From the first time James Harden had the ball in Sunday’s 122-90 win over the Utah Jazz, it was clear he’d face the gimmicky defense the Milwaukee Bucks threw at him in the regular season.nike nfl jerseys from china
Ricky Rubio basically sat on his left shoulder. He wasn’t just trying to take that direction away from Harden. He was all but begging him to go right, as seen in this tweet from NBC’s Brody Logan:
Even in a 32-point drubbing, several things went right for the Jazz.womens nfl jersey
They more than doubled Houston’s attempts from the line (27 to 12).best price nfl jerseys
They had Harden somewhat contained.
Ricky Rubio went 5-of-11 for 15 points.
Rudy Gobert had 22 points and 12 rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting.
That first bullet point could become a trend—the Jazz actually topped the Rockets in both free-throw attempts and free-throw-attempt rate this season—but it’s not likely to be that lopsided.
The huge disparity had a lot to do with Harden only getting to the line three times. In Houston’s gentlemen’s sweep of Utah last season, he took 8.6 free throws per game. Good luck keeping him off the stripe.
As for Rubio, his numbers are encouraging but maybe a bit of a mirage. He was more efficient than usual and scored a few more points than his season average. But Houston will live with Rubio jumpers all series.nfl jerseys women
The Rockets will stay home on Gobert’s rolls to the rim and hug up on Donovan Mitchell whenever Rubio has the ball. Letting either of them get loose would be far more damaging than a solid game from the pass-first point guard.
And then there’s Gobert. Individually, he was great. Last year, he was fine, too. In the five-game series against Houston, he averaged 12.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks while shooting 71.4 percent from the field.
But Utah was minus-19.0 points per 100 possessions when Gobert was on the floor in that series—the worst net rating of any player on the team, according to NBA.com. Sunday, he was a team-worst minus-23.the authentic nfl jerseys
Houston may have figured out the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.official nfl nike jerseys
Playing Derrick Favors more at the 5 might help. His net rating against Houston last postseason was still comfortably in the red, but minus-9.3 is better than minus-19.0. On Sunday, he was the only Jazz player with a positive plus-minus.where to get nfl jerseys
He’s a bit more switchable on the perimeter than Gobert, but this honestly might just be grasping at straws. The Rockets will still funnel him plenty of the same pick-your-poison scenarios as the one seen above.nfl jerseys china nike
And again, this all happened on a night during which Harden was relatively contained. Things can go better for the Rockets than they did Sunday, especially when he clicks.clearance nfl jerseys
“I’ve literally seen every strategy defensively teams can possibly do,” Harden said during the postgame press conference.nfl jersey for sale
This is likely more of an off night than any sort of solution Utah has discovered. And that’s terrifying for anyone in Houston’s path.