If you read my blog, you know that I write and talk a lot about schemes, plays, diagrams. But lets face it, basketball is a players game. It's the players that come up with the big steals, hit the big shots and win those close games. So how exactly do you develop clutch players? Well, I can't really speak from experience as I haven't coached for that long of a period, but I know clutch players when I see them play. Tonight, Chris Paul was one of those players. While David West will get most of the pub with his 40 points, Chris Paul does all those little things that helps win games. I created a little highlight clip of all those things that great players do to help their teams win those close games. Watch the video and then you can read my thoughts below.

I'll just briefly go over the points that I chose in the video:

1. Get steals. Big players come up with big defensive plays late in games. Everyone remembers the Michael Jordan steal against Karl Malone in game 6 of the NBA Finals. Great players are great at both ends of the floor.

2. Hit big shots. Chris Paul hits the shot with his off hand here. Your best players must be your best players late in games. Don't hold your players back, you must let your best players make big plays to win games.

3. Make your free throws. Sounds obvious, but its a developed skill. Some players can clutch up and hit the freebies when they count, it's tough, especially when you are on the road in a hostile environment. But clutch players always ice the game with the free throws. Chris Paul was 7-for-7 from the line including 6 key free-throws late in this game.

4. Weather the comeback. Against good teams, your lead is never safe. The opposing team will always throw everything at you and in many cases they will make the game a lot closer than you want. Sometimes, there isn't a whole lot you can do, Memphis hit 3 late 3-pointers with less than 30 seconds. Your players must be composed and prepared to keep playing despite the other team getting hot. Chris Paul was calm and collected throughout.

5. Get big stops. When the game is tied, it is the team that comes up with the big stop that will win this game. In this case, Tyson Chandler comes up with the defensive stand against Pao Gasol.

6. Feed the hot player. David West was lights out tonight. So despite Chris Paul being the best player on the team, he is able to recognize that David was not to be denied on this night, and he feeds David who cans the game winning shot in OT.

For a great video on building winning teams and players, take a look at Coach Morgan Wooten's DVD on coaching to win. Coach Wooten is probably the most successful high school basketball coach ever at DeMatha Catholic before retiring. Head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss all of your hoops.