Top of the Key: Split Decisions
Originally Published: February 1, 2005By Vincent Hui | ESPN Games Fantasy Edge
When Isiah Thomas was still running the show for the Detroit Pistons in the late 80s, Sam Smith wrote in The Jordan Rules that the Chicago Bulls accused their archnemesis of tinkering with the opposing basket the Bulls would shoot at in the fourth quarter. Just this month, a Slate.com writer posted an article on how Mark Cuban briefly experimented with a new way to distract opposing free throw shooters. This isn't anything new. Teams are always looking for edge at home. In pro baseball the groundkeepers manipulate the grass on the diamond, and in pro football the Minnesota Vikings blast their speakers towards the visiting bench in the Metrodome. Does it have any effect on players though? Sure. For some, it's all about playing in the comfort of the stadium you know best with the lighting you're accustomed to and your fans rooting for you. For others, it's a chance to rise to the occasion and stick it to the enemy. The reverse works too though: playing in front of family and friends may make players complacent and going on the road is a chance to escape all the comforts of home. Either way, superstars or role player, underachiever or overachiever, for these guys the arena they play in makes all the difference:
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