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Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s hilarious response about the efficacy of small ball strategy

Mike D'Antoni, Rockets, Thunder

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni had some fun with reporters when asked about the team’s “small-ball” strategy during the 2019-20 season.

D’Antoni was asked whether he knew small-ball would be an effective strategy against some of the elite teams in the Western Conference, to which he quipped about having numerous head coaching jobs prior to landing in Houston.

Indeed, Mike D’Antoni has not been afraid to pioneer some of the more renowned offensive strategies in league history.

The “seven seconds or less” Phoenix Suns squads were among the most explosive offensive teams of their era, placing a premium on scoring in transition and getting up shots in a hurry. Of course, D’Antoni never even made it to the NBA Finals with those Suns teams, and he is still seeking his first Finals berth as a head coach.

However, the Rockets’ “small-ball” look has caused some problems for teams throughout the league, notably its Western Conference semifinals opponent.

The Los Angeles Lakers fell to 0-3 against the “small-ball” Rockets (dating back to Feb. 6 of this year) following their Game 1 loss to Houston.

Additionally, D’Antoni’s “five out” look is forcing the Lakers to make key decisions. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports previously reported Anthony Davis was open to moving to the center position despite his preference for playing at the power forward spot.

Neutralizing Davis would seem to be a tall task even if the Rockets had a traditional big on the floor. Indeed, AD still managed to score 25 points in Game 1. However, he did not score a single point when guarded by Houston’s pseudo-center, PJ Tucker.

Can the Rockets match their defensive intensity in Game 1 and take a 2-0 series lead on Sunday night? That remains to be seen. However, D’Antoni might change the fabric of the game if Houston manages to make a run to the Finals.

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