The short Rockets go big against the Thunder

Two games and two victories for Houston, with a franchise record of 3-point attempts in the playoffs. The Thunder and Chris Paul, lost.


When the Houston Rockets decided to bet in the middle of the season to play without centers and almost without players of more than two meters, the first thing they caused was disbelief, then laughter and then curiosity. Later, as they won games, they began to earn the benefit of the doubt. After the first two playoff games, they are getting the respect that has often been lacking from the outside and perhaps the beginning of something akin to fear. The fear of some ricvales who surely have less and less desire to meet them on the road.

In a game in which 37 of the 56 triples they shoot fail (and the Texas franchise has never shot so many in a playoff game) but they end up winning by double digits the old Rockets definition that all they do is that , shoot triples, and if they don't get them they don't win, they stay completely absorbed. Today, in full bloodletting from the line of three (they managed to link 15 failures in the first half) the chestnuts took them out of the fire the rebound in attack. Yes, how it sounds. The short ones winning the aerial balls. They caught 11, 3 more than their rival. This is a team that, with few exceptions, is not usually overwhelmed on the rebound. Neither in defense, where he has brilliant moments with his own style, strange but effective. As they do not have a clear internal reference, they continually change torque, they do not care how many times they have to do it. That tactic ends up confusing some rivals and is just what is happening to the Thunder.

Of that team that played as well as the best, that had won almost more than anyone in 2020 and that had become a specialist in tight endings, there is not even a shadow of the moment. This slump is especially taking hold of Chris Paul, who makes the most of defensive changes when he stays with the tall men. But this time there are no tall men in front of whom to mess up. Last night he was 14 points (6/15 from the field, 2/7 from 3-pointers), with just 2 assists and giving Shai Gilgeous-Alexander command of the game creation in many sections of the match. The sophomore was the best news in Oklahoma after a poor start. He went to 31 points and tried to pull the car at all times, but neither Gallinari nor Adams nor a Schroder who has returned at least regular from the injury accompanied him.

In front, coral play, front and back, to cover a bad day for Harden, who did not put his third basket into play until well into the fourth quarter. So yes, he linked 7 points that killed the game. All of them on the defense of Schroder, who at that point Billy Donovan had left on the court due to the need for points, sacrificing Luguentz Dort, who had defended La Barba perfectly until that moment. Harden (21) finally finished as top scorer but there were six other teammates who also finished in double digits on a team that took care of the ball to the extreme. Removing the third quarter (6 losses) in the rest of the game they only committed 1. So the Rockets, even without Westbrook, are making a firm step in the first round of playoffs and are leaving the Thunder, who came as one of the greats And if ... of these qualifiers, very little.

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