Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bulletin Board Material? Idiotic Concept

The LA Lakers' center Andrew Bynum was running off at the mouth again yesterday, saying how easy close-out games can be, before the Lakers blew a close-out game Tuesday night, 102-99, at home to the Denver Nuggets. Bynum was berated for giving the Denver "bulletin board material," the theory being he pumped up Denver with his comments, motivating them to punk the Lakers, foiling a 4-1 close-out.


The whole "bulletin board material" concept is ridiculous. It's old-school nonsense. Supposedly, if a superior team speaks condescendingly about an opponent in the media, that opponent, riled up at being dissed, could rise up, like little David, and polish off Goliath. So coaches want players to speak respectfully of opponents, no matter how lousy they are. That's just what Bynum didn't do. Rather than sugar-coat the other team, he spoke the truth, which almost all players never do. With better personnel and more experience, the Lakers probably don't think much of Denver and feel they should beat them easily. No other Laker would say that. But that's what Bynum, known for being honest with the media, essentially said, thumbing his nose at the "bulletin-board theory."

Coaches have been pushing the "bulletin board" baloney forever, and it's just not true. According to this notion, the miserable St. Louis Rams, if labelled as miserable in the media by a New England Patriots' player, would get so angry that they just might beat the Patriots. That's not the way it works. Words don't lose games. The Patriots could dump all over the Rams in the media and sorry St. Louis still couldn't  muster up enough skill and grit to whip the mighty Pats.

Similarly, what Bynum said about Denver didn't matter. Here's what he said: "Close-out games are kinda easy. Teams tend to fold if you come out and play hard in the beginning." That makes sense. Those words didn't make Denver sky-high. They were just desperate to avoid elimination. The Lakers laid an egg at home because they didn't take Denver seriously enough. LA didn't bring its A game. Defensively, they were a step slow and too timid in the paint. For most of the game they were thoroughly outplayed by point guard Andre Miller and center JaVale McGee. Bynum had respectable numbers, 16 points and 11 rebounds, but he was overpowered by high-flying McGee, who piled up rebounds, dunks and easy layups, consistently making Bynum look like he was stuck in mud.

If the "bulletin board material" concept has any validity it may be that it signals the better team is overly confident and feels it doesn't have to put out its best effort to win. That kind of attitude will lose games, not dismissive comments. If the Lakers had played hard and skillfully for 48 minutes they probably would have won the game, no matter what Bynum said. Fault Bynum for not playing well, not for that so-called "bulletin-board material."