Doc Rivers praised the composure of Kawhi Leonard after the Los Angeles Clippers star guided his team into a 2-1 series lead over the Dallas Mavericks.
Leonard shone in a 130-122 victory for the Clippers in Game 3 as they edged ahead in the Western Conference first-round battle.
His performance yielded 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and coach Rivers stressed it was the clear mind of the two-time NBA Finals MVP that proved telling.
"He's just smart," Rivers said. "He kind of sees the game, it's amazing.
"That was a fast-paced game, but for Kawhi … he can see the game. Even though it's fast and he goes fast, he's never in a rush and he knows where to go.
"I thought his playmaking was incredible.
"Obviously his scoring, his defence, but I thought his playmaking set the tone for everybody else."
Less effective was Paul George, the Clippers guard who shot just 3-for-16 and admitted he is susceptible to such off-nights.
George said, quoted by ESPN: "I'm no James Harden. That's not my knack ... to just shoot the ball, score the ball. I can and I pride myself on being effective on both ends.
"But there's going to be nights like this where I just can't make a shot, and I can't allow that to affect my game."
It was a second straight game where George has struggled to put points on the board, but Rivers said: "I'm not worried about it.
"He's a great player. He's human. I can guarantee you this, he has not forgotten how to shoot. It will fall for him."