I'm a sucker for well-done motivational coach-speak. There, I said it.
Maybe it's because none of my youth or high school coaches had a particular flair for elocution ("We're gonna take it to 'em!" loses oomph after the 373rd repetition). Maybe it's because, while playing my namesake in "Rudy," Eddie Harris from "Major League" delivered a dope minimalist locker-room speech that made me root for Notre Dame before I was old enough to know better. Or maybe it's because I watched in the theater as coach Al Pacino, for a moment, regained his fastball and said the best thing ever (some NSFW language there).
Whatever the reason, I am squarely in the demographic most likely to love segments in which coaches are "mic'd up" and we get a bird's-ear-listen (what?) into their pregame, sideline and halftime comments. Since the Eastern Conference finals features two of the NBA's great communicators in the Orlando Magic's Stan Van Gundy and the Boston Celtics' Doc Rivers, it should come as no surprise that it's a really good idea to roll tape on their remarks, as proven by this montage from Monday night's pivotal Game 4.
From Van Gundy's agitated pre-tip gesticulation about the importance of stacking stops through Doc's reminder that the Magic are still the defending Eastern Conference champions until Boston drives the final nail into their coffin, this 102-second collection shows two men near the height of the profession that both know what they're doing and know how to motivate grown multimillionaires. In a postseason too frequently lacking in intensity, it's pretty great to watch them ply their trade, and if you're anything like me, it's got you wanting to show on a pick-and-roll and hit the deck for that one loose ball that could make all the difference.
- Stan Van Gundy