Dubs Stun Rockets by Neutralizing Harden
To repeat an old obviosity, that's why you play the game.
James Harden and the Rockets -- yes, Houston's now in Diana Ross & the Supremes mode, as opposed to The Supremes -- have just been whacked by the latest monkey wrench that may ultimately hinder their quest for the NBA title this time around.
The Golden State Warriors may have only been 7-24 coming into Christmas Day, but they still manage to cause headaches for Houston, just like they always have.
This time, it was different.
With both Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in deep storage, it's as close to a lost season as Golden State could have imagined. This doesn't mean Steve Kerr and Staff have kept their heads down, though. They're still good for an ambush or two.
Like their 116-104 way of saying Merry Christmas to heavily favored Houston.
Dudes just out-strategized Houston.
- Sure, they double-teamed the hell outta Harden as often as possible,
- They forced him to his right, which isn't his preference ...
- More importantly, the Dubs took pains to avoid fouling him, minimizing the impact of his 87.5% FT success rate on an average of 12 trips to the line per game.
- To top it off, they kept running reinforcements out there to make him scratch for every opening he got, and there weren't many.
Draymond Green was a big fan of Jarron Collins' defensive plan to double James Harden whenever he touched the ball.— KNBR (@KNBR) December 26, 2019
"That game plan (long pause) was F------ phenomenal." 😂 pic.twitter.com/kH7DfCzFXI
Jarron Collins is responsible for the State's defensive schemes, and he gambled that Russell Westbrook couldn't do enough damage to make a difference.
He was right, in this game, anyway. Dude went 11-32 from the field for a lousy 34% that even his 8-8 from the stripe couldn't atone for.
Harden's numbers, meanwhile, were those of mere mortals. He was 'held' to 24:
- 9-18 overall from the field,
- 6-10 from the ozone layer, and what really hurt,
- 0-1 from the line.
Dude was nails with an efficient 22-point evening, including a 10-10 performance from the line. That's part of a useful stint where he's averaging 14.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 30.7 minutes.
They'll love him in Santa Cruz.
That's how a two-way works. Lee's limit is 45 days with the Dubs, and he's now got only 14 left.
Kerr's already said he'll ride Lee hard and put him away wet. Then, it's on to another solution.
Meanwhile, the rest of the league surely took notice of how Golden State handled Harden, so it's on Mike D'Antoni to respond. Collectively, the rest of his team could only manage a 31% effort from the field, so they've got some stepping up to do.
Not to mention being sure to keep Harden healthy.