In my experience, most basketball players are creatures of habit. We like things to be the same, that way they are predictable and things become easier. Think about it, we spend hours in the gym performing the same motion over and over again until it becomes a reflex.
I’m sure this mindset carries over to the rest of our activities as well, especially on the road. It’s pretty funny how we all have our ‘assigned’ seat on the plane, the bus, and anywhere else we congregate as a team. These seats are staked out the first time we travel–so you better choose wisely where you want to spend the rest of the season on that first road trip. Any deviation from this seating plan, especially if your name is not Shaq, will not be tolerated.
Naturally, games aren’t any different. Everybody has their own little routine to prepare and very rarely is this routine changed. Some guys like to get to the gym early for treatment, some guys take extra shots, others watch game film or listen to music. GHill, for instance, plays solitaire on his iPhone before every game. I know this because every time he wins, the game makes this annoying little noise to celebrate.
You can always count on Shaq to perform some amusing antics during pregame, as well. His latest thing is deliberately going through his free throw form as coach Porter is going over game assignments. Before the Toronto game he decided to race a small circle around a table in the middle of the locker room to get loose. He even raced Robin to show everybody how fast he is. Hilarious. In my opinion, a small amount of ridiculousness is a good thing before a game. It keeps everybody loose and you play better that way.
Unfortunately, I’m writing this after yet another bad loss, the third loss of the trip. We really got beat badly in Boston, but did not rebound at all for the game in New York. The loss Friday night was a tough one to swallow. We never got in any rhythm offensively and played bad defense all night. Boris and Raja both played very well for the Bobcats, and I have to say it was a little weird to see both those guys in Charlotte jerseys. They both seem okay with their new situation though, which is good. A bunch of the guys all went out to dinner with them the night before in downtown Charlotte. It was great to see them both and be able to hang out a bit before the game.
We are now in Atlanta preparing for a game with a talented Hawks team tonight. It will be another challenge for us considering our performances in the last three games. When teams go on losing streaks like this it is always tough to climb out, it seems as if nothing goes your way. The last three games have definitely been a test of character but I think we will be okay. It’s a tough schedule and sometimes it catches up with you but I think we will come out tonight, play hard, and hopefully get a win.