Ten players registered minutes for the Brooklyn Nets last night, and all but three of those players (Jarrett Jack, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington) are 6’7 or taller. For all the knocks on Brooklyn (plodding pace, lack of offensive creativity, poor defense), they do tall very well. And it was that height that beat the Houston Rockets last night. [read more…]
The Rockets came out of halftime to start the third quarter with this play on Friday night.
It’s some pretty basic action that involves every player on the floor, and ultimately results in a wide open shot. Had he wanted it, Harden could have also lobbed the pass up to Capela, with the right angle.When I talk about the need for the Rockets to diversify their offense, there have been two main points of contention. First, that the Rockets don’t have good passers, i.e. that the reason Golden State is able to do the things that team does is because every player in the lineup is an above average passer. The second point of contention is that such a course of action is unnecessary; that the Rockets rode Harden’s brilliance all the way to the Western Conference Finals last year.To counter the first point, the above illustrates you don’t need great passers to institute motion elements. Harden is still the primary decision-maker here – the rest of the players are just moving parts. In fact such a set doesn’t even take the responsibilities out of Harden’s hands. He’s still the primary decision-maker. This just gives him more options. That leads to the second point. Milking Harden is obviously a winning formula. He’s one of the greatest pick&roll players ever
. But diversifying the offense doesn’t mean taking the ball out of his hands and turning him into J.J. Redick. It would simply constitute mixing things up a bit to give him more options.
The Rockets, sitting at 4-3, look to fatten up their record this upcoming week, scheduled to face a trio of cream puffs. They will not lose to Denver again! In fact, out of Houston’s next 20 games, up until a December 19 matchup against the Clippers, only a pair against the Grizzlies stand as tough match-ups…and the Grizzlies may not even be that good anymore. [read more…]
from the editor
There were two plays in particular in Monday night’s win over the Thunder that offered hope as to why Houston might have a chance this season:
Above, Lawson is clearly looking for Harden at the initiation of the sequence. When the latter is held by Durant, Lawson simply uses the tangle to slip past both men and duck to the basket for the uncontested hoop.
Here, Lawson goes on his own, not waiting for the green light. While the play results in a turnover, it created two wide open looks–one for Thornton, then one for Ariza–and probably would have created a third one had there been a man in that left corner. They won’t always pass up those looks and with time, Lawson will learn the system and know where to expect his teammates to be.Had this been last year, in the second clip, Harden gets it again, having to initiate on another consecutive possession. The first play doesn’t even develop with Harden held. Beverley or Terry would have scrambled around, forced into a desperation shot. That was the outcome we saw time and time again when James couldn’t get free. The team just couldnt get a good shot.For the most part, the Rockets have looked dreadful in these first four games. But, as indicated in the above two plays, there are glimpses of hope.