Why the Spurs Are Routing the Heat
By Dennis Loo (6/14/14)
There's a basketball saying that "good defense wins games and great defense wins championships." In the 2014 NBA Finals, the saying applies but in a reverse sense. It's not that the Spurs' defense is so great. In fact, Coach Popovich has complained openly about his team's defense. It's that his Spurs' offense is moving the ball so rapidly that the Heat's normally championship-level defense cannot make adjustments quickly enough to be where the ball is.
Watching Game 3 of the series in which the Spurs set a first half team shooting percentage record of nearly 80% was like viewing an advanced clinic in team passing and play, with the time between passes sometimes only as long as a touch pass. When asked in an after-game interview on ESPN about what the single most important factor in their Game 3 rout was (the reporter didn't put it quite that elegantly), Tim Duncan replied "team play." Which is absolutely true. But the most precise answer to the question would have been "time between passes." I have never seen a team pass the ball around to each other so unselfishly and so quickly. There is always an issue in sports (and warfare for that matter) because the amount of territory that the defense can cover is less than what the offense could potentially exploit. Offense has the distinct advantage of taking the initiative and defense always has to react after the fact to what the offense is doing.
What Greg Popovich did after Game 2 - playoff games are always about game-to-game adjustments - was apparently instruct his players to move the ball exceptionally quickly from player to player, overtaxing the Heat's players' ability to adjust to who had the ball, opening up opportunities for shots from the perimeter, drives to the hoop, and shots from around the key. Heat coach Eric Spolstra talks about "looking under the hood" to fix what ails his team. The problem, dear Eric, is not under our hoods but in our adversaries' game plan. As long as the Spurs keep to the game plan, the Heat are cooked.
In the post-game 4 articles that I've read, after the Spurs once again routed the Heat on the Heat's own home court, writers bemoan the Heat's ineffectualness as a team and predict a post-season breakup. What the articles fail to mention, however, is the specific key game strategy of the Spurs. (Perhaps some other commentators who I haven't read have mentioned this.) This is in keeping with a lot of sportswriting: the fine adjustments that teams or individual players make that can produce dramatic one-sided results or exciting upsets by huge underdogs are usually overlooked. Instead, you get stories that wonder about the futility of the losing side and the overwhelming power of the winning side. Most contests aren't so black and white but involve a very subtle modification on one side, producing a disproportionate difficulty for the other side. In other words, athletic contests, like anything else, are dialectical in nature and subject to very small alterations having oversized effects. Popovich has once again proven his value as the best coach in the game.
That is why the US government's claim that it can and is winning the "war on terrorism" is impossible to do as a war. The US strategy is to "take the offensive" and "take the war to the enemy" by bombing and killings, but you cannot eradicate terrorism, first, because it's a tactic and therefore eliminating a tactic is like saying you can make everyone in the world forget that a given tactic exists, and second, because in their state terrorist actions, the US government is exacerbating, not alleviating, the danger of anti-state terror.
This site aims to accomplish two related goals. First, it complements Dennis Loo's book Globalization and the Demolition of Society so that people reading the book can get more deeply into it. (See navigation bar above, labeled "GDS Book Annotations"). We believe that his book is a landmark, providing a solid foundation for politics of a new path. Taking such a path is critical to humanity and the planet's future. As his book's dust jacket states:
[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
Second, in order to get at the truth and because the ways in which humanity's historic striving for understanding and its capacity to wonder and imagine are very rich and diverse, we seek to reflect that richness and diversity on our site. See "About Us" on navigation bar. We intend to be engaging and compelling, as the best investigative journalism and art are, and relentlessly scientific, rigorous, and direct, as those who cherish the truth are. We believe that we can be both accessible and sophisticated. As Loo lays out in his book,
Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)