Assuming we can agree that the human body can be divided into four groups- head, torso, arms, and legs- and I’m sure we can, considering our capacity to grasp concepts that most ten-year-old babies comprehend, then we agree that an NBA basketball game is comprised of four parts, or quarters.
The first quarter requires a team to start off running, the goal of which is to set a pace and tempo that is most conducive for success. Whether you are an up-tempo team and would like to create a fast-paced, high-scoring game, or a half-court team, whose strength is grinding out a low-scoring victory with ball movement on offense and ferocious defense, you want to get a jump on your opponent.
The second quarter is the time of game when some adjustments are made. While players rotate from the bench to the floor, in-game patterns start to form. It is time for the coach, through strategic maneuvering, and the players, through on-court reacting, to put their handprints on the current game. It is time to roll up the sleeves.
The beginning of this quarter signals the return flight of this round-trip journey. Whether you’re protecting a lead or fighting from behind, you now have your heart invested in the outcome of this match. You will either put your opponent away, or claw and scrap your way back to even.
The fourth quarter, money time, is the most important part of the game. The legs, which have been running since the first quarter, and the arms, which have shaped the identity of this game since the second quarter, along with the heart and body, which have controlled the entire game to this point, are all now under the control of the head.
Twenty-six point deficit? No problem, there’s time for a comeback. Fifteen-point advantage? OK, let’s put this team away.
No matter what the thought is, your head must be in the game not just mentally, but emotionally.
The first three quarters provide a forum for the body to perform, showcasing the many talents the league has to offer, but the fourth quarter can diminish these efforts to almost nothing. The head can cause otherwise supremely talented individuals to wilt under the pressure of those more headstrong, rendering second-quarter heroics meaningless.
This is where the separation occurs. Some players, and therefore teams, are just not able to put it together during money time for a victory.
Overtime? Now you’re just becoming greedy.