The games between the playoff teams in basketball resemble nothing more than a battle between the bulls and bears with the individual star and goat players resembling the best and worst performing stocks. What can we learn from the games that will help up in markets?

1. Returns from deficits are often probable. The Lakers were behind by 13 points.

2. Multiple comparisons make ephemeral seasonal and set up patterns completely non-predictive. Boston C's had won 4 of its last 4 games out of 7 in the playoffs. C's had won all 11 finals. They had led 3/2 of 25 finals. The team that had led 3/2 won in 21 of the series. The team that was ahead the first quarter won each of the 6 previous contests. C's were 12/2 in games they held their opponents below 90. All these in C's favor, but they lost. Many more. Similarly for setups for markets.

3. An individual good player or bad player is the difference between success and failure. The placement of Robinson in the game when Rondo got tired was enough to insure loss for Boston as was the loss of their center. An individual stock like Proctor and Gamble, or Apple or GS can be the difference between a good or bad day.

4. The home court advantage is very great. The Lakers were well rested and they know the spins of the balls. The angles of the chess board are key in a blitz game. A market that has not used up all its bullish or bearish juices with a recent spate of victories on the road, i.e. a big up trend is much more ready to perform.

5. A strident approach never beats the thoughtful one. Doc Rivers was yelling at his team to perform and not be heroes while Jackson was patiently telling Kobe not to be so animated.

6. Rebounding is key. The C's shot 7 percentage higher than the the L's. But they were out-rebounded by 10. The markets that have the ability to swing back from deficits throughout the day get more chances to win.

7. The ability to score from the paint was key to the victory. If you take care of the draws, the easy shots, the wins will take care of themselves. A market that goes up or down in an uninterrupted way throughout the day is much more likely to show subsequent superior performance than one that's constantly backing and filling.

8. Good health is the key to victory. The injury to K. Perkins of Boston led to the 53-40 rebounding advantage of Boston that was the key to victory. It also had a ripple effect on the smaller Boston players making them try harder to get rebounds after their shot, and paved the way for the loose cannon Robinson to get in the game to spell Rondo thereby cementing the loss.

9. The tortoise beats the hare. The C's were ahead for 90% of the game, but they managed to lose. It's the team that has not lost all its energy for the final part of the day that is going to win. The C's were all enervated after all the fast breaks and helter skelter shooting so uncharacteristic of them, and reminiscent of the Knicks with no rhyme or reason to their play in the fourth quarter.

10. Never give up. The L's missed more than half their foul shots, made only 30% from the floor, got only 20% shooting from Kobe, and were behind the whole game, including an insurmountable 13 in third quarter but managed to win. They refused to give up. Neither should the market player when behind and he's tempted to stop himself out.

Pitt T. Maner III writes:

Game 7 was not a pretty game. The refs very early decided not to call fouls. The 2 teams recognized that immediately. Defense, boxing out, rebounding and positioning became critical. San Antonio Spurs played that hard defense during some of their title runs.

Boston to some extent overleveraged on defending Kobe. Ray Allen played him tough but the rotation to Kobe left other players open and it was only a matter of time before experienced players like Artest and Derek Fisher hit key shots or picked up rebounds. Lamar Odom began dribbling the ball up the court in Game 6 that changed play setups.

Calm coaching (emotional instructions vs. critical assessments) , adjustments and situational awareness were important. Pacing was key. If you go out too fast in a series or game you can "blow up" in the end. Developing a rhythm is important to success. Very small things like having Vujacic in for free throws made a difference.

The Lakers played hard towards the end of several games they lost. There was a constant pressure that was palpable and it let the Celtics know that if they missed free throws or shots or turned the ball over they could lose. So instead of playing to win the subconscious note was to not lose. Avoidance of choking replaced winning thoughts.

Noise, trash talk , crowd hostility, and assortments of distractions had to be worth 2 to 3 points for the Lakers.

The overall theme seemed to be that hard work, rebounding and experience (the 10 and 13 year veterans) and suffocating defense won out over shooting % and a deep bench. Past history was not predictive—younger players weren't born and had no sense of history in most cases. Bill Russell who?

Ken Drees writes:

The psychology of not losing is more aptly described as the art of losing on schedule.

This has been mentioned before I believe–teams that win game 5 and go into game 6 with a mentality of only having to win 1 of 2 are setting themselves up for failure. Like the Indians against Boston being up so many games in the alcs and only having to win one—just one game and their pitching aces choke. Once you lose the first game, then the subsequent game is a must win and then the pressure is all on you and not on your opponent.

In trading, after a good run–one may think that one only has to trade even or slightly better to keep a winning scorecard. Or in golf, with a lead playing for pars instead of continuing after birdie golf. When you are hot you have to play or trade even better. Its time to focus and excel, not coast to the finish. When you are in a slump, then its hit the practice courts/cages/charts/post-mortems.

Lars van Dort adds:

In the same spirit is something I remember from a book on chess by Max Euwe (world champion 1935-1937). He wrote that after gaining a material advantage, one may have the tendency to play more cautiously. Instead, one should strive to put the extra material to maximum use, keep the pressure on and not shy away from complications. I have often found this thought to be very useful during games of chess and indeed other activities.





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