Whenever I would play someone one-on-one in basketball, if I thought they had some type of chance to actually beat me, I learned to employ one simple strategy.
Play hard as hell on defense, not giving them an inch of space. Make them work hard to score points against me.
Attack the basket on offense. Even if I didn’t score, they’d have to spend energy defending my drives.
Eventually, always, the other guy got tired first.
Then I proceeded to kick his tired ass for the rest of the game.
The only time this didn’t work was when I wasn’t in shape.
My hometown Philadelphia Sixers, poised for a potential NBA Finals run this year, came out and lost Game 1 of their opening-round series to the Brooklyn Nets this past Saturday.
Sixers franchise player Joel Embiid — the only Philly player for whom Brooklyn has no answer — started the game strong… and that’s about all we can say.
Joel, playing on a bad knee, got out-hustled by Brooklyn players and generally looked tired as the game went on, and the Sixers’ biggest advantage over Brooklyn was rendered useless as they sputtered to a home defeat.
The home crowd booed the Sixers off the floor. And they should have.
You cannot run out of gas during a game. That’s why you practice and train, so the other guy gets tired first, then you take advantage of him. If that’s not happening for you in your games, you’re —
- Not in proper game shape, and
- Leaving opportunity on the table.
College basketball season is over. High school seasons have been over. Many pro leagues are done or are close to wrapping up.
Summertime is upon us — time to sharpen your skills, add elements to your “bag,” and showcase your game on the AAU/club/rec league/tournament circuit (if you choose to participate).
Don’t run out of gas when you most need it.