Friday, February 25, 2011

The Dangers of Violating Chemistry Laws

"I hate to lose a teammate like [Kendrick] Perkins," Pierce said. "He meant so much. People don't understand chemistry is from the bus to the plane to the locker room, so it's definitely a blow. It depends on how the other guys make the adjustment."
--Paul Pierce, veteran Boston Celtic great.  
The Boston Celtics were held scoreless over the final six-plus minutes Thursday night by the Denver Nuggets who closed the game with a 16-0 run for an 89-75 win.

The Celtics suited up just nine players and had to fight through the emotions of losing Perkins, who was dealt to Oklahoma City for forward Jeff Green in the biggest of Boston's trio of trades Thursday.

"Tough day to play basketball," Kevin Garnett said. "Very tough day to play basketball, to even concentrate. Just being bluntly honest. You feel like you lost a family member today. Tough day."

"It was very emotional, especially for me being that I had a chance to see Perkins grow up from day one, fresh out of high school, coming in here and seeing the level he got to, a championship team," said Pierce. "It's definitely emotional. I had a chance to talk to him this afternoon a little bit, he was definitely hurt. The guys around this locker room were definitely hurt to see Perk go."

Pierce also said this is an example of how the business of basketball and ruthlessness of the NBA cuts both ways.
"It's the nature of the business," he said. "People thought LeBron James was cold for leaving Cleveland the way it is. This is an example of how it happens on the management end. You can't get mad at the players because it can happen to them unexpectedly, just like a player can go where he wants. It's just the nature of the beast."

The Eastern Conference-leading Celtics also mysteriously dealt reserve Nate Robinson to the Thunder and received Nenad Krstic, a future first-round draft pick and cash in the Perkins deal.

Earlier in the day, the Celtics acquired draft picks by sending forward Luke Harangody and rookie center Semih Erden to Cleveland and injured swingman Marquis Daniels to Sacramento.
Why would the Celtics do that to a team that was known for chemistry and had performed so well for the past four years, including one NBA championship?  Was it about money?  Or was it about making a serious run for the championship.  Time will tell.  

Excerpts from (February 24, 2011) 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Winning Mindset Keeps Spurs As Winningest Team in the NBA

The NBA San Antonio Spurs' season record of 46-9 record is tops in the NBA and the best 55-game mark since the Dallas Mavericks had the same mark in 2006-07 en route to a franchise-best, 67-win season.

This record includes the current long road trip. 

"They're feeling a few bumps and bruises, but they're character guys.  They're professionals, and they know what's expected of them. They know where they want to be at the end of the year and they're working towards that. So no game can be left without trying to get better."
--Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the lengthy trip that started in Portland and which will end in Chicago this Thursday.

"We just have to stay focused, that's going to be the main thing for us.  Focus on defense, we have a lot of room for improvement. Even if I think we're on the right track, I think we can do a lot of stuff better and we just have to stay motivated because we have to get all those wins and make sure we take advantage of our good start."
--Tony Parker, Spurs' point guard (13 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists).  

Despite many blow-out games and the league's best record, the Spurs don't seem to be experiencing complacency.

"I was kind of shocked, not that we won or we played well, but that at the kind of effort and hustle in the third and fourth quarter.  We played hard and rotated very well, went hard to the rebounds so it was a very complete second half for us."
--Manu Ginobili, veteran Spurs player.  

Ironically, the game also benefited their opponent, the losing New Jersey Nets, who came away with a glimpse of how a good team should play.

"They've been doing it for years.  They've been playing together for years. They know one another extremely well. They are battle tested. What makes them so impressive is they don't really care who scores. They move the ball and whoever gets the open shot, so be it. That's what makes them so good."

--Devin Harris, Nets' point guard.  

"This is a terrific team we played.  They have the best record in the league for a reason. They don't beat themselves. They're pros. They go about their business and they're very methodical in their approach." 

--Avery Johnson, the Nets' head coach, who is trying to rebuild the Nets, who had the NBA's worst record last season. 

So, what are the secrets to the Spurs' success?  What keeps the Spurs' playing at a peak level all season long?  

  • Professional attitude
  • Character
  • Continuous improvement mentality
  • Sense of urgency
  • Consistent focus
  • Continuity of talent and personnel
  • Heightened motivation
  • Unselfishness
  • Discipline 

These traits should serve the Spurs well the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs.

