Dubs Do What They Do, Rockets Do What They Don't; Dubs Advance
It's been said many times before.
Playoff series are simply a different sort of competition than what teams encounter in the regular season:
- A club's style of play can be broken down to the smallest detail,
- tendencies can be analyzed, and
- longer-term strategies can be implemented to cause attrition.
Sooner or later, a weakness can be found and exploited.
This created two problems, clearly evident in Game 7:
- Golden State has been a better deployer of his arc-popping + pick-&-rolling offense than his teams, and
- Gunner-in-chief James Harden took his role 'way too literally, as he's done 'way too often in this series.
As a result, no one needed Nostradamus to tell them before Game 7 began that it'd follow damn near the same story arc as Game 6, especially:
- the Dubs' double-digit halftime deficit, followed by
- a couple of Steve Kerr's subdued comments adjustments made during the break that righted the ship, and
- the third-period runaway that ensued.
What's confounding about all this is elite players and coaches should know better.
Gabe Kapler had a credible career in baseball, and yet, he drank -- chugged, actually -- the sabremetric Kool-Aid when the Phillies named him to his first managing job this past winter.
- What's he do? Strictly adheres to changing pitchers after facing the opposition lineup twice through the order, like the Dodgers did when winning the National League pennant last season.
- What happens? Dude's so mechanically tied to the formula at the 2018 season's start that he makes a pitching change without noticing he didn't have a reliever warmed up.
In Houston's instance, let the basketball players make basketball plays.
All the data analysis in the world won't work if the ball isn't falling. And ask the Celtics about trying to sabremetric LeBron James out of a series.
When long-range bombing is Plan A and that results in a 101-92 end-of-the-line performance for Houston because they went 7-44 from threebie-land, the fact that they weren't prepared with a Plan B -- in the full knowledge that Chris Paul was out -- means someone's too stubborn to win.
Maybe the Rockets need this dude to be their next coach:
Yes, it did go seven, but what a series this coulda and shoulda been.