If you’ve already lost a pair, most seem to think you shouldn’t even bother showing up
I noticed something during yesterday’s fallout from Golden State’s dominating win over Cleveland in game two of the NBA Finals last night, something I started noticing after the Sharks dropped game two of the NHL Stanley Cup Final to the Penguins.
In the modern sports media landscape, if your favorite team finds itself in a two-game hole during a seven-game series, you may as well start making plans for the coming weeks. A two-game deficit seems to have become a modern death sentence.
It happened after the Warriors were pushed to the brink against the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. Like I mentioned, it happened again when the Sharks lost the fist two games in Pittsburgh, and again yesterday.
Why are we so quick to count these teams out?
Don’t get me wrong, you won’t find me laying any coin on most teams that are down 2-0 or 3-1, no matter the situation. More times than not, that deficit does mean a team is starting to lose control of a series. Often, it means they are pushed to the brink of elimination, and that’s not a spot any team wants to find itself in.
But maybe we can all take a deep breath when it comes to these two-game differences. Maybe when a team loses two straight, especially two games on the road, it just means they had some bad nights. Especially when the games have been close, as was the case with the Stanley Cup Final this year.
The Sharks lost both of those games, yes, but only by one-goal margins. They even pushed one to overtime. They could have won either game.
“Yeah, but they didn’t,” I hear you say. “And besides, losing two close games can really affect a team mentally.”
Well, we saw how quickly fortunes can turn in game three. As fans everywhere counted the Sharks out for good, they came back and flipped the script. Then, in game four,the Penguins took control of the series again in game four, as Malkin and Murray powered them to a win. The Sharks now face elimination on the road. It obviously doesn’t look very good. And I don’t have much faith in a Cleveland comeback, either.
But Golden State was able to make a charge. And, while they didn’t win the series, the Anaheim Ducks came back to win three straight after losing in the first pair of games to the Nashville Predators.
So, next time, let’s all take a deep breath, and relax. (But if they lose game three, we can go ahead and write them off.)