The Houston Rockets decided to go ‘small’ playing without a clear-cut center on the court after they traded Clint Capella to Atlanta in February.
Austin Rivers revealed the team that found a way to effectively stop the ‘small ball’ Rockets. It was the blowout loss to the Clippers, a game in which the Rockets scored just 65 points in the first three quarters.
Rivers explained what the Clippers did in that game make the Rockets realized that their way is not perfect according to the veteran guard, per USA Today:
“It wasn’t something that was detrimental to us where we think it’s not going to work,” Rivers told play-by-play broadcaster Craig Ackerman in a Facebook Q&A session on Thursday. “We knew what we have is going to work. We still believe in our small-ball, we believe in what Mike and Daryl put in place. I think what we realized is that it’s not perfect. Nothing’s perfect.
The Clippers defended us in a way that no team had guarded us yet, and teams took note,” Rivers continued. “They played these boxes and elbows strategy, kind of like a zone almost. Two guys at each wing, and then two guys down low in each box, and then the one guy goes to guard James. Because they know, no one is cutting to the basket.
They know that there’s no cutting, there’s no big man down there. They know everybody is around the perimeter, so everybody can zone up and guard the perimeter, and just have one guy chase James around.”
The Rockets went to lose the next two games against Charlotte and Orlando, before stopping their 4-game losing streak (they also lost to the Knicks) at home vs Minnesota.