Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Terry Stotts seems to have full control over his team, and his players play with a newfound confidence.
Basketball is a game of numbers and percentages.
There is no lucky champion.
You may be lucky in a situation, maybe even a game. But over the course of several games—over the course of the season and postseason—luck doesn't decide the outcome.
Smart basketball does.
Terry Stotts understands the game. He and his staff are well aware of what kind of players they have. They crunch numbers and statistics and devise a game plan that will work most of the time.
What may be more important: Stotts has his players believe in his system.
The obvious advantage of the three-point-heavy approach is that the team can rack up points in no time. If the shots fall at a high percentage, we look at lopsided routes like Portland's easy victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
If they don't fall—like the very next day—we will see the Blazers struggling.
They kept shooting threes despite not being able to connect. They didn't change their approach. One was tempted to say they wouldn't learn from their mistakes.
However, Stotts had his reasons not to deviate from his plan.
Eventually, the shots started falling and the Blazers came storming back in the fourth quarter. Paired with a stellar defensive effort, they managed to come back from a 13-point deficit to force overtime and—eventually—win the game on a jump shot by Lillard.
He won the next game with a three-point shot.
Business as usual.
With head coach Stotts giving his players the green light to shoot the ball when open, the team likes to rain down threes on its opponents. It is a great feeling to know your coach trusts you, as long as you follow his plan.
With that individual sense of security comes a lot of confidence for each player.
And wins—especially close ones, where your tactics didn't seem to work in your favor early on—give the whole team confidence. Confidence can be the difference maker. Everything seems easier, there is less self-doubt, less fear of criticism by media and fans.
That is huge.
Just ask Carmelo Anthony.
For more about the NBA follow @kurtjonke.