Daryl Morey explains how the Rockets hung with Warriors superteam

Houston Rockets Daryl Morey (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Daryl Morey (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey spent time on Twitch with a five-time U.S. chess champion to discuss his analytical approach to the game.

Given Daryl Morey’s love for analytics and strategy when it comes to managing the Houston Rockets, it’s no surprise that he’s a huge fan of chess. Morey joined famed U.S. chess champion Hikaru Nakamura live on his Twitch channel Sunday to discuss his approach to the game and how it’s helped his team succeed.

It’s well-known that Morey is a fan of using heavy analytics in an approach to maximize Houston’s chance at championship glory. His approach has led to the Rockets favoring the three over the two increasingly each season and has ultimately led to what became micro ball this year.

While speaking to Nakamura, Morey brought up the tough matchups with the Golden State Warriors and how his approach helped. “You know you have to play perfectly,” started Morey. On top of that, you have to play slightly differently to beat them because if you just play your normal game and grind it out, you’re going to get ground down.”

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Daryl then defended the team’s decision to go for so many threes, even in a Game 7 where they weren’t falling. “We took a lot of criticism,” started Morey. “With Golden State, we took even more threes against them. Well, they were the better team. If the other team is better, you should go for high variance.”

Morey has a point here. The strategy was working well until the unfortunate injury to Chris Paul in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals shifted momentum of the entire series.

“People are critical because we missed a bunch of threes,” continued Morey. “I think we set some record for missing the most threes in Game 7. Well, yeah, that sucked. But we also have no chance of being in Game 7 against them unless we played this high variance style that gave us a chance to beat them even though they were better than us.”

Would the Rockets have been able to win one of two series-clinching games if Chris Paul was available? It’s likely, but, unfortunately, we will never know for sure.

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