How do you stop Shaun Livingston?

You could argue Shaun Livingston was the catalyst in Golden State getting back into the game on Thursday night, and almost stealing the victory.  I went back and watched all thirteen of his field goal attempts.  Here were the six made baskets:

  1. a fast break where he got behind Beverley and slammed down an alleyoop pass from Draymond Green.
  2. a semi-fastbreak where Harden picked him and he blew past Terry easily for the slam off the switch.
  3. a post up against Beverley where he just shot up over the top.
  4. a post up where he shot over the top of Beverley.
  5. a post up where Beverley gambled, he got past Beverley, and then he scored over Beasley on the help.
  6. a play where he  pump faked Harden, got him in the air, and hit a mid range jumper.

Here were the seven misses:

  1. A pullup jumper against Beverley.
  2. a missed jumper by Speights that for some reason NBA.com has listed as a field goal attempt by Livingston.
  3. a midrange jumper against Terry where he went around the pick.
  4. a drive against Harden where he missed the layup after a good contest at the rim by Harden.
  5. a post up against Harden where he missed the face up jumper.
  6. a midrange pullup after some dribble moves, against Ariza.
  7. a tear drop in the lane where he was matched up against Harden, Beasley switched, and then he got open after Harden was picked off in the lane.

Not surprisingly, the damage was primarily done against the much smaller Beverley.  The Rockets did a pretty good job on Livingston otherwise.  With Steph Curry coming back, the dynamics will be different tonight, as Livingston will go back to the bench.  But I wonder if Golden State will look to him in the post earlier, something they didn’t look to exploit until the second half on Thursday.

Obviously, you want to keep size on Livingston at all times, and that means either Harden or Ariza.  The problem there is that you need Ariza for Klay Thompson if he’s also on the floor at that same time.  I also worry that we’ll see Corey Brewer reinserted into the lineup tonight as an extra wing for Livingston.

A situation like this would seem tailor made for the strengths of K.J. McDaniels, but I’m guessing J.B. finds his offensive limitations a net negative.  I’d personally play McDaniels with Beasley so that even if Harden is sitting, you know you have a threat to score one on one regardless of the spacing.  Hopefully, the Rockets can keep it close enough this afternoon to where the chess match will matter.






About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of www.Red94.net.

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