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If going small…

Expect a ton of smallball this series.  1) Because that’s what the Rockets do and 2) because the Thunder don’t have any lowpost threats, you can’t get punished at the other end.

I began wondering which of the team’s smallball lineups had been the most effective.

In the 205 minutes the team has trotted out the quintet of Harden, Parsons, Asik, Delfino, and Lin, the unit has produced 1.126 PPP while shooting 46.8% from the field.

Replace Lin with Beverley and in those 42 minutes, PPP increases to 1.210 but shooting drops to 42.9%.

I then wondered how the team had fared with both Lin and Beverley in the game, next to Harden, Asik, and Parsons.  To my surprise, that group hasn’t played a single minute together.

The only other viable smallball possibilities see Garcia replacing Delfino (2 minutes, 1.00 PPP, 25% FG if with Beverley, 6 minutes, 1.00 PPP, 50% FG if with Lin) with either Beverley or Lin at the point.

In theory, I’m a big fan of playing Garcia in tandem with Delfino, but in the 130 minutes those two have shared the court, the team has shot just 44% overall, scoring 1.079 PPP.  Ironically though, they’ve held their opponent to 42% shooting and .890 PPP.

To win, the Rockets have to introduce randomness into the equation.  In theory, the ideal then would be, rather than playing smallball going big and feeding Greg Smith and Donatas Motiejunas in the post.  Why?  Because playing small is what the Thunder do best and the Rockets can’t possibly hope to beat them at their own game.  Unfortunately, I don’t see either of these two young players being ready to contribute in a big way.

If I were the coach, I would try some stretches with Lin, Beverley, Harden, Parsons, and Asik.  That keeps Lin in the game for scoring but also keeps Beverley to harass Westbrook.

The NBA playoffs are all about matchups.  In 2005, Houston stole the advantage over Dallas by shockingly inserting Ryan Bowen into the starting lineup in place of a conventional power forward.  Bowen and McGrady were able to use their quickness to keep Dirk Nowitzki in check.  When the series went back to Houston, Dallas countered by going small, reducing the minutes of Shawn Bradley and Keith Van Horn, and increasing the roles of players like Marquis Daniels and Devin Harris.  The Mavs didn’t look back.

To have a chance, Houston will have to get creative and try new things.  Hopefully, they’ll make good use of Beverley and his abilities.

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Total comments: 10
  • Richards says 1 YEAR ago

    We saw time and time again that our coaches had no creativity. But after reading interesting Q&A with Morey, I thought we might see something different. It seems Morey is giving input. He is the only on Coaches listen to.

  • Ostrow says 1 YEAR ago

    If they go small we have to.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    I think part of the reason Thunder have been playing Ibaka center alot is because he is bad at closing out on shooters, and he doesn't have to do that as much at center as he does at PF. But if we play Greg Smith and Terrence Jones at PF then that won't be a problem for them, not unless we play Delfino at the 4.

  • Stephen says 1 YEAR ago

    OKC has been playing their 2 PGs quite a bit recently.

    I'd expect OKC to have Sefolosha in whenever Harden is on the court.

    If McHale runs out his standard small ball unit of Lin,Harden,Parsons,Delfino and random big(Asik,Smith,most likely Jones),I'd expect Brooks to run out Westbrook,Martin,Sefalosha,Durant,Ibaka. Probably Parsons on Westbrook,Lin on Martin,Harden on Sefolosha,Delfino on Durant and Big on Ibaka. Makes for some interesting cross-matches as I'd expect OKC to have Durant on Parsons and Martin on Delfino.

    As for Rockets second unit,the last couple of games had Parsons running the offense w/that group-fairly successfully.

    Parsons stepping up w/second unit allows McHale to play his two experienced players in Delfino and Garcia in a smallball second unit w/Jones.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Thunder's defensive weakness is that Ibaka pooly defends shooters, so if we still had Patterson of if we get Millsap then we would have a chance.

  • Ostrow says 1 YEAR ago

    I was actually thinking about that line-up today. There aren't many teams they can do that against. Off the top of my head I'm thinking GS and MIL. Lin or Beverly are not big or strong enough to guard 2s. They could only do that against other teams that play 2 PG at the same time for a lot of minutes. There are a few more teams that do that semi-regularly, but not as frequently.

    For this series, we can't counter their small ball line-up with a big line-up because who is our 4 going to guard. KD? Martin? Maybe if the Thunder went Westbrook, Martin, Thabo, KD, Ibaka Jones could guard Thabo. But I don't think he could guard Thabo, just the best chance. When the SF you are putting at PF is KD you have to guard him with another SF unless your team has (and I don't want to open a can of worms on this post) a Josh Smith type PF. A PF who really is a SF.

  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago I have to say I am kind of shocked that lineup has never been out on the court. I have to think about this...
  • Jason says 1 YEAR ago

    The horse is dead already stop beating it.


    The "horse" (aka Josh Smith) will be a Rockets next season. Maybe I'll buy you one of his jerseys. Lol
  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago

    And 3. Because all of our PFs stink (which is why we need Josh Smith)


    The horse is dead already stop beating it.
  • Jason says 1 YEAR ago And 3. Because all of our PFs stink (which is why we need Josh Smith)

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