Defensive breakdowns in the Rockets’ loss to the Clippers

I went back through every made basket by the Clippers in their win Friday night over the Rockets. This is unscientific. I didn’t have the time to go back through missed shots or turnovers (e.g. the non-made baskets.) I also couldn’t see the possessions which resulted in free throws because doesn’t log them in its play by play. So take all of this with a grain of salt. If a player looks particularly bad in this aggregation of made baskets, that doesn’t preclude the possibility that they could have fared well in other successful possessions. Lastly, I didn’t include made baskets which I determined were defended well but where the offensive player just made a spectacular offensive move. Thus, some discretion was involved here, making this even less scientific. I am not a scientist. I am a lawyer with a free hour on a Sunday morning while his four-month old infant naps.

On to the clips.

I’m not sure exactly what happened here, but P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green get tangled up. They didn’t know if they were supposed to switch.
Capela was supposed to rotate here but is caught napping after Lou blows by Tucker.
I don’t know if I would say that this was necessarily a breakdown, but I would have liked Gary Clark to be able to stay in front of his man without fouling here.
I don’t know what Melo is doing here. He sort of loafs his way up to Lou, neither cutting off the drive or putting himself in a position to contest. It was like he didn’t anticipate the possibility that Lou could attack at that point.
Pat Beverley puts the breaks on after the drive and backs it out. Instead of staying on his toes and regathering himself, Melo completely relaxes and is in no position whatsoever to contest.
I don’t know what Melo is doing with this double team. He sort of walks over and puts his hands up? You either want to double aggressively to make the pass difficult or hedge back on your own man. Something like this just makes it 5 on 4.
Gallo dives in on the cut and Melo offers no resistance beyond a shove in the back.
This was from the first quarter. Melo gets pinned inside against Harrell and offers no resistance.
This is the second time Gerald Green gets stuck not knowing whether to switch or stay.
Gary Clark getting blown by again on the perimeter.
Slow closeout here from Capela.
Harrell slips the pick and leaks free, and the help is late from Gordon.
Harrell backs down Anthony for the easy hook shot. That’s sort of a problem if backup bigs are scoring this easily on him, because he isn’t going to be stopping people on the perimeter either.
Watch the end of this play. Chris Paul comes over to help, as he’s supposed to, and then Capela comes and contests, disrupting the shot. Anthony is stuck in no-man’s land doing nothing. He only realizes he should go try to gather the rebound once its too late.
No one got back. Anthony is the closest, and he’s way too slow here.
I don’t want Hartenstein switched onto guards in the future, particularly Steph Curry.
See my thoughts above.

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


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alan randall
alan randall

New to this site and have no way to watch the games. Appreciate what you are doing and now see how bad Melo is NOT trying to play defense. As a SU fan for 40+ yrs. I am appalled at the lack of effort/pride that he shows. Has he no shame or has Bball become a 1 sided affair for him? Beginning to think he will stay with Houston for the entire yr. only ifhe avgs. 30/10. How else do we cover his liabilities? Jackson ruined him in NY…..

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