1. Mike D’Antoni
Coaching plays a significant part in any team’s climb to winning an NBA title. Unfortunately, Coach D’Antoni disappeared at the worst possible time when the Rockets needed guidance the most.
When the Rockets were making shots, D’Antoni looked like the complete sideline general. He was able to let his team loose, and they played their game. Despite their defense reverting to their old ways, Houston was scoring with ease, so for most of the game, their offense made up for their defense. However, when the Rockets suddenly went cold from the floor, D’Antoni didn’t make any adjustments on the offensive end to get the Rockets out of their funk.
They started the third quarter shooting 8-for-8 from deep, but they ended the game shooting 5-for-26 since the five-minute mark of the third quarter. When D’Antoni saw his team was losing their grip, he should’ve made adjustments by convincing them to get higher percentage shots or put them out in space and have them get better looks off screens or backdoor cuts.
Anything would’ve been an upgrade from what they were doing, but D’Antoni sat back and let Billy Donovan outcoach him en route to an OKC victory.
D’Antoni has to step up as a seasoned coach in this league and make winning calls in tough situations that arise during the playoffs. If not, Houston will continue to struggle late in games and find themselves outside of the bubble earlier than expected.
Next: Reasons 2 & 3