BC: Markus, Tyler, welcome back to the BasketCases blog!
Markus: Our pleasure.
Tyler: Thanks for inviting us.
BC: Before we start, let’s get the question out of the way that we’re sure everyone's wondering about: how is it that a couple of guys so young are so good at analyzing basketball games?
Tyler: If we got a free diaper every time we’ve been asked that question, Mom and Dad would never have to buy Pampers again!
Markus: Actually, the answer should be obvious. We’ve been around basketball – played at a championship level – our whole lives! Aunt Pam [Ward], Mrs. [Doris] Burke, Mr. [Mark] Jones . . . can any of them honestly say they were on the sidelines, at practices, in huddles, or breaking down film prenatally? No they can’t! But we can! We’ve been soaking up everything we can learn about the game since we were in the womb!
Tyler: That’s right. At my delivery, I refused to cry – because there’s no crying in basketball. So when the Doctor slapped me on the rump, trying to get me to make some noise, I just chest-bumped Markus and we both screamed “Beat Duke!”
BC: (Laughing) Come on guys, that’s a little hard to believe!
Markus: We never joke about beating Duke. Ask Mom if you don’t believe us.
BC: OK, let’s leave that for now and segue into a little pre-game analysis. The Mystics' next home game is a rematch against Detroit on Friday at 7PM. Needless to say, the Mystics didn’t fare so well in Detroit last week. Turnovers, trouble scoring . . . not exactly one of the Mystics' best efforts.
Tyler: Every team has difficulty when they play the Shock with Coach Laimbeer and Coach Mahorn on the sidelines. The Mystics are no exception. It’s the gravitational pull.
BC: Gravitational pull? Are you serious?
Markus: Have you seen those two guys? They could qualify for their own zip code!
Tyler: Markus, that's not polite. Really though, it’s quite simple. Research has shown that the additional mass in proximity to the court when those two gentlemen are sitting next to each other causes the basketball to hook or slice in the direction of the bench. Thus all the missed shots and above-average turnovers.
BC: We’ve never heard that! That’s amazing! But why wouldn’t it affect both teams equally?
Markus: Well, it does and it doesn’t.
Tyler: That’s right. Think of it as a home court advantage, but one they get to take on the road. The Shock practice and play every day with their coaches. Over time, subliminally, Detroit’s players adjust their shots and passes for the effect of the higher gravitational force coming from the Shock-bench end of the court. So while the force is still there, it doesn’t seem to affect the Shock as much as it does their opponents.
BC: So does this mean that you expect the Mystics to have another off night on Friday when Laimbeer and Mahorn come to the Verizon Center?
Markus: We think the Mystics could do much better playing at home.
Tyler: That’s right. But only if they take certain precautions. Specifically, they need to increase the mass of their own bench. Fortunately, the Mystics have a massive coach of their own. But Coach Rollins alone won’t be enough. They need to position Pax, you know, the fat Panda, next to Coach Rollins. The two of them together should help create a stronger gravitational field around the Mystics' bench. It won’t cancel out the pull from Coaches Laimbeer and Mahorn, but the Shock players won’t be used to feeling the additional force on that end of the court and thus we predict that they too will have more trouble shooting and passing the ball. It provides the Mystics with a much better chance. We think an upset is definitely possible.
BC: Well that’s good to hear! And thanks so much for your insightful analysis. By the way, will you be joining the BasketCases at the Phone Booth Friday night?
Tyler: (Shaking head) Past our bedtime!
Markus: There’s that . . . the old bedtime problem. And there’s also the fact that all that extra gravitational pull could be dangerous for little guys like us. If we got close, we could get pulled into an orbit and end up circling the Shock coaches like a couple of moons. So we’ll just have to ask Mom and Dad to record the game for us, since it's being broadcast on Comcast Sports Net here in the DC area, and nationally on NBA-TV.