The Houston Rockets have flip-flopped back and forth between the seventh and eighth seed all season. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors are the best team the NBA has seen in recent history. Which begs the question: Are these teams on a collision course to meet in the first round, and if so how can the Rockets upset the reigning champs?
There is a game plan that has to be created. A drastic change needs to happen and I believe there is a way to AT LEAST win one game in a four game series. Now this isn’t a generic “make your shots and play defense” type of strategy. This is a new lineup, players playing new positions, throwing the kitchen sink at them type of strategy.
Last year the Houston Rockets were eliminated in 5 games playing the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Looking back at that series with no Patrick Beverley and no Donatas Motiejunas, you would think we could have an even better shot this year. Unfortunately, Houston is struggling to even make the playoffs with almost the same team. Some can blame heart, some blame chemistry, heck even some blame talent. If any of those reasons are the case, then major changes need to happen. Let’s talk about those changes.
Assuming Golden State would go with the usual Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, and Andrew Bogut starting five, my suggested Houston lineup may surprise you, but an explanation is coming right after.
Houston should utilize James Harden, K.J. McDaniels, Corey Brewer, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. The reason for this lineup is basically for defensive purposes only. Each player has an assignment, and McDaniels has the most important one of all.
McDaniels is only averaging five minutes per game, why is he starting in a playoff series against the best team in recent history?
K.J. is the most athletic player on the team. He has an insane vertical and great recovery defense. His job will be guarding Stephen Curry, and by guarding i mean he will not leave his hip for every second he is on the court. From the inbound way on the other side of the court till there is a timeout or quarter break McDaniels will closely guard Curry.
Energy and fatigue will be an issue but if I’m coach Bickerstaff I’m telling McDaniels to be honest with his body and sub out whenever he’s tired. The killer instinct needs to be installed in K.J. Your duty is to make sure he doesn’t even catch a pass let alone get a good look at a shot. I honestly don’t care what the plan is offensively, do whatever you usually do, but this game will be won by defense.
As for the remainder of the team, Brewer would guard Thompson, Harden would guard Barnes, Ariza will be on Green, and of course, Howard on Bogut. Whenever K.J. needs a break, Beverley, who is a good defender will come in and take Curry. The signing of Michael Beasley comes in handy here because he can come off the bench in aide of Harden to guard Barnes or Ariza to guard Green.
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Nothing would really change offensively, Harden can be Harden and be the superstar he is, Dwight Howard can have more room to work down low with Ariza playing the four and hanging out at the three point line. This strategy will probably not even enter the mind of the Houston coaching staff but my response to that is “What has worked against them so far?”The answer to that is nothing.
You can’t just play this team like they are a normal team, they aren’t. This is a GREAT team. That whole “we trust our game-plan and hope our guys rise to the occasion” nonsense is a quick way to get you swept. You have to take action to see results. As we all know, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Bring the fight to them. Show everybody that you are willing to do whatever it takes to win.
Let’s say we get past Golden State some how, is there really a team that scares you as much as Golden State? San Antonio? Well we beat them once already, OKC? Beat them, Clippers? Beat them multiple times. What I am trying to say is there are answers to some of the reoccurring problems, but is Houston brave enough to go find them. If they do, there isn’t a limit to what we can actually achieve.
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