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Business Insider: Jazz's radical defensive strategy showed how unguardable James Harden is

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Shaq2Yao, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Shaq2Yao

    Shaq2Yao Member

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    https://www.businessinsider.com/jam...-2019-4?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds

    How unstoppable is James Harden? The Utah Jazz tried to slow him down by only letting him score in one way. Unfortunately, for the Jazz, it didn't work.

    The Houston Rockets beat the Jazz in Game 1 of the playoffs on Sunday. One big takeaway from the matchup was that the Jazz will need to find a new way to guard Harden.

    Harden had a modest game by his standards, with 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists, but it was the way he shredded the Jazz's radical defensive strategy that ought to concern Utah.

    The Jazz borrowed a defensive strategy a few other teams have used this season: giving Harden open drives to the right.

    The logic is multi-faceted. The Rockets try to score on shots at the rim or on three-pointers, with nothing in between. Their offense is based around Harden running the pick-and-roll, driving to the basket, pulling up for three, or spraying the ball out to shooters when help comes.

    The Jazz's strategy was to take away Harden's left hand (his dominant hand) force him right, with a defender on his hip to corral him to center Rudy Gobert in the paint. The strategy is supposed to prevent Harden from pulling up for three or getting all the way to the rim, instead, forcing him into awkward, contested shots from middle distances.

    As TNT's Kenny Smith said on "Inside the NBA" on Sunday, the Jazz weren't "forcing" Harden right — they were just "allowing" him to go right.

    [​IMG]

    But Harden is so good that he navigated it quite easily, sinking floaters or finding his big men for lobs.





    Other times, Harden simply found the open man.



    The Jazz were copying a defensive strategy the Milwaukee Bucks used effectively against Harden during the regular season, but there were a few key differences.

    One problem that many in the NBA world noted: Gobert was coming too far out on Harden. That allowed Harden extra space to dribble around Gobert and for Rockets center Clint Capela to slide behind Gobert for lobs. As a result, it forced the Jazz to send help down to Capela, leaving shooters open.

    [​IMG]

    Compare this with how the Bucks defended Harden. Some of it is a natural advantage, with long-armed, athletic defenders like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Eric Bledsoe cluttering Harden's passing windows. Also, note that Brook Lopez stayed closer to the basket than Gobert.

    [​IMG]

    Another difference to note: Harden's kickout options are to the top of the key and the wing. Even if he got the ball past Antetokounmpo and Middleton, it would take longer to arrive to P.J. Tucker (17) and James Ennis (4). Both Bucks players could recover on time to contest.

    Against the Jazz, Harden could deliver the ball on time to Tucker, who was open in the corner, with little chance for a Jazz defender to recover.

    Here is another example. Harden made this floater, but it's the type of shot the Bucks could live with. Passes to the outside were contested, and Lopez and Antetokounmpo came up just far enough to make Harden pull up instead of getting to the rim.

    [​IMG]

    The Jazz could make adjustments to this defense, mainly in their positioning — keep Gobert closer to the rim, have help defenders play more center field to clog things up. They had more problems than just guarding Harden, and Harden shot just 43% from the field, a possible sign that some of what Utah did work.

    However, the defensive scheme is another sign that Harden has entered a new level offensively. He is in a Stephen Curry air, where his presence alone bends defenses and forces them to act in unusual ways just to slow him down.

    If Harden continues to find ways to pick apart the Jazz defense, Houston should move onto the second round quickly.
     
  2. xtruroyaltyx

    xtruroyaltyx Member

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    Bottom line is the jazz coach just told his players I don't think you're good enough so I'm going to roll out this gimmick and hope it's so radical it might work.
     
  3. duluth111222

    duluth111222 I.D.I.O.T

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    And he would be right in that compared to Harden nobody is good enough.
     
  4. RayRay10

    RayRay10 Houstonian
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    Bucks strategy is overrated; it worked for one game when Harden was dealing with a wrist injury and the Rockets shooters weren’t knocking down their threes.

    Nobody mentions the 1st game when a healthy Harden went for 42 and 6 without CP3 and EGO.
     
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  5. ipaman

    ipaman Contributing Member

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    Every damn reporter, analyst, etc... have scouted Harden for the opponents all year long. I've never seen any single player ever have so many "how to stop" theses. Their simultaneous obsession (hate) and lack of recognition is pathetic.
     
  6. ElPigto

    ElPigto Member

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    If it doesn't help their narrative, of course it won't be mentioned.
     
