What it takes to win on the road in the NBA playoffs
During last night’s late night segment of TNT’s Inside the NBA, Kenny “The Jet” Smith outlined the specific Recipe For Success on the Road in the NBA Playoffs which he developed years ago as a key member of the Houston Rockets back-to-back championship teams in the mid 1990′s, in concert with Rudy Tomjanovich, Sam Cassell, Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Horry, Mario Elie, etc.
It goes like this:
1. A Terrific NBA Head Coach … who is battle-tested, has the respect of his players, has tremendous confidence/belief in the ability of those players, and has the ability to change game plans effectively on the fly [i.e. throwing out everything which you've prepared to execute up to that point and implementing something new/different which is exactly what's called for in a specific set of circumstances in the midst of that game].
2. A Strong Bench … which is deep, talented and versatile.
3. A Star Player on that Strong Bench … who is capable of dominating a game at any given point in time, given the specific strengths which he brings to the table.
4. Two Dominators amongst the best 5-Man Unit … who are each capable of taking control of a game for long stretches at a time and making winning plays anywhere on the court.
5. A Beast … who is capable of asserting his influence on a game single-handedly and willing his team to victory on the basis of his play.
6. A little bit of L.U.C.K. … with the ball bouncing the right way at the right time.
According to Kenny Smith, each and every year:
* There are ONLY 3 or 4 teams in the entire league who actually have what’s required to win on the road in the NBA playoffs
* If your team doesn’t have each and every one of those 6 elements going for it then you can simply scratch their name off the list of LEGITIMATE CONTENDERS for the NBA Championship that season.
FWIW … know that both Charles Barkley [who gave his verbal approval to Kenny's list last night] and yours truly [who's giving it now] are in complete agreement with The Jet when it comes to understanding exactly How the NBA Game Actually Works, in this specific instance.