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National TV Hogwash

Posted by dennee on April 2, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Anyone who has ever taken even a basic statistics course should remember that just because a correlation exists, that does not necessarily indicate causality.

Everywhere you look, a big deal being made about Rondo getting most of his triple doubles when the game is nationally televised. Whether a paid sportswriter or an amateur blogger, the story is the same and repeated.

What apparently no one considers is it may be pure coincidence. It is commonly acknowledged that athletes get "motivated" for all kinds of reasons. Garnett was especially so against Kevin Love and his old team, Minnesota. Dooling finally came to life against his old team, Milwaukee. The Celtics and Lakers always get amped up when they play each other and either can just as easily look terrible the next night against a "lottery" team who should have no business even being competitive.

It is difficult if not impossible to identify why players have superior performances on a given day and only average, mediocre, or poor performances on others. I know there are days for me at work where everything is easy, it just clicks. It is probably as simple as I had just the right amount of sleep, I ate just the right food, I have no particular distraction, or who knows what. Then there are other days that just suck,and seem totally out of character. I am sure it is not that much different for athletes. Some days you just plain feel good.

For Rondo, his motivation seems to be that he gets "up" more than normal anytime the Celtics play a contender, especially if that contender has one or more all-stars and if they have a point guard that some consider to be better.

The correlation that I spoke about in the beginning is that it is only these types of teams that are nationally televised. Let's face it: no one is going to tune in to see 7-43 Charlotte take on 13-40 New Orleans. So if Rondo, like many players in many different sports, gets more motivated when playing a winning opponent and those are the games that receive national coverage, then it stands to reason that most of the best performances would come during these telecasts. But, that does not mean that the TV coverage is the cause of the extra effort.

It is just another urban myth that just keeps getting repeated. It makes Rondo look vain and petty. Even if you don't like the guy, he deserves better.

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Reply paul
2:14 PM on April 2, 2012 
Rondo gets amped for good teams. That's what you want.
Reply Franklin
2:26 PM on April 2, 2012 
Good Rondo talk about everyone on the site today. I agree that Rondo gets up for the big game.
Reply paul
2:43 PM on April 2, 2012 
Franklin says...
Good Rondo talk about everyone on the site today. I agree that Rondo gets up for the big game.

He's got several coming this week, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure.
Reply Celticslifer
8:35 PM on April 2, 2012 
A good chunk of the Celtics games are on National TV because they bring the ratings, and their still a good team. The odds are in Rondos favor because he's that good, and the chances are their.
Reply jlil89
9:08 PM on April 2, 2012 
So so silly that they must dig this coincidence out and shine it on Rondo. Ever heard of stepping up your game when it is needed most? Absurd.
Reply paul
9:28 PM on April 2, 2012 
They keep digging against this guy. he doesn't fit the poster.