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Much Improved Defense Biggest Factor in Early Success

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by imaginedragons, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. imaginedragons

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    I know it's early but from the looks of it, the improved defensive play of the Rockets is a major reason for their 1st two wins.

    Howard and Asik are givens. They clog the lane, intimidate and finish the D by cleaning the boards.

    Parsons is still trying to find his groove on offense, he seems to be the one most affected by the new style of play and two big men playing together but defensively he has been up to the challenge. I think the energy he conserves by not being involved as much on O helps him play more aggressive defense than last year

    Lin has been playing much better on ball defense this season, and he seems to fight through picks with more gusto. He used to gamble a lot and slack off his man, and outside shooters with quicker releases used to give him a lot of problems. So far the effort has is there, remains to be seen how he does when facing the elite guards.

    The single biggest improvement has come from Harden. I must admit I didn't think he had it in him, mainly because of his focus on his offensive game and the energy he expends on that end. But it seems the presence of Howard and the thought that collectively, the team needs to step up their defense as a whole has reenergized him. Effort level and desire has been way up there so far.

    When Beverley comes back, the total D will go up a few more notches.

    Casspi and Garcia have also been revelations on D. Garcia obviously has been tenacious since last year's playoffs, but Casspi has shown he likes to mix it up as well even when physically overmatched.

    The offense was tremendous in 2012, and most of the whole cast has returned plus Howard. Getting to the next level is not automatic just because a superstar is penciled into the lineup, nor is there a whole lot of room for much more improvement on offense, so the next biggest jump for their extended success will come from a sustained effort on defense.
     
  2. meh

    meh Contributing Member

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    IMO, it's 99% Howard. There's a huge difference in perimeter defender's mentality when you know DPOY caliber player is behind you.
     
  3. NewAge

    NewAge Member

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    Agree with OP, but would like to add something else I've noticed.
    Last year with Asik we had a very good half-court defense, but were among the worst in the league in transition D. I think a lot of this had to do with too much stuff going on in the high post. Any turnover at the top of the key, fumbling the dribble handoff, steals etc., is almost automatic layup on the other end.

    This season we have deeper presence in the low post and are not fiddling too much on top. We still commit turnovers, but it's in the low post, off of deep penetration... In the Charlotte game Dwight stepped twice out of bound on the baseline. I can live with turnovers like this.

    Given our personnel last year we had to generate offense from the high PnR, but boy, is it dangerous to have too much action there.

    Another thing in this vein: with offensive rebounding threats like Dwight and Omer, the other team has to commit more resources to secure the rebound, which also limits their transition game. Even if they don't come up with the Off board, by tapping and fighting for the ball, our bigs give us that extra second for the transition defense to regroup.
     
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  4. wizkid83

    wizkid83 Contributing Member

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    Remember when Morey said that having a starting stretch 4 vs. having a inside presence for 48 minutes, the inside presence is better? It's true
     
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  5. Reach

    Reach Member

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    Nice analysis; I'd never really given any of those factors much thought before but they're indeed significant. Would rep if I could.
     
  6. imaginedragons

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    agree. the frame of mind totally changes, but you still have to go out and give the effort.

    tonight's Jazz game is a prime example, their 4th quarter defensive intensity and spirited effort was playoff like. last year they simply tried to outscore opponents and when their 3 pointers weren't falling, they would just lose.
     
  7. saintja2

    saintja2 Contributing Member

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    Yes the basis of a great defense is there with the TT lineup.

    In the Mavs game, only 4 minutes of TT (due to borderline questionable foul calls on Asik): Dallas had 0 field goals and 3 points.

    In the Jazz game the first quarter was sloppy as hell, Utah was still not scoring that well with 16 points in 7 minutes 55 seconds.

    In the third quarter we allowed 3 field goals (all from middle range btw) while Asik/Howard were on the court. The Jazz "succeeded" to score total of 12 points in 9 minutes 29 seconds. And Utah had to hit all free throws to get even to that.

    The offense is still bad but the D is already there. In addition to Asik/Howard lineups, there are other good but more situational defensive lineups, even when we have gone small ball. And Beverley hasn't been even playing. It just feels great to be able to shut down teams :)
     
  8. ptealixpaint

    ptealixpaint Member

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    Agreed, I got it for you.
     
  9. sirbaihu

    sirbaihu Member

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    I've posted it elsewhere, but TT +6 in the Utah game.

    Other stats.
    Last year, first three games: Rox 2 wins 1 loss, scored 99.7 pts, opponents 97.7, +2 pt differential.
    This year, first three games: Rox 3 wins 0 loss, scored 104.3 pts, opponents 93.7, +10.7 pt differential.

    (some figures rounded)
     
  10. burlesk

    burlesk Tries hard
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    Hadn't heard that from DM, thanks for that re-update! Was wondering what the stats say.
     
  11. amazingskills

    amazingskills Member

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    when he has said that?
     
  12. hubeijames

    hubeijames Member

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    Don't forget rebounding. We're not going to lose many games when we out-rebound our opponents, and with our lineup we're not going to be out-rebounded very often.

    I'm wondering if the Timberwolves will be our toughest match-up in the West, actually, since right now it looks like they're the only team that will have both the rebounding and the offensive power to challenge us.
     
  13. meh

    meh Contributing Member

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    If he did say that, then he pretty much contradicted everything else he's said before or after that. Because in all the interviews I've heard, he has always said that going with one center and 4 shooters is the most effective lineup. He said that last year with Asik(Delfino as PF), and in the preseason this year with Dwight(Parsons/Harden/Lin/Beverley/Howard).
     
  14. hahachui

    hahachui Member

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    With this D, I think we can win it all in the west!
     
  15. Yellow

    Yellow Member

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    It's not much improved in my opinion, simply put it's Asik & Dwight clogging the lane and rebounding. With those two or either one on the floor, not much is happening inside so teams have to beat us on the outside and getting to the line. Our 1-on-1 defense and team help defense still leaves a lot to be desired, but it's only been a few games so it's a good sign that we're not what we were last year. I thought we would be a little better but we're keeping scores in the low 100s and teams to low 90s scores which is perfect. We are now top 10 offensively and top 10 defensively and that was and is the goal this season.
     
  16. cn0gd

    cn0gd Member

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    the clog the paint and rebounding is the key. still something need to work on though. the first half of jazz game was ugly, cant say the defense anything good. the 2nd half was much better. the PNR defense when Dwright on 4 been pull out to 3 point line, is literally not there as he is not familiar with the plays on perimeter defense. the help the helper is not there either when Dwright leave his man to stop a penetration. the potential is very high though just keep improving and it will get better and better.
     
  17. Nolen

    Nolen Contributing Member
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    It is ridiculous that we can play so damn ugly in three games, and still average a 10pt differential.

    High-turnover play won't suffice against our elite opponents, but we now have such a high level of talent and a strong system in place, we can play badly and still pull out a convincing win in the 4th qtr.
     
  18. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    Playing really crappy teams is a big factor in our success too! :)
     
  19. blunto

    blunto Member

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    I think the statement being referenced pertained to Morey's preference for 15 min of Asik over 35 min of a starting-caliber stretch four (barring a max-level player). I can't quote it, but that was my take away. That would still theoretically allow for one center with four shooters at all times.
     
  20. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    Our defense was pretty good last year when Asik was on the floor. Credit Dwight, but also just credit being able to play 48 minutes with a real defensive center in the middle. That's why we should make sure we get a real impact player if we trade Asik.
     
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