NBA: Learned Behavior


In the 1890s, Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov studied salivation and its relation to the response of dogs being fed.  Oddly enough he soon discovered the dogs would salivate whenever he entered the room whether he was bearing gifts of food or not. The dogs had become conditioned to associate him with food, thus salivation would result.

Hmmm, turns out Pavlov’s dogs were on to something:

Exhibit A—When the Toronto Raptors see the Cavaliers lined up around the logo at half court ….everything they were ever taught about basketball becomes a thing of the past.  Number one seed is typically associated with being in the driver’s seat.  But with THIS team versus THAT team it is more like sitting in the driver’s seat…going through the motions, while parked….until one of your parents comes out of the house.  You know the routine, slide on over to the passenger side.  And by all means move over quickly, they have places to go and zero time to play with you! 

This headscratcher is at the core of a foregone conclusion…that with all of their talent, including but not limited to, bench depth—the Raptors are well on their way to becoming extinct—again!

By contrast, the same fearlessness that led the Pacers to a seventh game showdown with the king & his court runs throughout the roster of both the 76ers and Celtics.   If I were to bet against the best player in the world, it would be in favor of the winner of the Boston-Philly series.  However, the best is worth his weight in gold.  I’m not quite ready to make a wager. I am completely ready though to continue to watch greatness unfold before our very eyes.  A triple double deemed a “bad night” by LBJ himself-Ha!

Out west, Golden State has been conditioned to be downright marvelous!  And Houston has been conditioned tooooo….try to replicate whatever it is that the Warriors are doing!   

It is no secret that fans and talking heads alike have considered the regular season a long list of undercard bouts en route to the main event…the collision course of the Warriors and Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.  Somebody may want to resend that memo to the Pelicans and Jazz.  Do I expect them to win their respective series?  Nahhh.  Do I expect them to make it easy for the anointed ones?  Definitely nahhh!!

“We the North” aren’t alone….many an eastern conference team have come up short in dethroning the king.   Yet the poor body language exhibited by the Toronto players, personnel, fans in the stands & especially courtside is a reminder of Pavlov’s dogs.  I’ve now conditioned myself to tune this series out & will try again next year—maybe!   

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