The Houston Rockets have become in recent weeks in the great attraction of the NBA. For their victories, nine in the last eleven games, and by the way they have chosen to achieve them. The Texan franchise decided to transfer its holder pivot, Clint Capela, before the Weekend of the Stars. His 2.08 went to the Atlanta Hawks for Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni to carry out his new revolution. Your team will play without pivots. It is the “small ball” taken to the extreme. And at the moment the results are proving him right.
The Rockets are the feeling of the League as they could see the Grizzlies (140-112) last morning. With Russell Westbrook (33 points) and James Harden (30) at the controls they swept the Memphis team. And they did it by being faithful to their new style: 55 percent in field shots and a brutal 23/50 in three shots. They are fourth in the West, they are one game from the Clippers and two from the Nuggets. A little over a month to the playoffs have become one of the biggest threats to the Lakers.
The bet of Mike D’Antoni It goes back to its Suns of the beginning of the century. In Phoenix, the coach, who was based in Milan in his stage as a player, already glimpsed to play without a pure pivot and do it at a frantic pace. Now his bet has been even more radical. In the quintet against the Grizzlies the average height was 1.96 and it is usual to see how the initial jump is made by a player of precisely that height, James Harden. In the last game their two 2.13 players, Chandler and Hartenstein, did not play a single minute. And only Bruno Caboclo (2.06) and Jeff Green (2.03) had minutes between players over two meters. The first was six minutes on track; the second, 23 and both are eaves.
The fact is that the numbers are giving the reason to the bold bet of Mike D’Antoni. And not only with the victories. Rockets defend better (two points less per game, two more steals and more defensive rebound), attack better (The percentage of three has increased and they lose three balls less), Westbrook scores five more points and the difference in the rebound does not harm the team. The cornerstone of the new Rockets is one of the short ones: PJ Tucker This escort of 1.95, 108 kilos and 2.06 wingspan is able to defend any player in any position. The wingspan is another key to the Rockets’ quintet of shorties. Harden measures 1.96, but has a wingspan of 2.10; Convington is at 2.00 and 2.18; Westbrook, at 1.90 and 2.02 … And in the meantime the Rockets are still winning.
The day left a Luka Doncic’s new triple double. The Slovenian scored 26 points, caught 10 rebounds and distributed 14 assists in a new Mavericks victory. Ricky Rubio (18 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists) could not avoid the defeat of the Suns against the Clippers. And Willy Hernangómez had 19 minutes in the victory of the Hornets against the Knicks. The pivot contributed 7 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.
Outcome: Cleveland Cavaliers, 108-Philadelphia Sixers, 94; Washington Wizards, 110-Brooklyn Nets, 106; New Orleans Hornets, 107-New York Knicks, 101; Atlanta Hawks, 120-Orlando Magic, 130; Miami Heat, 126-Minnesota Timberwolves, 129; Houston Rockets, 140-Memphis Grizzlies, 112; San Antonio Spurs, 103-Dallas Mavericks, 109; Phoenix Suns, 92-Los Angeles Clippers, 102 and Utah Jazz, 103-Boston Celtics, 114.