No self respecting basketball pundit is going to miss whenever Houston is playing, especially against the better teams. The Rockets are audacious to say they are going to play the game different from how it’s been played for decades. In a game of giants their first five are 2 Gs, 2 Fs and 1 F-G, with Covington as their tallest at 6’7.
Mil on the other hand has the 6’11 Greek Freak (I doubt I’ll ever be comfortable calling him that), 6’7 Middleton and 7’0 B. Lopez, who dominated today inspite of the loss.
With 43s left in the 4th and the Bucks trailing by 1 Lopez even put in the go ahead basket to put them ahead.
Mark Jackson commented on the game and I like what he said about as a big man feeling disrespected that Hou is putting a relative small to guard him such as Covington and 6’5 PJ Tucker. Although Tucker did a decent enough job especially if he forces Lopez to play 8-10 ft from the basket, Lopez should dominate and he did finishing with 23, 12 rebs. and 2 blocks.
However it was for nothing as Giannis fumbled the ball in a key stretch nearing the end. A second chance arose later but again after an offensive rebound from a Middleton miss he tried putting the ball back again instead of passing to an all alone Kyle Korver on the right corner.
Hou came to play with their defense, often swiping the ball and harrasing Mil’s smalls. Hou had 15 steals for the night, resulting in 22 turnovers for Milwaukee, which compared to Houston’s 9 is just awful.
So does Houston’s strategy hold water? It’s still up in the air but I’m still favoring a traditional lineup with a Center and PF against this experiment. The Rockets are a superlative team due to the high quality of their players but in a 78 game season some of these players won’t last as is the nature of the NBA. How will they continue to compete at that level is a mystery to me. Maybe the others will show up, maybe they’ll start playing traditional lineups.
But what’s for sure is that if they lose a key player or two that transforms their game almost 100%. A traditional lineup will almost always have a capable backup to replace anyone so things tend to work out. But what do I know and besides its still super early.