Houston Rockets 110, OKC Thunder 105: Something to build on

  • This will sound annoying, especially for those still high off the win, but I’m still not a big fan of a lot of things that led to the process, all of which are things I’ve been writing about for the past few years.  But I’ll keep saying it until I’m blue in the face: I don’t think you can win a championship with the majority of your set plays consisting of four guys watching Harden dribble the ball.  I said this weekend, or maybe it was in the roundtable that is due to be published tomorrow, that Harden would get hot again shortly and lead the Rockets to the win.  And while all might seem right in the world because of that result, it’s not sustainable at a high level.  You can’t just live and die with Harden, because inevitably, he’s going to have off nights, like the three he had to open the season.  Yes, yes, he led us to the win tonight, we can all celebrate, but I’m focused more on what happens on the nights he is cold.
  • Clyde mentioned several times tonight that “when Dwight has a mismatch, you have to feed him!” almost as if it wasn’t nearly an automatic turnover every time he gets it in the post.  I tweeted last week that Dwight’s the one guy who is doubled not so much because you’re scared of him scoring, but because you know you can take it away.
  • Despite bullet #1, Houston looked much, much better tonight in terms of movement, though most of that came in the first half.  Corey Brewer, in particular, was very active off the ball.
  • The play around the 3:00 mark of the fourth quarter that saw Kevin Durant deny James Harden the ball, with Ty Lawson then attacking the rim and scoring completely symbolized what was missing last year, and the hopes for 2016.  That play resulted in a contested Ariza 3 or a Beverley floater last year, with no secondary playmaker.  Indeed, this was Lawson’s best game of the year, with glimpses of what can possibly be.  A trip or two down later, Lawson ran a 1-2 pick and roll with Harden, getting into the paint and setting up Ariza for an open look.  Trevor passed out of it, and the team came away with nothing, but you could see the potential.
  • There’s really no reason Harden and Lawson can’t play off of each other, rather than taking turns, as the play I cited indicated.  It’s exciting seeing, and imagining the possibilities.  And it was exciting seeing the team, after years of frustration, actually have a secondary playmaker, someone who can make something out of nothing, and get shots for himself and others.  Harden and Lawson.  Let’s forget about games 1, 2, and 3.  This can work, and this is what they can be together.

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