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3) With more time between games, teams can better prepare for opponents, so offenses have to probe more to score.
4) Aware that each playoff loss brings them one step closer to walking the plank, coaches overemphasize the value of every possession, even as they tell their point guards to "get out and run."
Adjusting to Pressure
Who are the players most inclined to be up-and-down, but who are desperately needed by their teams to be up during the postseason?
1) Guard Rod Strickland, who averaged about four turnovers a game in San Antonio's final 12 games. That's too many. Strickland says the turnovers have nothing to do with the broken bone he suffered in a fight outside a San Antonio nightclub on Feb. 2.
2) Center Vlade Divac, who, according to his Laker teammates, decides before games to hit either the offensive boards or the defensive boards but not both. L.A. can't afford such selectivity during the playoffs.
3) Forward Thurl Bailey, who is capable of giving Utah a possible fourth 20-point scorer ( Karl Malone, John Stockton and Jeff Malone are the others). On those days when he is off target, Big T also is extremely capable of shooting the Jazz right into one of those dreaded early vacations.
4) Guard Brian Shaw, who shot just .354 from the floor in the Celtics' final nine games and did a below-average job of handling trapping pressure.