Thursday, May 2, 2019

Houston's Defensive Plan Against Golden State

With all of the hype going around about Kevin Durant's MVP performance throughout the NBA playoffs its easy to miss the obviousness of Houston's game plan and why it hasn't worked so far, nor will it work to win the series. 

It's so obvious it's embarrassing that I am the first to point it out.

In the Warriors first series against the Clippers the plan was to prevent Durant from getting any kind of rhythm thus making others around him carry the load. Mainly Draymond Green and Andre Iquodala once Demarcus Cousins got hurt.

The thought process wasn't terrible because neither Green or Iguodala are known as scorers. Rather they are more inclined to distribute, play strong defense and rebound. 

The problem was that with that game plan it meant they would accept Curry and Thompson scoring which as we now know, was a bad idea.

So, here comes Houston with the new and improved game plan learned from the mistakes of the previous series.

They have chosen to limit scoring from Curry and Thompson using ball pressure and tight man to man defense. On switches, the Rockets wont use a lineup that avoids mismatches because they believe Capella's presence is needed on the defensive side and for offensive rebounds. My belief is that it's more about the offensive rebounds because Houston doesn't shoot high percentage shots leaving the need for an offensive rebounder. 

With all the obvious weakness's in Houston's defense it wouldn't surprise me if Mike D'Antoni came into the series hoping to keep pace with the Warriors and win close games at the end. When a team has so many weakness's it becomes hard to hide players or keep another offense from targeting them.

Add to their problems on defense is the belief that by allowing Durant to score two pointers, Houston could outscore them with the 35 3's they shoot per game. IF it was any other team maybe this would have a chance. But it isn't any other team.

The Warriors don't use the entire 24 second clock and believe in having more offensive possessions per game than their opponents. 

They add to offensive success by shooting high percentage shots that come from a team concept of moving the ball to find the open player. 

When a team chooses to accept letting a player move freely on offense, get to his spots, create opportunities for other players it will always fail as opposed to using team defense with every player needing to communicate and dictate an opponents drive. 

This isn't the Houston Rockets make up and is why they will never make it to the NBA Finals with James Harden or Chris Paul on the team. They are great players. They aren't what's needed to win a Championship.

The proof is in how Houston closed the gap to the Warriors when Harden came out for his injury. It was a different team that played as a unit. Not 5 individuals.

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