I've already written about Chris Paul and why I like him so much. He may not score 30-plus a game but he has that uncanny ability to win games. When the game gets close, you want your best players to step up and make plays. That's what Chris Paul does, he makes plays, his ability to flat out win games is invaluable. Tonight, as the Blazers were making a run late in the 4th quarter, it was Chris Paul who made the plays that sealed the deal. Here was a critical game-winning sequence of 4 plays with less than 3 minutes left and the score 81-74 for the Hornets,

The critical 4 sequences went like so:

1. 3:16, 81-74, Chris Paul with the steal, Pargo with the finish
2. 2:38, 83-74, Chris Paul 1v1 against Blake, scores the layup
3. 1:55, 85-74, Chris Paul 1v1 stop and pop mid-range jumper
4. 1:20, 87-76, Chris Paul penetrates and finds an open Peja Stojakovic

Final score, 96-81

At times, I think we as coaches over-think and over-coach situations. When the game is close, I always like to keep plays simple. Design your offense around putting the ball in your best player's hands in a position to make a play. On defense, switch everything, closeout shooters, and last but not least rebound the basketball. In the clutch, it is your players that will win the game, not any special game winning play or defense.

For more great info on developing a winning team concept, check out Hubie Brown's DVD on his Secrets to Winning Basketball. Hubie Brown is one of the most brilliant minds in basketball in my opinion. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk about this and your favorite basketball topics.