Excerpts from (February 14, 2011)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Tom Brady's Success Is Due to the Talents and Help of Others

"To me it comes down to the mental toughness and determination of the players and coaches."
--Tom Brady, New England Patriots' quarterback, the 2007, and the new 2010 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, identifying the reason for his award.  
A unanimous choice for the NFL All-Pro team, Brady threw for 36 touchdowns while being intercepted just four times. When he won the award in 2007, Brady set an NFL mark with 50 touchdowns passes as New England went undefeated in the regular season.  Brady led the Patriots to a 16-0 mark in 2007 then and a league-best 14-2 this season.  In three other seasons, the Patriots have won the Super Bowl.  Brady is the only quarterback and the only active player to win the Offensive Player of the Year award twice. In addition, he has won 2 Super Bowl MVP awards, 1 NFL MVP award, and has been to 5 NFL Pro Bowls.     

"Tom studies a lot.  We get the bulk of it in the meeting rooms with just the players when we sit down to go over the things that he's been looking at. It carries over to the practice field as well. Tom is a dork when it comes to that, so I'm going to leave that alone, but Tom is a dork in that meeting room."
--Deion Branch, Patriots' veteran wide receiver.

  • Do you recognize these qualities in your business or professional life?
  • Do you acknowledge that your success is directly attributable to the talents, teamwork and help of others?
  • How do you exhibit mental toughness?  
  • Are you a student of your business or professional craft?

Excerpts from (February 2, 2011).  

For more on the New England Patriots franchise, click on the New England Patriots:  Peak Performance Case Study.  
For more on the Peak Performance System for mental conditioning, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Why The San Antonio Spurs May Go All the Way to the NBA Championship

The San Antonio Spurs are the NBA's first team to 40 wins this season.  In their 40th win, Manu Ginobili scored 22 points and the Spurs beat the Houston Rockets 108-95 on Saturday night.
The Spurs reached 40 wins in just 47 games, tying the record for the sixth fewest games needed to reach 40 wins in NBA history. They got there faster than the four-time NBA champions ever have before. 
Of the previous seven teams to reach 40 wins in 47 games or fewer, six went on to win the NBA title.  The last time the Spurs were the first NBA team to reach 40 wins was the 2004-05 season, when they went on to win the NBA title.  The Spurs won their 18th straight home game, extending the longest home winning streak in the NBA this season.  The Spurs moved two wins from tying the franchise record of 20 straight home wins, set during the 1989-90 season.  

"We were in the game all they way into the third quarter. But they were too solid. They are too solid," Scola said. "Most solid team in the NBA. They're the best team in the NBA, period."
--Luis Scola, Houston Rockets.  

Next up is their annual Rodeo Road Trip, a nine-game stretch of road games.  Maybe three weeks on the road will make things more challenging.

So, what makes the Spurs so good?  

Spurs Pride

"I'm just speechless right now," said Spurs center DeJuan Blair, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds. "Because it's just such an honor to be on this team, on this quest for greatness, and we've just got to keep it going."

Continuous Improvement Mentality

"No coach or team thinks in terms of happy or comfort, those are not words that exist. You keep competing, executing, and trying to improve. It doesn't matter if you have the best record or the worst record."
--Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs head coach.

Fundamental, Mistake Free Basketball

"They don't beat themselves. We were right there with them for a half and we were playing pretty good basketball.The lull that we had in the third quarter where we just couldn't answer any of their three's and their big shots create separation. We were playing from behind and it's tough because they don't make any mistakes to allow you to get back into the game. Tonight was a pretty classic textbook Spurs victory."
--Shane Battier, Houston Rockets veteran.


“We’ve never been one to say, ‘Hey, we’re on the road, we’ll wait till we get back home to win games.  But in this respect, we’ve got so many of them in a row on the road, I think it is all about our focus and trying to get those games, those wins and put them in our pocket and try to become a better team on that trip.”
--Tim Duncan, Spurs veteran.  

Emphasis on Defense

“It’s goal No. 1 all the time and we’ve been a little lacking on it,” Duncan said. “We’ve been winning and that’s been great, but it comes down to the end of the season and the playoffs, we want to be the best defensively as possible. That’s our best chance to win games in those situations. We have to keep working on that and we will, obviously Pop is not going to let up on that.”

Excerpts from,  and (January 31, 2011).