seeing them lose to the Boston Celtics six times in the NBA Finals in the 1960s was a scarring experience to Baby Boomer fans. We learned it is better to suppress positive expectations for the guys in purple and gold.

A colleague expressed it well:

“The Lakers spent the ’60s getting to the Finals and losing to the Celtics seemingly every year … what, six times? Seven? Bottoming out in 1969, the balloons-in-the-rafters/Don Nelson-bounce Game 7 tragedy, the last (really, I’m thinking only) time I shed actual tears at the outcome of a sporting event. (And followed by the 1970 Game 7 loss to the Knicks, a crusher in its own right.) In some ways I have never recovered from that experience — to this day, even after 11 championships across three decades, I still expect the Lakers to fall apart on the biggest stage, and I actually find it difficult to watch their games on TV — playoffs especially, but regular-season games as well — because it can put me in an emotional state that I believe will subtract days from my life.”

I have issues dealing with the Lakers losing in title games, as well. So what we Boomers do is build defenses. Don’t watch TV. Expect the worst; it leaves you in position to say “I am not surprised.”

So, yes, I am very happy to be ridiculously wrong. I hope to be wrong again next year.


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