TRUST. As playoff games go on, as series and games matter more, the quality of trust comes to the fore. When I teach and speak, I often use the phrase “don’t trust your talent, trust your work ethic”.

In the Philly v Nets game, there were a few plays toward the finish that displayed trust. First, the 76ers trust and believe in JJ Redick. In this game, the Sixers had not made a 3 in over 27 mins. Ben Simmons drives and misses, grabs the offensive rebound and, with JJ was 2-10 from the field (2-8 from 3), he still throws him the ball. SPLASH! He trusted his teammate! JJ did the same, he trusted himself. No hesitation lets the 3 go, Philly leads.

In the Spurs Nuggets game, Denver was faced with the prospect of being the #2 seed and going down 3-1 in a series against a perennial great team. This young group looked to each other, trusted each other, shared the ball and shot it with belief. Leading the way was their own star in Nikola Jokic. Playing the game as it should be played, he shared the ball for 8 assists, delivered 29 points and also 12 boards. The Nuggets shot with belief, going 15-31 from 3. They trusted their coaches and each other, competing with and trusting each other when the stakes were highest. They had not won in San Antonio in playoffs since 2007 and had lost 13 straight games in San Antonio.

We’ll see more of it as the playoffs go on. Watch the guys that believe in themselves.