TMac is a loser?
Seeing TMac hanging his head as Houston are looking to continue his inability to push past the first round, one can't help but question what is it that makes one player an eternal loser and another a winner. I'm not calling TMac a loser here either, but the man doesn't seem to be able to get the monkey from his back. Other players have had similar labels, whilst some we associate with winning; Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson and Kobe too. All winners have experienced losing - it's an essential ingredient to being a winner in fact. You have to learn from those losses, learn how to deal with the hurt and use that to fuel what drives you to the next level.
I think TMac is a classic player that wants to be better but doesn't understand what it takes to move to the next level. The other side of the coin is that you have to understand where luck comes in. Just like in life you need to know when to apply pressure to change the things you can change, and when to have the wisdom to accept things you cannot change.
A lot of it pivots around confidence. You cannot win without confidence: whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you're probably right. At the same time confidence alone won't do it, it's a fragile belief that can lead to self-doubt when things go wrong. Look at KG right now, brimming over with confidence and listening to the hype about the Celtics and suddenly getting out-hustled by a team they should be sweeping. I think confidence that comes from true belief forged from hard work and dedication is the key here. You must truly believe that you can overcome the obstacles no matter what they throw at you.
But for me, the real key is adaptability. Having the confidence in your own ability to adapt and overcome the situations that get thrown your way. Tactics play a huge part in a 7-game series, but essentially when you're on court it's how you adapt to the situation that will ultimately determine your success. When there's a clear mismatch in skill and your team is winning easily one minute, you know that will change, but you have to be able to adapt to the ways it changes, weather the inevitable storm and taking what is available.
For TMac and Houston to win, he'll have to do something he has never proved at playoff level - the ability to adapt and change to do whatever it takes to get past a team they really can beat. I just don't see it happening.
Of course, Boston will probably win in 6 and KG can get his cocky back on, but he and the team will need to adapt to the upstart Hawks. Detroit will probably win in 6 when they put in the work that made them one of the toughest teams in pro-sports.
The key for Kobe and these Lakers is how will they adapt to changing circumstances.
Winners win.. losers lose and the excuses follow..