How the Rockets flipped the switch defensively
The Rockets’ defense as a whole has been amazing, as they’ve been extremely disciplined in their defensive rebounding and their man-to-man defense.
“A lot of people thought we were in a zone, but our [man-to-man defense] was looking like a zone the way we switched and the way we plugged up the driving lanes,” as D’Antoni said about the Rockets’ defense.
The Rockets caused 15 turnovers, in part because they nabbed eight steals. Their closeout defense has been magnificent, as they allowed the Thunder to shoot 34 percent from three on 32 attempts.
The Rockets had more offensive rebounds than the Thunder with an 11-8 deficit. In the rebounding category, the Rockets were only out rebounded by 48-41, and a seven rebound deficit isn’t bad for a team that employs small ball.
“If we hold each other accountable and everybody does what they’re supposed to, our defense can be the best in the NBA. Everybody always talks about how small we are, but we’ve got to make that our strength,” as Tucker told Cayleigh Griffin after the game.
The Rockets held the Thunder to 39 points in the second half, which made all the difference down the stretch. With the defense tightening up like they did on Thursday, it’s going to be difficult for OKC to rally back in the series.