We’ve all been watching the massacre out West this past week as the San Antonio Spurs continue to make a team that thoroughly disposed of the Rockets look like a junior varsity squad. And by now, most of you have seen some of the quotes and assessments.
fivethirtyeight.com noted upon the sharp disparity in contested shots for the Blazers between the two rounds.
Hardwood Paroxysm recently examined the Spurs’ ability to key in on Damian Lillard.
And lastly, a quote from an opponent is worth a thousand video breakdowns. First, from Wes Mathews: “”They move the ball, they share the ball,” Blazers guard Wesley Matthews said, beginning innocently enough before diving into his checklist. “[The ball] is not going to stick in anybody’s hands. Houston might have been a little easier to defend because you knew where they were going to go. This time, Marco [Belinelli] comes into the game, they run floppy action for him. They run a hammer action for Patty [Mills]. They run angle screens for [Manu] Ginobili, they run angle screens for [Tony] Parker. They’ve got so many weapons.”
And lastly, Robin Lopez: “”With Houston, there wasn’t any…not that much pressure on defense. And offensively, they focused a lot more on isolation game, whereas San Antonio’s swinging the ball.”
There is much more out there, and surely more to come, but initially, the representative sample is a fairly damning indictment of the Rockets’ strategy on both sides of the ball. To be sure, the Spurs are the league standard for tactical combat, so one might label my comments an unfair comparison. But what’s chilling is the realization that for as good as the Spurs have looked this past week, they might still be inferior to both of the teams playing in the other West series (LAC and OKC). The entire matter and the events of the past month have served as a depressing reminder of just how far away the Rockets truly are.