Well, the Sonics are coming to town. Normally, of course, I do the run-down of the type of game the opponent likes to play plus some things I'd like to see from the Blazers. Not today though. The message for today is simple:
Just win it.
I'm not trying to be glib or get out of preview-writing work. I think that's exactly the approach that we have to take for this game.
I'm not Nate McMillan but if I were and if I hadn't tried this approach before, I would try it now. We have prepared you thoroughly 53 times in a row. You know how to win this game. You know you need to rebound hard, contain Kevin Durant, and take advantage of Seattle's unwillingness to defend. You don't need me to tell you that. You don't need more X's and O's right now. The record and the roster both say that you should be a better team than that one across the hall...whether Brandon plays or not. You have to go out there and show it.
If you don't have the desire, nothing can help you win. And I don't mean just thinking it would be nice to pick up a victory, I mean the look, the walk, the confidence, and the opponent-smashing energy to take this game no matter what they try to do. If you want it, nothing can stop you. If you don't want it nothing I say is going to win it for you.
You know what to do. You know who you are. You need to go out there and do it. It's in your hands.
At that point I would absolutely let it go. I would do just as I said and put it in their hands. I would have the confidence in them that they're not showing in themselves. If they come out and take it then a winning relationship has been re-established and you can start to guide them through the next few games, starting with analyzing why they won. If they don't have a good showing then obviously I was mistaken about them being prepared and as soon as is practical we're having a four-hour practice starting from the basics on up. (What the heck, they're not leaving it all out there in games anyway. They might as well do it on the practice floor.)
It's not a night for keys or analysis or heavy strategy. It's a night to just...win...that...game. Period.