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Sports prognosticating

Saturday 5/27/23

* Celtics win again and are now down 3-2. Am I surprised? No outcomes in sports surprise me. Maybe a little. But I can accept them pretty fast as not that surprising.

* People who talk about sports make the mistake of dwelling too much on what they think is going to happen, outcome-wise. You can say what that is, but it can't be the bulk of your commentary, or else you're not offering much.

* What a lot of these people do is make everything about getting the prediction right, as it were. And there's really no way of knowing.

* What you should do is explain why you think what is going to happen will happen. Then you can be dead wrong about the prediction, but that's immaterial. What matters is that your reasoning was sound, and in that reasoning is insight. Winning and losing is out of the hands, even, of logic. You just can't know, and you're reminded of that all the time at all levels of sport.

* When you focus on the reasons why, you can make whatever prediction you wish, and no matter how wrong you are, you'll look capable and have provided value, because your thinking was sound and insightful. That should be what is emphasized. It's also liberating. People don't say certain things because they don't want to be revealed as wrong in the end; that idea of someone else playing the tape and make some snide remark about how they don't know anything on account that their prediction didn't come true.

* It's not something to get caught up in, prognosticating. Thinking and having reasons is what one should concern one's self with. Know what you cannot know. There's a certain Socratic wisdom involved in talking intelligently about sports. Also, a certain humility.

* I still think the Celtics will lose. People have been rather confident in them, though, including when they were down 3-0. They've been hamstrung by their inconsistency. To win four playoff games in a row, you need to be consistent. It's not to say that they can't do this, it's just that to date they've not shown that that's who they are.

* I thought Barkley made a good point the other night: Brown and Tatum take a lot of difficult shots. They don't make offense easy on themselves. And that catches up with you, because you can't score that way night in, night out, especially in the playoffs. The best offensive players I have seen found various ways to get themselves easy baskets. These guys don't do a lot of that. They're "easiest" baskets tend to be three-pointers. Some nights the shot isn't falling, even with relatively open looks. I think that's why so few "bombs away" types of teams--that is, teams that are so three-pointer dependent--have won the championship.

* It's telling when you looking at what scoring was and what scoring is now. 20 points used to be a strong game. For a frontline player. If Robert Parish got you 20, that was good production. That's your Hall of Fame center, who was better at offense than defense, though he was also skilled at the latter. What would that mean now if your Hall of Fame big man scored "only" 20? You'd likely be hurting. It's the three-pointer that has changed so much. And who shoots them. And how many are taken. I about do a double-take when someone pulls up and shoots a mid-range jumper. You'll see runners and floaters, but they're different. It's pretty much threes and drives.


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