One of the funny things about basketball is the dynamic that goes on between doing your thing and focusing on your own team versus adjusting and reacting to what your opponent's strengths and weaknesses are.
We love to talk about adjustments that coaches make, especially in the playoffs, but the reality is that winning teams are trying to force their will on the other side. They want to play within their comfort zone and make the other guy react to it and get out of theirs.
The Phoenix Suns were given a lot of credit for employing (with some success) a zone defense against the LA Lakers in the NBA Western Conference Finals, but the reality is they were forced into that because they had no other options for stopping the better team. You will rarely see the team that's playing from it's heels win a series.
When things get really fun is when you have two stubborn and confident coaches who understand this and are dead-set convinced that they've got the right plan. It's that battle of wills that makes playoff basketball so great and it's why a series is always more fun than a single game tournament.
Mercury coach Corey Gaines certainly isn't expecting any surprises from the Seattle Storm.
"Nope, seen it all. Unless he comes out with a 1-3-1 press, which I would love, or a 2-2-1 old John Wooden full court press," Gaines joked before leaving Phoenix for tonight's Game 1 in Seattle.
Storm coach Brian Agler is one of the best basketball minds around. He understands the game as well as anyone and gets the most out of his players and Gaines understands that as well.
"He does his things, we do our thing. I don't think he's going to change from that," he said.
Gaines is ready for that as well. He doesn't expect Agler to change things up at all, in fact he's hoping he doesn't, "Hopefully what we do makes them do something we're used to seeing. It's about us."
And so the chess match begins.
Gaines and his team feel like they know how the Storm will react to different situations are are prepared for that. If Agler adjusts and changes his plan to throw off the Mercury he's also playing out of his own team's comfort zone. The same of course, is true going the other way.
In the end, the team with the most options -- which is a result of having better talent and being well prepared -- will win.