    Sajan likes this.
  7. Handles

    Handles Member

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    Let every analyst and casual NBA fan in the world try to stop him. Harden will still score 30+ on every team. Harden has mastered the offensive end like nobody else. The only thing that can stop him is an off night, and thankfully that doesn't happen often.
     
  8. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    You must be too young to remember Jordan.
     
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  9. ipaman

    ipaman Contributing Member

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    I wish, but the internet and social media have given everyone a platform which is why I think it's worse now than anything Jordan faced. Plus none of these haters will put Harden on Jordan's level which makes their obsession even more fraudulent.
     
  10. marky :)

    marky :) Member
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    That Bucks game is kind of a blessing in disguise. I understand trying to imitate that strategy but it was one game out of 82 regular season games. If the Rockets shot/played like they did against the Bucks when they did this strategy or even got close to their shooting averages, we wouldn't even be seeing it now or even being talked about.

    So thank you Bucks for giving us a freebie Game 1 against the Jizz.
     
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  11. YaoMing#1

    YaoMing#1 Member

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    I tried to tell anyone that would listen after that last loss to the Bucks.

    EG and Tucker went 1-13 combined from 3 and almost all of them were wide open, no one within 8-10 ft of them.

    If they hit 6-13 combined the game is tight going down to the last minute. The bucks are great so that’s no knock on them. I don’t expect houston to just blow them out but that strategy will always lead to wide open 3s either in the corner or the slot. You can’t guard everyone if you imploy that strategy.

    The bucks were also really physical that game we didn’t get to the line a lot plus Bledsoe and Lopez went combined 8-12 from three.

    Their both solid shooters but I don’t think either of them are elite, I think Lopez is 35% and Bledsoe is 32%.

    I don’t expect them to shoot that good together every game.
     
    Hakeemtheking and lilbird20 like this.
  12. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Those picture of the Bucks . . . .. . they should simply say the Officials allowed the Bucks to play an illegal defensive zone

    Rocket River
     
    theredbackpack and tycoonchip like this.
  13. basketballholic

    basketballholic Contributing Member

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    1. Harden is unstoppable.

    2. Jazz are doing the right thing defensively. They're just not doing it well enough. But they're setting up the recipe for it to work...

    The best defense against us is to take away the 3's, force Harden to his right and then deal with him at the rim with extreme length. Jazz shouldn't change their strategy. They should improve upon it. And consider using Favors or Udoh out high on Harden forcing him right and trailing him into Gobert/Capela.
     
  14. PhiSlammaJamma

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    The Rockets should score on this defense almost 90%. The reality is they didn't. I was actually disappointed that several of the lobs and dumps were off, and while Tucker handled this much better, I don't like my playoff in the hands of Tucker even if he is wide open. Harden's floaters were a little dumpy too. It was far from ideal. That said. I want to see this defense every single time because it can be destroyed. My biggest disappointment was that D'Antonio sounded like they didn't game plan for it, assuming that Harden will blow it up, and my second disappointment was that once again we went back to Paul at times when the truth is, we should give it to Harden on every play if they do this. Every single time. But I did note the Rocks stopped running a pick against this defense to get the three for Harden, which again, was moronic...if they want to give you a layup, if they want to give you an automatic fast break, you take it.

    I can't say it worked, but I would say the Rockets should have handled it better.
     
  15. robbie380

    robbie380 ლ(▀̿Ĺ̯▀̿ ̿ლ)
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    Just make him go right!
     
  16. Pat

    Pat Contributing Member
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    Didn't we win by 30 points!
     
  17. lakersuck2

    lakersuck2 Member

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    Damn, we worked the Jazz so bad we ended up on Business Insider!! Rockets in 4.
     
  18. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    More like Jazz stupid defensive strategy didn't work on Sunday. Will they try again on Wed with adjustments?
     
  19. baller4life315

    baller4life315 Contributing Member

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    If I’m Utah I’m packing the paint and daring this Rockets team to beat me on the road shooting 3’s.

    Allowing Harden to get into the paint, whether it’s by virtue of G1’s absurd gimmick defense or tonight’s hybrid of G1 tactics and straight up defense, has been absolutely killing Utah.

    Harden gets into the paint, the defense collapses, he finds Clint or an open shooter. He’s making it look easy. It’s the reason why Tucker has been so wide open all series.

    Above all else, they need to do something radically different. That’s the basketball fan in me talking. The Rockets fan in me, of course, hopes they keep fumbling their defensive strategy :)
     
  20. theredbackpack

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    first thing i noticed
     
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